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“If home is where your heart is... My home is Koko Resort”
Review of Koko Resort

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Koko Resort
Ranked #5 of 20 Hotels in Isla Colon
Certificate of Excellence
Williamsburg, Virginia
Level Contributor
11 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“If home is where your heart is... My home is Koko Resort”
Reviewed September 19, 2013

We stayed in the Dolphin cabin and loved every second of it. I know that this place is marketed as something not everyone would love, but I honestly don't understand how you couldn't enjoy this spectacular resort.

We arrived early in the morning on the overnight bus from Panama City. We were exhausted, hungry, and in dire need of showers, and our cabin was still occupied. Jack and Lee were so sweet to us and our two daughters. They took us in, made us breakfast, let us use their restroom, and relax with them until our cabin was ready. Once we were able to check in (which was way earlier than check in time should've been), we found our cabin to be spotlessly clean and stocked with almost everything we could need. The dophin cabin is one of the cabins in the middle, we were worried this would impede our view with other cabins out further than us. But the way each cabin is angled made our view perfect. And the sea breeze was so nice we never used the AC the whole time we were there.

Thank goodness we didn't book any excursions ahead of arriving at Koko Resort. Jack and Lee are so well connected and so well liked by the local community that we were able to get an excellent price on a boat trip with the best captain (we love you Cristobal!). We easily would have paid 4x the price if we booked the same trip in town.

We had to leave early in the morning and Jack and Lee got up and made us a bag breakfast to take with us. Jack had set up the taxi the previous night to pick us up, but he even called again in the morning to make sure he was coming. Lee even did two loads of laundry for us. It was all this and more. Honestly it felt like staying with family. We even hugged them goodbye when we left. I mean, really, how often does that happen at other hotels?

My kids are saving their allowance money to take another trip to Bocas and stay at Koko Resort. To us it was heaven.

If you go, make sure around dusk that you look in the water under the cabins for the spotted eagle ray. It's absolutely breathtaking to watch this graceful creature glide around and eat. And feed the little calico kitty, my girls are afraid no one is. :)

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank karissa6802
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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323 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (75)
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English first
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
50 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
Reviewed September 16, 2013

One of the better places we stayed in Panama. We had the starfish cabin at the front over the water. At night the dock became alive with sealife. Very mesmerizing watching the rays, crabs and fish right from my balcony. Place was clean and beds comfy. Jack cooks a mean breakfast and him and Lee are amazing hosts, who employ the locals and have become surrogate grandparents to some of the local kids. They organise boat trips for you in the morning and the boat will pick you up from the house. It's not too far into Boccas Town and despite appearances felt incredibly safe during my whole time in Boccas!

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank meggoesontour
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed August 25, 2013

this stay was the best part of our central america trip. we were a little worried initially, because the neighborhood doesn't look or smell very good. but once we got to the actual cabin, we loved the feel of the place, the views, and the location right on the water. it was also great talking to Jack and Lee over breakfast.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank albinsky
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
1 review
Reviewed August 18, 2013

My girlfriend and I rented the "island suite" at koko resort, which really ended up being way more space than what we needed, but was a huge 2 bedroom two bathroom apartment style residence off of the footpath that ran the through neighborhood koko resort was in. It had a full kitchen, deck with hammock bench and reclining chair, and good sized comfortable beds. It did not have hot water, which was kind of a bummer, but we went without hot water for probably 75% of our trip in Panama, so this wasn't a huge detraction. I should note to their credit that they do state that hot water may not be available on their web site. If you love going to camp in the summer, then I would guess koko resort is the place for you. The island suite had a very rustic but quaint feel to it and it was nice in the early evening to sit on the HUGE front porch we had and have a couple drinks before we went to dinner.

The surrounding area to the facility is probably what most people will find displeasing about their stay. Keep in mind, this IS a 3rd world neighborhood. You NEED to read the FAQ section on Koko's web site to understand where you are staying. We were fully aware of what this would be like having just stayed in Isla Grande for 2 nights prior to staying here. There is a fair bit of rubbish along the water of the neighborhood, which can detract from the setting. It is a legitimate neighborhood though, so there are families and children always playing in the area. This, however, also gives the area a very safe feeling because it is a small tightly knit community, of which the owners, Lee and Jack, are a very integral and invested part. My greatest criticism, and probably the reason why this review got 4 and not 5 stars, is because of the dogs. Pets in the area are a problem. This is of course a result of the poverty in the community. But "domesticated" animals are left to their own devices. Some nights, directly behind our apartment there was an almost constant stream of barking. The dog would literally bark until it went hoarse, at which point the bark turned into a high-pitched squeak. My girlfriend and I are used to living in a busy city, so this probably didn't bother us as much as it would others. But it got pretty bad at some points. This is not Koko's fault, but has to be noted. In spite of this fact, I did actually get some of the best sleep of my trip in this suite. Mainly because I felt safe, there were comfortable beds, there weren't any bugs in my room, and the A/C was in perfect condition.

