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Royal Decameron Costa Blanca
Melissa  
Hamilton
December 2008
Arrival: October 26 to November 3
We arrived at the airport and found our luggage with ease and was greeted by our tour Operator and given a package to put tags on our luggage with our room numbers on them as they bring it directly to your room. The luggage is loaded on to a big van and you get on the bus. We are given drinks your choice of water or beer. The ride from the airport takes 2 hours. After the first hour you stop at a local restaurant for a drink which you have to pay for and a bathroom break. After about 15 minutes you get on the bus and continue on to the resort. We arrived at the hotel and the check in was a little busy but well organized. We got our room Key and headed on down the Many stairs 66 to be exact. They check you in at Lobby 1 and there is 3 lobby's. We were in room 3008 and to get a safe and an extra key you had to climb the stairs to lobby 2 and there are about 74 of those stairs. the extra key is just a deposit but the safe key costs about $15 I think.
Rooms:
When we found our room our luggage had not arrived yet so we dropped our carry on and went for a stroll. Our room was located by the beach the road level rooms require you to walk up and down the stairs or up one of the two steep pathways. For a young person this is ok but I travelled with my 71 year old mother so we requested beach front rooms for a little extra and trust me it was worth it. The room I had was two double beds not very comfortable. The pillows are even worse. I said next time I would pack less and bring my own pillow.
Restaurants and Bars:
The restaurants and bars were all very well located to our room so we did not have far to walk. The Bartenders were very nice spoke pretty good english and usually remembered what you were drinking which was great even after a few days of not going to one bar we went back and he still remembered what we liked.
Beach/Pools/Grounds:
The beach/pools/grounds are very well kept. The beach is beautiful. We never had a problem finding a place to sit. I would recommend bringing an inflatable raft with you as they only have the white plastic deck loungers and they are hard on your back. You can buy them there at one of the three gift shops that they have. Other wise I loved the pools and the beach.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
We did some Kayaking and the horse back riding. The horse place really smelled when we got there and the ride was ok. You got to see a little of the resort out side. We went on what they called a sailing drinking tour that they told us about at the information session and we signed up for it(Cost extra). Yeah avoid that. The sail boat had no sails. You go snorkling and they give you pool noodles not flippers. The snack was terrible and it seemed really long and boring. We signed up for parasailing which was fun as I am afraid of heights I am glad I went but would never do it again. Got some great pictures. The do offer a lot of out side trips so we went on the Canapy tour and Shopping in Anton Valley. It was $80 american I think but well worth it. The Zip line was amazing and I would do it again. The people in Panama are so nice and they don't bother you. If you are walking down the street or if you stop to look at something they tell you the cost and that is all. You do have a 1/2 hike up the side of the mountain to get to the start of the zip line. Oh yeah don't wear good clothes the grease from the cable on a rainy day splashes all over you. Make sure you wear runners. It was raining a bit so they gave us rain ponchos. You also go a snack on the bus. The shopping in Anton was fun lots to look at. The country side was beautiful. Our last adventure we got a cab and went into a little town called Penanome (SP?). The driver wanted $50 we said $40 and he was fine with that. We got there and he parked and told us where to meet up with him and he gave us a bit of history on the way there and back. The shops are interesting the ladys that work there follow you around but they are your personal shoppers so don't worry about them. I paid 75 cents for a 500 ml bottle of Ginger ale at a store them. I bottle 4 small bottles of Panama Rum for $3.30 each. On the way back to the resort we passed a cigar place and our driver stopped for us. The owner is a cuban man who lives in panama and grows the tabacco and has a small staff to roll the cigars. He was wonderful and gave us a tour of his factory and showed us all the different cigars. You can also purchase some from him. I bought a small tin with 10 cigars for $12 US.....When we got back we tipped the driver really well because he was wonderful and we had lots of fun.
Other Comments:
Over all I loved it I can't wait to go back. bring a travel mug with you a pillow if you can squeeze it in. The room staff prefer $ tips rather than stuff like they do in other places. Make sure you have good shoes as the have lots of places to each the buffets we ok but we choose to do the a la cartes each night you just have to remember to reserve them in advanced. The catch of the day restaurant has the head on the fish so in case you don't like that don't go there. Over all I loved the food I did not get sick. The leave large bottles in your room each day. If you go to the bar and ask for water it is ok to drink. I did bring a bottle with me to the beach but it does get really warm so get glasses with ice. Again I was happy and can't wait to go back. Have fun!
Royal Decameron Costa Blanca
Marie 
Toronto
December 2008
Arrival: April 14 to 21, 2008 Visited this hotel the week of April 14 to the 21st, left Toronto in the afternoon after a long plane ride, we arrived in Panama at 5:30 pm to meet representatives from the hotel, who gave us our hotel package, once we located our suitcases and labelled them with our hotel room number, our suitcases were loaded on a truck and we did not see them until they were delivered to our room at the hotel. Traveling from the airport to the hotel was over 2 hours (traffic) we did not arrive at the hotel until 9:30 pm. We made our way to the buffet before it closed at 10:00 pm, not much food was left (so make sure to bring something to snack on)
Rooms:
As previous posts indicate, clean and spacious. Only problem we had, we returned to our room after a day by the pool to find a small swimming pool of our own; the air conditioner leaked, we called down and they came up to fix it, however a few hours later it happened again, second time was a charm, didn't happen again. The hotel regulates the air conditioner, so you have no control on how cool you want it. They raise the temperature during the day and lower it at night. We were in Building 11 which is near the entertainment which you hear until 11:00 pm, so if you plan on going to bed early then this block of rooms is not for you. We did request this building by sending an email to the hotel prior to our arrival.
Restaurants and Bars:
Buffet was okay, at night the two restaurants have different menus so I suggest checking both of them out. The a la cartes were good - the Japanese restaurant was amazing. This however was the only resort I have been to (and I have travelled a lot) that had you sharing tables with other guests, although it was nice to meet other people it would have been nice not to.
Beach/Pools/Grounds:
Pools - Lots of chairs, no problems finding a one, however only disappointed that they did not have enough umbrellas at the pool, especially with the hot sun...so we would have to wake up early to make sure we got one. Grounds - Nicely kept. Be prepared to walk a lot and climb stairs, depends are where you are located. We were located in the beachfront rooms, worth the extra money. Past post indicate that they have vans that will pick you up....I wouldn't hold your breath, on night we waited about 10 minutes and decided to walk. I've been to other large resources and they constantly have trolleys going around, not this place.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
We did do the day trip to the Canal and Shopping. The Canal was interesting to visit however the shopping wasn't worth it; more than half of the stores were empty.
Visited the Casino, nothing special...something to do at night. Entertainment was good, typical resort entertainment.
Other Comments:
Being that Panama is near Columbia there were a lot of people from Columbia and other South American countries. We felt the hotel catered to them. Would I recommend this place? Probably.... however I've been to other places that would be on the top of my list, so it wouldn't be my first choice especially the distance from the airport to the hotel - too far!
Royal Decameron Costa Blanca
Cindy and Chris 
London, Ont
November 2008
Oct.26th Two weeks. West Jet from Toronto.5hr. flight. On arrival Nolitour Rep. awaiting and gives you a package with room info and briefing time. 2hr bus ride from airport with a bathroom /bar break half way. Cold drink given when boarding bus. pop,water or beer. Guide very informative about surrounding area and history.Luggage is sent a head and delilvered to your room.My luggage was torn open I suggest observing your luggage carefully before putting it on the truck so if damaged there is no mistake where the damaged occurred. The hotel did fix my luggage.
Rooms
are clean with either two doubles or 1 king bed. Bathroom with showere. Good air conditioning. We had upgraded to Beach Front building 10. When there in 2005 this was Ocean View. Ocean View is now at the top of the 66 stairs. Seem to never quite get use to walking them. Some days better than others.Walls in rooms are paper thin .
Resturants
8 alacarte`s which we booked 14 out of 15 days. 2 supper buffets very busy and noisy as the week we were there was Independence week and many locales with there children. Whom can be very loud and manners are not a priority.Over all we could always find something to eat. My favorite was the Sushi Samba,Thai,and Fusion {great shrimp and salmon} If you are craving excellent seafood 1lb lobster, shrimp cocktail and garlic shrimps go to the front of the hotel and walk left down the road about five minutes. On the right is a little resturant called La Fogata.We booked earlier in the week and went on the Saturday night.They speak English .Husband and wife team. Luce is an excellent cook. Very clean .Well worth the money .The local children come on the week end and dance and it was priceless.

