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Dolphin Bay Hideaway
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Reviews (383)
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222 - 227 of 383 reviews
Reviewed September 19, 2012

The owners Erika & Jose were very gracious & attentive hosts. The room was super clean and comfortable and all of our needs were attended to. The meals were gourmet quality. The rate was excellent considering most meals, drinks, and use of canoes were included. We liked it so much we extended our stay for another night!

Room Tip: All the rooms are good. One room includes separate quarters for children.
  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Debbie8591
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 5, 2012

My girlfriend and I decided to spend 4 nights at dolphin bay hideaway during our 18 night holiday to panama. The overall experience was great, erika looks after the guests well and we would recommend the hideaway to anyone looking to chill out for a day or two and then also explore the local area. The trips we took were great - bat cave was really interesting, horse riding was ok and the walk into the jungle was great. The ability to get up and take the kayak out for a paddle does make the stay enjoyable and if it wasn't avaliable some people may feel a little stranded.

The food was nice and the rooms are very nice, clean and spacious. You can stay in cheaper accommodation but with the breakfast and evening meal included its not massively expensive seeing your at a fantastic location, where my girlfriend and I got engaged.

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank CraigGreenhalgh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 29, 2012

We chose this hotel because of all the good reviews it had received here in Tripadvisor, and although the place was very nice and all we didn't think it lived up to its reputation and that it was not worth its quite high price. The positive impressions: the room was big (we chose a room with ocean view), in the bay right outside the hotel you can see dolphins, the dinner-food at night (included in the price) was very good. The negative impressions: The ocean view was not much of a view to be honest, the hotel is quite far away and there is not much to do right around the hotel, so to see anything you need to take tours organized by the hotel - but at almost double the price from what you would be paying in bocas town, even though 3 alcoholic drinks per night were supposed to be included in the price we found ourselves having to pay 20 dollars extra for our cocktails.

We ended up staying just 2 nights and then opted for another hotel close to Bocas town for a 1/3 of the price.

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank swedish_traveler1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
EIB, Owner at Dolphin Bay Hideaway, responded to this reviewResponded August 30, 2012

Thank you for reviewing our small lodge it helps us learn, grow and keep tweaking our operation until we get it perfect :)

This review is clearly the result of a guest not taking the time to read all the information available and choosing without much research. Wile it does hurt to get criticized for something we feel unfair, this also is a great opportunity to further detail what we are and what we are not, so future potential guests can make the right decision weather they should stay here at Dolphin Bay or perhaps a different lodge might be more to they liking and budget.

I am glad you liked our room and meals but i am a bit confused on the complaint about location, excursion cost and your cocktails. Below i will copy and paste what appears clearly on our website so I am not sure how anyone can complain about something clearly stated and that you should have been aware before you even made a reservation.

1. " the hotel is quite far away"
Dolphin Bay Hideaway is located on the shores of Dolphin Bay, in the small village of Bocatorito on the Island of San Cristobal. We are 20 min. boat ride from the town of Bocas Del Toro, So yes, once again we are a "Hideaway" 20 minutes by boat from town. Guests who choose us want to be away from the hustle and bustle of Bocas.

2."even though 3 alcoholic drinks per night were supposed to be included in the price we found ourselves having to pay 20 dollars extra for our cocktails."

Here is what appears on our site:
Rates are per room up to double occupancy and they include:
- a diverse and very filling breakfast and dinner
- beverages including soft drinks, juice, coffee and tee
- beer and/or wine (with a limit of 3 per person per day)
- transportation to and from Bocas on your arrival and departure
- use of our traditional wooden dugout, kayak or canoe
- dolphin watching tour
- wireless Internet access
- all the coconuts you can drink during your stay

Please note that our rates do not include:
- lunch price-range $5 to $7
- mixed and blended drinks price-range $2.50 to $4
- additional beers $1.50 or wine $3
- boat excursions price-range $5 to $75
- taxes 10% of room rate
- gratuities

So again all this info is readily available on the website and we even send it again for the 2nd time in an e-mail when guests write to inquire about availability. And then once again for the 3rd time there are little drink menus with drink costs in the rooms stating that up to 3 beers and wine is included but cocktails and additional beer and wine is NOT.

3.there is not much to do right around the hotel,

Things to do around our lodge for NO additional cost:
Dolphin watching
Canoeing
Photography
Swimming
Bird watching
Walk through the village
Relaxing - Our Rancho over the water provides a perfect spot for spending the day reading, conversing with other guests or just taking naps in one of the many hammock.