Now, to Jack and Lee. There is a reason these guys are like number one on all of tripadvisor for customer service. They're awesome people. Its a bed and breakfast really, so obviously they serve you breakfast. And if you read any of the other reviews you'll already know they do a good breakfast. I think the better part of our stay though, was being able to spend time with good people. At the end of the day, we went into Jack and Lee's and would have a beer and some good conversation in Bahia Del Sol (their home and sister property to Koko resort). They were always on top of fun things to do. If you needed anything (cab, tour, bike, restaurant) they were either on the phone to get it for you, or had a fantastic suggestion and could point you where to go. Every restaurant they recommended was fantastic and they were a large part of why we had a good time on the island.

Overall, it was a good trip and good stay with great people.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank ag1136
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
35 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
Reviewed July 31, 2013

we had a good stay here with our family of 4. The owners were extremely helpful and welcoming. They were also very flexible. The houses are clean and spacious and on the water. The houses are on the Bay of Saigon which is a 20 minute walk from the town and, as they say on the website, it is in the middle of a Panamanian community which is reasonably basic - so this will not be to everyone's taste. From our point of view it certainly made it an authentic experience. The only negative is that there is a lot of rubbish floating in the water and the water in the Bay is not clean. I would certainly recommend against swimming in it.

Room Tip: choose a cabin at the end of the jetty
See more room tips
  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank david l
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
California
Level Contributor
167 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 121 helpful votes
Reviewed July 20, 2013

My family has taken 4 trips to Costa Rica & last year my son and I did a one day side trip to Bocas del Toro in Panama. On this trip in July we decided to send 2 nights in Panama and stayed at the Koko Resort. It surpassed all our expectations and even though we have stayed at some very fine hotels in Costa Rica, this was our favorite.

Jack and Lee are very nice hosts and will help arrange your tours (I would urge you to let them setup your tours instead of booking them yourself. It may be a more intimate experience and save you money). Take their advise on restaurants and you won't go wrong. Their cottages are on Saigon Bay and are a bit out of town, but that gives you more seclusion and less noise. You can hire taxis to and from town for $2 and there's a good market close by.

The cottages are very spacious and have air conditioning and full kitchens. Even though we were there in July we found them very comfortable and did not need to use the air conditioning as there was plenty of ventilation from all the windows (most of which have idyllic views). We saw many fish, sting rays, star fish and crabs in the waters below.

Jack cooks you an excellent breakfast.

I read some reviews commenting negatively about the working class neighborhood where the resort is located. While this is not Bora Bora, it is a genuine and unique Panamanian experience at a very reasonable price.

If you are visiting from Costa Rica please be advised to bring US dollars and not colones. You will need dollars to pay entry and departure fees at the Panamanian border. You will find that your money goes a little farther in Panama than Costa Rica.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank haveboozewilltravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
16 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed July 15, 2013 via mobile

I had done a lot of research looking for a cabin on the water close to town and after much thought had chosen koko. We love it here. I read a lot of the reviews about being away from town and in a residential area. I can't laugh at that enough, you're in a foreign country, you are bound to mix with local communities, hence the point! Yes it's 10 minutes walk so what?! Rent a bike for a couple of days and it's a perfect ride. It's nice and quiet away from the bars and very relaxing Yes it's in a residential area, locals are very harmless and quite welcoming to foreigners, always had a smile for us. We have travelled all through Central America/ South America and believe me this is the safest we have felt. Lee was great, she had so much knowledge of the area and was so helpful. Over breakfast we would discuss what best options for day trips were and gave us the best advice. Would recommend to anyone! Our little oasis away from home. Perfection! Thank you.

  • Stayed July 2013
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank Jessbenn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Koko Resort

Property: 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 (Based on Average Rates): $
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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