Plenty of bars. Drinks were always good.The lobby bars there serve cappicunnos starting at 5 oclock very good. Beach is okay. It is the Pacific side therefore darker sand.Beach is long and nice for a walk. Go right down the beach and there are vendors about 15 min.walk. Prices are reasonable.Many pools stretch along the beach and two upper pools both infinity pools. THe pool by Lobby 3 is an adult only pool whch they enforce with a swim up bar.The chairs are the most uncomfortable things I have ever sat on. Take a cushion if possible..

Grounds are immaculatent and plenty of flowers.Peacocks wander freely around the resort and are very tame. As I said earlier huge resort with many stairs. There is a van service around the grounds ,but found it hard to get easier to walk.
Activities and Entertainment
Each night at 845 was the childrens show mainly in Spanish and the Adult Show at 945pm. Never stayed up that late so didn`t really see them. Did hear them though as our room was right next to the stage.
Tours:
Very good and reasonable.The Canal Shopping ,The Carribean Beach and Railway were both good.The Anton Valley and Canopy tour were well worth the money.
Departure:
Very well organized. Luggage at bottom of stairs by 800 am. Check out 830 am. Breakfast included and drinks if you wantd them. Bus picked up at 1030 am and 2 hr ride to airport. $20.00 Amer departure tax. Pick up luggage at airport.Flew back Air Transat since we were at season change we had to stop in Montreal but really wasn`t as bad as I thought it would be.Only given small chinese food tv dinner and drinks for a 7hr flight. Bring snacks!
Conclusion
For the money it is well worth it. Beautiful Country. Local people very friendly and nice.Have to remember that there are a lot of people from Panama that come in and that makes for a very different atmosphere. Would I go back a third time. Possible in a few years!
Royal Decameron Costa Blanca
Gordon 

August 2008
My wife and I spent 2 weeks at the Royal Decameron at the end of April.

As an overview, the beaches were very clean, wide and perfect for long walks. The water was just a perfect temperature and great for swimming etc depending on whether the tide was coming in or out. When it was coming in the waves were a bit strong so it wasn't good for little kids for a few hours at each near high tide. The resort was clean and well maintained. Staff were friendly and helpful.

Food could have been a bit more varied. Another knowledgeable traveler told us that the Decameron had recently been sold to an American company and wondered if that was why the food was not as good as we had expected for a 4 star resort. Our experience at 4 other resorts in other countries would make us rate the food at about a 3 star level. The a la carte restaurants were quite good, especially the Kon Tiki and the Catch of the Day which actually is found past the Golf Villa's private area on the far west end of the property. We found that the food at El Canal wasn't very well prepared. At our table, three people ordered the salmon but it was not hot and the tea ordered for after dinner was lukewarm. The Sushi restaurant wasn't much either mostly consisting of 3 stir fries prepared for everyone at the same time. You had to keep eating at a fast pace to keep up with the next round of stir fry

Rooms were cleaned daily. You have the option of putting a pre-printed notice on the beds to not change the sheets daily as a energy conservation measure which we felt was very reasonable. Drinks at the bars were good and the bar staff were always willing to mix drinks the way you wanted them. Bring your own washcloth since most All-Inclusives do not include washcloths. We went out and bought our own in Rio Hato. Telephone charges from the room are extremely high. If you need to talk with someone, have them call you from home with an international call rate. Much cheaper. If you need wireless internet access, there are a number of internet kiosks in the lobbies. You can buy a WiFi internet access card at the front desk for $15.00 for 24 hours. Be aware that 24 hours counts from the first access for 24 hours across that day and the next. It IS NOT 24 usage hours. In fact, I discovered that the 24 hours didn't even last 24 hours and after complaining about it the Wisper (ISP) rep found that their server had been set to 20 hrs timeout. After a bit of firm discussion with him, he gave me another card for 24 hours but that only lasted 12 hours. I found that I could access a number of other unsecured WiFi nodes so just used them for free. Range wasn't very good – not much more than 50 meters so you pretty well have to sit in the lobby.

Overall, pretty good resort. Be prepared to climb stairs and walk a lot. Distance from one end of the resort to the other is probably close to 1 km. Google Earth recently updated the resolution on the Pacific coast area including the Decameron but the photos must be at least 2 years old since a newer portion at the West end of the complex including a new adults only pool and the new Pacifika buffet area do not show at all. As well, Google doesn't show the golf course and all the villas around the golf course and some have been there nearly 2 years. The road in from the Pan-American Highway is very bumpy. This is apparently caused by the big trucks using it for the Golf community construction which is still on-going. We were told that once that construction is done, another road bypassing the golf community to provide access to the Pan-American hwy for the residents of the Farallón fishing village after which the road to Decameron will be repaved. That would be nice and will reduce the number of tooth fillings shaking loose on the 2 km trip in from the hwy
Royal Decameron Costa Blanca
Jocelyne 
Grimsby, Ontario
August 2008
Arrival and Flight: January 14-28 2008 flight was 5 hours-very organized at the airport and travel time to the resort was 2 hours-stop half way for the bathrooms and cold beer

Rooms: we were staying on the golf course and were booked for the Superior rooms on the green, and were upgraded to the Villa at the 7th green, we were 3 couples together and the resort was full I guess they needed to accommodate more people. The grounds were very well maintained, the Villa was beautiful, and we all were very pleased. People: since we had the Villa and full kitchen, we met Luis at the taxi depot and he took 2 of us to the town just a few minutes away and we got, Malibu Rum, Beer, wine, pop, juice and a few other things. Very cheap for all of this and was well worth having it in the Villa.

Restaurants: The food was great, even being there for 2 weeks, we never got tired of the food. Large variety and great a la cartes!

Bars: we didn’t go to the bars, since we were there for the golf- up early, but we did have after dinner drinks on the patio and headed back to the Villa since we had our own stock.

Beach and Pools: we frequented the north pool, least amount of activities everything was beautiful

Grounds: they were always cutting grass and trimming bushes and trees

Activities and Entertainment: The golf course was very good and we would golf every other day Monday thru Friday inclusive

Tours: we had Luis take us in a mini van with his driver. He showed us Panama, did a little shopping, and all 8 of us had lunch on the island across from Panama. Lunch for 8 with cocktails, $90.00 cheap! And very good.

We thoroughly enjoyed our 2 weeks in Panama, we are booked for January 19 2009 for 2 weeks again, can’t wait to go. The best vacation on an all inclusive package, but you really need the 2 weeks there because of the 2 days of travel time.
Royal Decameron Costa Blanca
CnL 
Toronto, Canada
May 2008
Well, just returned from yet another fantastic trip (May18th-25th). As always, your trip is often as good as you want to make it and for us, it was another positive experience.

Flight
We flew down by way of Westjet and it was probably the BEST flight experience for me thus far. From the flight crew to the pilots, it was great. It's the first time I have witnessed a flight crew who sounded like real people and not robots. They treated their passengers with a very layed back approach. Captain RICK even telling a bad joke over the intercom, due to a small delay while docking the plane, awesome! Pleasant experience both there and back.

Airport Transfer
We were aware of the distance to the resort so no real shocker here...again we just looked at it as a free bus tour, with a quick peek at the Canal. The scenery was all new to us so it went by rather quickly. Nice stop at a restaurant/bar called Pappasittas on the way there. The free cerveza on the bus ride was a nice touch!

