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La Loma Jungle Lodge and Chocolate Farm 3.0

Isla Bastimentos, Bocas del Toro Province, Panama

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Beautiful, remote property in the jungle with cacao farm 
  • Stylish, modern cabins with hot showers and wildlife sightings
  • All meals included at restaurant sourcing from on-site organic garden
  • Property includes jungle trails and mangrove beaches
  • Free chocolate farm tours, beach trips, and kayaks/canoes for use
  • Bar serves cocktails made with fresh ingredients
  • Catamaran trips, surfing, snorkeling, and more arranged for a fee
  • Sustainability efforts include solar panels and rain-catchment system
  • Strong sense of community including communal meals (con for some)

Cons

  • No TVs, Wi-Fi, or air-conditioning (pro for some)
  • Some cabins up steep hills, difficult to access for some guests 
  • Remote setting with no restaurants/shops in walking distance (pro for some)

Bottom Line

La Loma Jungle Lodge and Chocolate Farm is a mid-range property with 57 acres extending through tropical forests and cacao, banana, and coconut groves. Situated at one of the highest points on Bastimentos Island, the lodge feels totally removed from bustling Bocas Town, located about 10 minutes away by water taxi. Guests stay in four ranchos within the canopy, where wildlife such as rare birds and monkeys are easy to spot -- but there are no TVs or air-conditioning. All meals are included and made with organic ingredients from the on-site garden, and guests get free chocolate farm tours, trips to Red Frog beach, and use of kayaks and traditional wooden boats. This is a unique property offering an immersion in sustainable living and farming. Nearby Red Frog Beach Island Resort & Spa offers a more typical hotel experience. 

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Scene

Cacao farm in a tropical forest with rustic-chic cabins

This unique property includes mangrove bays and beaches, jungle trails, and a cacao farm that guests can tour. As if that weren't environmentally enticing enough, the four guest cabins mimic local architecture and are made of sustainably harvested lumber as well as bamboo and wild cane. So while the feel here is rustic and removed from the world, it's also modern and aware, from the organic garden and gourmet meals to the community-minded international guests. Everyone is encouraged to get involved and get their hands dirty here, whether it's digging up vegetables and catching snapper for dinner, or pulling on rubber boots and helping to harvest and grind the cacao. The restaurant is an open-air wooden building, where hand-crafted wooden tables and benches are illuminated by candle light and surrounded by hammocks. While meals are communal, however, the cabins themselves are private and quiet. 

Location

Cacao farm on Isla Bastimentos, 10 minutes fro Bocas Town

Map of La Loma Jungle Lodge and Chocolate Farm

The lodge is located on Isla Bastimentos, located about a 10-minute boat ride from Bocas Town and about 15 to 20 minutes from the airport. This island feels like a world unto itself, removed from the bustling scene in Bocas and filled with palm tree-lined beaches, coral reefs, mangrove islands, and incredible wildlife -- including sloths and sea turtles and a National Marine Park. Red Frog Beach is a three-minute drive or 11-minute walk away, and the village of Salt Creek, home to a Ngobe Indian population, is about 10 minutes' drive. 

Rooms

Rustic ranchos with modern accents and spacious decks

Guest ranchos are immersed in the forest and feel comfortable and stylish, with hard-wood floors and furniture, and chic accents such as handcrafted wooden lamps and throw pillows with modern patterns. Low-lying wooden beds have simple bedding in soft colors and are protected by canopy-style mosquito nets. Guests often view rare birds, monkeys, and sloths from their cabins, which have spacious wooden decks with hammocks. Keeping with the au natural vibe, there's no Wi-Fi, air-conditioning, or TVs, though cabins do have ceiling fans. One particularly nice touch: banana muffins, coffee, and juice are delivered to rooms at no charge early every morning. Ponchos and rain boots are also available on rainy days. Each cabin has a private bathroom and shower with hot water, which guests are encouraged to conserve, and some bathrooms are open-air. Some cabins have a very private feel, with no other buildings in view. Guests with mobility challenges should note that a few of the ranchos are located up a steep hill. 

Features

Organic meals, cacao farm tours, and jungle hikes

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are included in rates -- including a pre-breakfast treat of banana muffins, juice, and coffee delivered to cabins every morning. The restaurant uses fresh produce grown in the on-site organic garden, and guests can help harvest vegetables, gather leaves, or even fish for snapper to be prepared and served in the restaurant. Guests frequently praise the chocolate desserts made with cocoa sourced from the property. Vegan food is available, too. Hiking on jungle trails, tours of the chocolate farm, trips to Red Frog beach, and use of kayaks and traditional wooden boats are all included in a stay. Cave exploring trips, locally guided jungle tours, catamaran sailing trips, surfing trips and more can also be arranged for a fee. Solar panels and rain-catchment systems are among the sustainability efforts here. 

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Address

Bahia Honda, Isla Bastimentos, Panama

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