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“Fabulous!”

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La Loma Jungle Lodge and Chocolate Farm
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
virginia
Level Contributor
13 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Fabulous!”
Reviewed July 7, 2013

Just left La Loma and we already miss it. What a wonderful escape from our busy lives. Our rancho was so comfortable with an amazing view. At night the rainforest came alive with an orchestra of sounds and the star gazing was so cool. So many fun things to do during the day or just take advantage of the comfy hammocks. The meals were delicious and the company of the other guests and the staff was wonderful. A special thanks to Steve and Karen for everything!

We saw dolphins, scorpions, monkeys, beautiful fish, monkeys, and sloths (so cute--a face only a mom could love).

All in all an amazing place!

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
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Thank 1livetowanderer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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357 reviews from our community

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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (84)
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English first
Saint Simons Island, Georgia
Level Contributor
16 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed June 30, 2013

We have stayed with Margaret and Henry many times now. We fell in love with the place and the people of Bastimentos Island on our first visit and have been returning yearly since. Looking forward to the day that we can bring our children and grandchildren. We are now partners with Margaret and Henry in a US Foundation, educationispower.net that we formed to provide education for the area children. If you are looking for a remarkably different vacation book this glorious place. Your stay will not be forgotten.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Gary Y
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California, USA
Level Contributor
14 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed June 18, 2013

What else can I add to the glowing reviews of this property? It's clear that everyone who stays here falls in love with the place, and for good reason. The rooms, the setting, are all stunning as described. And the food. I could go on and on about the delicious food but everyone else has done such a great job of describing it! Steve and Karen were managing when I stayed, and were excellent, knowledgeable and fascinating hosts. I took a day hike with Mr. Kelly to polo beach, and LOVED the experience! What a magical place. It was pricey for my budget, but worth every single cent and then some.

Only one complaint, and it has nothing to do with this wonderful property: I left with about 100 sand flea bites that still itch 3 weeks later! Granted, I'm a bug magnet. This SHOULD NOT prevent anyone from visiting. Just know to bring lots of bug spray and apply often. I thought I could get away without spray and paid for it.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Baby61212
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
39 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed June 7, 2013

Henry and Margaret have set up an amazing jungle retreat here. When they are away they have a lovely couple Steve and Karen manage La Loma for them. They are wonderful hosts and make you feel at home immediately looking after your every need. Steve even brings you tea, coffee and muffins to your cabin every morning. The cabins are very luxurious. Beds in the middle under one enormous mosquito net and then open on three sides so you can lie bed and watch the jungle around you. The beds are very comfortable, the shower is warm and the toilet flushes! The lack of bugs is extraordinary considering you are on a jungle island. The food, well, I can't say enough about how incredible breakfast, lunch and dinner is. We were overwhelmed with the quality and quantity of food. Just fantastic. We did some wonderful snorkelling and the trip to the bat cave was a great adventure. Thank you Steve and Karen for your kindness. We will rave about you to everyone we meet. And one last word to Mr Kelly - we will never forget your smile. Give Jelly, Goose and Scarlet a cuddle from us.

Room Tip: Cabin 1 was good for us as easy to get to and good for children. Cabins 2-4 have better views of the...
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank AndreaBremner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
109 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
Reviewed May 12, 2013

Ok, I'll start from the end of it: now I'm back at Santiago (Chile) and whenever I feel down, I close my eyes and remember my stay at La Loma.

We planned our trip to Bocas thinking that, at some point in the trip, we wanted to stay somewhere really different. We chose La Loma because of what we had read at TripAdvisor (it was a bit expensive for us, so we stayed only for 2 nights, but I would recommed staying at least 3 nights). I'm not really an eco-lover, insect-lover or anything like that, so I was a bit afraid that maybe I wouldn't fit here, in the middle of the jungle. The thing is that it didn't matter at the end: this is truly a once in a lifetime experience. We woke up, everyday, in our beautiful cabin -with no walls! so liberating!- to the sound of the jungle. When I say "sound of the jungle" I mean it: I even recorded it. We had a great view -even the bathroom has a great view! - and we woke up to pick our first breakfast (a muffin and coffee) and then sleep a little more. Yes: they serve you 2 breakfasts. For the second one, you go walking to the main cabin, where is located the kitchen and dining room. The food is really great. We were waiting all the time to eat again. Everyone is really caring and hospitable, and you get a sense that everything has been well thought. This is what everyone should call "amazing service".

Thanks to Henry, for creating such an incredible place and for his polite ways (and for those great cocktails too!!) and to Roger, for the way he shows his love for nature (and for taking us to the best place ever to do snorkeling),
I wake up everyday wishing I could be at La Loma. Really. I truly recommend it.

Room Tip: We stayed at cabinat the top of the hill. Is great is you want privacy, but I wouldn't recommed...
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank lonica
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed April 27, 2013

Stunning experience in every way. Cabins set right in the jungle - largely open air (with very well-tended mosquito nets offering the real protection). This means the wildlife is right on top of you - we had a sloth in a tree outside the cabin each day, monkeys passing through the trees overhead in the night, and amazing birds of all kinds - parrots, hummingbirds, and my favorite the "Montezuma Oropendola" - routinely visible.