Resort
LIke we imagined it...simply stunning. The grounds were very nice and everything lush. As stated in many other reviews, this place is huge, but well spaced out so your not tripping over one another. During our stay I was hoping to see more wildlife then we actually saw but not a problem. We did see 1 Iguana, a few different species of small birds and a peacock. I'm sure we would have seen much more had we taken sevral of the tours geared toward animal sight seeing, no biggie!!

Room
All we needed really, basic but clean. Only downside which would have made it a little more convenient would have been a small fridge. Safe is NOT included and you won't get any fancy towel arragements from the maids.

This was one of the few differences we observed at our first central american resort as oppose to the carribean ones we have visited in the past. Again, didn't seem to matter whether you left a tip or not, the service was still good. Lastly, the beds were very comfortable, had some very restful sleeps!!

People
Resort staff were very nice in our opinion. Yes, the place seemed very inundated with tourist from other latin american countries, ie: Argintina, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, etc. so unless you knew some spanish or they new some english, it was easy to see how it could be overwhelming to some folks.

We didn't mind this too much, as it gave us a opportunity to practice our spanish. It appeared that it was now low season for Candians/Americans coming down and high season for the latin countries south of the equator, which makes sense due to the climate changes depending on where you live. All in all, we met some awesome people!

Food
We had no problem with the grub...plentiful, good and did not have to cook it so who would we be to complain. As always, I bring my own hot sauce and this suits me just fine. Again. because the place is spaced out, it didn't feel like we were tripping over each other during meal times.

We tried 3 a la carte restaurants, Cayuco(grill), Mogo Mogo(Thai) and Pannamai(Italian). We enjoyed all 3 and thought the food and presentation were great. Again, we're not cooking so it's always a bonus! We also did NOT experience any of the negative reservation issues talked about in some of the past reviews, very straight forward and easy.

Entertainment
We saw very limited portions of the nightly shows due to either no seating available or just to wiped out from the long day and turned in early. We did venture over to Cafe Med which had a 3 piece band playing classic tunes, both well known North American songs and Latin songs, so this was nice.

Musically speaking, we were surprised by the overall lack of true authenic Panamanian music not heard throughout the resort, at least the week we were there. I heard more classic North American 70's hits then I could every hear at home.

We attended the disco for a short time and it was both busy and crowded. A good time but we couldn't stay long as we had to get up for our scheduled Canopy Tour the following morning.

Tours
As mentioned, we did the canopy tour for 2 reasons, 1 it was only about 45-50 minutes drive from the resort and 2 it was only a half day, plus we really wanted to do the ziplining anyway. The experience was awesome, we had done the ziplining in Mexico and these runs were way higher, longer and the scenery abosolutely breathtaking. The drive into Anton Valley was amazing! The rolling hill scenery and winding roads were very cool. A true must if your looking for some adventure.

We had tried to initially book the Water repelling and Water rafting but were told because they had just come out of dry season, there was not enough water to in the area to do these tours. We would have liked to try more tours but we did not want to waste precious vacation time driving the long distances to get to them, perhaps if we had gone for 2 weeks this would have changed.

Woody's Beach Bar and Grill
As you may have heard, if you walk out to the beach and go right for about 7 minutes, you'll see a little place with a big Canadian flag flapping in the wind. Yes, this is the infamous Woody's and they are still open. There had been reports that they were closed for reno's but not the case. The owners, Woody and Monique told us it would be closing in July so they could expand.

During the busier months, they unfortunately had to turn away people because it had becaome so popular with canadian visitors. Yes, you can get poutine and wings and great seafood dishes for very decent prices. The food was very good. It was a nice break from the resort life if you felt you needed it.

They are both ex Canadian military (him 27yrs and her 20yrs). I even ended up leaving a shirt with them, which they gladly reimbursed me with a Woody's golf shirt. They even gave my wife a Woody's tank top which was very cool. Be sure to stop in and say hello, they'll gladly join you in a bevi or two...! Lastly, they have a small monkey, Nicky, a Toucan, Samantha and couple of dogs and cats. All are very cool and affectionate.

Noriega's Former Beach Home
Go to the beach and walk left for about 5 minutes, you find several nice homes on this side of the beach. The light blue one that has a partially buryed set of stairs in the sand is the house your looking for. It looks like it's not accesable but go up a few more feet and you'll find a spot to climb up.

The home is quite delapitated with foilage growing within the home but it was definitly one of the highlites for me. The history behind this man and knowing this was once his paradise home was surreal. The place is massive and you'll be amazed at the layout.
It is very easy to picture the home in it's hayday and best of all...it's free to walk through. There was no formal tour for this, you can go down at you leisure...a true must see!

Facilities
Pools were all awesome, we could not hit them all. The adult pool was our favourite. It had the swim up bar and we had some great times there with some of our new friends. They have lots to do on the property, ping pong, chess, etc. You could do as little or as much, it was always up to you. Their gym was very good as well, had 3 great workouts there and the location was great too, very close to the beach.

Bugs
Seems to be a popular questions. All I can say is during the day, we found next to NO bugs outside or in the room. At night it was still bug free, EXCEPT after it had rained. People told us that for about 2 days after a good rain the bugs would be out in full force as we found out on 2 of out last remaining nights. No problem though, the bug repellant worked fine or we just headed to our room.

Beach
Great, hot sand, warm water and waves you could spend hours body surfing in. Maybe not the best for very small children, due to the strong undertow but there were plenty of pools for them to play in. Oh, and yes, NO reason to get up early for the palapas and beach loungers, ALWAYS plenty available!

In conclusion, there is so much I have not written and I could go on and on but yeah, it was a great trip. We would definitly visit Panama again in a heartbeat. The people are great, the country beautiful and a true piece of reletively untouched paradise!
Royal Decameron Costa Blanca
Michelle 
Ontario
April 2008
We spent 11 days there and 4 days in the city
Feb - March 2008

Arrival and Flight - Flight was through Air Transat, and we went 1st class, Flight was uneventful....Definitely worth the extra money as the other seats were really tiny. Check in was very organized!!!!!

Rooms - Rooms were clean and comfortable

Restaurants - All were great. I especially enjoyed Cafe Med. The Thai restuarant was not to great.

Bars - fine

Beach and Pools - Beautiful and well maintianed

Grounds - Beautiful

Activities and Entertainment - Didnt participate, attempted to watch the entertainment one night and well it was pathetic

Tours - We did the eco-jungle tour for 100$, well worth the money, very enjoyable

Departure and Check Out - excellent and well organized

Conclusion - Beautiful resort, I would highly reccommend this to anyone and everyone
Royal Decameron Costa Blanca
John 
Newmarket Ontario
February 2008
Arrival - Plane ride Air transat airbus seats were like being in a can of sardines.It took 5 hours upon arrival we were met by staff members they were very organized We were loaded on a 2 hour bus ride and did have a washroom break along the way.

Rooms - Our room was on the 3rd floor it was fine the bed was uncomfortable we both had sore backs everyday.The rooms were cleaned everyday.No alarm clock or any type of clock

Restaurants - The food was excellent everywhwere you went

Bars - Lots of bars dissipointed only 1 swim up bar located up above not near the beach.Also they closed it at 5 pm which people were not happy.Also only one draft beer baboa.

Beach and Pools - Lots of different pools the centre pool on the beach seemed to have the most people and activities This is the only resort where they have contests and give nothing out not even a tee shirt to the winner.They have lots of activites during the day just to cheap to give a prize.

Grounds - Were very nice and lots of nice plants and trees

Activities - I went in lots of activities no prizes for any one not even a tee shirt

Tours - They had lots of tours very expensive cheaper to go in cab with other people to go on your own.

