Stayed at Al Natural and found it to be just what we expected. Not since the early days of Club Med have I stayed in such a remote, eco-sensitive environment. If you are looking for tranquility in a area unspoiled by development, then take the 40 minute boat ride to the south end of Isla Bastimentos and park it here.
First of all, one of the co-owners - Vicent - is a great host. He knows when to engage and when to leave you alone. Resembling Leonardo DiCaprio at 40, he is energetic and resourceful. He even takes on kitchen duty at night and creates some wonderful dishes. Most nights we had fresh caught Snapper in a myriad of sauces. Hailing from Belgium, he tends to add many spices/flavors to his food (I told him to tone them down a bit), but the results are excellent. I'd say lunch is the weakest meal of the day. They recently built a large thatched dining area with two floors and an observation deck. It's very comfortable and provides a good social atmosphere. Drinks and wine are poured all night (though it's not all included).
As for the accomodations, they are nicely built but open to the environment. That is to say, there are no doors or windows. This is truly "all natural". All offer great views of the ocean from the cabana's deck or 2nd story. Needless to say, you'll fall asleep to the sound of water lapping against the sand and the ever present sounds of the jungle right next door. The bed was very comfortable - better than most you'll find in Panama. Don't expect hot water; not that you'll need it. The weather is perfect every day and the nights are warm, sometimes with a slight breeze. Overall, it is a unique experience in many ways. And the people make the stay that much more worthwhile.
The only potential drawback is the beach that lines the resort is not the best on the island nor in the vicinity. El Limbo's beach is wider and more suitable for lounging. The good news is that it's just a short walk or kayak journey away. Take advantage of the proximity to Los Cayos Zapatillas and go see them (which Vicente can arrange for a fee). They are uninhabited yet perfect for whiling away a few hours in pristine sand and waters.
No, I have no financial or emotional commitment to this place. I regret not staying longer, simply because it's that one of a kind experience where you feel on your own in a remote location. It was the best experience during the 2 weeks I traveled through Panama. Do yourself a favor and just go.
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- Also Known As:
- Al Natural Hotel Isla Bastimentos
- Al Natural Resort Panama/Isla Bastimentos, Bocas Del Toro