First, let me tell you where this place is, as it was somewhat of a mystery to me when I booked. If you look at a map of Bocas town and the Isla Colon, these condos are on the small isthmus connecting the town to the larger island. It's probably about 2 kilometers into "downtown" Bocas town, which makes for a little less than a 30 minute walk. But you're unlikely to walk much (if at all) because taxis pass by on the main road (which separates the condos from a mediocre beach) every few minutes and charge 50 cents per passenger for the trip into town.
The "deluxe" 2 bedroom condo I rented was quite large and very reasonably furnished. Not luxurious, but comfortable. The beds were fine. There was a nice balcony overlooking the water, and an inexpensive washer/dryer on the ground floor. They are about to start work on a swimming pool, which would be a very welcome addition.
The best asset to these accomodations is the owner/manager, Muhammed. He is very friendly and helpful and can take care of just about anything you may need. When a few minor items in the condo needed repair, Muhammed brought us a bottle of wine as "compensation." It is also easy to book these accomodations with Muhammed by using the email on the official website. By the way, there's only a tiny sign on the building saying "Jardines Vista del Mar": you'll have more luck telling the locals that you're at "Muhammed's condos next to the gas station."
I think this place works best for a family or an extended stay (like a week) where you might want a kitchen and some extra room. It's probably a bit quieter (other than the occasional rooster) than being in town, but don't think that you're getting a MUCH more peaceful location than being in town. Regardless, the easy/cheap taxi ride makes the location a non-issue. You're also only a couple doors down from what is reportedly the best restaurant on the island, Guari-Guari ($19 prix fixe -- alas on vacation during my stay).
Unless you're coming to Bocas just to relax, you probably want about 3 full days (perhaps 4 nights) on the island. Almost all the stuff to do involves the water, and in 3 days you'll exhaust the most obvious beach/snorkel/dive possibilities. At least for a first visit to the Bocas, I would recommend staying in or near Bocas town, or across the way on Carenero island, just across from Bocas town.
At under $100 night for the deluxe condo, I think Muhammed's Condos represent good value for money. I would recommend them.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- 450 to 900 sq ft condos at prices lower than that of a decent hotel room, with a full kitchen and large seaview balconies or terraces in bright and breezy modern buildings. Located in a non touristy part of the Town of Bocas del Toro, 70 meters from a white sand safe swimming beach and a four minute, 60 cent pp taxi ride from all the action in the Town Center, the condos has many of the amenities you are used to. These include a swimming pool, air conditioning, cable TV, free high speed wifi Internet, a full kitchen, comfortable furniture and furnishings and comfortable beds. We offer 450 sq ft one bed room one bath condos, Standard 750 sq ft two bed room, one bath condos and Superior 900 sq ft two bed room, two ensuite condos. The two bed room condos have large balconies with sea view and the one bed room condos on the ground floor have small private terraces This is a great place to get the Caribbean flavor of Bocas del Toro. Four minutes to night clubs, bars, restaurants, tour operators,and easy access some of the nicest snorkeling spots, the best surfing beaches the best diving spots and the spectacular Red Frog and shady, tranquil Drago and Starfish beaches. The most highly rated International restaurant, Guari Guari, is a two minute walk and reputedly the best Caribbean style restaurant, El Beso de Dragon, less than five minute walk away. There is a small grocery store within 70 meters of the condo.The locals are welcoming, friendly and always ready to go out to of their way to help. Many of our guests have made new friends, not only with the locals but tourists from all parts of the world. The magic of Bocas is that you make new friends easily.Our guests have told us that they have enjoyed going to sleep to the sound of the gently rolling waves rather than that of the loud music that plays till early hours in the Town Center,Muhammed and Rosy believe that they have been lucky to have some of the greatest people as their guests, of which many have become friends. They are dedicated to do all they can to help their guests enjoy their stay and take back wonderful memories of Bocas. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Jardines Vista Del Mar Condos Bocas Del Toro, Panama - Bocas Town