Conclusion - Nice weather and great food bus ride too long glad i went there once but that is it unless the build a closer airport.Also panama city which we have to go though to get there lots of condos going up which means longer bus ride.
Royal Decameron Costa Blanca
Aggy 
Toronto
January 2008
Arrival - We took a morning flight from Toronto to Panama City (Westjet I think). The flight was very relaxing, there was a light meal. The Decameron staff members were at the airport to welcome us, and we got onto a bus for the 1.5 hour ride to the resort. They served us cold drinks on the bus, and during the ride there was a quick washroom break at a restaurant. When we arrived, we had to line up to get our room keys, and within minutes we were in our room.

Rooms - rooms were spacious, nicely decorated. we had a room on ground level. rooms were thoroughly cleaned everyday.

Restaurants - i am a buffet fan so i ate mostly at buffets. i also ate at the beachside mediterranean restaurant (forgot the name) and the restaurant near the lobby (you had to climb the stairs to get there). the food was delicious and the service was great.

Bars - i drank mostly at one of the beach bars. i only had fruity/girly drinks :) so can't comment much about other kinds of drinks

Beach and Pools - they were all lovely. there were so many deck chairs that were half immersed in the pool for you to relax in.

Grounds - very clean, lots of interesting plants and flowers

Activities - i went horseback riding, and also took dance lessons beside the pool. the instructions are all in spanish but it's easy to follow along :)

Tours - i took the bus to penonome (spelling?), a town nearby with small shops. you can ask the lobby for information where to board the bus. it is 1$US one way. the ride is around 50 minutes long. warning: the drivers like driving a bit on the dangerous side, so be prepared.
the drivers don't speak english, so it's a good idea to write down on a piece of paper what time you want to be picked up.

we also went on the excursion to see the embera indians!! very memorable trip. to see my photos, go on pbase.com and search 'embera'
. this trip was pricey but definitely worth going to. The trip takes a full day. First, the bus drove us (around 1.5 hours) to a river in the national park beside panama city. We then boarded a small motorboat and cruised along the river to a beautiful waterfall, where we had time for a refreshing swim. Then, we got onto the boat again and arrived at the Embera's village, which is nested in a rainforest. The natives all stood there to welcome us while playing their traditional instruments. They served us a scrumptious lunch wrapped in banana leaveas. They performed dances for us (we got to participate!!!), talked to us about their way of life, etc. We then had free time to explore their village (I got temporary tattoos from the native girls, they used a vegetable dye). dont' forget to bring/buy shoes that you woudl want to wear for walking in the river. (there are water shoes available in penomone.)

This was like travelling to another world.... It was amazing to see how they live so harmoniously with nature.

Conclusion - this is a very special resort because there are many south americans/locals. i love hearing spanish all around me, and it's great for learning the language.
i LOVED the dance lessons and the shows at night. the locals are also so wild and enthusiastic. even though i don't understand spanish, i caught bits and pieces of it d uring the show, enough to understand what was going on.

i would definitely go back!!!
there are so many wonderful day trips that you can choose from. (volcano, ruins, etc...) but of course I recommend visitng the Embera Indians the most. I really liked these day trips because they allowed me to learn so much about the people of Panama.
Royal Decameron Costa Blanca
Barbara 
Canada
January 2008
Arrival -
Dec. 24 to Jan 7/08
Quick check in, great system
extra 15 dollars for another key to your room and I think 2 dollars per day for safety deposit key. old keys tied with string, not updated with electronic keys.

Rooms - The rooms were clean, good shower pressure and always had hot water.
Spacious .

Restaurants - We tried all the a la carte restaurants and the second week we picked Mogo Mogo, Canal and I can't remember the name but its the steak house , not the one you pay for . We did pay 100 dollars extra for two families at the steak and seafood restaurant and the lobster was really really small and the steak was hard as a rock.

Always found something although my son doesnt eat fish and on the menu there is only one meat item. The buffet's are not for picky eaters and the restaurants did get tiresome the second week.

Bars - My drink of the two weeks was simple, tequilla, tripple sec, fresh lime and ice. (with tipping regularly) all they wanted to do is put that sugar crap in to make a margarita and they would have to spill the drink out and start over. Big attitude problems at the bar. ONly one guy smiled and he was gay and after one of the fella's with us.

Beach and Pools - Amazing pools, large beach , hard shell sand.
lots of chairs unless you want a special spot, get up early. Twice they let in the Columbians for the morning and the pool was noisy, busy but they left before lunch.
Stayed at the Atlantis pool because other friends of my daughter were there , otherwise I would have gone to the sushi samba pool on the second floor.

Grounds - nicely kept, they spray for bugs every morning and I was sprayed in the face and cereal one morning at 8;00 as I walked out of the buffet area where it was so busy there were no tables.

Activities - lots by the pool Atlantis although they play the columbians against the Canadians. Not a good thing to get the teenagers interacting .
Sea doo's to rent, para sailing too.

Tours - Did our own tour outside of the hotel, was ALOT cheaper, rented a van with 12 people for 160 total.

Conclusion - Entertainment
Disco was full of Columbians which took over and made everyone else feel uncomfortable and we tried it twice and left. My daughter would go but it was difficult if you didn't speak spanish or French.

It was FARRRRRRRRRR from the rooms and I worried about her walking late.

Went through 5 bottles of spf 30. My son had a itchy rash for a week , so close to the Equator. Cloudy alot this year, it also cooled down in the evening which I was told never happened.

New years
If you didn't get there early you wouldn't get a table. I was told the show was amazing, it was same music different costume. The fireworks were great but I could have seen them at any table. We saved 4 tables for people and sat there for 2 hours holding them, we ate in shifts. Would never do that again. The beach would do.
They did give in your room hats and noise makers out.

I would go back but not with my teenage kids unless they brought friends with.
Royal Decameron Costa Blanca
Penny & John 
Wyoming, Ontario
November 2007
Excellent resort, we've travelled to other all inclusives and this one was the best by far. Really liked the airport set up, met at arrival check out with info for rooms. So that when you get to the resort your luggage is waiting for you at room. Bus ride tour guide could have been better, our guide on the ride back was fabulous so I guess it was who you got. Be careful with your carry on, my purse was inadvertanly left on the bus when we got off at the hotel, and was never recovered. Three people associated with the tour and the hotel said they all check the bus and no purse was found so the rest of the week my husband and I spent our vacation touring in and out of Panama City getting me an emergency passport so I could return to Canada. The Nolitour representatives were exceptional setting up everything from getting us all taxis' needed,a police report and a new picture. And they even call the Canadian Embassy to let them know that I was on my way. The Canadian Embassy employees were wonderful. With no ID and only my return ticket to prove who I was thank goodness you have to fill out paper work on the bus with all the passport numbers on it so you have all that to work with. Prime example of why you should carry photocopies of all ID in separte bag, and no cash as I had brought small bills in US dollars, so I was relieved of $335.00 US, my credit card, drivers license and my birth certificate. Lesson learned. Not sure I trust the tour guide, the bus driver or the security person that checked the bus, when they say they did not find my purse as their monthly wages are about $300.00 US a month, so my cash was great find. So glad I only carry my own ID, I would have be twice as upset if I had my husbands stuff in my purse too. Just losing my own stuff was upsetting enough. But the rest of the trip was great.

Rooms - We had great location, right in the middle. Our whole family made the trip and we were all in one building and far enough apart that we all had our own privacy. 2 Parents, 4 sisters with 3 husbands and their 5 adult children. We had a blast. Situated near a small van route for rides to other areas in the resort, in front of a pool and bar and in the middle were you turn left to go smorgasboard and if don't like the food there the turn right and try the smorgasboard there both were different. Resort is huge and has lots of stairs so the van pickup areas were great for people who had trouble walking. 50th Anniversary for parents and 50th birthday for 1 sister and 3 husbands. Rooms had shower only but no problem with that and our cleaning staff was there every day at sometime or another. Fresh bottled water every day.

Restaurants - If you could not find something to eat then you are a very picky eater indeed. Lots of variety or lots of the food you would eat at home so no need to be hungry.

