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“Tons of Advantages to Staying at Bahia”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Bahia Del Sol

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Bahia Del Sol
Ranked #3 of 30 Bocas Town B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Washington DC, District of Columbia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Tons of Advantages to Staying at Bahia”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 6, 2014

If you've never been to Bocas/Panama before, there are a handful of reasons to stay here:

- It's incredibly safe and out of the way. Jack and Lee will call you a cab whenever you want one and they'll be there in a few minutes to take you wherever you want on the island. Taxis are $1/person.
- The owners, Jack and Lee, are American ex-pats who have a great sense of the island and things to do; they've got connections with guides who will give you better deals through them than you'll get by walking around down. They've also got a few connections that simply aren't available to people who don't have a Panamanian phone. It makes a big difference, and you'll get the chance to go out with smaller groups to do more adventurous things by staying with with these two--and they're very willing to help schedule things for you to do while you stay with them. Some the guides they know prefer to do trips for "friends of friends," so you simply won't get the chance to see and do the more off the beaten path things with them if you stay at a hotel.
- The breakfasts are fantastic. They're different every day, and they're head and shoulders above your average hostel fare.

A two things:
- Be flexible and easy-going. Panama works on its own special pace and Bocas is even more laid back than that, and though Jack and Lee are definitively American, there's only so much they can do about the nature of island life. If you walk into the place expecting to find grass lawns and infrastructure like what you find at home, you're going to be disappointed and frustrated. Bahia says on their website to be laid back and they mean it--it's not a resort. But it does, like I said, include chances to see and do things that you would never get to do if you stayed at a resort.
- The rooms are all different -- if you're staying as a couple, I strongly recommend staying in the master room of the Casa Rosada--which is the property next door that Jack and Lee manage. (You can book it via their website.) Seriously. The view is spectacular and unbeatable anywhere on the island--and probably unbeatable anywhere in Panama.

Room Tip: Either of the Casa Rosada rooms. Seriously.
See more room tips
  • Stayed June 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Blair R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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303 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (48)
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English first
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 16, 2014

Our experience at Bahia Del Sol was not as expected. While the hotel itself is decent and the concept is charming, the surrounding neighborhood is covered in trash. The water smells of sewage and is not swimmable (at least we did not want to swim in it). While these factors may or may not out of the control of the owners, it still affected our stay. It is located in the opposite end of town in what I would describe as a residential area but very dilapidated.

We would still recommend this place for backpackers despite those factors if it wasn't for another thing: Cockroaches. Our bathroom had cockroaches crawling in it. At one point a cockroach crawled directly above the bed! We have no problem "roughing it" but this was just gross. The owners notified us of the possibility of cockroaches when we arrived, claiming it was because "the unit is on stilts above the water, so bugs are common"; but the reality is that the entire surrounding area is covered in trash (residents throw their compost into the water) which washes ashore continuing the cycle of an unappealing environment (and creates more cockroaches and smell).

Some of these factors are out of the owners control; however, it still affected our stay and should be taken into consideration for future travelers. Cockroaches and trash water do not provide for a "five star bed and breakfast experience" as advertised. It would be much more accurate to describe it as a "backpacker's hostel" than a "b&b".

They have an amazing view and sunset, and you will not go hungry if you decide to stay here. Jack and Lee have personal knowledge of the island and surrounding area, which is very helpful. But it is a perfect case of over-selling and under-delivering in terms of an experience. Two-stars.

  • Stayed May 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
5 Thank Robbie V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
bosstone, Owner at Bahia Del Sol, responded to this review, June 18, 2014
Bahia Del Sol is 100% as advertised if you took the time to go to our website and read our FAQ. We are NOT a 5 star resort or 5 star Bed and Breakfast we are a unique family style B and B located inside of a 3rd world Panamanian neighborhood. That is how we advertise on our website and if you read any of our 100s of positive reviews on tripadvisor almost all of them say the same.

