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Bluff Beach Retreat Bocas del Toro Reviews
Beach, a hammock, breakfast and the jungle! Apr 11, 2011
Bluff Beach Retreat, Isla Colon – Bocas del Toro Province, Panama
We stayed at Bluff Beach Retreat from April 11, 2001 – April 18, 2011 (seven nights).
The place is a Bed & Breakfast style of accommodation consisting of a main guest house which sleeps 14 people and two smaller separate buildings. The larger of the two separate buildings is a two bedroom which will accommodate 4 – 6 people or a one bedroom studio for two people.
We originally booked the two bedroom, but were upgraded to the one bedroom (which rents for approximately $250 - $300/week more, I believe because it is newer and it’s upgraded finishes, and style). The one guest house bedroom became available as the previous guests were leaving the day we arrived and a friend of the Owner’s was arriving the next day, so we were given the one bedroom. That unit has a very nice kitchen area with gas cook-top, full sink, wrap-around tile counters, and a pass thru counter to the wrap-around deck, full appliances and cook ware / dinner ware.
The main room consists of a studio set-up with queen bed, and TV area with couch and chair. The main attraction is the deck with hammock, beach style lounge chairs and a small dining table with 4 chairs (each day decorated with fresh flowers). The view from the second floor deck and living areas is really quite amazing as you have the jungle behind you and the beautifully landscaped grounds in front of you. The casita’ next door and the main house, although 20 – 30 yards away are well hidden by the banana trees, and other native foliage. In the distant, the constant crash of the waves on Bluff Beach (lees than a hundred yards away) are always there to remind you of their close proximity.
Our host, (the Owner) Ron Dennis was away for the first few days, but his friends Steve and Karen were there to take care of us on arrival. Our flight from Panama City to Bocas was greeted by William, a very reliable and helpful local taxi driver who provides extra special service of Ron and his guests. Normally Ron will meet his guests and take them shopping in town for groceries/supplies. Unfortunately due to our early arrival, the “store to go” to was closed, so we went straight to Bluff Beach with plans to go to town the next morning.
We arrived around 8:30 AM, just in time for breakfast which is provided each morning as part of your stay. Normally fresh coffee, juice, fruit smoothies, fresh cut fruit and eggs with some type of rolls or toasted bread. Each day varied with pancakes, cinnamon rolls, or Johnny cakes and bacon. Abida, the cook (and maid) prepared a wonderful, fresh breakfast each morning. Also, daily maid service is provided as well as laundry service upon request, for a very minimal charge.
Steve and Karen, who regularly work at the property as hosts and with the landscaping were very helpful throughout our stay with local information and getting us settled in. While there, any type of excursion or tour can be arranged through trusted people they work with. They also provide a cell phone for local calls, with only the purchase of a phone card to add minutes to use it. We purchased a $5 phone card, and did not even use all of it.
While there, they arranged a 3 hour horseback ride for us through the use of the horses Owned by Ron (who also has a 10 acre ranch nearby the property.) They also grow most of the fresh fruit provided each morning for breakfast. The resident dog, Cassius is a very friendly Boxer. At the time of our stay a new 65 foot pool was being finished. We did not get to use it as they needed some additional rainfall to fill the cisterns adequately to fill the pool, but I am sure it is available by now. This would be a very welcome relief if at the property during the day, as daily temperatures were in the low 90’s and we had bright sun (very intense in being so close to the equator) each day but the very last.
We experienced very little, if any problems with biting insects, mosquitoes, etc… most of the bug bites (very few) that I received were gotten away from the property and not while there. The gas BBQ grill was always available, clean and in very good condition to use, which we did frequently. There is another hotel (La Coralina), with a full restaurant nearby, but I prefer being able to cook for myself in this type of setting.
Overall, I found this place to be very relaxing, extremely clean and well taken care of. The Owner, Ron as well as Steve and Karen in his absence, were excellent hosts and made every part of he stay relatively hassle free. We did experience some internet connectivity problems due to some problems stemming primarily from the source in Panama City (via satellite), which Ron did work diligently on trying to remedy, something I cannot fault him for at all.
An idyllic, peaceful, relaxing and beautiful place on the beach in Boca del Toro, Panama. An excellent value and outstanding service throughout the stay. 4/5 in my book. Someday, when I return to Bocas, I will be contacting Ron to see what is available, and if needed will alter my schedule to stay here again. Highly recommend. Not a hotel, not a private house / villa / bungalow on the beach, something that is all of the above and utterly pleasing.
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