Bars - We tried them all, did a walk-about one full day. Stopped at each bar and had a couple of drinks then moved on to the next pool, and had a quick swim then off to the next bar. 11 bars and 6 pools, so it took the whole day. They make a fabulous margarita at the Hard Rock Cafe so check that out. Water available at bars so if you needed a refreshing drink of water it was there. Large insulated mugs are a plus as the bars are busy and the drink cups supplied are small. If you make it to the disco it's off site but a fun place to be after hours.

Beach and Pools - Not ocean swimmers so not a problem that the tides was out most of the day. We walked on the beach after 11am, (make sure you have sandals) the sand was hot and my husband slightly burned the bottom of his feet. Our walk-about fixed that as he had his hot feet in cool water all day and drew the burn out. But be careful, the sand is definetly hot. Pools were great we had a favourite site out in front of our building that we went to each day as we had a large group so we just lazed about in the winding walking pool and moved our chairs around a palm tree. Adult only pool available and it was great. Had a swim up bar, and the water was way more refreshing than in all the other pools, and no yelling and screaming children just partying adults.

Grounds - Wonderful grounds, clean and well looked after. Large resort so there are a lot of staff looking after grounds.

Activities - Beach volley ball, dance lessons, etc. if you wanted to do something there was something to do most of the time. Nice work out centre.

Tours - Each of our group did different things. Our first tour was to a small town police station to report my missing purse because I needed a police report to apply for the passport, it was very interesting as we had an employee from the tour company go with us and explain what had happened. I figure that during the time it took for us to get our report, we were checked out by all 4 police employees. The women typing the report was on a 1950ish sytle typewriter and her carbon paper had seen better days. That was our beginning. The second tour we travelled to Panama City to get my picture and apply for the passport at the Canadian Embassy in the World Trade Centre in Panama, after that we ate at a fresh seafood market, that our guide and interpretur suggested. That was fun, we could have picked out fresh from the market and the restaurant would cook it for you but we didn't know that ahead of time. While we were there, others did the boat and jungle cruise and they had a great time. And another group did the eco forest and zoo tour and they also had a great time. So it really depends on what you want to see and do. As we were into Panama City twice and the second time to pick up my emergency passport we didn't bother with outside tours like the rest of the family. We did go to the huge mall in Panama, great prices lots of brand names while others that came to the city with us went to see the locks. That day we ate at a restaurant at the marina. This also was the choice of our taxi driver, he knew how to speak some english.

Conclusion - In conclusion it was a great resort we would recommend it to everyone. Just remember to hold on to your purse. Also be prepared to wait in line, at all stops on the way there and on the return home. Only complaint would be the food on the airplane.
Royal Decameron Costa Blanca
Al and Karen 
Calgary Aberta
August 2007
Just got back on Aug 9 from 14days at the Decameron.

Check in was great. One of the best systems I’ve found. Our room was in building 16. Great location, ocean view without paying for it. Lots of rooms even after paying the surcharge for ocean view have big trees in front of them with obstructed views. It’s just luck if you see the water. Lots of stairs. It takes a while to get to know where you are going here because the resort is so big.

Rooms are okay, not spectacular. We didn’t have any problems other than a few ants. There is a clothes line in the bathroom for drying things. The phone is available for calls to lobby, other rooms etc., without paying the activation fee. You can have your air-conditioning temperature adjusted if you call the lobby.

Pools are great; you can actually do lengths in them, if you are so inclined, like I am. The activities are great, ask my husband who tried most of them. Pool, Ping-Pong, shuffleboard, board games, horseback riding (free but book early on the day you want to go). Water crafts are kayaks, sailboats, windsurfers. Jet skis and banana boat rides are available for $.
Lots of other games and activities too.

The ocean was different than other places we have been. Sometimes the waves were non-existent; the yellow flag was out all week when we were there.
Something I have never seen at any other hotels, there were lifeguards at all the pools and ocean. Boogie boarding was okay if you started really near the shore and could get up before the undertow got you; otherwise you have a bathing suit full of sand. You have to bring your own boards as they don’t have them. They seem to have brought in a lot of new sand for the beach.
Much whiter than the last time we were there. A nice 45minute walk is on the road west to Farallon, and then back to the hotel along the beach. There is also a souvenir store there open from 8.00 to 5.00

The buffets were really good this time. Especially for breakfast. Most nights we ate at the a la carte restaurants. We found the best restaurant was the Café Mediterranean the Thai. The Thai has two different menus on alternate days. The shrimp pad thai is awesome. The bars are great. The new Hard Rock bar has great margaritas. Sometimes the drinks are much stronger than other times all depending on who makes them. I found when my husband ordered them they were stronger than when I ordered them. The best bar was the lobby bar. Unfortunately it was only open from 5 to 10. The lobby bar serves drinks in real glasses if you stay there. We also brought stainless steel coffee mugs for our drinks, mostly because they kept the drinks colder for much longer. This was the first resort that we have been at that neither one of us got sick. They are very careful about cleanliness, wearing face masks to prepare food etc.

We didn't do any tours this time. We rented a car for a few days and went to Anton valley and also drove up to Portobello which was really nice except the roads are really bad. We also drove around Coranado. We took the cab for $1.00 into Penonme. Shopping is really cheap there. It looks like a huge dollar store. We took the bus into Panama City for $5.00. If you ask at lobby 1 they will order it for you to catch at the entrance to the resort. The bus takes you to Albrook Mall. You can also flag one down on the highway, which is cheaper if you feel like at good walk.

I guess thats why we keep going back.
Royal Decameron Costa Blanca
Donna & Jerry 
Peterborough, Ont.
March 2007
Just returned from two weeks at the Decameron resort in Panama. My husband and I agree this was one of our better vacations.

Flight - Air Transat – 5 hours from Toronto – we pre-booked our seats at the back of the aircraft where there are only two seats on the side rows. Sufficient leg room and the flight passed quickly. The food served was terrible but we brought our own snacks.

Bus from Panama to resort – This is the only real drawback to this resort, the two hour bus ride. The bus makes a 15 minute stop half way to the resort, to use the washrooms and buy drinks. We arrived at the resort around 6:00 p.m. We were on the first of several buses.

Check-in was very quick and a van was waiting to take us to our villa. Our luggage did not arrive until 9:00 p.m.

Check-out was mayhem. We had to have our luggage ready for pickup at 8:00 a.m. and check out by 9:00 a.m. The bus was supposed to leave at 10:00 a.m. from Lobby 1. As there are over 300 people leaving, there were several busses and the last one did not leave the hotel until around 11:00. There was no organization in the departure process, everyone just lined up trying to get on a bus. The best thing to do is wait around the Lobby bar and have something to eat before you catch the last bus around 11:00. There is a line up at the airport anyway, so why hurry.

Resort – we stayed at one of the golf villas which lucky for us, was a short walk to Lobby 3 of the resort. Our balcony faced east onto the 3rd hole and therefore we did not get sun in the afternoon which was a blessing as it would have been too hot to sit outside. The rooms were similar to a hotel room with two double beds. We asked for a King bed but didn’t get it. We would spend the extra money next time and get a first floor room with a kitchenette. Each villa has two rooms upstairs, one with a balcony (room 2), and one without, and a shared balcony in between. The downstairs unit has a separate bedroom and living area. Some of the villas were a long way from the main resort and required a ride. It was fairly easy to get rides to the resort, as the vans pass through the villa areas every half hour, but I would not want to be dependant on a ride every time I wanted to go to the main resort.

For anyone who does not like to walk, or is handicapped, this is not the resort for you. There are rooms at beach level, but many of the resort rooms are at the top of a hill and are three stories high so there are a lot of steps to climb. All of the lobbies are at the top level.

The grounds are very well maintained and beautiful. There are 3 large pools at beach level, and two small ones on the upper level. One adult only pool, where we spent most of our days, close to Lobby 3. The pools at the beach were fairly crowded and not as clean as the adult only pool. I recommend buying an air mattress at the lobby shop, for $5, as the lounge chairs do not have cushions. They will inflate it at the beach hut. If you like being at the beach you need to go very early to get a beach hut or shaded area. Although they say you are not allowed to leave your towels on the chairs and leave, everyone does.

