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“Beautiful place and delicious food!”

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Punta Rica Beach & Jungle Villa
Reviewed 22 October 2013

We loved our stay at Punta Rica. The surroundings are gorgeous and the location is great for taking trips to surrounding islands. Richard was so accomodating and served the most delicious food! Such a relaxing, quiet place to be but at the same time, appreciated the wi fi access so that we could keep in touch with our kids at home. A great place to stay in Bocas and are so glad we found it!

Room Tip: All rooms are essentially the same.
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  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled with family
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1  Thank nikkicantu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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14 - 20 of 55 reviews

Reviewed 21 October 2013

This house is conveniently located on an island about 5 minutes from Bocas. It is a very nice secluded house that is close to everything via a taxi boat ride. Boat taxis into Bocas is only $1-$2 per person. The house has very large rooms, each with private living areas, private bathrooms and baths. All rooms in the house have private balconies.

We were a group of 7 (all family members) and we had all 4 rooms occupied. The owner, Richard, is a warm hearted individual who took great care of us. The breakfasts and dinners that were prepared were outstanding! We looked forward to each meal as we knew that both the meals and the presentations were excellent. On the last night we had lobster which was some of the best we've had.

The overall experience with our stay was simply outstanding! If we ever go back to that area, we'll definitely stay there again.

  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled with family
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2  Thank jcantu123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 October 2013

We had an excellent stay with Richard at Punta Rica. It was such a unique experience. You felt like you were in a tree house in the jungle, but with gourmet food and wifi. The service was superb; anytime you wanted to arrange for a boat Richard would make a call and it would happen. The accommodations were spotless and comfortable. The most amazing aspect was the food. It was so nice to be served breakfast and dinners at your leisure. They truly made us feel at home. Our family rented out all four units and we kind of took over the place. There was definitely enough room for us all to hang out together and also retreat to our private rooms. I recommend staying at Punta Rica for a true jungle experience amidst dozens of red frogs with easy access to all the islands.

  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled with family
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3  Thank senji1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 May 2013

My husband and I found ourselves with nowhere to stay in Bocas the night before our arrival, which resulted in some frantic e mails and phone calls at the last minute. When we got hold of Richard he apologised and said his place was currently closed and he unfortunately wouldn't be able to accommodate us. A short conversation followed, and by the end of it, Richard was inviting us to stay for the week, saying that we would be "like members of the family".  

This was no exaggeration. Richard doesn't run Punta Rica like a hotel at all, we honestly felt as if we were visiting friends - far from some money grabbing establishments you come across when you're travelling, all Richard cares about is showing his guests a great time and helping them fall in love with this country he now calls home. Punta Rica is an absolutely gorgeous spot in the jungle of Bastimentos. All the previous reviews about the food are spot on- I don't think we once felt hungry during our week in Bocas, we didn't stop eating the amazing food!

But undoubtedly the highlight of our stay in Bocas was a trip that Richard took us on over 2 nights. He has 2 friends who own properties in other areas of the region - one being a private island with cabins suspended directly over the caribbean, the other a gorgeous mountain  lodge with food worthy of a Michelin star! To experience 2 such different places, both with equally warm hospitality and gormet food as we experienced with Richard was such a treat - we went from jungle paradise to rustic Caribbean cabins to beautiful mountain scenery in the space of 3 days. We're told that Richard and the other two places (Urraca Private Island and El Refugio La Brisa Del Diablo) are going to start offering this as a tour for future guests. We can't recommend it enough - our only advice would be to stay at each place at least 2 nights, more if your schedule allows!

  • Stayed: May 2013
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4  Thank Loopster82
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 April 2013

We stayed at the villa for 3 nights for an executive retreat in February and had the entire villa for our group. Richard and Elena took great care of us.The villa was exactly described on the website. We had breakfast at the villa every morning and the food was great. The rooms are spacious and each suite had their own private balcony. Wifi service was good. Had great day trips to starfish and red frog beach. We rented atv's one day in bocas and rode out to bluff beach. It was nice to come back to the villa each afternoon and just relax. We will definitely be back!

  • Stayed: February 2013, travelled on business
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1  Thank PAULALAW
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 March 2013

We had a lovely time at Punta Rica, and in the Bocas area in general. We were a family of 4, with two kids (a teen and a tween). We were the only family there, taking up 2 of the 4 room/suites for 5 nights. All of the wonderful things that other reviewers have said are true.

The food prepared by Richard and Mariella and Elena was incredible, truly some of the best food we've ever had at a hotel. Several of us have a food allergy, and we informed Richard ahead of time. No dietary restriction was a trouble for him and they pulled out all the stops food-wise.

Breakfast included fresh coco bread, jam and nutella, cereal, fresh cut up fruit, hams and cheeses, plus an egg dish. Plus, a fresh batido every day. Fresh as can be and very delicious.

Dinner was the highlight. A 3-course dinner was served every night, with an appetizer, main course, and dessert. We had filet mignon one night, lobster tails another, and a delicious roast chicken another night. How they managed to find 5 nights' worth of dairy free desserts I will never know. One highlight was a custard (made with soy milk) with fresh passionfruit seeds on top. Another dessert highlight was a carrot cake with a glaze and toasted almonds that I am still dreaming about. Richard takes great pride in his cooking, and it shows.

We hit all of the great locations in the area: Bocas town (to get supplies or shop), Red Frog beach (meh but we saw some sloths really up-close), Tortuga beach (amazing!), Polo beach (great snorkeling - we were the ONLY ones there), Bluff Beach (a shlep but wild surf), The Point and Bibi's on Careneros (calm, relaxing, and awesome) and Bastimentos town (specifically, Alvin & Kecha's, yum). The beaches in the area are just incredible, with pristine water, and tons of privacy. Elena provided us with top-notch snorkel gear and lush beach towels, and arranged for us to go to some incredible snorkeling beaches.

