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“Absolutely beautiful hotel in a gorgeous setting”

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Hotel Bocas del Mar
Ranked #1 of 4 Hotels in Boca Chica
Certificate of Excellence
Toronto, Canada
Level 6 Contributor
162 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 107 helpful votes
“Absolutely beautiful hotel in a gorgeous setting”
Reviewed March 10, 2013

We hit this hotel by accident going to see Boca Chica (really tiny town that you have to see for 10 minutes, if only for the chickens, pigs, and dogs roaming all over the streets). Along the road to town we saw lots of signs for the Bocas del Mar hotel so we stopped in for lunch. This place looks like it should be one of the $350 a night secluded hotels in Cabo for movie stars to visit. Very remote but that only enhances the views. Rooms were big, new, and covered off everything you'd need for a great stay. The staff is fantastic. Very attentive, friendly, and well trained. They all act like you're in a high end European resort run by pros rather than in Panama. We travel a lot all over the world. I couldn't give this place higher marks. It's that good. Plus, whoever cooks is an excellent chef. Every meal we had (there were 4 of us) was superb in taste, presentation, and size. I gave this a 5 for location even though it was in the middle of nowhere. But that 'nowhere' was stunning. You are definitely off grid. As an aside, we went for drinks to the Seagull hotel just up the road from this hotel to check it out. We even looked at their rooms. The comparison was instant. Bocas del Mar blew the Seagull away and their pricing was the same. To Neal and Horst.... make sure those signs keep blanketing the road. I would have been so bummed to have missed staying at your hotel had it not been for those road signs. You guys have a terrific place. Truly.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank rosco1e
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
HotelBocasdelMar, Manager at Hotel Bocas del Mar, responded to this review, March 22, 2013
It makes us very proud to receive your review and read about your appreciation of the work the team do to make everyone feel at home.

Everyone works hard to provide the best service & value for money possible for all our guests, as they realize how precious vacation time is.

Thank you again for your comments.

The Hotel Bocas del Mar team
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English first
Toronto, Canada
Level 6 Contributor
103 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
Reviewed March 8, 2013

We had to escape the rains we experienced in Boquete during our week there so we decided to explore the Pacific coast. We came upon bocas del Mar by accident because it was so well signed on the local roads. The simple eloquence of the design and the staff were overwhelming. Jorje and Juan were wonderful... one or both of them had previously worked on cruise lines. We requested a lunch at 3 pm and were told the kitchen was closed at 2 but the sous chef would accommodate basic requests. The burgers and trout were perfect. The service was 1st class in presentation but I must say the kitchen could have been more timely in preparing other meals over our stay, although everything was beautifully presented and delish.

Upon meeting Horst, the owner and touring the rooms we just had to spend the night. Our adjoining rooms (2couples) had wall to wall views of the small islands and Pacific and were coated for privacy so with the lights off could be left uncovered. Magnificent!

The pool was beautiful and we enjoyed hours there while our friends kayaked to the nearby islands they so enjoyed. This is the ultimate retreat if you like to be spoiled with first class service and spotless new accommodations. I believe the resort opened June 2012.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank vvnn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
HotelBocasdelMar, Manager at Hotel Bocas del Mar, responded to this review, March 22, 2013
Thank you for your very kind review.

We’re glad that you found us on your drive down from Boquete.

We're finding that more and more people are adding to the traditional visit to the mountains at Boquete with a stay with us on the edge of the Pacific, just 90 minutes away. And also enjoying our swimming pool area as much as you did! (pool area excusively to guests staying in the hotel).

We hope to see you and your friends again.

The Hotel Bocas del Mar team
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Alexandria, Virginia
Level 3 Contributor
20 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed March 1, 2013

This place was recommended to us by someone we really trust. He didn't let us down. These folks do it right. Beautiful water view setting, gorgeous rooms and amazing service. Neal,Adolpho and the rest of the staff completely dote on your every need. We desperately needed tranquility and relaxation and we got it. The pool overlooking the ocean was also spectacular. We did take 2 side trips. We took a boat to the islands in the Gulf of Chiriqui National Marine Park. Spectacular and not to be missed. The water is crystal clear and truly postcard perfect with white sand beaches. We also went to the nearby Alouetta Monkey Sanctuary which was a once in a lifetime experience for animal lovers. If you are heading to the pacific side of Chiriqui province...this is the place to stay. We'll be back.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank radiogirlpuppy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
HotelBocasdelMar, Manager at Hotel Bocas del Mar, responded to this review, March 2, 2013
Thank you for your very kind review & for being so gracious with your comments.

All the team is pleased to read that you found the relaxation you needed. We’re glad you could take advantage of the trips on offer & that you enjoyed them so much.

It was a pleasure to meet you both & we are very appreciative of your recommendation of the hotel.