Meals - The meals were good but after two weeks, I was ready for a change. There were several restaurants to choose from which you had to stand in line to book. We were allowed to book 3 days ahead each week then the other days you had to stand in line to reserve. It was easier to go to Lobby 3 to reserve as there were fewer people. Meals at the restaurant were ok but nothing great. We had a couple of good meals and a couple of bad ones. Do not order the Seafood Medley at el Canal restaurant!! The Pad Thai at Mogo Mogo was very good. We went to Pesca el Dia (Catch of the Day) twice. The catch of the day was Red Snapper which was good, but I ordered the shrimp the second time which was very good. The catch of the day was free but the shrimp was $7.00 US and the lobster was $15.00 US. Overall we were quite happy with the meals.

We went to a restaurant down the beach “Pipas” one night which we heard about in a previous review. We were the only dinner customers on a Saturday night. We both had Lobster and Shrimp at $25.00 US each. It was pretty good, but the lobster does not taste like it does here. Lucky for us there was a group of locals having a party at this bar that night so we met some nice people and were entertained by their DJ. If they had not been there, it would have been very boring. It is very rustic, sitting on the beach at a wooden table in plastic lawn chairs and the washroom facilities are less than sanitary, but it was a good experience.

Golf – We took the golf package which included unlimited weekday golf and pay-as-you-play on the weekend. We had to pay for carts at $22.00 US per day. We called the golf course daily to be picked up and they were usually there within 5 minutes. If you plan to play every day, you can rent a golf cart for the duration of your stay for $40 US per day and keep it at your villa. The golf course was very challenging and is in great shape for a hot, hot climate. If you are planning to golf, make sure you book your tee times as soon as you get your room number so you can get an early tee time. It is even hot at 7:30 in the morning, but if there is a breeze it is bearable.

Activities – There was nightly entertainment which was good, but the disco didn’t open until 11:00 which we never got to, because we were too tired by then. I was disappointed that none of the bars had dance floors. I was looking forward to Latin dancing, but there wasn’t any.

Tours – We did not take any of the organized tours, because we did not want to spend all day on a bus. We hired a taxi (6 passenger van), which are available just outside the resort by Lobby 1. For the two of us to go to Panama City, it was $100 US. The taxi driver did not speak much English, but we managed to communicate. He would take us on the same tour or anywhere we wanted. We went to the Canal and to a shopping mall for two hours, then back to the resort. This was much more comfortable and relaxing than the large bus which would have been $95 US each.

We also went on the Shrimp Boat Tour (3 hours). It was fun. They did not catch many shrimp, but they always have some in the fridge just in case. It was interesting to see how it is done and you can participate in hauling in the nets if you like. There was a wide variety of fish in the nets. The beer was cold and the company was good. Be prepared to get shit on from about by the frigate birds as they follow the ship. We both got hit twice, so don’t wear anything good and wear water shoes.

Things to take – A radio for your room, lots of sun screen, Kleenex, face cloths, and if you like Caesar’s, Clamato juice. We found a store down the road “Johny’s”, which did stock some small bottles of clam juice which was close to Clamato. They do not serve Canadian Rye at the bars, so you may want to take your own.

Overall, it was a great trip and would be even better with two or three couples. The weather was hot (35 or more every day), but we almost always had a nice breeze. I would definitely recommend this resort and would return for another two week vacation.
Royal Decameron Costa Blanca
S & B  
Ottawa, ON
March 2007
We were in Panama at the Royal Decameron during the week of February 19th to the 26th. One week was not enough. Here's a run down of some information you might like to know before you book. Overall I recommend the Royal Decameron.

The Resort
After arriving at the resort, they take you to a conference building to check in. We found this confusing because our guide coming in from the airport didn't speak English and we had no idea what was happening. You will receive your room keys, towel cards and you can purchase your safe key and lock. After this, you find you way to your room. If your lucky, you can get a porter to help locate it. They have Orientation set up for the following day you get there. It's a pretty good idea to go even if you only stay for the first half. They give you some good information regarding the resort and it makes things easier to find and navigate.

The resort is huge. We stayed at the Villas while our friend who came with us stayed in building #19. (His room from the 3rd floor had a view of the ocean) It was a bit of walk to get around but after eating at some of the restaurants, it was nice to walk around. Lobby 1 is the largest of the three. It has a gift shop, Tour Desk, Guest Services and Internet Kiosk.
There is a larger bar that has a veranda area. Lobby 2 is small. Small bar (not always open), a gift shop, Tour Desk, Internet Kiosk and Guest Services. Lobby 3 is the newest lobby and it's beautiful. It was built around a beautiful old tree. It has the same items as Lobby 2 except the bar is open most times. They have shuttles between the lobby's and villa's but you are often quicker walking to the location than waiting for the shuttle to come.

If you want to be close to the pools/beach you want to be in buildings 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 30, 31 and 32. We talked to a few people who had rooms there. They loved the convience of being so close to pool/beaches but said it was very loud and you had to keep your curtains closed because of all the people walking by looking into the rooms. We stayed in the Villas.
Our Villa had a kitchen, dining area for 6, living room, bedroom and 2 bathrooms. They don't supply anything for the kitchen and there are no irons or hair dryers so if you need them you should bring your own. We had a little courtyard out back to sit in, but there were no chairs or benches to sit on outside. You are very removed from the regular resort staying in the Villas. It has its advantages and disadvantages.

The evening entertainment isn't the greatest. In the amphitheatre they have kids show every night. There was a movie and live entertainment the nights we walked by. Later they have adult entertainment set up in the same amphitheatre but it's not very good. They do each production in Spanish, French and English so it get's a little long. The last couple of nights there were a two guys playing guitars at Cafe Med. They were quite good but only played for about 1 hour or so. After that, there wasn't alot going on. They say there is a Discotheque but anybody that went to it said it was horrible. This is someplace they could improve on.

Golf is available right next to the resort. Since we were in the Villa's all our golf was included with the cost of the package. I did 1 round but my husband and his buddy got 4 rounds in. The course if very long. The tee off times we could get were later in the day so it was very hot. The people working at the pro shop had pretty limited English so many golfers going in had a difficult time communicating. Just remember that at 7:00 PM is pitch dark so keep that in mind booking tee off times. Don't book too late or you won't be able to finish.

Restaurants
We found that the food was pretty great no matter what restaurant you go to. The buffets Atlantis and Pacifko were very good. They changed the menu up nightly and each buffet restaurant menu is different. We had 4 a la cart bookings.....Pannamai (Italian) fantastic. . Cayuco (Grill). Kontiky. (Hawaiian) and a new restaurant called Catch of the Day. At Catch of the Day, if you order off their regular menu everything is inclusive. My husband and I don't like seafood so we ordered the steak for $7.00. It was huge and probably one of the best steaks we've had The other nights we had dinner at the buffets. Breakfasts Atlantis, Pacifko and Pannamai were open, you could get eggs done the way you like and Pancakes and French Toast are made fresh. I was disappointed that there was no fresh juices at breakfast. It was more like fruit punch. We never had lunch at the buffet restaurants. We ate at the restaurants along the beach. They had hamburgers, fries etc. The Kontiky had pizza which was great.

The bar service was very good. The guys working are pretty quick. The drinks are pretty small. (put in a plastic drink cup) Many people brought there own reusable drink containers. We got ours at Canadian Tire. They will fill these up for you and save you many trips to the bar. One of the best places to get a drink is the Hard Rock Cafe. You get real size drinks in real glasses. We had a couple of great bartenders there. It usually pretty quiet there.

Tours
We did alot in the week that we were there. Decamero Explorer is the tour company offered at the hotel. The staff is great. Most speak pretty good English and many can often switch between English, French and Spanish without skipping a beat. When you have orientation, they will give you the days the tours are available. Some tours are only available once a week or on particular days. They offer a number of tours but here are the ones we took.

