Punta Caracol Acqua Lodge Review

Author: Dan Brewer

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Who doesn’t dream of staying in an overwater bungalow in an idyllic tropical location? In much of the world, the cost of this dream is prohibitive, but in the Caribbean region of Bocas del Toro in Panama, staying at Punta Caracol Acqua Lodge, your dream can affordably come true.

Bocas del Toro is the top island destination along Panama’s Caribbean coast. Visitors are drawn to Bocas del Toro by its vibrant turquoise waters, beautiful scenery and laid back way of life. A stay at the Punta Caracol Acqua Lodge is an ideal way to enjoy the very best of Bocas del Toro.

The following is an honest Punta Caracol Acqua Lodge review based on our two night stay with kids in February. 

Two overwater bungalows float over turquoise Caribbean water at the Punta Caracol Acqua Lodge in Boca del Toro, Panama.

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Punta Caracol Acqua Lodge Description

The Punta Caracol Acqua Lodge is small resort of overwater bungalows on the Caribbean Sea in Panama. There are nine overwater bungalows at the resort, consisting of a master suite, three Luna cabins and five Punta Caracol suites. 

The buildings within the Punta Caracol Acqua Lodge are painted in beautiful tropical colors which are a perfect complement to the tropical Caribbean surroundings. The turquoise-green buildings almost disappear into the water when the sun is shining and the water color is at its most vibrant. 

a bright yellow walkway leads to the affordable overwater bungalows at the Punta Caracol Acqua Lodge in Panama.

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In addition to our two night stay at the Punta Caracol Acqua Lodge, we also spent four more nights in Bocas Town. See what we got up to during our family trip to Bocas del Toro.

Punta Caracol Location

The Punta Caracol Acqua Lodge is located on the main island in the Bocas del Toro archipelago, halfway between Bocas Town and the famous Starfish Beach.

The overwater bungalows are located just offshore of a mangrove forest on the main island of Bocas del Toro. If you’d like to see the mangroves up close, there is a walkway from the overwater bungalows to the mangroves on the island.

Celine Brewer walks on a wooden boardwalk which connects the Punta Caracol Acqua Lodge with the mainland mangrove forest.

Punta Caracol Suites

We stayed in a Punta Caracol suite for two nights with our two kids. There are two floors in this overwater accommodation. 

The main floor of a Punta Caracol suite consists of the main living area, with two single beds which can also be used to sit on. There’s plenty of shelves and hangers to store your stuff. There’s a large bathroom and shower. The single beds each have mosquito netting and there is a ceiling fan overhead.

There are two single beds on the main floor of the Punta Caracol Suites.
The two single beds were perfect for our kids.

The upper floor of a Punta Caracol suite has a large queen sized bed, with mosquito netting and a ceiling fan. A canvas curtain can be opened to let in more of the fresh sea air. This is especially nice at night to hear the lapping waves and feel the sea breeze as you fall asleep. With so much refreshing sea air coming in, we didn’t even miss having air conditioning at all.

The upper floor of a Punta Caracol Suite consists of a large bed with mosquito netting.

Although each bed had mosquito netting, we didn’t see a single mosquito during our February stay at the Punta Caracol Acqua Lodge.

The main level of the suite has an overwater deck and a private dock out the back. The Punta Caracol Acqua Lodge provides a hammock if you’d like to hang it on your deck – which of course you should! The deck also has two padded sun beds, perfect for settling in and reading a good book to the relaxing tropical sounds all around. 

Celine Brewer, owner of FamilyCanTravel.com, rests on her hammock in her suite at the Punta Caracol Acqua Lodge in Boca del Toro, Panama.

The small private dock is attached to the deck. It’s just big enough for four people to sit on and dangle their feet in the Caribbean Sea and watch the fish below. There’s a wooden staircase leading into the clear, warm Caribbean water below. 

The rooms at the Punta Caracol resort are powered by solar power. It’s enough to keep your fans going all night, but if you want to charge your devices, you’ll need to do so at the reception desk.

Punta Caracol Acqua Lodge Activities

There are three main activities to enjoy at the Punta Caracol Acqua Lodge: snorkeling, kayaking and relaxing.

Snorkeling

I’ve always loved snorkeling in tropical waters – the sight of colorful tropical fish swimming around coral in crystal-clear waters is always a huge thrill. The snorkeling around Punta Caracol Acqua Lodge is surprisingly good. 

