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All reviews free shuttle nice resort large hotel breakfast buffet is beautiful pool cab ride taxis
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Reviewed February 23, 2013

We picked this hotel be because it had fairly good reviews but I was disgusted. I am a very minimal person but these room were so filthy. The baseboards and door were covered in brown gunk, the lamps were stained as well as the curtains. The base of the lamps were even rusty. Won't even get into the hair in the bathroom. Not pleased, won't go back. The only good thing that I noticed was there were no bed bugs. P.S. the websites photos are very deceiving.

Room tip: Get a room far from the lobby, very noisy otherwise.
Date of stay: February 2013
  • Trip type: Traveled with friends
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Thank Lhearst
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 18, 2013

The Playa Tortuga Resort is a good example of why a large, motel-like resort should never have been built on Isla Colon. While guests may want to stay at the only so-called "full service resort" on Isla Colon, beware of what you wish for. Let's face it--you are better off choosing between the hotels in Bocas Town (if you are here to party and don't mind the noise and wild night atmosphere) or in one of several quieter, bed and breakfast and villa properties up the road from the Tortuga in the Bluff Beach area.

From the time we were banded with our plastic wristband at the Tortuga, we had a sinking feeling we had made a very bad mistake. Our room on the bottom floor (the floor nearest to the sewage treatment facility) smelled pretty rank and when one of the local gardeners revved up his weedwacker and blew grass and dirt all over the terrace while we sat admiring the limited beach view, we just smiled because you can't make this stuff up. The limited beach view is a function of the rather limited beach (about 50 feet of not very appealing dirty beachfront) and this is a real pity because just up the road there is 8 kms. of some of the nicest beach you will every experience (separated by a pot-holed road that insulates it from the squalor of the Tortuga area).

We had planned a boat trip from the Tortuga the next day, so we still felt committed and we went to find the activities desk to see about when we should be ready the next morning. Well, finding the activities desk was easy enough, but finding the activities dude Maurizio was another matter. Maurizio is a friendly kind of guy who really enjoys his lunch breaks, coffee breaks, and just about everything about his job. The problem is that he (and the hotel management) are just not very good at it. Yes, they had lost our reservation for the boat trip, and yes, they recommended that we call our tour operator to see what had gone amiss. Well, our tour operator did manage to straighten things out with a few phone calls, but not so much as a "sorry for the inconvenience" from Maurizio or the hotel management.

Before you dismiss this review, let me say that we are not extremely picky or unreasonable, but we do like people to care about their guests and to try to do their jobs in a friendly and reasonably effective way. This only the second negative review I have posted on TripAdvisor in over 8 years.

So, we headed out to lunch at the pier on the property for a forgettable meal and wondered what to do next. We fired up TripAdvisor and found a number of great options on the island, including the Bluff Beach Retreat where we secured a room for (amazingly) about the same price.

When I went back to the desk to check out hours after we had checked in, the young man at the desk somehow didn't seem to be very surprised, although he did say that he had a message that he had neglected to give me earlier and he seemed pretty busy with a few other urgent concerns. No one from the hotel management inquired as to why we were leaving. It was Carnaval week, so occupancy was good, so why bother?

From then on, we were about 20 minutes away from Paradise up the beach at the Beach Bluff Retreat and we didn't look back. (I am posting a photo of the beach just up the road from the Playa Tortuga to give you a sense of what you are missing.)

Room tip: Try to find a room not too close to the sewage treatment area.
Date of stay: February 2013
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
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1  Thank WellTraveled3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 12, 2013

When I look for a hotel, I look for four carachteristics in order of importance.

1. HYGIENE. The first thing in order of importance is the hygiene, the hotel rooms as well as the social areas are very clean.

2. QUALITY OF SLEEP. The second thing in order of importance is the quality of my sleep. I slept very well at Playa Tortuga's rooms! The bed, pillows and sheets are excellent and so is the temperature of the air conditioner unit. The blackout curtains don't let any light come into the room. Also, the room is very quiet, in fact the only sound you hear is the soothing waves against the white sand beach in front of the room, almost therapeutic.

