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Hotel Playa Blanca Beach Resort
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Farallon
Reviewed 4 March 2012

We stayed at this resort an all inclusive property. It was rainy during our stay. The resort itself was about average across the board. The large A.I. resorts of Panama probably can not compete with the resorts in Mexico. The tours to the smaller communities around the area were very nice, El Valle was very interesting and most memorable. I would love to visit Panama again and would like to visit the Pearle Islands or Bocas del Toro. It was an exciting vacation as in addition to Playa Blanca, we also spent a few days in Panama City on the Canal and fished for Peacock Bass in the Panama Canal. If you wish for more than an all inclusive resort drinking booze and eating all day, consider Panama.

  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank vsbernhardt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 28 February 2012

After reading carefully all the reviews we decided to purchase a vacation at this Hotel. Happy to report that, though it is a 4 star hotel in name only, we still had a very good time.
Speaking to some fellow passengers on the return flight I found out that most were happy with their vacation. It seems that one needs to be a bit unlucky or have unreasonable high expectations not to have a positive experience at this location,
Arrival: The flight is long, but bearable. At the Panama airport everything went fast and we found ourselves on a bus with a Sunwing representative who acted as a guide. It took 2.5 hours to get to the hotel. The trip could have been easier in a newer bus with better AC, but at least we saw Panama city (through the window) and got some explanations.
Upon arrival at the hotel we were issued wrist bands while still on the bus (this time they started at the end of the bus, learning from experience, so everybody left the bus at the same time) and received the envelope with the key at the reception. That was one of the fastest check-ins. Pleasant surprise!
The room: it was in building #5, on the 4th floor. The building has an elevator (#1 and #3 have as well). We had concerns (as per some reviews) about the noise, but it proved to be baseless. The room itself was spacious with 2 queen size beds and had a new AC with a remote that worked quite well. There is a flat screen HD TV with a limited channel selection, mostly in Spanish and no TV guide. You can ask at the reception for a photo copy of available channels. There is a safe in the room with a numerical lock (size 14.5"x8.5"), that is very easy to operate . It's free for Sunwing passengers. The few minor problems were shown to the room maid, who called the maintenance people and it was fixed right away. The room was cleaned properly and fast. Not to forget a complimentary bottle of wine at arrival, the same brand served in restaurants.
The pools: there are 2 pools, both quite large. Cleaned every morning and PH levels checked. The "quiet" pool is really quiet because of the sound barrier provided by the main restaurant and shops and not too many people.That changes on the weekends when locals arrive and the resort becomes loud and busy. Never the less, one needs to wake early to catch a sweet spot in the shade. Buildings 1 to 6 surround the pool with all of the rooms facing it. If one likes constant noise, loud music and lots of action non-stop, the other pool (closer to the beach) is for you. The salt water pool, which is situated in the condo complex nearby (a10 min.walk) is amazing and open to Playa Blanca guests on Sundays. Go early to pick-up a chair in the shade. It's true- the hotel is equipped with new and comfy beach chairs around the pools, and plenty of them too. The chairs on the beach are very uncomfortable, but plenty.
The beach: As noted in other comments, the sand is dark and quite hot. Unfortunately it is not cleaned enough, if at all. Happy to report that we didn't see nor hear about stingray or jelly fish incidents. The beach is situated between 2 small "rivers" Rio Farallon to the left and Rio Hato to the right. They can be crossed at low tide (mornings usually), but beware , the difference could be up to 18' on the high tide (by 3-4PM), so plan your return. It a good beach to jog or walk, and if you looking for sea shells-lots and lot s in the morning at low tide, specially , close to the rivers. Beware of a pack of wild dogs (2 were quite aggressive). Big complaint: too many ATV's stinking-up the air creating noise, some driven by young kids without helmets.
Restaurants: Since we don't like waiting for food we used the main buffet restaurant for all of our meals, so I won't comment on other restaurants. Service was quite good. The food was adequate and enough of a variety, though some a bit salty.Every morning I saw a worker check the temperature of refrigerated food on display. However, the food on the display at pool bar is questionable (specially at the end of the day). Amassing Cappuccino and Espresso are available on request since the coffee machine is in the kitchen. All you do -is order! Surprisingly, there were apples every day.
Internet: There is Wi-Fi available: $3-30 min, $5-1hour, $8-a day, $15-3 days. Best reception is at the lobby, but it worked in our room an around the "quiet" pool.
Trips: The Panama canal trip is a must, even if the drive is long. Anton valley is fun and the best place to pick-up souvenirs and Penenome is one big dollar store (waste of time and money for a tour). US dollars are used as paper money, change given in Panamanian or US coins.
As always, it pays to learn and use a few words in Spanisn, it goes a long way. Most of the staff do not speak Engish, though some managers and a few at the reception do.