The Punta Caracol Acqua Lodge provides free snorkel gear to its guests for the duration of their stay. They had appropriately sized snorkel gear for everyone in our family, even the kids. They also provided pool noodles for the kids to help them float in the water, but in reality the water is so salty, you’d have a real hard time sinking, even if you wanted to. 

The snorkeling at the Punta Caracol Acqua Lodge is best around the bungalows and restaurant area. A healthy amount of coral has started to grow on the support pillars and on the ground nearby. The coral, in turn, attracts an abundance of ocean life. 

Coral grows on a pillar underneath the restaurant at the Punta Caracol Acqua Lodge in Bocas del Toro, Panama.

During our many snorkeling outings at the Punta Caracol Acqua Lodge, we were lucky enough to see lots of beautiful fish. Highlights include:

A massive school of tiny green fish. There must have been a million fish in this school. It was a thrill to slowly float through them, having them surround your entire body.

The sea life in the Caribbean Sea near the Punta Caracol Acqua Lodge is abundant.

There’s some of the biggest sea urchins I’ve ever seen scattered around the ocean floor. The big ones must be up to 18 inches long!

We also saw a variety of stingrays swimming along the ocean floor.

a stingray swims along the ocean floor under a floating bungalow at the Punta Caracol Acqua Lodge in Panama.

The area under the restaurant has the most dense concentration of tropical fish, including parrot fishes (one of my favourite tropical fish). Just be very careful not to brush up against the coral as you swim past the pillars.

There’s lots of purple sea cucumbers and colorful starfish on the ocean floor near the kayak area.

Starfish lay on the Caribbean Sea floor in the snorkeling area near the Punta Caracol Acqua Lodge resort.

On our final snorkeling outing of our stay, we did see one tiny jellyfish and a lion fish underneath the restaurant.

As you can see, there are a few potentially hazardous sea creatures in the area. The creatures that live on the bottom (sea urchins and stingrays) shouldn’t be a problem unless someone puts their feet down (which they shouldn’t be doing anyways).

The jellyfish and lionfish were random encounters – we only saw one of each in over 5 hours of snorkeling. The chances are slim you’ll encounter one yourself, but we wanted you to be aware.

We found the Punta Caracol Acqua Lodge was the perfect spot for our kids to learn snorkeling. We have taken them on snorkeling tours in the past, but the pressures of keeping up with the group always seemed to wreck the outing.

At this relaxed overwater resort in Panama our kids could easily go in and out of the water at their leisure. This allowed them to snorkel in bite sized outings, which greatly increased their enjoyment of the activity.

By the time we left the Punta Caracol Acqua Lodge, our kids loved snorkeling. They finally got to see what the big deal about snorkeling is. The Punta Caracol overwater resort is the perfect place for someone just learning to snorkel.

A 10-year old girl is all smiles as she learns to snorkel at the Punta Caracol Acqua Lodge in Boca del Toro, Panama.
Our daughter really loved snorkeling from our overwater bungalow.

Kayaking

The Punta Caracol overwater resort also offers free kayak rentals. The kayaks are small, single person kayaks. Our kids learned to kayak during our recent stay at the 500 Rai Floating Resort in Thailand, so they were able to handle their own kayaks no problem. 

We explored the areas around the Punta Caracol Acqua Lodge resort on our kayaks. We especially liked the areas near the mangroves along the shoreline of the island. From our kayaks we could see larger ocean life such as starfish and stingrays in the clear, shallow water.

a 10-year old girl enjoys kayaking during a family stay at the Punta Caracol Acqua Lodge on the Caribbean coast of Panama.

Relaxing

A person can’t help but yawning when they arrive at the Punta Caracol Acqua Lodge. Not because it’s boring, but it just oozes relaxation. 

In addition to the hammocks and chairs on the deck of each overwater bungalow, there’s also sun chairs and tables to sit at in the restaurant. Bring along a good book and sit back and enjoy some downtime.

The Family Can Travel kids sit on the dock of their overwater bungalow and read their Kobo ereaders.
The kids got good use of their Kobo e-readers during our stay.

Even watching the sea life in the water is fun while you sit and chill. All throughout the day, schools of bigger fish hunt the tiny fish in the massive school. This is always exciting as the smaller fish jump out of the water hundreds at a time, followed through the air by the bigger fish. We never got tired of this spectacle.

