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Reviewed 7 April 2016

Its a diamond in the rough.
Great location and setting.
Warm friendly staff.
Dinners absolutely awful. Lunch passable.
Canned peaches for dessert, Canned tuna fish at lunch-in Central America and at these prices.

A few things, so simple to fix, management has heard it before. Why don't they improve??

Date of stay: March 2016
  • Trip type: Travelled with family
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
11  Thank Steven F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 March 2016 via mobile

Punta Caracol is located in an amazing place! Crystal clear water, beautiful sea life and amazing views. Not to mention the great sunsets.

I have three kids between 12 and 8 years old and they enjoyed the experience very much! Snorkeling and kayaking from the lodge is very nice.

The cabins are very nice and clean, and a dream for the eco-conscious traveler. The service is very attentive and accommodating.

Now, there are opportunities to improve the experience...

The most critical one is the sleeping experience. During windless nights, which was the case of the three nights we spent there, it gets very hot and full of mosquitoes. The mosquito nets are not effective; they stop the breeze but not the mosquitoes, making you hostage of the insects inside the net. Ideally, they should install A/C in the rooms. At the very least, the need to dramatically improve the ventilation in the rooms.

The other opportunity is the dinning experience. Some items were really good and others not as much. For the price you pay, the dinners should be all great.

Overall, we are giving four points to this lodge because the setting is simply spectacular, the hotel management takes very good care of the guests and we are confident they will make the changes to address the opportunities mentioned above.

Date of stay: March 2016
Trip type: Travelled with family
3  Thank RJP_Reviews
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 March 2016 via mobile

It all looks great on photos and you think it's every bodies dream of the Karibien Area - but only until you get there and visit your room...
This is much too ecological to be a great place for luxurious vacation. It's supposed to by high standard and as such it had been included into our program.
Guess what - there is no electricity in your chalet to recharge a phone or use any normal electrical device. There is now air condition and not even a window in certain parts of the chalet, like in the upper flor where you'll find you bed - in a place where they urge you to use repellant against mosquitos.
There is no beach - so you can only use you chalet's terrace on which you will be exposed to highly aggressive sun from lunch time on - we had to stay inside, where there is no AC as said - only ventilation and it gets hot.

Service is the only positive aspect as people are nice and helpful there. Also the food was ok.

We were supposed to stay three days and made arrangements straight away to get out of there at the second day.

If you like 2-3 Star comfort at the price of 4-5 Stars and if you are on honey moon and don't care about anything but the bed you stay in than this is a good place to stay.
For all others I suggest other destinations.

Date of stay: March 2016
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
4  Thank larswoessner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jaime B, Gerente at Punta Caracol Acqua Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 29 March 2016

Dear Sir,
Regarding your comments:
1)Too ecological
Absolutely, we agree with you that we are strongly ecological oriented. We do believe that all efforts made to relieve some pressure to the Planet should not be only encouraged but also welcome. International recognition such CNN´s “world´s most sustainable hotel” endorses us.
We do believe, like the huge majority of our guests, that sustainable energy such as the solar, used in our facilities, gives a plus rather than a minus. We do advise in our webpage that electrical devices such as hair driers should not be brought.
For the other gadgets such as cellular phones, computers, tablets, etc… we do have 110volts convertors in the reception and the restaurant/bar area. Our guest charge them while having a meal, drinking a cocktail or tanning in the terrace. The acqua-lodge offers free wifi internet .
2 Air conditioning & Windows
Experiencing life over the Caribbean Sea is a privilege sought by the majority of our guest.
Our environmental conservation orientation, prevents us the use of air conditioning, instead we use ceiling fans.
The palafitos were designed to maximize that experience, and one of the uniqueness design is the front window in the second floor which are two big cortinas that once retracted offers you a gorgeous panorama of the Caribbean sea and the highland mountains of the continental area. Also, helps cooling the room with pure sea breeze .
First time we receive a bad review for that.
3. The beach
Although we offer a daily free boat ride to starfish beach, about 8 minutes from the acqua-lodge, many of our guests prefer to remain in the acqua-lodge and enjoy a swim in our transparent waters from their terraces. For many of them the beach experience is more available but experiencing an acqua-lodge over the Caribbean is a rare opportunity
4 Too much sun
Living in the tropics has some issues. Rain happens, and not all our guest harmonized with that.
But complaining about too much sun (and you decided to visit the tropics!) also first time. Basically everybody feels nice with some sun around here. Cooling yourself by jumping to the Caribbean sea from your doorstep is an option practiced by many of our guests.
5. Photos
No comments. The photos of the acqua lodge are in the web, taken by more than 10,000 guests.
Google image, trip advisor, etc…