Kind regards,
The Hotel Bocas del Mar team
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Vancouver, Canada
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed February 28, 2013

We stayed for five nights in mid-February. The resort is perched on the edge of the Gulf of Chiriqui National Marine Park. As with everything, there are good and bad points. I like to end on a good note so I will start with the negative components first and end on the positive.

The resort webpage (and their excursion booklet) lists scuba diving as an activity offered to the guests. This alone played a significant role in our decision to book at the resort. However, on arrival we quickly learned that there is only one boat captain in Boca Chica who offers scuba diving at exorbitant rates – and that these trips are available only when there are other clients interested. At best, a two tank dive was going to cost $200 and this one trip was only available on the last day of our stay. The other days I understood that I had the option of chartering the entire boat at a cost of $700 - $800. In other words, despite the ocean being at the doorstep of the resort, there really isn’t a reliable local scuba diving operation that isn’t entirely cost prohibitive. For the same reason, I’d suggest that the resort remove scuba diving from the list of activities offered to their guest until they have their own dive shop on site.

The excursions as a whole are somewhat vague and disorganized. When the diving option clearly wasn’t going to work, we took the next best option which was to go snorkelling. We were told that we could go out to some snorkelling locations and private beaches at a cost of $180. If we found other guest to go with us then the cost would be shared. So up until the evening the day before we left, we weren’t quite sure if we would be charged $180 or $90. Fortunately another couple joined us and we had a very nice day. The picnic lunches were a bit of a flop. For $24 we received two very basic squished sandwiches, two cans of pop, a very small container of Pringles chips and 4 oreo cookies. Later in the day, we did overhear another couple who had just returned from a similar trip complain to each other that it was a “$150 swim”. The beaches were beautiful, the snorkelling was okay and it it was just nice to be in the water.

We were also quite surprised to learn that we would have to reserve and then be charged to use the resort “kayaks”. The resort has two simple sit-on-top beach toys that are normally propelled with a kayak style paddle. Not exactly the type of craft to cover any worthwhile distance or provide any protection from the elements. When told there was a charge to use the boats, I expected to see a properly equipped sea-kayak not a beach toy – a beach toy that is normally plentifully available and free for use at many other resorts. We did reserve to use the kayaks one afternoon but knowing that we would be fully exposed to the sun, we opted against taking them out. I would recommend that the resort either purchase proper sea-kayaks for rent or at the very least purchase several more sit-on-top beach toys and provide them as an inclusion of the cost of staying at the resort. I didn’t like the feeling of being nickel and dimed.

The resort is located in a relatively isolated location. The nearby community of Boca Chica is quaint but very small. We were glad to have our own rental car at our disposal to see the other attractions in the area including the howler monkey sanctuary at Alouatta Lodge (highly recommended).

The resort is new and I believe they are still experiencing some growing pains. They were in the process of acquiring their own boat which will likely facilitate the ability to get their clients out to see the stunning islands and water of the Chiriqui National Park. If they built their own dive shop....now that would be heaven.

Please make no mistake that we DID enjoy our stay. Neal the manager went out of his way to make our last minute booking a reality. Neal greeted us on our arrival and regularly checks in with all of the guests. He has a very pleasant way about him. Our primary servers, Adolpho and Jorge were excellent. The exquisite food was prepared by some very talented cook(s). Our room was very clean, comfortable and had a beautiful view.

Bocas Del Mar is well situated to be a real gem. I would like to return in several years time.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank Dave H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
HotelBocasdelMar, Manager at Hotel Bocas del Mar, responded to this review, March 2, 2013
Dear David,

Thanks for the comments on the excursions; it’s always good to get clients' ideas & feedback as we further develop the activities program of the hotel.

As we portray on the website, Boca Chica is an area of unspoiled natural beauty (yet only 20 minutes drive from the Pan-American Highway). The whole charm of the location is that it’s not a heavily-developed tourist zone. Therefore every activity cannot be available continuously, all day every day, as in a large mass-market hotel. Having said that, we feel that of all the hotels in the area we have the widest range of trips & activities available, organized by ourselves or through some great local people.

Our activity offer is improving all the time: since your stay we have taken delivery of the hotel’s own brand new excursion boat in order to be able to offer more options for our clients to see the islands. I am pleased to say that the prices of these new scheduled excursions are now ‘per person’, rather than ‘per boat’ as previously.

You chose the ‘Discovery’ Boat Tour to visit the furthest islands of the national park, which does of course have a higher price as it goes the furthest and uses the most fuel. Incidentally, it is by far our most popular excursion with guests. Other, nearer island destinations were also available for you to choose.

We’ve sorry you were disappointed about scuba diving, but we had no idea from you before or during your stay that it was such a key factor for you in choosing us. Our website does state clearly that some trip options may vary by season and may not always be available, and that if a specific trip or activity is important to you, please ask at time of reserving the hotel. Had you informed us we would have done all possible to meet your needs in time. As it was, there was a scuba trip arranged for the last day of your 4 days with us, which you chose not join.

