Frequently Asked Questions

Dolphin Bay Hideaway is a wonderful lodging option for guests who are comfortable getting off the beaten bath. We need to emphasize, however, that our lodge is not for everyone. To be sure that you choose the right lodge for your needs, comfort and enjoyment, we ask that you read the following information to avoid misunderstanding or false expectations about our lodge and services.

We are a small, off-grid, family-run, eco-lodge, not a large 5-star resort. The ambiance at our lodge is more that of visiting a good friend you haven't seen for awhile. This allows us to provide a friendly, personalized service and atmosphere where our guests try out a lifestyle and pace most have never experienced. While a stay at our lodge does come with some limitations that may not be satisfactory for everyone, we find that guests who choose our lodge enjoy taking a break from the everyday hustle and bustle of the civilized world. Our guests generally appreciate being in our remote location surrounded by nature and exchanging travel stories with a small group of other interesting and mature travelers.

We collect our water from a rain catchment system, have a septic system for waste and our electricity comes from solar panels and a small generator.  We do ask for your help to conserve both water and power during your stay.

What items should we bring?

We recommend for you to think about the following:

* Refillable water bottle – we provide filtered drinking water
* Sunblock
* Travel shampoo – we provide soap
* Insect repellent/After bite
* Rain jacket/travel umbrella
* Dry bag for computers, phones, cameras and anything else that can’t get wet
* Lightweight quick dry long pants and shirt
* Beach towel (quick dry travel towels work best!)
* Flashlight, headlamp
* Closed toed shoes
* Cash – credit cards are not accepted in many places (including ours!)
* Charitable items – we support the local community school, see our website or www.packforapurpose.org for more information

What items should we NOT bring to your lodge?

Items we recommend NOT bringing
* Heavy hiking boots – we have rubber boots for hikes (bring socks for hikes in our boots)
* Plastic water bottles and containers – unless you plan on reusing and carrying out
* Items that need refrigeration -as we have a very small refrigerator due to the fact that we are on solar energy and limited on space,
* Curling irons, hair dryers/straighteners – any device that requires heating up. Our electrical system cannot support these devices and the dolphins don’t care what your hair looks like!

Are children allowed?

Yes, we do allow well behaved children. However, it is important to know we are NOT child proof. We have the jungle behind us and the ocean in front of us. There are stairs and deck railings. We do not provide cribs or high chairs. We do have infant life vests and can offer babysitting services. We have had infants as young as 6 months old to teenagers at the Hideaway, but we leave it to you and your family to decide if this is the right location for you. Please contact us if you have additional questions.

Is there a beach at Dolphin Bay?

The shores of Dolphin Bay like about 80% of the Bocas del Toro Archipelago are mangroves. We do not have sandy beaches. Our location is more like a lake, where you can swim, kayak, paddle board and canoe right off our dock. While the fact that we do not have a beach might be disappointing to some, the truth is that we are very fortunate since there are no dangerous rip currents or high surf so swimming is always possible and safe, with the exception of a few days in the year when we might have jelly fish migration. Most of Bocas del Toro beaches are great for surfing but are very dangerous for swimming. We do offer several tours that we can get you to a sandy beach during your stay.

Do you have Air Conditioning? Televisions? WIF? Cellular Service?

No, we do not have air conditioning. We have ceiling fans or floor fans in all of the rooms along with a small fan on the head board of the bed.
We do not have television or cellular phone service.
We do have WIFI, however, we are on a remote island and from time to time we do lose service due to weather conditions and other issues outside of our control.

Noise - I am a light sleeper, should I worry about noise?

We consider ourselves to be very fortunate to live far enough from “civilization” to not have the noise factor of cars, alarms, too many boats, too many people or nightclubs. But we still have very active and loud natural surroundings. The symphony is provided by the endless varieties of birds, insects, amphibians and animals and yes the occasional rooster. If you are particularly sensitive to sounds during the night you might want to consider bringing earplugs to assure a good night sleep.

Should be be concerned about bugs?

There are occasionally no-see-ums, also known as chitras or sandflies. These are very small biting insects found mainly close to the water’s edge at dusk and dawn and seem to be more numerous around a full moon. There are several protection measures, including wearing light weight long pants and shirts, applying coconut oil or insect repellent, and they hate the breeze from a fan – too much turbulence! We do have netting over most of the beds and fans in all the rooms.

Do you take credit cards?

We prefer cash payment as we need cash to pay our expenses. There is one ATM machine in Bocas, but during peak times there can be long lines and cash shortages. Please note that Panamanian banks do not cash traveler's checks or foreign currency therefore most businesses will not accept them. We can accept PayPal with all transaction fees on payer's account.

Should we worry about our health and safety?

We are happy to say that there are minimal health and safety concerns for our visitors. We live in a very safe community where everyone knows each other and many are family members that work here . As far as health risks, they are also minimal. You don't need to take malaria pills for this area. Our tap water is safe and we actually provide filtered water for drinking. Please visit www.cdc.gov for more information.

What is your cancellation policy?

Should you have to cancel less than 30 days in advance we unfortunately have to charge for one night stay unless we are able to re-book the room with another guest.

How do we get to Dolphin Bay?

We meet our guests for pickup at the Pirata Restaurant on the main street in Bocas town at 2 pm for our shuttle service. Check out is 10:30 am and our shuttle departs at time back to town. This is a short 2 minute taxi ride or you can walk. The restaurant is located only about 5 blocks total from the airport. If you are arriving by land and water with either Caribbe or Mamallena shuttle, the restaurant is located about 100 feet to the right walking from the Bocas Marine Tour water taxi where both companies drop off their customers.

If you need times outside those hours, we can arrange a private boat for you but there is a surcharge of $40 each way.

Where are you located in Bocas del toro?

We are located on the shores of Dolphin Bay, in the small village of Bocatorito on the Island of San Cristobal. We are 20 minute boat ride from the town of Bocas Del Toro, Panama and about two hours from Sixaola, Costa Rica. Our lodge is close enough to "civilization" for an easy transfer yet far enough to be able to detach.

What is your pick up and drop off schedule?

Please note that our regular pickup hours from Bocas town are 2 pm at the Buena Vista restaurant on main street. This is to coincide with arriving and departing flight and some shuttle services. Please check back to reconfirm your pickup time a day or two before your arrival.
A pleasant way to spend a few hours after your arrival is to have lunch or go for a stroll around town. Your bags can be left at the Pirata restaurant while you explore. Just tell the bartender that you are guests of Dolphin Bay and they will gladly store your bags in a safe spot. Don’t forget to give him a small tip on your return.

Again, if you need a pick up or drop off outside those hours a $40 surcharge will apply for the private boat

How much are taxes?

Taxes are 10% of the room rate.

Are gratuities required and if so, how much should we tip?

Gratuities are not required but appreciated. We leave it to the guest to decide what they feel is appropriate.

What time is Check-In and Check-out?

We do our best to get guests into their rooms at Check-In as quickly as possible. However, due to our small size rooms may not always be available upon arrival. This is a great time to relax, have a cup of coffee or cocktail. Please note that breakfast is not part of the room rate on your day of arrival. If you are on the early flight into Bocas we suggest to eat breakfast in town before we depart for the Hideaway. Check in is at 2 pm and Check-Out is at 10:30 am..

Dolphin Bay Hideaway

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