We came to Playa Blanca to relax and recharge batteries for the balance of the winter, which we quite succeeded. It was a gooooood vacation.






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Room Tip: Buildings 1-3-5 have an elevator, good AC and quiet
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  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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12  Thank GregTheTraveller51
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 February 2012

Hi,
So we are a late 40s couple (it pains me to say that). We have travelled to destinations such as DR, Cuba, Jamaica and Costa Rica in the past. I would discribe us as easy going and low maintenance. We spent 4 days at the Playa Blanca (11 - 15 Feb 02 as we did a Beach/Rainforest combination package)
We flew out of Montreal on early Saturday morning flight. We arrived in Panama around 1:00pm. The immigration and customs process was quick and uneventful. We found our Sunwing rep, rec'd our package and then lined up for the bus. We were transported to the Playa Blanca by a coach bus, they handed out water/beer and a piece of cake when we got on the bus. We stopped on the way to the resort for a 20 minute bio break and refreshements. The drive was about 2 1/2 hours but it wasn't that bad because we got to see Panama City and the sites along the way.
When we arrived at the hotel someone came on the bus and put our bracelets on and then we were able to get off and get our room keys. This process was quick and efficient. I wouldn't be exaggerating if I said that we were likely in our room before the people at the back of the bus had their bracelets. Note: the front desk staff speak excellent english and were very happy to help with any problems or questions you may have had. (There was also a welcome drink).

Our room was in building 2, room 222. Bldg 2 is right off the lobby. It was a 3rd floor room which overlooked the passive (quiet) pool, it had a king bed and a small half balcony. We had a small view of the ocean. It was very quiet, much better then some of the buildings right on the beach because althought I am sure the view was great they had to listen to the pool entertainment music all day and then the disco well into the early hours of the morning. The only complaint with our room was the shower sucked. It really needed a treatment with CLR. All but 3 or 4 of the holes were plugged. Our AC worked great except for a brief period where it started leaking on the floor, we reported it and it was quickly fixed. Housekeeping was great! Our room was always cleaned before lunch, in fact one time she woke us up at 9:00 trying to get in to clean. Our beach towels were in our room upon arrival. Plus we travelled with Sunwing and rec'd a complementary bottle of wine in our room.

Buffet - there is only one buffet, it was not huge but had a decent selection. During the weekend it was very busy as lots of Panamaians visit the resort with their family and you often had to wait in line to get in. The food was not ever really hot. I think breakfast was the best - there was bacon on one day. Some of the food was very salty. There are two a-la-carte restaurants (Asian and sushi). We only ate at the Asian. It was quite good, although some of the dishes were quite salty. You can eat at the Asian restaurant at lunch time as well without reservations. I heard from one of our friends that the Sushi restaurant was very good as well. On Valentine's Day they served lobster in the buffet. On a regular day you can order lobster for $15.00
There is a pool snack bar that serves pizza, fries and chicken nuggets. The pizza is ok, the nuggets are those fake cutlette variety...not great but will do the trick with a cold beer.
Sports Bar - This place is kind of a hidden gem. Never busy! They open at 1:00 and start serving food at 3:00 - 6:00. The menu consists of things like burgers, nachos, wraps etc. The food is quite decent for pub food.They have karaoke in the evenings - I don't think I have every laughed so much in my life. It is nicely decorated and if you didn't know better you would think you were in a sports bar right here at home. You could easily go all week and never stumble into this bar so you may have to look for it. It is located in the complex that houses the gift shop and the entertainment stage - opposite the conference centre.

