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Review of Koko Resort

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Koko Resort
Ranked #6 of 20 Hotels in Isla Colon
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed August 23, 2012

I went to Koko Resort this last weekend with a big group of 20 people. I can tell you that I had a great vacation, Isla Colon and others around are really a place to discover: it´s beautiful and incredible nature, and the interesting culture of the local people. Jack and Lee are great hosts that will help you discover the place, giving you advices, helping you with tours and helping you with every little posible detail. The hotel is really beautfiul with cabins on the sea, and with a sunset view that really touches your sensibility. The rooms are clean, confortable and have hot water, which is precious in town. Can´t wait to go back!

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with friends
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Thank CArlos Q
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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199 - 205 of 324 reviews

Reviewed August 1, 2012

I wanted to love Koko Resort. I really did. It has been on our radar for a couple of years, ever since we first began considering Bocas del Toro as a vacation destination. And, as you can see from reading the other reviews, clearly a great many guests do love Koko. In fact, there is much to appreciate. Lee and Jack are colourful, engaging and informed hosts. Ask for their recommendations and take them. Not only will you be pleased with their suggestions but they will make all the necessary arrangements for you. Enjoy Jack's hearty, home cooked breakfasts with a tropical accent. Laze in a hammock. Take the kayaks out and explore the area from the water. Admire the lovely night time lighting along the docks.
As the website makes clear, Koko Resort is located in a local neighborhood. This offers some pleasant, but also some less welcome, surprises. Take a minute to watch the young boys playing baseball. Their skill will amaze you. You'll likely catch a glimpse of lumber workers doing their job 'old school', just like the lady standing outside hand washing her laundry. While we were there we were also lucky enough to hear the happy sounds of a child's birthday party spilling out of one of the houses. What I didn't anticipate, even with fore knowledge that this was a local community, was the trash filled shoreline, the very loud and relentless music from a nearby bar (though I understand that this is primarily confined to weekends) or that the local beach (a short walk away) was directly on a busy thoroughfare and, in any case, is not the beach you will have traveled to Bocas to enjoy. In fairness, as Jack and Lee have pointed out in response to previous reviews mentioning these concerns, they have limited or no ability to control these factors. However, for those travelers who, like me, might not 'read between the lines' I wanted to point out that the local neighborhood comes with both charm and a few features that you might not find so attractive.
What the owners can control, however, is the value for money that they offer their guests and herein lies my disappointment. We stayed in 6 different vacation properties during our 2 week stay in Panama and Costa Rica (including one that was significantly more remote and less accessible than Bocas). In each case I booked accommodation with very similar features 'on paper' and all were within a similar price range, give or take about $20/night. With the exception of a hotel in Panama City, all were smaller, privately owned guesthouses/lodges/inns, none were recently built and all were in or very near a local community. Sadly, it was very clear that Koko Resort did not afford the same value as the other properties. It is an older property and is, unfortunately, showing its age especially in the interior. Personally, I enjoy rustic, eclectic, vintage - however you would describe, for example, unpainted wooden floors, mismatched cutlery, dishes, etc, and well used furniture. But to work (especially if you plan on charging above the low end rates), at least for me, it must be very obviously meticulously clean and critter free. A tall order in the tropics, I know, but not impossible and unfortunately Koko fell short on both counts. I don't doubt that the cabins/rooms are cleaned regularly but staff need to go that extra mile - for example, cleaning the inside of drawers, the coffeemaker, sinks and faucets, all glassware, dishes and cutlery before new guests arrive, etc. And, frankly, there are some kinds of pests that no guest expects to discover no matter how difficult those pests may be to control.
Overall I would say that Koko Resort has 'great bones'. There is no question that it can be restored and upgraded to more contemporary standards. At the moment, however, travelers will need to decide how they derive value for money. If you value the chance to stay in a cabin over the water, nestled in a local community and a short distance from town more than you value conventional hotel style comforts, then this is the place for you. On the other hand, if you expect to see the rate you pay reflected in the furnishing, maintenance and amenities of the room itself, then you might consider doing further research. As for me, I want a little of both and sadly Koko Resort just didn't provide the right balance for us.

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled with family
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12  Thank muse_312
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
bosstone, Owner at Koko Resort, responded to this reviewResponded August 7, 2012

There are a few things I would like to point out in this review. In all of Panama or Costa Rica outside of hostels where you sleep in a dormitory room with 20 other people or a hammok I have no idea where you can get a private room let alone a 700+ square foot cabin with a kitchen and AC and hoteater over the water for $20? We spend about that much in electricity and gas for each booked cabin. If you prefer to get the modern hotel atmosphere this is limited but available in Bocas at a few properties all costing over $150 a night. All our cabins come in below this price and offer double balconies, over the water, full kitchens, multiple beds etc. We know this is a good value.