We also had a thrilling wildlife sighting from our deck when a pod of four dolphins swam past. Unfortunately, a nearby tour boat spotted them and started harassing them – circling them over and over.

We understand this type of behavior is sadly common in Bocas del Toro. If you find yourself in a tour where your operator harasses the dolphins, teach them this is unacceptable by NOT tipping them and giving them a bad review: this is the only way to teach the that harassing wildlife is not acceptable behavior.

Punta Caracol Dining

Any time you are going to a remote resort, you take a big risk with the food, especially if you are traveling with kids. When you are dependent on a resort for all three meals a day, you had better hope the food is good. 

Thankfully, we thought the food at the Punta Caracol restaurant was really good. Our son is a very picky eater, so we were happy to find they had a decent selection of kid-friendly dishes for our kids to choose from. 

Our breakfast was included as part of our Punta Caracol suite reservation. We were given a list of 10 menu items to choose from, with the ability to order as many of them as we’d like. 

We enjoyed a variety of their breakfast dishes, including pancakes, French toast, yogurt, fruit salad, fruit juice and coffee. 

Breakfast at Punta Caracol Acqua Lodge - fresh fruit, juice and coffee.

The lunch and dinner menus are the same at the Punta Caracol overwater resort. There’s a really good variety of dishes to choose from including a selection of Mexican dishes, pasta dishes, American favorites and seafood dishes. 

During our stay at the Punta Caracol resort, we enjoyed many of the delicious menu items for lunch including beef burritos, chicken tacos, cheese quesadillas and hamburgers.

An 8-year old boy is happy to eat a quesadilla for lunch at the Punta Caracol Acqua Lodge restaurant.

For our dinners, we enjoyed beef and veggie skewers, spaghetti carbonara, linguini with jam and mushrooms, chicken fingers, shrimp in curry sauce, 4 cheese penne and cheese quesadillas.

The food at the Punta Caracol Acqua Lodge was a little on the expensive side, but not outrageously so. Keep in mind they need to transport all their supplies in by boat, so food will naturally be pricier than in Bocas Town.

Read More

Before we came to Bocas del Toro, we started our Panama family vacation in Panama City. Check out what we did in 5 days in Panama City with kids.

Things to Bring to the Punta Caracol Overwater Resort

We have a great packing list for family tropical vacations which will work perfectly for your trip to Bocas del Toro. In particular, we’d like to highlight two items which are specific to staying at the Punta Caracol resort:

Water shoes: If you plan on spending any time in the Caribbean Sea, it’s best to have water shoes for protection. There are massive sea urchins as well as an abundance of stingrays in the water. It’s best to not stand up in the water here, but if you have to, you’ll be glad to have water shoes on.

A good book: An overwater resort like the Punta Caracol just begs for some downtime. Reading a good book is a perfect way to relax on the deck of your bungalow. An audiobook is an even better idea, as it frees up your eyes to watch the action in the water or soak in the tropical beauty, while listening to a good story.

An 8-year old boy reads a book while relaxing on a hammock at a family-friendly overwater bungalow in Panama.
Ahhhh… reading on the hammock next to the Caribbean Sea…

Punta Caracol Acqua Lodge Review Summary

In summary, our family had an amazing time at the Punta Caracol Acqua Lodge. Given this was one of the most affordably priced overwater bungalows I’ve seen, I was very impressed with the resort.

The suites were spacious and comfortable, the food was good and the Caribbean Sea scenery is breathtaking. We would recommend the Punta Caracol resort to any family looking for a relaxing adventure along Panama’s Caribbean coast.

Hotel Recommendation

Punta Caracol Acqua Lodge

We recommend staying at the Punta Caracol resort for an exciting, yet relaxing family adventure in Bocas del Toro, Panama.

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Dan Brewer is an intrepid family travel blogger with a passion for exploring the world's most captivating destinations. With 58 countries under his belt and a sense of wanderlust that knows no bounds, he has made it his life's mission to share his travel experiences and insights with fellow families who love to travel.

When Dan isn't traveling with his wife and kids, he's either out enjoying the Canadian Rockies he calls home or working on one of his three travel sites (Family Can Travel, Travel Banff Canada and Ultimate Sports Road Trip).