Anton Valley-takes you to a crater of an extinct volcano. You visit the El Chorro Macho waterfall, walking through the rainforest. The walk is pretty uneven so make sure you wear shoes with a good sole and can keep your balance. Not for somebody who can't walk well. You also go to a zoo and botanical garden. Lots of animals and birds. The "Golden Frog" is on display there. We didn't see it...I guess it was vacation. They stop in a little town that has a couple of good shops. Most of the women went shopping while the men went to the bar next door. The beer is about $1.00 but if you go across the street to the grocery store, it's alot cheaper. You leave around 8:00 AM and your back at the hotel around 2:00 PM.

Old Panama City & Panama Canal-I really enjoyed this tour. Seeing the Panama Canal in action was great. There was a freighter going through the first lock and in the second lock was a submarine. The freighter was suppose to have covered it going through the locks but the ship was too slow and the submarine was already down at the other end. The 15 minute movie giving the history of the canal was interesting. We got to see "Old Panama" and some historical sites throughout the city. We had a great lunch at a Lebanese Restaurant that was included in the package. Our guide was great and gave a very realistic view of life in Panama. Bring your passport. They stop at the end of the Amador Causeway which has a duty free shop that is excellent. None of us has our passport so we couldn't buy anything.

Embera Indieginous Community-this was very neat. You drive about 2 hours from the resort. When you get there you are picked up by the Embera people in piraguas (canoes) They have motors attached and you take a beautiful ride through the river to the waterfall. Keep your camera out as there is lots of beautiful scenery and birds to photograph. You go to the waterfall first. It's about a 15 minute walk to it. There is a lot of climbing over rocks and going through shallow streams to get there (wear wet shoes or old shoes because of the mud & water and wear your bathing suit) The waterfall is beautiful and you can have a great swim. After the walk back, you are taken to the village where you are greeted by the Indians. They are dressed in native attire. They serve lunch of fish and plantains, perform a dance and have a craft area set up where you buy their hand made items. The guide will take you on a tour of the village and then you head back to the bus. You leave around 8:00 AM and are back around 7:00 PM.

ATV Tour-they have a number of different tours set up. We took the 2 hour tour that went down the beach, up the air strip and through the back fields of the area. You went through streams, up and down hills etc. It was a lot of fun and the guide made sure everybody kept pace and enjoyed it. It was the first time I actually drove an ATV and it was a lot of fun. It was around $50 USD per person but worth it.

Deep See Fishing-my husband and his buddy went on this. They left around 7:00 AM and returned around 12:30. The cost was $150.00 USD. It included food, drinks, guide, equipment etc. They only brought back 1 fish but the day before 4 fish were brought in.

Leaving Royal Decameron
You basically lose the last day of your vacation because you have such an early start. We got a wake up call at 6:00 AM. Our luggage had to be outside our room by 6:30 AM. You had to be on the bus for 8:30 AM. It's usually a 1 1/2 hour drive to the airport. It actually took us 3 hours! We were very late getting into the airport so security didn't even look in our suit cases. (In Panama, security will take anything out of your suitcase that has a "danger" symbol on it. Hairspray, mouse, shaving cream etc. I left all our stuff for the maid) If your luggage is even 1lb over weight they will charge you $10 USD for every 1lb over. By the time we got through security etc it was almost 1:00 PM and our flight was suppose to leave at 2:10 PM. We were waiting for boarding call but didn't hear anything so we grabbed a bite to eat. At 1:30 PM a guy working at the airport started yelling that anybody for the AirTransit flight better board now as they were leaving. 40 minutes before our flight was suppose to leave. We got on the plane and sat down and the plane started to taxi out.

I suggest going to your boarding gate first to see what's happening before doing any shopping or grabbing something to eat. They have a great duty free area.
Royal Decameron Costa Blanca
Helen 

February 2007
My husband and I have just returned (February 26 2007) from a week at the Royal Decameron. I had read all of the reviews from other travellers prior to going but after our week, we found we weren't quite in agreement with most of the comments so maybe it is us!!

The grounds are beautifully kept and all areas including the many pools are clean. As stated in other reviews, the rooms are large but pretty basic. Mattresses were not very substantial, pillows positively lumpy. There are no face cloths provided but you can buy them in the on site boutiques!! No amenities such as shampoo, conditioner or lotion provided in room - again - for sale at boutiques. The floors are all tiled and no rugs anywhere so not much comfort.

The resort is very big and there is lots of walking but there are shuttles which you can hop on to get from lobby to lobby (there are 3 lobbies). We found it difficult to get shade - seems you had to be up at 6am to 'hold' any loungers with towels (which is supposed to be a no-no anyway but everyone does it). The loungers were the hard plastic type - no pads so again, very uncomfortable - many people bought plastic airbeds from the boutique to lay on top of the loungers. You are only allowed one towel at a time and they are pretty old so quite thin - not much comfort lying on them.

The nightly entertainment didn't start until 10pm and was not that great - a lot of repetition. Again - the seating isn't comfortable - concrete steps like an amphitheatre. There were kids shows every night before the adult shows and they seemed pretty good for the kids.

The restaurants were also very repetitious - the same food in all three buffet restaurants and the same offerings every meal. Eg. breakfast was the same choices every morning, lunch was the same choices as was supper. We found it difficult to eat well - the fruit was good but not much variety - pineapple, melon and papaya. The desserts looked fancy but tasted like cardboard and very synthetic. The speciality restaurants were slightly better but the food quality on the whole was poor. The Italian themed restaurant served the exact same things you could get at the buffet. The service wasn't great - very high volume - get 'em in and out as fast as possible. The water tasted like chlorine - not great for making tea.

The two tours we took were the Jungle Boat ride and a partial transit down the Panama Canal - both were excellent and we thoroughly enjoyed them. The guides were awesome and very informative about Panama, its history plus the relevant information about what we were seeing on our tours.

It was worth going to Panama to experience the Canal but I would not recommend this resort if you want quality and comfort. For us, it was very second rate and I was quite pleased to get home - even with the snow!!
Royal Decameron Costa Blanca
Ann and Jim 
Canada
December 2006
My husband and I and 2 friends just got back from a week at the Royal Decameron in Panama near the Anton Valley. The only thing bad I can say about the resort was having to move off of the sidewalks for the small vehicles of the resort. We had asked for Ocean Side rooms which I was told did not mean Ocean View, just closer to the Ocean but that was not true. All Ocean Side rooms are Ocean View and the view was amazing. We asked to be as close as possible to our friends and found our rooms were adjoining. The rooms were nice (not overly) and large, there were pools, restaurants and bars all over the very large resort. The staff very friendly but spoke very little English and the food was outstanding. There was a Taxi service just outside the gate which was usually cheaper or the same price as their tours but you controlled what you did. The taxi came with one drive and one English speaking guide. The tours were fantastic and your safety was their number 1 priority. If you rent a taxi, take your guides for lunch, they don’t get that often and are very appreciative. I would give the resort a 4 out of 5 because no matter where you go or what you do, there is always room for improvement.
Royal Decameron Costa Blanca
Farria 
Canada
August 2006
My boyfriend and I stayed at the Royal Decameron Costa Blanca Resort and Spa from August 6th – 13th (7 nights and 6 days). We arrived in Panama at 4:30 pm Panama time. Panama is one hour behind compared to Canada. We were greeted by a Nolitours representative who gave us our packages. Going through immigration was pretty straight forward. We were given forms to fill out on the plane and one was handed to us as we entered the airport. We picked up our luggage and had to put it beside a truck which would take them to the resort and would later be brought to our room. We were out of the airport within half an hour.

The weather was humid, it had just rained. Rainy season in Panama lasts for 9 months (April – December). The Decameron is located 2 hours (not 90 minutes) from the airport, and is located in the driest part of Panama. So, it doesn’t rain as much as it would in the city or other parts of Panama. We arrived at the resort at about 8 pm and it was dark so we couldn’t really see how it looked until morning.

