My husband and I stayed 4 days, June 8-11, and we had a wonderful experience. I would say "stay" as is used in hotel reviews; however, "experience" seems to fit! We arrived on air Panama, were met by a representative who took us directly to the boat, and Nash then zoomed us across the beautiful water (very calm), to Isla Popa. As we rode along in the boat, we saw beautiful pelicans and parrots, fish jumping, and many locals enjoying a day of fishing. As we rounded the corner to the dock at Popa Paradise, my husband and I both just grinned ear-to-ear! It is positively beautiful! We then headed up to the lobby to check in and were greeted very warmly by Nicole and Matty. We were immediately given a fresh coconut to drink (delightful!) and then got settled into casita 4, which is closest to the clubhouse and pool area. We found it to be just lovely and convenient to simply walk a few steps to get our morning coffee in the clubhouse. After getting settled in, we walked the grounds and were just amazed at the construction of such a beautiful place--in a jungle/rainforest on a remote island!! Popa Paradise is an eco-lodge; yet, the layout of the property and the service delivery is that of a 5-star resort. Within a few moments of our arrival, I met the "four-legged" members of the Popa staff: Thiago and Luca, the two resident beagles and Mimi and Georgie, the two resident cats. It was wonderful to have the ability to play with "critters" while on vacation, as I missed my own animals very much. Thiago, especially, is just a happy little beagle who seems to be the four-legged ambassador for all the guests! One thing my husband wanted to ensure that we put in our review is that the staff knows how to anticipate your needs--and they are incredibly perceptive about identifying when you want private, quiet time. We loved spending time at the bar, enjoying the various libations that Nicole made for us with fresh pineapple and mangos, listening to great music, and bantering Handre and Bev, and rest of the staff. Yet, when we wanted to tuck away on a chaise lounge to get back into our books, they instantly recognized this. As a former hospitality industry professional and current road warrior/Hilton Hhonors Diamond member, I consider myself a good judge of service professionals. The staff at Popa can easily teach the big, global service brands a thing or two about service delivery! Dyllan, the GM, sets expectations for the service delivery and provides excellent leadership to the staff. So the execution is there--from sunup to sundown. Darion is an absolute delight with his great sense of humor and zest for life! He also ensured that things were running smoothly each day. Handre arranged for us to go scuba diving one day, through LaBuga in BocasTown, which was fantastic. And, last but certainly not least, we have to acknowledge Matt for his culinary talents that never ceased to amaze us! We enjoyed delicious meals, ranging from a fantastic lunch consisting of a mahi-mahi sandwich with fries to dinners of seafood prepared with a local Panamanian sauce (wow!!), filet mignon, and an Asian-fusion dish one evening. Lobsters were not in season this time of year, but we hardly noticed since we enjoyed everything else so much! This resort is exactly as described in the brochure: "bare-foot luxury." So, with that said, ladies leave your hair dryers, flat irons and your usual footwear at home. The walking paths are all smooth concrete, but some are steep heading down to the beach. Bring a few pairs of flip flops and nicer sandals for evening time. It is humid (it's the tropics...), so bring hair clips or pins. My favorite article of clothing was a pair of loose-fitting linen pants. I wished I had brought more of them! The pants kept the mosquitoes from biting my legs. However, you must bring bug spray, particularly the time of year (June) and definitely bring anti-itch cream/gel. Other items we advise you to bring: a lightweight raincoat, small umbrella, sunscreen, and caps/hats for lounging by the pool, and a long-sleeve sweater/sweatshirt as the a/c units are very powerful and you may find it chilly in the casita with the a/c running. With that said, the casitas are very pretty, have a refrigerator stocked with water each day, and are very clean. The moment we went to breakfast, the housekeeper was in our casita tidying up. The resort does have wi-fi connectivity, satellite TV with quite a lot of channels, and they are continually improving the connectivity. However, even with the access there--we didn't want it! The gorgeous surroundings just cause you to forget about the rest of the world--at least for a little while!
My husband Ken and I will definitely be back, and we've already recommended Popa Paradise to several of our friends! Thank you Dyllan, Darion, Nicole, Matty, Handre, Bev, Thiago, Luca, Mimi, Georgie, and all the other staff members for a positively amazing experience!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Popa Paradise is an Adults-Only (18+) beach hotel located on a stunning island called Isla Popa in the Bocas del Toro archipelago, off the Panamanian coast in the Caribbean Sea. We are located about 30 minutes away from Bocas del Toro by boat. Stay with us for an unforgettable vacation where you can relax, snorkel in beautiful clear water and visit the amazing outer islands. Our chef creates a spectacular, tasty, unique and healthy menu and can cater to vegetarians and vegans, which is all included in our all inclusive rate. We have a large range of activities and excursions from diving, fishing, zip lines to the spectacular Zapatilla islands marine park or simply relax by our swimming pool and enjoy a Popa Paradise cocktail at our swim up bar, enjoy a massage in the spa or take a walk on one of our stunning beaches. Our new beach bar and restaurant "Rosie's" is great for cool drinks on the beach all day and at night beach BBQs, bonfires, and occasionally live music under the stars. Our dedicated team of professionals will take care of your every need and ensure you have a memorable stay at our boutique resort. We look forward to meeting you at Popa Paradise - barefoot luxury! ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Popa Paradise Beach Hotel Isla Popa
- Popa Paradise Beach Isla