Our cabins are kept in very good shape and painted and maintained throughout the year by a great staff. We also have tile floors in the cabins not wooden floors so not sure what wooden floors you were talking about that were not painted?

This guest was very needy throughout her stay even as we bent over backwards to help her even going as far as to get a personal friend to pick her up on the mainland and drive her to her next destination in Panama. She found problems with every little thing and is the EXACT kind of person we try to prevent from staying with us by having a very clear FAQ on our website that we ask all to read before making a booking. There is no reading between the lines it is outlined very clearly so please do not be like this guest and read our FAQ before booking.

We offer the best customer service possible and the best value for anyone wanting a private cabin in Bocas. We are not a modern hotel and we are located on a very rustic island off the coast of Panama. Please research into where you are going before you make your reservations with us or any hotel in Bocas Del Toro.

Read any of our 90+ reviews and you will be very clear what we offer and what type of traveler will enjoy Koko and BocasDelToro.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 31, 2012

We stayed in the pink house (there were 6 of us). It was comfortable and on the sea. It has an amazing balcony on the water with a seated area and hammock. It included breakfast (you just have to walk to the main house) which was delicious. The owners really took care of their guests and can help you plan some trips (boat trips, jungle trips etc...).
They kindly washed our clothes for free and were always there to help in any way they could.

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank London_Girl2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 29, 2012

Our first trip to Bocas and our stay at Koko Resort, will never be forgotten. First of all, thanks to Jack and Lee for being such wonderful hosts. They were both available to accomodate all of our needs. Jack cooks up a mean breakfast every morning and my teenage boys enjoyed all his stories. The cabins are very comfortable, spacious and clean with breathtaking views and at very affordable rates. Jack and Lee helped us arrange day tours and negotiated rates for us. My boys enjoyed swimming right off the property and the use of the kayaks. We will most definitely return and highly recommend Koko Resort to everyone.

  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled with family
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Thank allchrismi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 25, 2012

My wife and I spent 15 days traveling to different parts of Panama. Bocas and the Koko Resort was the highlight. The cabin perched on stilts over Saigon Bay was lovely. It offered plenty of space to relax on a hammock over the water or sit on a chair on the dock. The location in the heart of a very local neighborhood may not be for everyone, but it was a wonderful part of our experience. However, what makes Koko so special are Jack and Lee, the owners and hosts. They are wonderful people who show a committment to their guests as well as to their neighbors and staff. Jack makes a wonderful breakfast and is a man of many tales . Both Jack and Lee are a wealth of information about what to do and who to do it with while visiting. After our experience at Koko, we would not hesitate to stay at any property owned and run by Jack and Lee.

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Jeff G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 23, 2012

Frist off, Jack and Lee are the nicest most accommodating people you will ever meet! They were always there to offer assistance whether it was booking a boat day trip to the islands, suggesting the best places to eat, scuba dive, or great beaches to visit that were not crowded. Choosing to stay at the Koko resort was the best decision not only because we had our own cute, quaint cabin over the water but the kitchen was fully equipped and we had our own personal hammock! We were able to have a true R&R weekend since we could just roll out of our cabin and eat an amazing breakfast fit for queens and kings! Warning if you choose to stay here you will most likely extend your stay :)

Room Tip: The cabins are the way to go!!
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  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled with friends
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1  Thank MissGreen_12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 22, 2012

The physical ammenities of Koko Resort were undeniably special with the over the water cozy cabins and beautiful views, but what made our visit were the owners Jack and Lee. Jack greeted us personally at the airport with a brief run down of the town as we drove via taxi to Koko's, and on arriving at the BandB we were made to feel welcome and comfortable. We weren't steered wrong in any of the suggestions made for eating out or tours to take and Jack can cook one delightful breakfast (you won't need to eat again until dinner! YUM). Most of all though I want to express the care you will receive with Jack and Lee, case in point, I came to Panama with a minor injury that took a turn for the worse and needed medical attention, Jack made a quick phone call and had two medical personnel at Koko's. Amazing!

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank AnneT T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Koko Resort

Address: Las Cabanas, Isla Colon, Panama
Location: Panama > Bocas del Toro Province > Isla Colon
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi )
Hotel Style:
#2 Top resorts Hotel in Isla Colon
Price Range: $80 - $500 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 7
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Like a picture postcard. Cabins built over the water of a beautiful bay. Various size houses. Steps from the beach. 5 Minutes to town. Fantastic sunsets from the dock and lit up fish viewing at night. Full kitchens, AC, fans, maid and laundry service. Full time security, Safety boxes in rooms. Wireless Internet. Kayaks, bikes, snorkel masks free. Grocery delivery. We speak English and Spanish and will help you with arrangements for a perfect vacation. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Koko Hotel Isla Colon
Koko Resort Panama/Bocas Del Toro - Isla Colon

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