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Isla Bastimentos
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All reviews chocolate farm bat cave open air other guests mr kelly pre breakfast chocolate tour fresh muffins tamales bahia honda making chocolate jungle lodge local school red frog beach delicious lunch gracious hosts an amazing experience
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Reviewed May 13, 2019 via mobile

The initial inspiration for booking at La Loma came from our 14 year old who was researching places of interest and natural beauty on the Caribbean side of Panama. Being a lover of horticulture, he was taken with the prospect of visiting a chocolate plantation (having previously visited tea / coffee plantations in Sri Lanka). The opportunity to stay in an open air lodge surrounded by the jungle canopy and the possibility of having sloths and monkeys as neighbours was the deciding factor.

From initial contact and questions of availability to transport logistics when traveling from the Pacific coast, Zabrina was outstanding in her efficiency and warmth. Arriving at the jetty surrounded by mangrove trees and having Ariel accompany us to the main lodge whilst explaining what was growing along the way, was just a taster of the passion and knowledge of all those who make La Loma what it is.

The architecture and design of the villas was beyond expectations, from the beautiful wooden furniture and floorboards, to the bedside lamps and strategically placed hammocks. For anyone who appreciates interior design in keeping with the surroundings, La Loma will surely not disappoint. The bathroom was spacious, well appointed and in keeping with the high standards of the bedroom area. Pictures do not do the lodges the justice they deserve.

Those who fear insects and other things that live in the jungle, have no need to worry as there were no unwanted interlopers and mosquitos can be repelled by the coils provided. On the other hand, we did have two sloths ‘hanging out’ directly outside our room and a troop of monkeys passing by on occasion. Leaf cutter ants were seen marching along on the main path minding their own business and of course not forgetting La Loma’s in-house pets, this is a place for those who appreciate the natural world and wildlife.

Food was amazing in its freshness and seasonality, and second helpings not unknown. The produce from the land being made into homemade jams, chutneys, condiments, juices etc. all speaking for the larger vision of sustainability that La Loma represents. The pre-dinner cocktail of the day a wonderful way to bring guests together in conversation prior to sitting down for a meal together. A most special touch as mentioned by others, is the pre-breakfast box delivered first thing in the morning which only goes to further indicate the level of hospitality practiced.

The chocolate tour was enlightening and Mr. Kelly’s knowledge and enthusiasm for the trees and plants growing on the island truly inspiring. For those with a wish to experience something slightly more daring, the tour to the bat cave was also marvelous.

Thank you to everyone at La Loma (including the little cheeky chappy Adonis) for making our three days on Bastimentos the best of our time in Panama.

Date of stay: April 2019
Trip type: Traveled with family
1  Thank HumairaMC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 12, 2019 via mobile

We stayed four nights at la loma - and every day was something special. The lodge was stunning and the range of things you can do are plenty - thus the days went by quite fast.
Our personal highlight was the hot chocolate to start the day as well as the food - So many amazing and creative dishes with ingredients right from the garden served in this fantastic enviroment is something you do not easily forget! We will keep these days in very good memory!

Date of stay: May 2019
Trip type: Traveled as a couple
Thank Alena7543
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 6, 2019

La Loma exceeded all our expectations. The under stated excellence of every detail from amazing food, to genuinely friendly staff, and help with the day's plans made every day special. The coffee tray drop off at our bungalow at 7am was a daily highlight. Our 9 year old enjoyed the entire experience.

Mr. Kelly your time, knowledge of various medicinal plants, & the process of making chocolate was so interesting and appreciated. It’s a must if you visit La Loma.

We enjoyed several activities off site including the dolphins in the bay, zip lining a short boat ride away, and learning about the local chacara woven bags. We donated supplies (with Give & Surf) to the local school and they were much appreciated.

Rain jackets, flashlights, insect repellent were all helpful. The mosquitos weren’t an issue during our stay as long as you take precautions with repellant and use the coils provided. Monkeys, sloths, along with two amazing dogs( Zoro & Ninja), and a Cat (Minchie) all kept us entertained during down time.

