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Reviewed March 30, 2013

The trip taken in March 2013 to Popa Paradise luxury resort off Bocas del Toro in Panama was one of the best vacations I have taken and I have travelled extensively. The experience in its entirety was wonderful, right from Panama city, short flight to Bocas where we were greeted and taken in a boat to the island which felt like we were travelling to the remote and fictional Gilligan’s Island. Arriving at the Popa’s resort we were greeted by the friendly and helpful staff that showed us to the beautiful penthouse suite which had breathtaking views of the ocean, we were quite happy with this large suite for the four us staying there. Excited we changed into our swimming clothes and headed for breakfast to get our day started and explore. The resort felt like a well run family business, with staff that are outgoing, friendly and helpful. We quickly explored the island and hit the water. Ahhhh warm caribbean water & pool kept us soaked for all the days we were there. The food was very tasty, fresh and unique, the surroundings are gorgeous and away from the normal tourist trap. Popa’s is an adult all-inclusive boutique resort and a better beach vacation from what I have experienced in the past. We could not stop eating the delicious meals prepared by the excellent chef & cooks and drinking the fruit cocktails fixed by the outgoing bartenders. The island felt like it was all ours, ‘our island’ we screamed as we kayaked in the baby blue waters. There were only 14-20 people at the resort which made it perfect for us since we wanted to have fun (and we sure did enjoy partying in the evenings with the other visitors to the island and the fun staff) but we also tried to enjoy everything the resort had to offer. The guys decided to take muay thai boxing one day which they had a blast, and us girls decided we wanted to do a yoga class or get a massage but ended up at the swim up bar instead ;). Star gazing in itself is an experience, the stars light up the sky. We did a day excursion to another small island which involved snorkeling, fishing and walking on the white sandy beaches.

By the end of our vacation we had grown quite fond of the staff at the resort, we did not want to leave our paradise and wished we had booked a few more days at the resort. We miss this place, our new found friends that work at the resort and the vacationers that we met. My friends and I talk about the trip whenever we see each other. We will return in a year’s time, or earlier the better.

YMM

Room Tip: Check out the penthouse suite
  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with friends
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1  Thank Yvonne_McLeod
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
vroes, Owner at Popa Paradise Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded April 8, 2013

Yvonne, thank you so much for your kind words! Dyllan and Darion and their staff work tirelessly to make every guest's stay a memorable one, and they obviously succeeded with you and your group. We hope to see you again soon - I can promise you the resort will be even better next time!

Vince Roes - owner

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Reviewed March 23, 2013

Early last year I visited Popa Paradise and though it was an attractive hotel in a beautiful setting, there was apparently a transition in ownership ongoing and the place was looking a bit rough around the edges, though the onsite management team of Darion and Dyllan made my stay enjoyable. A year later I returned and wow, what a difference! Dyllan and Darion are still there with their fantastic "host qualities", as is Ty the barman, but the poolside bar has been renovated, there's a new beach bar, an area for yoga and massages and even a "Jungle Gym" to practice Thai boxing with Ty. One thing that hasn't changed is the food - still out of this world and really the portions are just too big to eat it all! Of course nothing is perfect and I did notice that though painting and varnishing was ongoing, a good pass of a paintbrush here and there was needed, the screen doors on the casitas had seen better days, the pool furniture was a bit dated but hey, do you think those things matter when you're sitting at the swim-up bar with a "Popajito" in your hand (Ty's version of a mojito, with freshly grown mint picked from right beside the pool)? I travel constantly and this place was just great to slow down and enjoy life.

Room Tip: I've stayed in Casitas 6 and 10 - both great if you like to sleep to the sound of waves lapping on the beach below.
  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank George D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
vroes, Owner at Popa Paradise Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded April 8, 2013

Thank you so much for your review. Our staff have been working very hard to get the resort in shape after our acquisition of Popa last year, but there is always more to do, and it is not easy on a remote island. It is gratifying when people notice the results! We have lots of good things planned for the future, so we hope to see you at Popa Paradise again.

Vince Roes - owner

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Reviewed March 23, 2013

Reached by a 35 minute boat ride from a dock near the Bocas del Toro airport, this is a near perfect beach resort. It seems pricey, but the boat connection and all meals and drinks are included. The beachfront casitas are the nicest rooms. The reef is not really accessible-too far out to reach by swimming and no raft for which to snorkel. The vibe is barefoot luxury. Far away from it all. Each dinner starts with a buffet of appetizers that are better than the main course. The excursion to Coral CAy provides great s or milling. The trip to the national park island is over-priced and the snorkeling is disappointing, though the pal. Lined island is a pretty venue. Staff are obliging and competent, and you can see some birds, to, along the paved walkways.

Stayed: March 2013
Thank BJaneH
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dyllan M, General Manager at Popa Paradise Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded April 12, 2013

Many thanks for your review and your kind words. We offer a wide variety of excursions to suit all tastes - from tranquil coral gardens to beautiful outer reefs, diving , fishing and so much more. The resort has a great variety of bird life you can watch from the deck of your Casita.

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Reviewed March 22, 2013

We spent a week here last summer with our 3 kids ages 10,14,16. Just a beautiful place- beach, water, kayaking,food, pool, flowers, conversation, drinks etc.
This is a place to have a few drinks, chat with others and fall into the hotels schedule. If you want your meals on your time frame, forget it, this is not the place for you. Its very relaxed, friendly and they will do anything for you but you may have to ask. Dylan the manager is very organized and he will be happy to arrange anything you want. Darion the cook is very entertaining and relaxed. We had a wonderful time, made some good friends and appreciated all they did for us.

Yes, the pool is great, but I think it does need a new filter...... please look into that !

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank antonia j
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dyllan M, General Manager at Popa Paradise Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded March 23, 2013

Many thanks for your review, we are so pleased you enjoyed your stay with us. Regarding our pool - we have a very high tech pool filtration system that includes sand filters, UV sterilizers and colorization systems which give us a clean sparkling pool 99.9% of the time. Being off the grid the pool is fed by rain water and during very dry periods we may need to top the pool up with well water which may make it cloudy for a few hours while the filters do their work, this happens maybe only once a year.

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Reviewed March 20, 2013

I spent a week at Popa in March and it truly was paradise! As all the other reviews have said Popa is the perfect place for any traveller. During the day it's great to relax by the pool, take in the sun,and have some drinks at the swim up bar. At night Dyllan and Darion make sure to entertain with phenomenal fire shows and beach parties. The food is incredibly fresh, and cooked to perfection. One night we were spoiled with delicious red snapper prepared in the traditional Panamanian style. Every night there was something new, and they were very accommodating to food allergies and special diets.

During the day we spent countless hours on the beautiful white sand beaches, dolphin watching, and snorkelling at the near by coral cove. The staff took great care of us, offering to pack lunches for the day, even putting together a cooler of drinks for our day at Zapatillas. The cleaning staff is equally wonderfully, always making sure that the beautiful casitas were immaculate. Falling asleep to the sound of the ocean and wildlife is one of the great perks of travelling to the secluded island.

I am already planning my next trip to Popa with my family because it was that amazing!

Room Tip: I stayed in Casita 4...it looks right into the jungle with a gorgeous view of the beach.
  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled solo
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Thank Jenny12156
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dyllan M, General Manager at Popa Paradise Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded March 21, 2013

Many thanks for your great review. We are so pleased your enjoyed your stay with us and look forward to seeing you back here soon!

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