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“An Idyllic Place To Just Kick Back & Relax”
Review of Hotel Boca Brava

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Hotel Boca Brava
Level Contributor
91 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 63 helpful votes
“An Idyllic Place To Just Kick Back & Relax”
Reviewed January 16, 2014

Hotel Boca Brava is a modern, well kept up lodging facility providing an on site restaurant and bar offering exquisite views of the surrounding islands. The rooms are clean and comfortable with plenty of windows allowing an abundance of natural light. Bathrooms are large with a very big shower area. The restaurant offers good food at reasonable prices, and that's a plus, since there is no where else to dine on this island! Brad, the owner, and his excellent service staff, are very friendly, outgoing individuals who will go the extra mile to assist any patron with information, set up tours, etc. If you are a bird watcher, you will have plenty to observe. Howler monkeys are in abundance all over the island as well. Two things to know about the island: 95% of the island is private property, so only about 100 acres are available to wander about; and the water surrounding the island is not the cleanest (recommend taking a boat tour to the outer islands to swim, snorkel or go diving in).

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank joetrekker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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238 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (36)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Fremont, California
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed January 7, 2014

Very much enjoyed our stay at Hotel Boca Brava - one of our better destinations/hotels in Panama we visited on our December 2013 vacation. Loved our King Suite for our family of five (three fully grown kids) The view of the ocean from the balcony adjoining the two rooms in the suite was exquisite! Could get the same view from the large spacious bathroom too if we left the door ajar! Rooms were clean.

Loved sitting and relaxing in the restaurant area - with awesome views of the ocean from both the levels. The food was fresh - they do run out of fish or Yucca fries, but that's expected since it is an Island. Enjoyed the service too - Samuel went out of his way to make sure our drinks were to our liking - the fresh juices were very tart sometimes.

They also had a third level - roof top view point to star gaze from or to enjoy the view from during the day. So peaceful!

The boat trip to Isla Bolanas and Isla Gamez cost us $135 for our own boat and boatman for the five of us. The best beaches I saw in Panama. Clear blue water - deserted beaches! Paradise!

Would love to go back to this part of Panama and this hotel again!!!

Room Tip: the fitted sheets do slip off the mattress. :-)
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank elaine d
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Linkoping, Sweden
2 reviews
Reviewed January 3, 2014

The Hotel Boca Brava is a really nice place. Friendly staff, splendid food and a has a good location. Do not expect any luxury though. The hotel is not so well maintained. The location and the overall feeling of the place makes your stay enjoyable.

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank jondej
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Coleford, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
15 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed December 27, 2013

If you are tired with the heat and noise of mainland Panama, the Hotel Boca Brava provides the perfect antidote. The hotel's location on a promontory above the Pacific Ocean means cooling breezes as well as great views; if you stand in the restaurant, you could imagine being on the prow of a ship and the 'eagle's nest' above provides the most wonderful views of the sunset and of the stars at night.

My husband and I stayed in a deluxe room for several days over Christmas. The clean room was incredibly spacious, as was the bathroom, which had the largest shower enclosure I have ever been in. From our balcony we could see the treetops, the sea and a little beach below. Each evening (and some mornings) we were treated to a parade of howler monkeys passing by.

American owner, Brad, is to be congratulated for his energy and the work rate that he kept up right through Christmas, always with a cheerful smile and time for a chat. All of the staff members were happy and attentive, but two in particular deserve special mention: Tamara, who was the person who settled us into our room and served in the restaurant; and Samuel, whose impeccable English allowed him to make jokes with us and to understand me when my Spanish ran out.

The menu was not extensive, but the food was excellent, including the lobster, fresh fish and some local specialities as well as pasta dishes and hamburgers. Drinks were reasonably-priced, much appreciated as we were a 'captive audience'.

We had a wonderful Christmas at Hotel Boca Brava and would have no hesitation in recommending it to our friends. Well done, Brad and team!

Room Tip: Although I think all rooms had sea views, ours was Room 9, which was furthest from the restaurant (a...
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Beverley M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Edmonton, Canada
Level Contributor
123 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 91 helpful votes
Reviewed December 12, 2013

Were location all there was to rate, this place would get a 5, but it isn't and they are lucky to get a 3. The current operator, prospective owner, is Brad who owns another place down the coast and he seems to know what he is doing. We found him accommodating in our email exchanges both before and after our stay. Unfortunately Brad is an absentee manager and there is no one at the inn that is clearly in charge. The result shows.