We do offer 5 star personality, 5 star customer service and take care of each of our customers as if they were part of the family BUT in the traditional 5 star sense such as a Hilton or Hyatt or JW Marriott we do not claim that anywhere and have no need to. We offer a completely different kind of experience.

That being said this reviewer has already had 1 review removed from Tripadvisor for blatant lies about our property and now she is back at it again.

The water where we live simply does not smell like sewage and is tested regularly by the Smithsonian Institute which is also located on our same lovely bay. The water where we live is much cleaner than the water in town which is polluted by boats and tons of commercial establishments dumping various things into it. The only smell this women could possibly have smelled is one of the neighbors septic tanks possibly backed up during her stay but this is not something that happens regularly and has nothing to do with the water whatsoever. Most homes where we live are hooked up to the sewer or some have a septic tanks. As you will read in any of our other reviews 100's of people a year love hanging out over, in and around the water on our property as do we. We simply have no problem with smelly water and sewage being dumped into our water because of the progress made with sewers and septics over the last 10 years.

If our home was so overrun with cockroaches then why would we have 200+ positive reviews? You think all those people love cockroaches or just forgot to mention that? You think we just live with cockroaches in our home (yes we live here too) NO this is not true as well. The home is a open air construction wooden home built on stilts over the water, meaning it is not sealed to the outside world like a home in the western world is. This does allow the elements from the outside to come in sometimes and if a guest reports seeing any kind of bug at all we send our staff in to spray and there is never an issue. This guest never reported one single problem to us and spent most of her stay in her room sick while her very nice husband hung out with us on our other dock. Maybe while spending entire days in her room and not leaving she saw a bug but all she had to do was tell us and we would have taken care of it immediately. There is a reason we have so many good reviews on this site and it is because we LOVE to help and take care of our guests and have lots of years doing it in Bocas Del Toro. So sad that a city girl looking for a 5 star hotel experience finds her way down to Bocas and our little community on the bay, does not say anything to us about any problem during her stay and then spits such filthy lies and exaggerations on the internet trying to damage us.

We strongly suggest that you read our website before booking and also strongly suggest that you read any of the other 200+ reviews on this website and take the over exaggerated and blatantly false review left above with a grain of salt.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Retiro, Colombia
Level Contributor
286 reviews
34 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 84 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 23, 2014

While check-in is at 3 – we arrived on Wednesday around 11ish and were immediately greeted by Lee and shown around the property. Lee and her husband Jack have an assortment of rooms offering different views and options. Some have AC, some have TVs, some are large and some are small. We decided on number 5 which had Sky satellite TV and 2 bedrooms – we slept in the back bedroom overlooking the street without AC. Living in Northern Colombia (Santa Marta) we thought we could handle the heat – after around 7 or so at night there was a breeze and listening to the ocean below our room (the waves) made the night quite enjoyable.

Lee and Jack have been on the island for 8 years and are a vast resource of knowledge. If you need to know anything they are the people to ask. Jack made the breakfast – both days we had a selection of fresh fruits and had a breakfast sandwich this morning – yesterday we had French toast.

The views from the property are beautiful – the houses are built on stilts out and over the water. The back of the property is over water of maybe 2 meters deep and absolutely crystal clear. You can see all kinds of fish including rays from the back of the house it’s pier.

To be honest, I had no idea when we arrived it was a B&B. We never stayed at a B&B before and it was a pleasant surprise.

The walk into town is around 2.5km and safe. We ate at various restaurants and checked out various bars some good and cheap and others were twice as much with frozen seafood from the Pricesmart (Costco).

The location while 2.5km from town might be negative but on the positive it’s very quiet and if you don’t want to walk at taxi is only 2 dollars.

