We sought out Punta Caracol for a relatively affordable over the water option. I agree with some prior reviews that compare this to glamping. The price is for the location - not for high end luxury.
Our arrival was smooth- the resort has a driver pick you up at the airport and take you to the resorts dock. From there it is a pretty short 10-15 minute boat ride to the resort. No issues.
The room. We stayed in Luna 3- which is the farthest from the restaurant. We liked being on the end and having another cabin only on one side. The beds are adequately comfortable. There is power for languid ceiling fans and small lamps from solar but not enough to charge any devices- all charging and wifi happens at restaurant. There is no AC and the breeze does not reach well into the bedroom due to the very small window and heavy thatched roof. We tried to mitigate the fact that the bug nets block most of any residual breeze but found that tiny biting gnats fly right through the standard mosquito nets we bought. The tight weave blocks the no see ups but also the breeze. We had read about this so we also brought a mini air conditioner that charges on solar power and blows air across an ice pack. This was also a fail as the resort did not have a freezer as we inquired prior to the trip. They have an ice chest/box - so our gel pack wouldn't freeze. Anyway- it cooled off during the night so it was only uncomfortable during initial falling asleep. Of note - the showers also are mixed fresh and salt water but didn't leave you feeling too sticky. Overall OK.
The food- great when Panamanian- ceviche, local soups, etc. Breakfast was totally solid and the fresh fruit was usually pretty good. I don't recommend any seafood we had other than ceviche- the fish and shrimp we had were super super over cooked. Desserts again were best when local/simple. Do not expect gourmet and you will probably be satisfied.
The location- superb- plenty of coral and sea life. Water is clear but not crystal due to nearby mangroves, river silt. Endless safe entertainment for our teenage son. It's great to be able to relax while he amused himself for hours.
The staff- mostly really nice but service is not a priority here. A couple of examples. When you email the resort - you are told that you need to pay for boat transfers to town. In fact- they don't charge you if you take one of the planned trips made by staff. However there is no schedule so you can't plan any activities in advance. In the AM they remain cagey about the return times which is a little stressful. It would be much better if the resort just had two AM trips and two PM trips on a set schedule. The staff are also a bit difficult about helping you with arrangements. For example- since they wouldn't give us a time for AM boat- I couldn't arrange pickup by Flying Pirates for ATV rental. So I asked manager to call flying pirates to coordinate once they figured it out. He was not great about it and asked me what their number was. Really- it's the top rated activity on the tiny island you run a resort in and you don't have their number on a list? The boat trip we arranged through the hotel also no showed- but they did call and get a replacement- although they seemed totally unaware of the advance arrangements we had made.
Overall. 4 but not a 5 star experience. Greater happiness through lowered expectations.
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- Also Known As:
- Punta Caracol Acqua Hotel Isla Colon
- Punta Caracol Acqua Resort
- Punta Caracol Acqua Lodge Panama/Isla Colon