There are some other wonderful things about Punta Rica worth mentioning:
1. Great WiFi, so you can read the news or check email, even in the middle of the rainforest.
2. Elena is beyond charming, and very helpful in terms of giving good advice on what to do. She went above and beyond, looking into surfing (being really considerate in checking surf conditions), recommending restaurants, identifying the perfect beaches, calling for us when we had a SNAFU with our ATM card.
3. Literally 5 feet from the dock of the place is a reef with great snorkeling.
4. There is tons of space here, and you can really spread out and make yourself feel at home (as you are encouraged to do). The photos here don't quite convey the feeling of spaciousness and openness that exist in real life.
5. If you have a whim (particularly food-related) and want it indulged, this is the place for you. Richard made the kids delicious and fresh pina coladas (no rum, of course) when they asked. After a long day of snorkeling, I requested rum punch. Delicious. Richard even made a special trip to the store to buy a special brand of Corn Flakes (that we don't have in the States) for my kid after he ate a whole box in one day. Mariella and Elena packed us a lunch to take to a remote beach, complete with plastic cups, fruit salad, and a cooler bag. The kindness they showed in attending to dietary restrictions could not have been more appreciated.
6. A lovely pitcher of cold, filtered/bottled water and lots of glasses is left out for you all day.

It is worth noting that Trip Advisor tends to skew highly in favor of small, highly-personal spots like this. So, I am giving advice in this review that it might not be the perfect spot for everyone. As others have mentioned, this might not be the perfect place for:
1. Anyone who likes to have control over everything. To get anywhere, you have to arrange for a boat to come get you. Not a big deal, but if you want to go wherever you want whenever you want, eat whatever you want when you want to eat it, it might be an issue.
2. Anyone who feels uncomfortable feeling like an esteemed guest, craves privacy or anonymity, or feels uncomfortable having to ask for things. As others have said, staff attend to your every whim. But you really are an esteemed guest. Note that every review here mentions all of the staff by name. They are excellent, attentive, and beyond gracious - but if you want to be left alone or feel like an "invisible hand" is hosting you, this is not the place for you.
3. Brand new couples, or other people who are sleep-disrupted or embarrassed when their partners use the bathroom. (The suites are huge, but the bathroom and bedroom are in the same room, with a low partition between the toilet and the sleeping area).
4. People who are picky eaters (or parents of picky eater) and who are embarrassed about being picky eaters, people who don't like/care about good food, or people who do not want to eat a lot of food. The food here is amazing, really incredible. I can't remember the last time I ate with such abandon (food allergies require a lot of vigilance in ordering at restaurants, but Richard took great care) and joy. I have to admit, though, by the 5th night of 3-course meals, even I was flagging.

Here's the only other specific piece of advice for the area: Bring cash! Bocas and the area run mostly on cash (not credit cards), and there is only ONE ATM in Bocas town. We wasted some valuable time going into town to hit the ATM.

  • Stayed: March 2013, travelled with family
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8  Thank SGNYC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 February 2013

We couldn't have been happier with our stay at Punta Rica! Richard and Elena (Collette was in Montreal) helped us plan each day to our liking. No request was too difficult for them. They arranged our private water taxi driver who stayed with us all day and took us wherever we wanted to go. The trek up the hill was long, with steps, so we were delighted that Richard had
people who carried our bags to the house. The roominess and separation of the bedroom suites was welcome. The house was large, with several balconies. There were many small red and yellow frogs to be seen on our short forays from the house. As it is necessary to leave the house to go to beaches, we really appreciated having our dedicated water taxi driver to take us to several beaches. The absolute highlight of the stay was the delicious food prepared by Elena, with the assistance of Mariella. Elena is a fabulous cook, preparing deli8ghtful, fresh fare. Her personality is a positive one, encouraging us to explore and enjoy. Don't miss her jewelry shop in Bocas del Toro. She specializes in handmade sea glass necklaces which are truly one of a kind. We would highly recommend this home!

  • Stayed: February 2013, travelled with friends
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1  Thank Rebecca S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Punta Rica Beach & Jungle Villa

Address: | Bastimentos Bocas del Toro, Isla Bastimentos, Panama
Phone Number:
Region: Panama > Bocas del Toro Province > Isla Bastimentos
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #8 of 18 Speciality Lodging in Isla Bastimentos
Price Range: $222 - $229 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 4
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
This villa, well known for its 4 comfortable 2 stories rooms, will fulfill your luxury expectations in the quietness of jungle and the included amazing breakfast and gourmet dinner. Enjoy the accessibility to towns and islands at only 10 minutes nice boat ride. Easily discover the superb beaches as well as many optional excursions as described on our web site. Your host will pamper you in a way your stay will be unforgettable. It is a nature lover's dream, being a sanctuary for indigenous red, orange and gold-colored frogs. Many species of birds, such as parrots, hummingbirds and the gorgeous Montezuma Oropendola can be seen right from the open-air decks of the house. Howler and white-faced monkeys as well as sloths are also an occasional sight. There are two beautiful reefs within a short swimming distance of our private beach and dock and the most popular snorkeling spot in Bocas, Hospital Point, is just a few minutes away. Be at one with nature while enjoying many gorgeous beaches at close proximity, all of them reachable over a nice boat ride. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Punta Rica Beach & Jungle Villa Panama/Isla Bastimentos, Bocas Del Toro

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