The room (#6) we stayed in was ocean side and had a nice breeze. The balcony overlooking the shore below and into the jungle above and beside was a highlight. The plumbing worked and we had no issues with leaks as others have reported. We had though there was hot water in this deluxe room, but if there was supposed to be, it did not work.... not a big deal. The floors, towels and bedding we clean, but well used and the mattress was firm. There was no daily room service and this was not expected.. What we were not pleased with was the cheap furniture and the poor condition of the paint in the room. What was there was cheap and hardly what could be called deluxe. We came at the beginning of the dry season, so these rooms should have been in good shape after between seasons touch ups .... not so. Perhaps the grossest aspect was the hand prints on the base of the bed above the queen sized bunk we were in. There were several as well as other marks that could have easily been cleaned off or, better yet painted over with enamel paint so that they could be easily cleaned off in the future. This was mentioned to the only English speaking staff member on the desk after the first night, but no one attended to it. Were this a hostel room or a basic room in a non-tourist hotel, I guess it would not be worth mentioning.... but this place caters to tourists and purports itself as a real treat and this was almost the best deluxe accommodation they had on offer.

During our 3 day stay we wondered the grounds and the isla and even tried some fishing off the point (watch out for snakes there). The grounds are kept well enough, but the overall upkeep of the hotel is only fair. There are lots of cracked ceramic tile, several places where the building façade is deteriorating and lots of need of paint touch up (flat white is not hard to apply over flat white). The unfinished windowless building in the middle of the complex may be a sign of things to come. Hopefully Brad will address the local management issue soon and this place will get back on track. We were disappointed that we did not get to go snorkelling because the minimum group numbers were not there. I guess that is a danger of shoulder season travel. An associate of the hotel, who seems to help out, but not work there (she should) suggested we hire a water taxi and go to some of the different islas that way, but though it might be interesting for some, we really had wanted to do the snorkelling. The two beaches (and the trail to them) within easy walking distance of the inn are worth a visit. The rest of the isla accessible by trail is not very scenic.

Food service was poor, but the food was fairly good, though not exceptional. The included breakfasts were decent, full meals, not continentals. Food pricing was fair given that there are no alternatives on the island and shore is a $3 PP ride each way. The restaurant view is wonderful as is the gentle breeze that rocks the hammocks on the patio next to it. The 8 PM closing is perhaps geared to staffing issues and keeping the party potential low, but it does kill a lot of socializing. 10 PM would seem like a more reasonable closing hour. I suspect staff would stay for the added tip potential, especially if they also had a bed to crash in afterwards and didn't have to catch a boat to the mainland. This might also assure guests who feel insecure when the realise staff are only on the island when the restaurant is open.

I would stay here again because of the location and the adequacy of the basic place. I just wish I had more positive to say and believed things were in a temporary lull and not in danger of getting worse.

Room Tip: Choose an ocean side room, not bay side. These have nice breezes and the sound of the waves is a gr...
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Bruce_Raynor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boca Chica, Panama
Level Contributor
10 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed November 2, 2013

We were travelling on a budget and primarily care about good food and good location - this place was absolutely brilliant. Wide variety of fresh seafood nicely prepared and cheap as - loved the fisherman bringing in the langoustine that was quickly turned into lunch. Kind and helpful staff and a great terrace/restaurant bar to hang out in over looking the water. Especially fun to sit here with a cocktail during the big electrical storms. Whale watching, dolphins, giant moths and butterflies and being so close to the howler monkeys was really special. The room was very clean and although basic it was what we paid for and it got all the important things right. The beds were comfy, the mosquito netting on all the windows worked perfectly alongside the friendly gecko's hanging out on the roof and there was lots of space to spread out.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank suzewanderer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kralendijk, Bonaire
Level Contributor
112 reviews
40 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
Reviewed October 28, 2013

We arrived after a long day with a flat tire, fixing the tire and a car swop in David so arrived around 5 pm in the hotel only to discover that the person in charge could not find our reservation even though we had a confirmation! We were shown a disgusting room which they were happy to give to us but this is not what we booked!!! There were no other options to stay so we persisted. In the end someone else arrived and he gave us similar room we booked except not hot water! Do not bring a lot of luggage as you have to climb many steps! Once settle we discovered the views were stunning, the food really delicious and the next morning we had a delightful hike and spotted howling monkeys in the trees and many amazing butterflies. The highlight of our stay was the island tour with whale watching. Ask for Jay as your tour guide. He is just the best. We were lucky since it is the end of the whale season and we had whales incredible close to the boat and breaching, after that we went to two different islands both with golden gorgious beaches. The first beach has good snorkeling!

Room Tip: Take a room with a view!
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank Marijke W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Boca Brava

Property: Hotel Boca Brava
Address: Boca Chica | Boca Brava Gulfo de Chirique, Isla Boca Brava, Panama
Location: Panama > Chiriqui Province > Isla Boca Brava
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 B&Bs / Inns in Isla Boca Brava
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Hotel Boca Brava 2.5*
Number of rooms: 14
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Also Known As:
Hotel Boca Brava Panama/Isla Boca Brava

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