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“Paradise island, but worst hosts ever!”
1 of 5 bubbles Review of TioTomsGuesthouse

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TioTomsGuesthouse
Certificate of Excellence
Antwerp, Belgium
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Paradise island, but worst hosts ever!”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 14, 2012

Tom was friendly when we booked our room over the phone, but when we arrived we received a very FREEZING welcome. He offered us a free drink while we were waiting for the room, and could only serve me 1/4 a glass of lemonade because they were out (1/4 was good enough, as it was free), nice! He asked us to open a tap, because he didn't have to much change. we paid him 40USD upfront, he would charge the rest afterwards, fine! (check that bill!)
I became very ill and and was only able to eat crackers and a bit of yoghurt. My husband ordered cereal for breakfast (which came with too little milk, for which we had to pay extra), and when Tom came to get the plate, I asked him if I could use my husband's spoon. With an angry face, he pointed to a paper stating that one should not sit on the tables if one does not consume their breakfast. I repplied that I would love to have a real breakfast but that I was too ill, upon which he repplied arrogantly and with anger in his voice "oh, and that's the reason you have to sit here?" That is no way to treat a customer and definitely not one that is ill!
Then the check came... To our surprise, he had charged us: the free coffee and a lemonade (full price while I received just one zip) and the breakfast of my husband was 6USD more than on the menu. I guess the the overcharge was for the usage of the spoon?
he takes pride in warning his guests about the locals and talking bad about them. This made us feel very uncomfortable, as we are travelers that like to get to know the local culture, and interact with people we meet..

Our advice: If you go to Bastimentos: stay with the locals and not with this grumpy arrogant old man! You can stay cheaper, with nicer service and better value at the other hostels on the island, eat great breakfast at alvin's or the Pad Tai local pizzeria (not sure about the name) for halve the price. We will write to LP about this, as we do not want Tom and his wife to ruin the stay of future travelers, as Bastimentos is a fantastic place with a great vibe!

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Location
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank VEDEMA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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159 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (7)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
102 reviews
36 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 67 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 13, 2011

This is a long overdue review, but we loved Pension Tio Tom! My husband and I stayed in the separate bungalow, and Tom and Ina were both great hosts. They were helpful with information on hiking around Isla Bastimentos, going dolphin-spotting, visiting Isla Colon. They also whipped up some tasty coconut pancakes for breakfast. Would definitely stay here again.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank zengirl_10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
125 reviews
47 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 100 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 10, 2011

In Bastimentos there are no mid-price/service options. There is either budget or all inclusive. TioTom's is the best budget option. The location on the water is hard to beat and all the water taxi drivers know exactly where to take you.

The owners have created a booklet that outlines all of the options for excursions and activities to do. They've listed prices you should expect to pay and even help arrange the trips. With their help we had a much easier time organizing a day trip for snorkeling, Dolphin Bay and Zapatillas than our friends who were staying in Boca.

The rooms are sparse but clean. Due to no rain in a few days, we were asked to limit or not shower since their water source is rain water. Given the pension is in the center of town you do get to hear everything going on in town even though the town is "sleepy". One night it was loud music, the second night it was dogs barking. Bring a good pair of earplugs because I don't think you could get quiet in any of the other lodging options either.

  • Stayed November 2011, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank GHamp23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego, California
Level Contributor
23 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 9, 2011

After travelling from Costa Rica, we were a little disappointed in our initial impression of Panama. Then we found Isla Bastimentos and Tio Toms! We highly recommend this hostel. It is over the water (how cool is that!) affordable, clean, and quiet. The German owners are very friendly and they offer family dinner (for $7) almost every night and all the guests eat together. Tio Tom and Ina are wonderful hosts and always have great conversation. There is WiFi. No kitchen. No hot water, but we enjoyed the refreshing shower. The deck is built on top of the water with hammocks. Our room had a private bathroom and shower. Also, if you do any adventures here look up Uwa, the best guide ever! Be sure to snorkel and check out the caves with him. All in all, we loved this place! R'amen!!!

  • Stayed November 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Pamela A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Canada
Level Contributor
80 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 60 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 9, 2011

My husband and I stayed here for two nights and had a wonderful time. We stayed in the separate cabin, which was very cute and romantic. We had our own balcony (with hammock) and were separated from the other rooms by the kitchen and dining area. The rooms have fans and mosquito nets, and cold water showers.

It is really a lovely place with a family atmosphere. Tom and Ina are friendly and enjoying chatting with guests. Tom loves to cook (Ina even has a herb garden), so they have "family dinner" at 7:00 pm each night. If you would like to join you let them know in the afternoon and the price is $6 a plate, which is a great deal because the meals are delicious! They also offer breakfast in the morning.

There is a large deck for suntanning and a covered area with plenty of hammocks.

I highly recommend this fabulous guesthouse and hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank JennyLovesAsia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 19, 2011

Was traveling through Panama with my mother for a few weeks. (she's retiring there) Was refered to Tio Tom from a friend in Nicaragua. What a great place! Very quiet, and relaxing. Just what I needed after a couple of weeks of bussing through Central America. We only stayed for one night, because I had to meet up with some friends, and they were staying in Bocas Town. I will be back though! It's almost like staying on a postcard. I get up early, so I hung out on the dock, and watched the sun rise. Couldn't imagine a better setting. The owners (Tom and Ina) are friendly, and great to talk to. Can't wait to go back!

  • Stayed June 2011
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank dt702
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lifou, New Caledonia
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 10, 2011

We asked our driver to drop us off at the Tio Tom pension. Arrived there, the owner came to us and ask a very unfriendly "What do you want?"... Hmm.. A double room (I guess, if it's a Guest House). And then a very cold "It's full!" So we made our way out there. And as if it wasn't enough, the lady ran after us to tell us, and I quote what i wrote on my notebook, because it was so outrageous "GET OUT OF HERE, YOU HAVE NOTHING TO DO HERE!" Sounds like the way you treat dogs, not customers. So I have to mention this because i really couldn't believe such kind of attitude was possible. Then we went to some proper guesthouse with a very friendly local owner, clean, cheap, nice view, and we were very glad that this unhappy-couple didn't have room for us :)
Sorry Tio Tom, but you have to be more carefull, LP will not always write some good reviews about your place if you treat people this way

  • Stayed April 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Indianarose974
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about TioTomsGuesthouse

Property: TioTomsGuesthouse
Address: Main Street, Isla Bastimentos, Panama (Formerly Pension Tio Tom)
Location: Panama > Bocas del Toro Province > Isla Bastimentos
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #7 of 17 B&Bs / Inns in Isla Bastimentos
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 7
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
You are looking for a nice place at the Caribbean? Our family-guesthouse is builded over the water of the lagoon and located in the centre of the village Bastimentos on the same named island in the north of Panama at the archipelago Bocas del Toro. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Pension Tio Tom Hotel Isla Bastimentos
TioTomsGuesthouse Panama/Isla Bastimentos, Bocas Del Toro

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