4." so to see anything you need to take tours organized by the hotel - but at almost double the price from what you would be paying in bocas town"

I think i have already answered this question once to a previous complaint and i will just put the same info since it explains it all. Detailed activity list with rates and what they include are available to all our guests before they even make a reservation with us.
If you do compare prices you will realize that we are not charging any more then what you would be spending if you went with another operator from town. Our rates might seam a bit higher if you fail to consider that they include park fees , some include lunch, drinks and all equipment. Tours advertised from Bocas town only cover your transportation and not all the added cost involved in your daily excursion. The tour you participated, if i am not mistaking is the one to Zapatilla that we charge $50. This includes $10 Bastimentos national park fee, a cooler full of soft drinks, water, juice and beer and your lunch at the beach.
The tours from Bocas cost $25 only for the transportation, then you still have to pay $10 for the park, and when you stop for lunch at the restaurant your cost per plate is a minimum of $10 and up to $20 plus add something to drink with lunch and your cost will be the same and/or more.
There are maybe two excursions that might cost a bit more from our location simply because we are twice as far from the destination but even then the extra is about $12 per person, which is small change if you consider that you are probably spending thousands of dollars with flights and hotels on your overall vacation. I per say prefer to spend $12 more but have a personalized and exclusive tour with maximum 8 guests on board verses saving $12 and getting stuffed in a shuttle boat with 20 or 30 other travelers.

It is really hard to please everyone and I don't think we will ever be able to cover all tastes and budgets. Dolphin Bay Hideaway has a selective audience and we are quite aware of that.
We strive to offer clean, comfortable, safe lodging, fresh homemade delicious meals and of course great tour destination for guests that want to experience something different from your usual hotel and resort. There are many great places to stay in Bocas and we feel that we are definitely one of them. I hope future guests will make the right decision in choosing the best lodge for their particular needs.
If our small Eco-friendly, family run lodge is the one you choose we will give 100% on our part to make your stay memorable.

Once again Thank you swedish-traveler1! and i wish you happy travels!

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 24, 2012

August 2011 honeymoon

Dolphin Bay Hideaway was a beautiful way to experience this location of Panama. My husband and I thought it was very relaxing and peaceful. Unfortunately I had gotten sick before arriving and it put a damper on the few days I stayed...however, Erika is wonderful and made sure to help out however she could.

Pros: Comfortable, friendly, home away from home. They brought us to a near by island called Zapitilla and it was gorgeous. Erika packed us a lunch and we were able to lay on the beach - hike around the island and enjoy a nice lunch. We also were able to go and watch for dolphins and snorkeled in the bay...they were very accommodating and made sure I got a chance to photograph a dolphin :) we were very happy with the overall quality of this part of our trip...it is fun to stay at a “bed and breakfast” type location because you are able to talk with the locals who live in the area and learn more about the culture - we appreciated this!

Cons: -- not many at all...none really...

  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Samantha C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 22, 2012

We stayed at Dolphin Bay for seven nights in February, and had a truly awesome vacation! The location is perfect - remote enough to escape the city life, but not too difficult to travel to. We had an overnight in Panama City before flying to Bocas del Toro the next morning, where we were met by a smiling Jose at the airport. A quick boat ride away was Dolphin Bay, and a warm welcome from Erika and other staff and family members made us feel right at home!

The accommodations at Dolphin Bay Hideaway were absolutely beautiful. We were able to stay in the Bay View Room for all seven nights, and it was definitely one of the best places we've ever stayed. Not only was the room impeccably clean, but small touches such as fresh flowers and a basket of snacks made it extra charming. The food was also amazing - as a picky eater I can honestly say everything was delicious, and the staff was very accommodating to dietary concerns/preferences/etc. I highly recommend the 'Panama-style' pancakes at breakfast!

The excursions offered at Dolphin Bay are truly unique and amazing experiences. Because we were there for a week, we were able to take part in nearly all of the excursions. The beaches were breathtaking - in particular Zapatilla, which we visited twice because it was so remote and beautiful. We also thoroughly enjoyed the various snorkeling spots that Jose took us to, as well as the impromptu fishing adventures! I recommend popping a Gravol before the trip to Bird Island - but well worth the trip to see this beautiful and unique island (again, we went to see it twice!). Red Frog Beach is definitely worth doing, although it was the most 'touristy' place we visited. We really enjoyed the Ziplining Canopy Tour - very safe, beautiful views, and the guides are hilarious.

Overall, this was by far our best vacation to date, and we have the people at Dolphin Bay to thank for that. We can't say enough about this wonderful and relaxing place, and can't wait to go back some day!

Room Tip: Bay View Room was large, private, and cool at night.
  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Starbrights2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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