3. BATHROOM. The third thing is the bathroom, the bathrooms at the Tortuga Hotel are just what you need regarding to their size and amenities, but most important is the pressure and temperature of the water, both are perfect.

4. LOCATION. The location of Playa Tortuga Hotel is great if you want to be close to Bocas Town but not "in" Bocas Town... You can go eat at the restaurants in town and come back by taxi. The hotel offers a shuttle but just four times per day, so it's better if you take a taxi. We contacted a couple of taxi drivers but we liked Mr. David, he speaks English and was there anytime we requested, his Panama cell phone number is +507-6376-3551

Since we are an outdoors family other carachteristics that aren't so important for us are the restaurants, gym and swimming pool. Hotel Playa Tortuga has the best swimming pool area of Bocas Del Toro. It also has a gym that we never used as we were exercising in outdoors activities. We usually eat outside of hotels, however the restaurants at the Tortuga Hotel are what you can expect from a four star hotel, the food is not great but its buffet will keep hunger away. If you want good restaurants you'd have to go into town, however, breakfast at the Tortuga Hotel is complete and will keep you going for a full day of activities.

Don't expect luxury or to be pampered at the Playa Tortuga Hotel, for that you better go to a Spa!
We really like the Playa Tortuga Hotel because when you come from a full day of outdoors activities such as scuba diving, hiking on trails, bicycle touring, fishing, playing at a white sand beach or walking in picturesque Bocas Town you want a good bath and a good rest, this is what Playa Tortuga Hotel offers at a decent price. No hotel compares to it in Bocas Del Toro.

Room tip: Ask for rooms on the beach side.
Date of stay: February 2013
  • Trip type: Traveled with family
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Thank MOTTAPTY
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 11, 2013

My husband and I stayed at Playa Tortuga as part of a 2 day excursion to Panama, during our stay in Costa Rica.

We really enjoyed this hotel for the short time we were there. The hotel is clean, airy and the food was quite good. Our room had a view of the water but not the pools. That was fine with us.

While we didn't have the time to experience all that the hotel had to offer, it was a pleasant stay and my only complaint was there was a break in communication at the Concierge that had us waiting in the completely wrong place for our transfer to Bocas del Toro, causing us to almost miss our transfer and miss the excursion as a whole. Luckily, the water taxi driver was able to get us there in the nick of time but still, it caused quite a bit of confusion.

If we ever find ourselves on Isla Colon again, we'll probably stay here again!

Date of stay: March 2012
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
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1  Thank sunflower2058
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 4, 2013

The best in the island, it is not in the center, very clean, great service
Breakfast is include and plenty the barand restaurant has great food
Best rooms 103, 104
Great shuttle bus to town free
Kayak free
And the prices for tours are the same as the ones on town with the benefit that the boat will pick and leave you in the hotel
We went with our kids and my fathers in law a very family friendly hotel

Room tip: Ac is a little noisy and walls are thin But believe me the tile floor and small details are nothing The rest of the hotels are awful
Date of stay: February 2013
  • Trip type: Traveled with family
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1  Thank Ale C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fernando_Machado, Director of Operations at Playa Tortuga Hotel & Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded February 7, 2013

Dear Ale C,

Thanks for your enthusiastic comments about your family experience at Playa Tortuga Hotel and Beach Resort!

We are happy you enjoyed our breakfast buffet, the Baulas restaurant service, our clean rooms with balcony and ocean view, and complimentary Kayak. .

Thanks also for your positive comments about our free shuttle service. Many guests like this free amenity.

Bocas del Toro is a destination with great natural beauty and nice caring people. Our associates strive to offer warm, welcoming service. We will share with them this information.

Best regards,

Fernando Machado
Director of Operations
Playa Tortuga Hotel and Beach Resort

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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