Bars - there are several bars around the resort: lobby bar, pool bar, sports bar, asian restaurant beach bar, pool bar and there is another one on the beach where the disco is located. All the bars were great! cold beer, blender drinks etc. (Tip at the pool bar we took some fruit from the sports bar buffet and gave it to the bartender he mixed it up with ice and some rum for a really great fresh spiked smoothie). The brand of alcohols were good brand names including the Rum (Bacardi) Tequila (JOSE CUERVO), Vodka (FINLANDIA), Wine is from Chili the brand they serve (both red & white) is FRONTERA.

The Salt Water Pool - On Sunday they let everyone go for the day, free of charge. It is quite something...go if you get the chance.

Beach - long! The sand gets very hot very early in the day so you really can only walk closer to the ocean where the sand is wet. If you walk to the left at low tide you can cross the river and get the "Woodys" and the "Decameron Resort" . If you walk to the left you can walk for a long time until you get to another river. In the morning you might get lucky to see some fishermen bringing in their nets. It was cool to watch them take the fish out of the nets with the birds circling!

Disco: opens at 11:00pm (I think). It is an open air disco right on the beach! We went once it was quite fun actually!

Other stuff!
Panama is hot!!! Bring a hat and lots of sunscreen!
Drinking water- you can drink the water everywhere, we had no issues whatsoever!
Horsebacking riding - there are horses on the beach, I think it is $20 for an hour. We saw a couple of scary skinny horses but if you look around there is a guy with a couple of very healthy looking horses!
Shopping - didn't really do any except when we stopped at the convenience store on the way to the hotel. A local beer was only .59 cents - can't complain about that)
Money - They basically only use USD, you might get some change that is in the Panamian currency but other then that only worry about having USDs. There is a bank machine in Bldg 1 off the lobby.
Excursions: didn't do any from this hotel as we went to the Gamboa Rainforest for the last three days of our trip where we knew we would have access to lots of activities very close by. Most excursions from the Playa Blanca were a two hour drive back to Panama City with the exception of the Alton Valle.

All in all it was a positive and very fun trip. We met some great people and partied like we were 25 again (Hola Matt, Dave, St. Jerome and Jamaica!!!).
Panama has a ton of history, there is lots to see and do there. In 2014 they will be opening an airport close to the resorts located on the beach when that happens tourism in Panama from the frozen north is really going to take off - my advice......go now while it is affordable!

Room Tip: Ask for a room close to the passive pool as it is really nice and quiet there. If you are a pool pe...
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  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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16  Thank dawat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 February 2012

Upon landing late in Panama and getting to our hotel at 1;30 am we were very surprised that they kept the buffet open for us because we hadnt eaten for a while and although we were all tired we were happy to eat. It took less than 5 minutes to book us in and give us our bracelets. We did this while the rest of our party were able to start eating.
They told us where are rooms were and they were easy to find and very clean nicely decorated with flowers and a bottle of wine. The rooms were clean with big beds. We had three queen size beds for three of us.
The buffet each day for all three meals had a good variety of food and wine with the meals as well. We found the coffee to be very good as well.
The bartenders at the swimup bar where we spent most of our time were excellent.. We found they either spoke English or understood enough that getting a drink was never a problem.
We had a small problem with our safe and called the front desk and it was fixed within 5 minutes.
There was work being done but it was quiet and they never started early to wake anyone..
The gardens were well kept and the grounds very clean. The top of the beach is blackish but near the water it is brown,The water is quite clean and the waves not very big. You get to experience the drastic differnce from high and low tides each day. There are lots of shells , star fish, interesting birds and shark heads.
THe activity staff is small and dont try real hard to get people invoved, The night shows are average with not much variety.
We went to Woodys during low tide. Just cross the creek and head down the beach towards the Canadian flag. Take a Canadian Souvenier with you. It is a very safe country and ther are very few venders. They do not hound you and children do not come running out for handouts, Everyone is friendly. Children learn English in Kindergarten so they speak very well.
We took a trip which we booked through the people on the beach.It would have cost $88.00 through the hotel and we paid 35 for almost the same trip. It was ahalf day trip to the waterfallsat Anton Valley with a trip to the zoo and a market. Nice trip with free beer on the ride.
Panama is a clean beautful country with perfect weather and nice people. We have been to Domincan 4X, Roatan, Honduras[main land] and Venezuela and this was one of the best. The only down fall si the disatance from th airport but a new one is under construction and in about two years will be right in the resort area.
I hope to reutrn again and will advise anyone to see this country.