Room Tip: Room 5 is nice and large..
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  • Stayed May 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank HK2LS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
bosstone, Owner at Bahia Del Sol, responded to this review, June 12, 2014
We are so happy your first B and B experience was with us and that you enjoyed your time at our property. It makes everything we do worthwhile when we read a review like this.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 28, 2014

This is my wife and I 4th time staying here. Yes, 4th time! We spent 6 nights/7 days in the Starfish Cabin which is right over water. Its one of 2 direct ocean facing cabins. Got to see the sun set every single nite of our stay. The cabin has A/C but we never used it. Opened windows and enjoyed the sea breeze.

The owners, Lee and Jack, are very friendly and are "locked in" to Bocas and the Island Life so go to them for anything. If they suggest it or recommend it then listen to them. They never steered my wife and I wrong.
Jacks breakfast in the mornings were always delicious. Local fresh off-the-vine fruit!

When it comes to doing a tour of the islands or snorkling, etc I would recommend using Cristobal. He is awesome. He is very accomodating and flexible. He picks you up and drops you off right at the Main House so no need to go into to town to get a boat.
You can't beat that!

My wife and I will be returning for a 5th time.

  • Stayed April 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank WpnX0351 .
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
bosstone, Owner at Bahia Del Sol, responded to this review, June 12, 2014
We LOVE our repeat customers. Thanks so much for coming back to see us over and over again. We can not wait to have you back for your 5th stay with us and are really honored that you choose Bahia Del Sol each time you come to Bocas Del Toro.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
9 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 23, 2014

For me, this B&B is an outpost of old-school hospitality nestled in stunning Panama. I would recommend it as a great place to stay to my friends and family.

The B&B is located in Saigon Bay, about 1.5 miles from the tiny Airport terminal. Although not intended to be a luxury property, the property is beautifully maintained and my room was very comfortable with air conditioning. There are a number of rooms of difference sizes and separate bungalows for families or larger groups.

The owners - Jack and Lee - have great knowledge of the islands and will be able to recommend the best tours to help guests make the most of their stay. They also have a dog and a cat who are both very friendly! The breakfast is great - with most people seated at the kitchen counter, which is a great way to socialise with other guests.

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank James T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
bosstone, Owner at Bahia Del Sol, responded to this review, June 12, 2014
Thank you for the nice words about our properties and the time you spent with us. We work hard to maintain our properties and treat all of our customers like family so when we read a review like yours it puts a huge smile on our faces. Thanks for making our day.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Jose, Costa Rica
Level Contributor
16 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 20, 2014

We spent 3 nights in this hotel and we had a really nice stay. We spent the first night in the main house, our room was just above the kitchen so it was a bit noisy during the morning. The two other nights we were in the other house (casa rosada), it was a really nice room, quiet and with an amazing view. We recommend you those ones!
The owners are really kind, you can ask them everything, they will help you to organize a boat tour where the boat comes to pick you up at the hotel.

Moreover, the owner cooks a good breakfast!!

If you don't speak english, don't worry it is the right place to learn (as they don't speak other languages) ;)

  • Stayed April 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Margaux C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Antonio, Texas
Level Contributor
7 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 11, 2014

Stayed for three days in this amazing spot. My hosts Jack and Lee were friendly,helpful and professional. My room was clean and spacious. The shower and hot water were copious and the breakfast served by Jack each day was delicious and healthy.

Room Tip: There are no bad rooms.
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  • Stayed April 2014, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Thomas T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
bosstone, Owner at Bahia Del Sol, responded to this review, June 12, 2014
Thank you for the kind words. We enjoyed having you as much as you enjoyed staying with us.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Bahia Del Sol

Property: Bahia Del Sol
Address: Saigon Bay, Bocas Town, Isla Colon, Panama
Location: Panama > Bocas del Toro Province > Isla Colon > Bocas Town
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Spa Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 30 B&Bs / Inns in Bocas Town
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Bahia Del Sol 3*
Number of rooms: 5
Reservation Options:
TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com, Travelocity, Orbitz and Priceline so you can book your Bahia Del Sol reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
Also Known As:
Bahia Del Sol Hotel Bocas Town
Bahia Del Sol Bocas Del Toro, Panama - Bocas Town

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