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Reviewed 6 January 2018

Our family of four just spent 4 very cool days at Punta Rica Jungle Villa in Bocas. If you are reading this review, then you must already be thinking seriously about two major decisions for a vacation: Going to Panama and Spending Time in Bocas del Toro. If so, then you should also know that overall Panama is still developing its tourism infrastructure (not yet at Costa Rica standards) and that Bocas del Toro as a region is fragmented, somewhat isolated, most of the beaches are not safe for swimming (tourists drown every year in the riptides), and biting insects are everywhere. I would consider Bocas an adventure destination and NOT a beach vacation.
And so, if you know all this and still want to go, then I would highly recommend Punta Rica Jungle Villa, which is really like a B&B in the jungle. Our hosts Elena and Collette could not have been nicer, greeting us with hugs on arrival and made us feel like guest in their home. The eco-lodge is beautiful with large comfortable rooms (for a jungle villa!), and the food (included) was simply outstanding. But it is an eco-lodge and relies on solar power. After 24 hours of clouds/rain, we ran out of electricity for about 12 hours (not a big deal, really, but a little inconvenient). While there are sketchy businesses offering tours all over the main island in Bocas Town, you do not need to investigate this at all. Elena works closely with two boat captains who will take you anywhere in the archipelago you want to and will customize each day to your interests and schedule at the same price as the tour companies that pack you onto boats like sardines. The weather changes by the minute, and you have to live in the moment. The villa has a dock but was not swimmable when we were there due to intermittent heavy rain causing murky water, and you do need to take a boat everywhere, ranging from a 10 minute ride to the main island to 45 minutes to Zapatilla Cays, beautiful undeveloped islands off the coast of Bastimentos.
Do your research in advance because not everything you read about Bocas on the tourism websites is accurate, so know what you are getting into. That said, our 15 and 12 year old, who have traveled all over the world, really enjoyed the experience and rated the trip very highly. We saw other hotels/resorts all over the area on multiple islands, but I cannot honestly say we would not have chosen any of them over Punta Rica. It was a truly memorable experience.

  • Stayed: December 2017, travelled with family
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Thank Jonathan S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 April 2017 via mobile

We've just come back from our stay in Bocas and could have not chosen a better place! ... The hostesses Elena and Naima are so wonderful they anticipate anything you need to feel at home. They even went our of their way to accommodate our ten months old baby! Looooooved Punta Ricas!

Stayed: April 2017, travelled with family
Thank WillShootFirst
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
puntaricabocas, Manager at Punta Rica Beach & Jungle Villa, responded to this reviewResponded 17 April 2017

Was our pleasure to had with us your beautiful and lovely family..!
Hope you all come back us you said..!
Saludos!
Elena

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 December 2016

We spent four nights in October and couldn't have enjoyed it more. The room is precisely what you think of when you envision a jungle villa with beautiful views over the forest and bay. Isolated but a quick boat ride from everything. The food was fantastic and the service superb, welcoming and friendly. We spent our days snorkeling from the private dock, kayaking across the bay to the "private" beach and reef at Hospital Point, walking across the island to Red Frog and a boat tour to the Marine National Park.

  • Stayed: October 2016, travelled as a couple
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Thank costaricaguide
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 January 2016

My husband and son (12) stayed for four nights at Punta Rica at the end of December, spending New Year's Eve there, which also happens to be our son's birthday.

We had a very enjoyable stay overall. The property is like a large, luxury tree house, built on stilts in the jungle, close to the water's edge -- though it should probably be described as a lodge. You get to Punta Rica by boat (we used a water taxi for just a few $) and our host Richard met us at the main jumping off point -- Bocas Town -- and traveled with us to Punta Rica -- which was a very thoughtful and welcoming touch.