Room Tip: WE were in 505 on the bottom florr near the quiet pool and it is close to everything but quiet at n...
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  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled with family
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5  Thank caledoniavickie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 February 2012

The resort was nice. The food was great. The staff were nice. The weather was very hot. I wish the shows spoke some english. Because of this, we did not watch. Most staff did not speak english. I wish there were more planned activities. Instead they asked if anyone wanted to play and during the week, there weren't enough people so nobody played anything.

We visited the canal. It was nice and well kept. he government has worked hard to do a good job taking this over from the Americans.

Overall, I didn't like the 2 hour bus ride from the airport or the $40 per person departure tax for each person. There was also a lot of garbage on the side of the roads and they appeared to be dumping something in the water because certain areas of panama City smelled when crossing a bridge.

I don't think I would come back to Panama when there are similar destinations that are just as good and cheaper.

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank joefromwaterloo047
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 February 2012

This is a pretty decently priced resort - and you get what you pay for. The food was good - not Couples quality, but that's not what we paid for.
I liked having the kids around - they were fun to watch in the quiet pool area.A lot of people came in from South America - Argentina, Columbia, etc. It added to the flavour of the place cause there are only so many fat, sunburned white people that you can stand to look at!
The rooms were musty, but hey, it's a hot tropical country. They did keep the place clean and were always doing repairs and painting.
Be careful where your room is - the beach ones are right in the action area - and the action is dominated by younger, partying types - and why wouldn't it be? If you want a retirement village, book to stay at one.
Yes, there are dogs on the beach - and they are totally harmless; extremely timid. We saw horses walking the beach on their own one day too - again, totally harmless.
The staff were lovely - quite friendly and accommodating with all requests. The entertainment ain't Los Vegas, but the performers are young and energetic - it was good old hokey resort fun.
My only bugaboo - the bus ride from the airport is a bit gruling. Bring a cold bottle of water and prepare to take 2-2.5 hours there and back. The good news - they're opening a new airport 10 mintues from the resort area in 2014 which will help a lot!
Now the old babe in the string bikini with the Dixie Wexford tan, smoking her brains out - now that hurt!

Room Tip: Choose rooms around the passive pool if you want to avoid loud music. Have plenty of water on hand a...
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  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled with family
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4  Thank Paula Y
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 February 2012

A recent trip to Panama was spoiled by a week long stay at Playa Blanca. Our room which we paid extra for because of an ocean view was between the disco and the pool. We were bombarded with loud heavy base music from 8:00am at the pool until the entertainment started about 7:00pm followed by the disco revving up until 2:00am. We were seriously sleep deprived not to mention it was the same songs repeated endlessly! The food was mediocre the room nothing special and smelled. Fortunately wedid a week tour of Panama first so we do have some positive memories!

  • Stayed: February 2012
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1  Thank Patriciaandalvin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel Playa Blanca Beach Resort

Address: 115 Km Via Interamericana, Farallon, Rio Hato 8437, Panama
Phone Number:
Region: Panama > Cocle Province > Rio Hato > Farallon
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Casino and Gambling Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Farallon
Price Range: $192 - $366 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Hotel Playa Blanca Beach Resort 3*
Number of rooms: 219
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Also Known As:
Playa Blanca Hotel Farallon
Playa Blanca Hotel And Resort
Hotel Playa Blanca Panama
Playa Blanca Resort Panama
Playa Blanca Panama City
Blanca Panama Playa
Hotel Playa Blanca Beach Resort Panama

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