The walk to our cabin helped justify the amazing food and just one more treat.

It takes a minute to unplug but when you do, the sounds of the jungle take you away.

Zabrina & Ariel you were the perfect hosts! La Loma is a special spot in the world I’m grateful we had the chance to experience.

Till next time!

Date of stay: March 2019
  • Trip type: Traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
1  Thank 1292stephen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 13, 2019 via mobile

I had come across La Loma on a travel site several years ago but only recently had the opportunity to book a stay here. I can see why the ratings are so high. Zabrina was super accommodating and helpful as I had to adjust details of our trips several times. Ariel was gracious, funny and a wonderful host. The food was nutritious yet sooo delectable - I don't think I ever left even a crumb on my plate! Mr. Kelly and Roger were great tour guides. Regretfully, we had taken a tour from Bocas town prior to our arrival at La Loma. Had we gone with either Mr. Kelly or Roger, I'm sure we would have had a much better experience. They are extremely passionate about their community and the environment and it definitely makes time spent with them that much more enjoyable. The early morning pre-breakfast food box was a nice touch, ensuring we never went hungry and had the chance to enjoy peaceful mornings lounging in the hammocks. Thank you Ariel, Zabrina, Mr. Kelly, Roger and the rest of the staff. I had such a great time here and am glad that I didn't put it off any longer!

Date of stay: April 2019
Trip type: Traveled with friends
Thank LJen416
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 27, 2019

My wife found the place by chance and we went based off other's reviews here and on Google. The reviews have been spot-on. Thank you for the recommendations some made and wanted to follow up. We went in mid-February 2019 and I am writing this soon after we got back. The place is run by Ariel (I hope I am spelling his name right) and Zabrina who are great hosts. As good as the place is by itself, they make it better. They are doing what they are doing for all the right rights and are positively impacting those around them. They also have a dedicated staff, and many have been there for years such as Mr. Roger and Mr. Kelly. This will try and go over some of the apsects of La Loma.

The place itself is well kept. In fact, the property is gorgeous. You stay in one of lodges (only 4 total) which is open air. There are no windows. See photos. There is a mosquito net around the bed area though you don’t feel claustrophobic at all. It is beautiful and puts you right in nature yet comfortable. At night you hear the sounds of the jungle, but it is not crazy loud. It is very calming. You have a hammock you can chill out and read or just take it in during the day. I sat there one afternoon for an hour watching a sloth and iguana upon in a tree… it was simple and great. Watching the sloth, iguana, birds, frogs, etc is a show.

Activities. We never went to Bocas once. Everything we needed was done at La Loma or nearby La Loma. There is a walking tour of the property which can be done solo or guided. The Chocolate Tour is very cool and more than just chocolate. BTW, sucking on a cocoa seed is nothing like you’d expect. You can get a ride to the beach. Snorkeling. There are different snorkeling options and all very cool. We snorkeled a couple of times. We went to the beach and there are a couple of options of beaches depending on how fit you are. There are more involved snorkeling adventures that other guests raved about. We did a boat trip up to a bat cave and that was cool. Also did a night walk around the property and saw it differently than in the day. We got massages also.

Community. They are dedicated to the local people. We went down and checked out the school started by a charity. Please bring a few school supplies and help them out. It takes just a few bucks or a little room in your luggage. I wish I brought stuff and not just give money.

Food. The surprise was that the food is AWESOME. The photos serve as proof. It is the part we never expected to be so good. I know from others that they serve a vegetarian option but a meal go like this... they make it, and I ate it. The food was a real treat, especially breakfast and dinner. The drinks are well made and very much enjoyed in the warm weather.

We did not have any set plan going in. We just talked about it with Ariel. Truly deserves the high praise.

We took our five-year-old and she loved it. When there, there was a mother and her 12 year old having a great time. And when we left a two adult couples were there.. so varied mix.

Great place and would visit there again. Hope this helps.

Date of stay: February 2019
  • Trip type: Traveled with family
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank sesdara
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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