And finally, as you were mentioning luxury standards and stars qualifications I have to inform you that the world´s tourism industry does disagree profoundly with you.
Concepts like telephone, minibar, a/c , cable TV., shampoo& body lotion set, etc… in the rooms had been ruled out long time ago when It comes the time to qualify a standard of a hotel, as most of those things are also found in pensions and motels near highways as well as in Dubai new super luxury hotels.
Instead new concepts less trivial and with higher focus arose such as “uniqueness”, “the experience”, “originality”, “sophistication”, ”harmony”, “location” “environmentally friendly” “Social responsibility”, “exclusivity”, etc…
Is in those concepts that Punta Caracol acqua-lodge has received many international awards and consider being one of the top 10 acqua-lodge in planet (The National Traveler, The Independent, CNN, etc…)
That is why, although we have a safe box in each room, we do not mention or advertise it in any place, as we believe our potential guest will not visit us for it, but for the privileged location, uniqueness or our facilities design and the national hotel quality service winning award received by the Ministry of Tourism in Panama.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 March 2016 via mobile

For 450.00 per nite I never expected to be bitten by so many insects , yes the bed was surrounded by a net but many holes that didn't stop any of them . The desk didn't have a repellant for me to buy, no working fan in the bedroom , was hot ,hot and impossible to sleep .
Safe box didn't work left my passport lock-in . Good food , nice service Beautiful scenery and very clean room and linen . It is an expensive adventure.

Date of stay: February 2016
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
2  Thank Avilahet
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 February 2016

First off the good: The location is spectacularly beautiful and the facilities look beautiful from the outside. You can only get there by water and the approach from boat is pretty cool. The staff is incredibly friendly, attentive and helpful. There is plenty to see in the water with the snorkeling gear provided by the lodge )or without as the water is very clear). There is a boardwalk into a mangrove which is a cool walk. We took out sea kayaks and went searching for monkeys, though we did not see any. Every morning we saw tons of parrots flying off on what I guess is their morning commute. The late afternoons/early evenings hanging outside our bungalow was very nice as there was usually a strong breeze and we had great weather. For the days we hired a boat which was able to pick us up at the dock at the lodge and drop us there at the end of the day. The staff were great about greeting the boat and giving towels for us to the boat captain before we even got to the boat.

OK, now the not as good. The food was average. Breakfast was generally pretty good with fresh juices and the bacon was pretty good. Dinners were just OK. While the dining area is under a massive straw roof, the design of the area limits the air flow such that the breeze had a hard time getting through. It was quite hot when we were there (around 90 each day, high humidity) and with the white table cloths hanging down to your legs and no air movement, it was very uncomfortable in the dining area.

The bungalows were a bit drab (I get that this is an eco-lodge so no air conditioning, limited electricity, showers with salty water, etc.). We are a family of 4 with the kids (14 and 17) sleeping on the lower level and us on the top level. The top level has one large window centered on the rear wall (facing west). Our first night there was no breeze at all until just before dawn. There is a ceiling fan (but it is very ineffective) and we slept with the mosquito netting up (which essentially stops air from passing through, along with mosquitos). Needless to say, we barely slept the first night. Our second night, there was more of a breeze but it was generally coming from the northwest such that it blew in to the window in the upstairs bedroom at an angle that took it down the stair and no where near the bed, again providing no relief from the heat and humidity. The lower level was a little better. Our third night, the wind was more straight out of the west and we bagged the mosquito netting and got a bit more sleep. Other than sleeping or if it rains you are going to spend your time out of the bungalow.

Important to the consideration of this lodging experience is the price. This is a very expensive place to stay. When I measure the price against the experience, it was not worth it to me. This makes it hard to put an overall rating to it (which I put as average) as it was not poor or terrible but it was not worth the price we paid.

Date of stay: December 2015
  • Trip type: Travelled with family
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
5  Thank Greg D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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