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Punta Caracol Acqua-Lodge, Bocas del Toro 

Complete misrepresentation

Posted on: January 11, 2011 at 8:53PM

by dhughes_01
I am a traveler that depends greatly on reviews posted by others, whether it be for a local restaurant, a massage or a place to stay. It is very rare that I am not able to read through the fake posts from the company & their the case of Punta Caracol I clearly made a mistake and did not do my homework well enough as my girlfriend and I both arrived and immediately felt "duped" as the hotel is misrepresented online. I ask only that if you disregard this review, that you please please post your own review upon your return as I guarantee you it will not be a positive one. To preface my reviews: I travel extensively and have stayed in everything from a sleeping bag in a tent on safari to the most beautiful of Auberge resorts. Punta Caracol claims to have a high quality "resort", charges hundreds of dollars a night, and does not come anywhere close to living up to what they advertise. I will start with the positives: * The arial and exterior views (from a distance) of the individual cabins is great. Makes for a beautiful postcard. * The isolation from the rest of the world, town, etc. is quite nice (although cabin fever can easily set in) * The staff is nice And the issues, from big to small: * The rooms are damp and smell slightly like mildew * There is only 12v electrical in the cabins and it is hard to see/read at night * The hotel is on a sensitive septic system. Used toilet paper must be put into a garbage can that is emptied once a day. Mixed with the heat...not so nice at times. * The cabins are old, the paint is chipping and mold spots are in the showers * The food at dinner is poorly prepared. One must choose that morning between 2 or 3 options (most of which include frozen, chewy shrimp) and as someone who enjoys good food, I was shocked at the lack of flavor and poor preparation. * There are hundreds of little black bugs (gnats?) that are hard to see and bite ankles and exposed body parts. Wear bug repellant. * At dinner the staff has one mix on their iPod that includes Celine Dion (Titanic song) and it is the same music each night * The hotel & wait staff (one in the same) are free to use their cell phones (even in the middle of meal-time) and many of them have the latest hip hop beats on their phone that competes with Celine Dion, not helping to make a romantic dinner (bad food, lots of biting gnats(?) and repetitive music) * The water in the showers smells terrible (sulfur?) and the heat is inconsistent * The coral surrounding the hotel is dead and there are only some fish when the hotel staff throws bread into the water) * There are a handful of starfish in the immediate vicinity of the hotel...and many dead ones (black in color). If you venture out, beyond a stones throw, from the rooms there are no starfish and no mollusks (what they eat) anywhere to be found. This is not their native environment and I would not be surprised if the hotel collects them and throws them there every couple months. * The housekeeping was washing a raft with soap and a hose and dumping huge amounts of soap into the water (which is clearly part of the reason why the coral is dead) * The tea available is so old it literally doesn't steep even with two tea bags. * To charter a 4-hour private boat tour we were quoted $60 at Hotel La Coralina (highly recommended) whereas at Punta Caracol we were offered 2-hours for $80. * There was no reception person most of the day and when we tried to book massages we were told that they didn't have anyone and that we could rent a boat to go into town and try to find a place there. I truly could continue to discuss the numerous small and large issues that I experienced with Punta Caracol. If, after reading this review and others, you decide to stay at Punta Caracol I can only urge you to please complete review upon your return (with photos, if possible) so that other travelers who also depend on review-sites are able to make an informed decision about where they stay.