If you're thinking about a stay at Punta Rica, I would say it will be most enjoyed by those looking for a quiet get-away and a truly authentic jungle-type experience, where you can relax and enjoy the flora and fauna that surrounds you. We saw numerous hummingbirds, and heard parrots and monkeys, including "night monkeys" calling to each other. It is not the same concept as a large hotel and doesn't want to be. It offers personal service and real care -- we felt more like we were staying at a friend's house.

Each day you can laze about, but if you prefer, you also have a variety of things to do, and Richard and his helpers will ensure you know what is available, and will make it happen for you. While there, we went to Red Frog Beach and also a longer excursion to Monkey Island, which Richard suggested as my son is crazy about monkeys. I will write a review about that experience separately, but for my son it was his "best experience in my whole life, mummy,". We are grateful to Richard for suggesting that excursion, because we had not discovered it ourselves and it was the highlight of our trip to Panama.

Here are a few things to note:

Accommodation
Simple, clean, comfortable rooms on two levels. Good mattress. The property is "off-grid", so no air conditioning -- the property is cooled by breezes coming up from the water. There are lots of chairs and hammocks to lounge about in. Don't expect big screen TVs or to use a hair dryer or flat irons while you are there -- the property has its own generator and the availability of power was never an issue, but heavy-duty electrical items are off limits. The property is about peace and quiet -- though it does have wi-fi .

Beaches
There is a very small, sandy beach area at the foot of the property, by the dock, but lots of rain prior to our visit meant that it wasn't suitable for swimming. We didn't mind this at all. There are ample beaches to visit nearby (by water taxi) and the folks at Punta Rica will give you everything you need for your visit -- beach towels, foldable chairs, etc. We went to Red Frog beach, which is beautiful, with great waves, especially if you're into surfing, but will charge you $5 US per person to use it, and the water taxi there is $5 US per person too. I don't know if all other beaches nearby charge, but perhaps not, as Red Frog is part of a resort.

Meals
The cuisine at Punta Rica is truly exceptional. I was amazed at what could be served up. Dinners and breakfasts were always a delight and the food was plentiful. Breakfast and dinner were included in the price. Meals are served to guests in communal style -- i.e. you are all at one table together, so Punta Rica is best for those who enjoy mingling, at least a little, with the other guests. We very much enjoyed chatting with the one other family who was staying at the time, visiting all the way from Paris -- and exchanging details of our day, and plans for the next.

Your Hosts
Richard and his sister Colette, who was assisting with guests during our visit, really were terrific all round. We felt they were genuinely interested in our overall experience and went out of their way to help us get the most from our visit. While we were there our son celebrated his 12th birthday (on New Year's Eve), and our hosts created a fabulous birthday cake (even checking with us first what flavour he would prefer), and provided the most amazing candles to go on top. They also provided us with our own firework display on the deck! It was a truly magical evening, hearing the water lapping down below, and experiencing all the fireworks and music coming from across the water from the main town.

Thank you Richard and Colette for a wonderful stay and a very memorable birthday for our boy. Thank you Elena for all your assistance at breakfast and with our day trips (Elena knows everyone and everything when it comes to excursions), and Jeremiah for your perpetually smiling face and for lugging our (very) heavy suitcases up and down the steps from the dock!

Punta Rica rocks! In a quiet, beautiful way.

Stayed: December 2015
1  Thank Exploreventure
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 June 2015

My husband and I spent 3 nights at Punta Rica and we loved everything about it. Richard the owner is a very special person that took great care of us and we felt we could totally trust him. The Punta Rica staff is very friendly and efficient. The food was amazing and we had dishes from different countries every meal. And of course, the location is simply fantastic. The room is surrounded by lush vegetation and there you can also find colorful red frogs. The atmosphere is very relaxing, ideal for getting away from the daily stress. From the lodge you can take boat trips to other beautiful locations such as Zapatillas , Coral Cay, and Red Frog Beach. We definitely recommend it and will certainly go back.

  • Stayed: May 2015, travelled as a couple
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Thank Daniela F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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