The standard (optional) picnic lunch is 12 USD per person and is packed to keep fresh. It also includes fresh fruit and mineral water, to add to your list. We always tell guests exactly what is included before ordering and the kitchen would gladly have changed options or packed something different upon request.

A double kayak & single kayak are available to rent in the hotel at modest prices to reflect staff time in taking them to the dock for guests. I will happily look into your comments for the future.

Thank you again for choosing us for your vacation time and we do hope to see you both again.

Best wishes,

Everyone at Hotel Bocas del Mar
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Canoa, Manabi, Ecuador
Level 4 Contributor
43 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed February 25, 2013

Just driving to the coast, and decided to have lunch here. Excellent fish dish, and a great vegetarian dish with polenta. The setting is beautiful, and the ambience very tranquil.
The 'welcome' was a little rough as we arrived before the restaurant was open, and could not order a beer or a glass of wine while we waited, because we were not 'guests'.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
Thank SherylBensonP
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
HotelBocasdelMar, Manager at Hotel Bocas del Mar, responded to this review, February 27, 2013
Thank you for your review.

We’re glad you enjoyed the food and ambiance of the restaurant so much. Just to give a bit of background information for future lunch visitors:- the restaurant opens at 12pm for lunch. Before that time, the bar service is for hotel guests only. As the hotel can be full a lot of the time, a lunch or dinner reservation is recommended for outside visitors.

Kind regards,
Hotel Bocas del Mar
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Panama
Level 6 Contributor
95 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
Reviewed February 24, 2013

We have spent 2 nights on a West-Panama trip in Bocas del Mar. Good choice.
Lovely bungalows in a well-designed garden, overlooking the ocean.
Nice pool, good food and very caring staff.
We've made a boat trip, seen bizarre rock formations, were left for 2 hours at a lonely beach.
Robinson experience.
Thanks to everybody for these days. We'll come back.

Room Tip: It's roomy single room bungalows. All-glass front for a view, and nobody can look inside. All...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank jay p
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
HotelBocasdelMar, Manager at Hotel Bocas del Mar, responded to this review, February 27, 2013
We appreciate the time taken to review our hotel and for your kind words.

It sounds like you also enjoyed the Gulf of Chiriqui islands: right opposite the hotel the marine national park begins and there are many excursion options. The hotel has its own comfortable boat with different trips to take.

We look forward to welcoming you back.

Hotel Bocas del Mar
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Knokke-Heist, Belgium
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed February 24, 2013

This was my second stay at Bocas del Mar and I can only repeat my review of August 29th of last year “A tempting hotel, inviting to stay much longer than planned for!”
However at this occasion I would like to add that, although guests are looking for privacy and rest, that many guests were tempted to socialize after dinner, after a drink at the bar or at the pool. Is it "because something is in the air” , the stunning sunset, the sea, the refreshing breeze, the view over the bay, the food, the fresh fish, the hotel layout consisting of cabanas like a very small community, the staff, the service….? I don’t know but guests spontaneously shared their stories whether it is on their fishing tale of the day, on their excursion of the day, their travels. I don’t know but very likely the reason must be all of the above. However I believe it is most related to the fact that guests feel as part of the family of Bocas del Mar.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Filip V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
HotelBocasdelMar, Manager at Hotel Bocas del Mar, responded to this review, February 27, 2013
Thank you for your new review and your comments on the atmosphere in the hotel.

We work hard to create the right ambiance, but of course it is the guests themselves who contribute mostly to that, sharing their experiences with newly-found friends.

We hope to see you for drinks at sundown again.

Warm regards,

Everyone at Hotel Bocas del Mar
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Bocas del Mar

Property: Hotel Bocas del Mar
Address: | Gulf of Chiriqui, Boca Chica, Panama
Location: Panama > Chiriqui Province > Boca Chica
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 4 Hotels in Boca Chica
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Hotel Bocas del Mar 4*
Number of rooms: 20
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Hotel Bocas Del Mar, in Boca Chica, is a boutique hotel with modern, luxury features. In a privileged oceanside location on the mainland, it is perfectly positioned for a completely relaxing vacation. We were TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice Award Winners in 2016 for the Top Hotel for Service in Panama. Our focus is on quality customer service and attention to detail. We have 20 large contemporary-style guest bungalows that are set in tropical gardens right alongside the glistening blue water of the Gulf of Chiriqui. Open your drapes each morning and the Pacific Ocean is there to greet you! Choose from several room types; from our spacious king or queen bed bungalows through to the exceptional Premier Suite. There's a gourmet restaurant & bar on site and we have not one but TWO stunning infinity-style pools to bathe in. There is also a small beach, except at high tide, and we have our own dock to head to more local beaches via water taxi or excursion boat - we are opposite the beautiful islands of the Gulf of Chiriqui and have a full ocean and land trip program. Plus a massage studio (advance reservation required). Just 5 minutes by car or watertaxi from Boca Chica village. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hotel Bocas Del Mar Panama/Boca Chica

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