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Punta Caracol Acqua-Lodge, Bocas del Toro 

Isla Colón
Bocas del Toro
Tel: 507 6612 1088
view web site ›'s insider take:

On the main island in the spectacular Caribbean archipelago of Bocas del Toro, Punta Caracol's nine bungalows sit on stilts above the turquoise water (as do many locals' houses in this part of the country). The thatch-roofed structures aren't exactly luxurious, but their spacious simplicity is just what the location calls for. Each has an upstairs bedroom with a bed encased in gauzy netting (mostly for show—insects aren't a problem); below is a bathroom with a roomy shower and a sitting area with doors that fling open to your private terrace. From there, it's only two giant steps before you're in the water (we checked—many times). Ask the staff to borrow a mask and snorkel; the undersea world here includes astounding sights such as starfish the size of dinner plates. The hotel runs tours of local villages and excursions to Bastimentos Island National Marine Park, but you might just prefer to relax in your hammock or on a chaise longue and watch the sun set. The open-air restaurant specializes in seafood, including the conch that gives the place its name.

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