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Sand Dollar Beach Bed & Breakfast 2.5

Bocas Town, Isla Colon, Bocas del Toro Province

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Charming, six-room property has great ocean views
  • Located right across the street from a small, peaceful beach
  • Quaint rooms come with shared porches and colonial-style furniture
  • Game room and library with many books and board games on-site
  • Beach toys, boogie boards, and snorkel gear available; bikes for rent
  • Fresh breakfast made-to-order every morning is included in the rates
  • Free Wi-Fi

Cons

  • No full service restaurant on-site
  • Located a distance from the town (requires a 30 minute-walk or a cab ride)
  • No TVs in the rooms (a pro for some)
  • Bathrooms are small and rustic, with tight showers with shower curtains
  • No pool, gym, or spa

Bottom Line

The tiny Sand Dollar Beach Bed & Breakfast, with just six rooms, brings the atmosphere of a charming New England-style inn to Panama. The plantation-style two-story house features big open porches with Adirondack chairs and hammocks, and great views from the second floor. The simple property has lovely gardens and a small beach across the street. A fresh breakfast is served every morning, but there is no formal restaurant, and it’s a bit of a hike to town -- a 30 minute walk or short cab ride to reach any restaurants or bars. This inn is well-suited to those seeking a solid value at a quaint, yet bare bones, property -- there's no pool, gym, or spa.

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Scene

A tiny, quaint bed and breakfast with island flair

The Sand Dollar Beach Bed & Breakfast is in a lovely plantation-style two-story house with beautiful open porches. The hotel merges two different styles, combining a quaint New England-style inn with some island flair. For example, the house is painted in a very Caribbean shade of sunny yellow, with lavender doors and white trim. The porches are lined with wooden Adirondack chairs in breezy tropical hues. Two chairs and a little table sit in front of each room, and there are a few hammocks strung about the area.

With just six rooms, the hotel feels very intimate and friendly. Guests will mingle on the large porches -- a major feature of the hotel – and enjoy the great views of the beach and bay. The hotel is on a stretch of the main road, but a bit set back and secluded. It is located next to the botanical garden, but there are not many other things in the neighborhood, so it’s extremely quiet and peaceful. The hotel is both family-friendly and serene;, those looking for nightlife should look at places in the town instead. 

From the road, the hotel is marked with a wooden gate and a white picket fence with a hand-painted sign hanging above. Inside there’s a long stone path that leads up to the main house. The path has custom sand-dollar mosaic tilework and is surrounded by flowers and a lovely garden, bringing a little bit of the English countryside (but with palm trees) to Panama. It feels like a garden home, but on the beach.

Location

In the middle of Isla Colon, about a five- to 10-minute taxi ride from town

The Sand Dollar Beach Bed & Breakfast is located in the middle of Isla Colon, the largest island of the archipelago of Bocas del Toro off the coast of Panama. It’s situated on a small cove along the main road, halfway between Bocas Town and Bluff Beach. The latter is one of the largest beaches on the island, and a local favorite.  

Those looking for an active atmosphere and nightlife should consider staying closer to town -- Sand Dollar is a ways outside the action. It takes about a 30-minute walk, a 15-minute bike ride, or a five- to 10-minute cab ride to reach the town. But those looking for a peaceful, quiet atmosphere that’s close to nature will be pleased. The large, green property borders the forest and is next door to a botanical gardens. There’s a small, narrow beach just across the street, but other beaches are a short distance away. It’s about a 10-minute taxi ride to reach the airport.

Rooms

Lovely rooms are outfitted with colonial furniture and shared porch spaces.

Inside the rooms, the decor is reminiscent of what you'd find in a traditional New England bed-and-breakfast -- but with a bit of Caribbean flair. The walls are painted in soft tropical colors, such as balmy blue or pale green. The furniture follows a classic colonial style, featuring elegant four-poster beds of cherry wood. The wood-clapboard walls are farmhouse style, while nautical clocks and accessories bring in elements of the sea. Each room has air-conditioning, a mini-fridge, safe, and small desk. The bathrooms are beachy with light colors and hardwood floors, but they're small and showers simply have plastic shower curtains.

Outside each room there is a designated area of the large porch with two Adirondack chairs and a small table. However, the porch space is open and shared, so there isn’t much privacy. While the four rooms on the second floor are roughly the same size, the downstairs suite on the first floor is larger, with a two-bedroom layout that’s great for families. Behind the main house, there is a small cottage, that contains two bedrooms, called the casita. It also includes a full kitchen and small living room, as well as a nice private porch with Adirondack chairs and a hammock, but it does not have air-conditioning.

Features

Tropical gardens, a small beach, a library and game room, and fresh breakfast daily

The lush tropical property features a big green lawn and a variety of tropical plants, trees, and flowers. In the big backyard, there’s a rope swing hanging from one tree. Fruit trees and fresh coconuts abound, and there’s a chicken coop for fresh eggs. Directly across the road from the hotel is a small crescent-shaped beach known as Sand Dollar Beach. The space gets very narrow at high tide, but it’s still a lovely beach with soft sand, perfect for a peaceful walk, and the water is generally calm and friendly to swimmers here.

On the second floor of the main house, there is a nice library and lounge area with window seating and a huge bookshelf stocked with many books. Several board games are available, as well as cards, puzzles and books about Panama and local wildlife. Beach gear like snorkels, sand toys, Frisbees, and boogie boards are available for guests to borrow as well, and bikes can be rented.

There is no restaurant at the hotel, but there is a lovely kitchen and dining area with seating on the front porch where breakfast is served every morning. Nice white wicker furniture and bar stools along the kitchen counter provide seating. Coffee and tea are available all day, and there's a tap to fill up drinking water bottles, as well as lots of fresh fruit.

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Address

Bocas Road, Bocas del Toro Province 12345, Panama

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