Although the environment is amazing, the staff's care and genuine interest in the guests is equally impressive. Henry (he and his wife Margaret are the owners) is very knowledgeable about all aspects of the ecological, cultural, and political context and always seemed willing to take the time to talk to the guests even while managing. And the rest of the staff, guides, and others working with them - a mix of West Indian-origin Panamanians, indigenous Ngobe people whose families have lived in the area for eons, and transplanted Americans working for the lodge - all seemed perpetually willing to help in any way. To give just one example - on the day we were leaving, we were scheduled to take a fairly long water taxi+bus trip to Boquete. We had no firm plans as to how we were going to do this. So Jack checked the bus schedules to tell us by when we had to leave, and then placed an early morning call to make a reservation for us. Mr. Kelly made a separate boat trip just for the two of us (in the pouring rain) so we could get there in time. And Bree (sp?), decided to pack us a lunch (of excellent falafel tacos) for the trip - even though we would be long gone by the time we ate it! - just to make sure we didn't get hungry on the way.

The food really deserves its own review. Every breakfast, lunch, and dinner is served as though one were in a restaurant. And the food would be impressive at a fine city restaurant in Panama City - I am not exaggerating - and is just unbelievable given the context in which it is being served. Fresh fish, chicken, and jungle vegetables with interesting sauces made from various native fruits (e.g. passion fruit, coconut). All of it is prepared right there in the main lodge kitchen by three or four staff people, usually made from local produce. The meals are served at set times, or packed for you if you plan to be out on en excursion. Mealtime is a good time to chat with other guests, the owners and staff in an intimate setting. Our conversations moved from reports about the day's events to local politics (concerning the Bocas area itself as well as Panama more broadly) to various other topics, and usually included some exchange of ideas about the best activities to embark on the next day.

I could go on and on about this place - the great snorkeling trip off a stunning island, the beautiful hike above the lodges with the ocean views, etc. - but really you should just go there. This was one of the most all-around interesting and enjoyable places I have ever stayed in my life.

Note of warning though: this is NOT a luxury experience. The room is clean (especially given that it's right in the middle of the jungle), and there was always hot water and a little electric light available, but you should know that you will experience a truly natural jungle environment. Do not go if you want spotless tiled floors and hair dryers in the jungle. With that caveat, I couldn't recommend it more.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Alan A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bothell, Washington, United States
Level Contributor
22 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed April 23, 2013

I'm not sure there's anything I can add to the already complete and glowing reviews on TA except to say that there's just something magical about this place. Our family of 3 (we have a 13 yo daughter) had the hardest time deciding where to stay in the Bocas region, and we are infinitely glad that we finally chose La Loma. We felt that instead of just "staying somewhere" we were "experiencing something". One of the most wonderful things we experienced were the communal meals. We met people from all over the globe and had some excellent conversations over the cocktail of the evening. Henry and Margaret are wonderful, warm people and you can tell they are truly concerned with making sure every guest has the vacation experience they want (ditto the wonderful Brie and Jak). The food is just as amazing as the other reviewers say - it's delicious, but not pretentious and just exotic enough that you think "ooh, that sounds interesting and amazing", not "what the heck is that?" Our daughter was absolutely taken in by the wildlife (especially the domesticated wildlife: Goose, Jelly and Sparrow) and we were blown away by the knowledge and friendliness of the guides and all of the La Loma family. We feel fortunate that we got to spend a lot of time with Mr. Kelly, who is a superb guide and is just fun to be around. If you're worried about bugs, don't be. It's truly a non-issue. A little bug spray in the early evenings works wonders :) To sum up, every minute we spent at La Loma felt like a new and wonderful thing. If you are wondering at all if you should stay here, just do it. It's worth every penny.

Room Tip: We stayed in Rancho #2, and it had a beautiful view of the jungle and the water. We didn't see i...
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank Elizabeth B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about La Loma Jungle Lodge and Chocolate Farm

Property: La Loma Jungle Lodge and Chocolate Farm
Address: Bahia Honda, Isla Bastimentos, Panama
Phone Number:
Location: Panama > Bocas del Toro Province > Isla Bastimentos
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 18 B&Bs / Inns in Isla Bastimentos
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Number of rooms: 4
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Experience something a little different. La Loma is a working cacao farm that also accepts a small number of overnight guests.vIf you want to escape everyday life, relax in comfort in a hillside rancho overlooking a secluded bay, participate in tropical farm life or engage in a range of activities designed to bring you closer to the natural environment and local communities of this spectacular island, La Loma is for you. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
La Loma Jungle Lodge And Chocolate Farm Hotel Isla Bastimentos
La Loma Jungle Lodge And Chocolate Farm Panama/Isla Bastimentos, Bocas Del Toro

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