Check in
Check in was a breeze. The packages we were given had a number on it and we were told to wait in the line that corresponded to our number. We were then given our room key and bracelets. We also got a key for the safe which was $2 per day and no deposit required ($14 for the week). We had to find our rooms on our own and since it was dark and the resort is so huge we got lost. Our room was very close to Lobby 1 and at the top of the hill. I guess one of the employees saw that we were a bit lost and he escorted us to our room. We were overwhelmed by the amount of stairs at first but got used to it as the week went on. In a way I’m glad for all of the stairs because it was a good way to factor in some exercise after all of that eating. We were given reservation tickets for the Panami Restaurant which had an Italian buffet. The food was great.

Tours
On Monday morning we went to the tours counter and booked the Canal and Shopping $40 each) and the Anton Valley tour ($40 each).

Canal and Shopping – This tour was all day from 8am to 7 pm. For this tour we had to take a bus all the way back to the city (2hrs). We were taken to two places for shopping. The first stop was an outlet plaza. There were tonnes of stores, some with good prices. I found that name brands like Guess were the same price as in Canada. The 2nd place for shopping was the mall. It was nice, but again the prices were not really that competitive. We did however see some digital cameras for really good prices. Lunch is not included with this tour. I recommend you go to the Dominoes Pizza, it was so good.

The Anton Valley tour included a visit to the zoo and a walk in the rainforest. This tour was only half day and was from 8am to 2pm. The zoo was about 45 minutes from the resort. The busses were well air-conditioned which was great. The zoo was outdoor and all of the animals were either in cages or behind fences, which was ok with me. However it didn’t make for great pictures because the fences were in the way. We saw the toucans, peacocks, monkeys, parrots and over 50 different types of chickens. My favourite was the leopard.

After the zoo we went to the rainforest. It wasn’t all they made it seem to be. We thought we would be able to see birds and maybe even some animals in the rainforest but we didn’t see any of that. It was pretty much a trail and some bridges in the forest, as they couldn’t take us deep into the jungle for safety reasons. There was a waterfall which was nice. The whole rainforest walk took all of 10 minutes. Lunch was not included with this tour. I would suggest the jungle boat tour instead. Many other people went on that tour and it seemed to be more interesting. We also were taken to a local strip of shops where we bought all of our souvenirs.

Food
The food at the Decameron was great. I will give you a list of the options available:
Sushi Samba – Japanese, closed for renovations
Mogi Mogi – This is an a la carte restaurant for dinner only. They alternated every night
from Thai to Japanese to accommodate for the closure of the Sushi Samba.
Panamai – Breakfast buffet, Lunch buffet, Italian buffet for Dinner (reservation only)
Atlantis - Breakfast buffet, Lunch buffet, Buffet for Dinner (alternating themes)
Pacifico - Breakfast buffet, Lunch buffet, Buffet for Dinner (alternating themes)
Club Med – Snacks and bar (snacks were from 2-5 and 11pm-2am Mediterranean Dinner (reservations only)
El Cayuko - Snacks and bar (snacks were from 2-5 and 11pm-2am Steakhouse for dinner (reservations only)
El Canal – Seafood Dinner (reservations only)
Kontiki – Indian Dinner (reservations only)
Creperia – French Dinner (reservations only)

Overall the food was great. Out of all the a la carte’s I liked El Canal (seafood) the best and El Cayuko (Steakhouse) the worst. The steak was really juicy and tasted good however it was a mission to cut. The steak knives were not very good; I gave up trying to cut the steak. The corn and potatoes provided were also not very good.

If you are used to eating a lot of rice and chicken you will love the buffets. They tried to have different themes every night for the dinner buffet but it always ended up being some sort of variation of chicken, riche, veggies, potatoes, and beef. Can’t lie, I liked it. If you are used to eating spicy food I suggest you either bring your own hot sauce or learn how to say “can I have some hot sauce” in Spanish. It was a hassle to ask for it each time as they don’t put it with the other condiments. But the hot sauce made everything taste so much better. Also, try not to go at the very end of the buffet, as one other person put it the workers go into “clean up mode” and do not really help you.

Pools
The pools were really nice. There were a lot of kids. I recommend going to the adult only pool. There is only one and it’s quite a trek to get to but it was well worth it. It’s located on the top of the hill behind the Pacifico. The view is amazing and it is the only pool with a swim up bar. Often my boyfriend and I were the only ones in the pool. I guess not many people knew about it or didn’t want to walk that far.

Gym and Spa
The gym and Spa were located near the adult pool, it was a long way from our villa. We did go to the gym once but it wasn’t that great, and with all that walking we seemed to have been exercising all day. The spa was great. We each got a 30 minute massage and it was so good. We got to be massaged in the same room which was a nice feature. Massages are $1 per minute, so 30 minutes for $30, not bad I guess. We saved our massage until our last day, and it was so relaxing.

Although it was rainy season and it did rain everyday the showers lasted for 10 minutes here and there and after the rain the sun came back out. Although the sun was out it was often gloomy which didn’t help with the pictures. When there was a clear sky the water was so blue and other days the ocean seemed so eerie because it was so dark almost grey. The weather ranges between 25-30 degrees which was very bearable and we never really felt too hot.

Also, if you’re thinking of getting married on a beach this is the place to do it. They did such a good job at the wedding we attended, it was so beautiful. They set up the tables with centerpieces, the alter was right in front of the ocean and was stunning, and the reception on the beach was amazing.

In summary, here are the pros and cons of this resort.

Pros
- food was great
- resort was clean and well maintained
- people spoke enough English to get by
- lots of pools
- lots of beach chairs and shelters
- drinks were great
- no mosquitoes (weird but we didn’t get bit once)
- nightly entertainment
- friendly staff

Cons
- rainy season (cant really blame anyone for this)
- sun sets early, around 7ish (again blame mother nature for that one)
- stairs (could be bad for the elderly or disabled, I didn’t mind)
- the club was not worth going to (no dj just a cd playng)
- we lost one day due to travelling (half the Sunday we arrived and half the Sunday we left)

What else can I say? This resort was amazing. I would definitely go back again.
Royal Decameron Costa Blanca
Ralf 
Toronto, Ontario
June 2006
Photos
My family, a party of four, booked our 2 week vacation, starting May 21, 2006 to the Royal Decameron Resort, Costa Blanca through Nolitours early in the spring for our 25th wedding anniversary and our daughter’s birthday which falls on the same day May 23. Our travel agent notified Nolitours twice about our special event with acknowledgement from the tour operator.

However, this is how our trip enfolded and comments about the resort.

The flight on WestJet left on time and was quite comfortable with the added legroom and leather seating, soft drinks and snacks were provided, the crew attentive to passengers needs and helpful. I personally would have preferred less joking during the safety procedure demonstration.

Upon arrival, smooth sailing through customs, greeting by the local Nolitour representative and directed to the proper bus with luggage taken separately. After the 90 minute bus ride with a “pit” stop we arrived at the resort with predetermined check in lines and off to the rooms.

However, our luggage at the airport was tagged for building 10 and upon check-in; we were redirected to building 31. My wife and I received ground floor corner unit room, patio with two sides open and with two beds, 3 feet from the main walkway between buildings, 10 feet from the main front traffic route while our daughter and her friend got the king size bed in the adjacent room. Our room offered no privacy, was very noisy, the drapes did not fully close and was right next to the room staff’s room.

On Monday morning May 22 briefing, this was brought to the attention of the Tour Representative, Reynald, who initially tried to pass this off to the Guest Services Representative, Mr. Andersen, however, this was very quickly resolved with a new pair of rooms (one ready now, the other later) to be ready after the briefing, fully acceptable BUT this did not occur and the room change was put off to the next day. Next day, Mr. Andersen’s day off the issue was given to the Tour Representative, and then resolved. We booked dinner on May 22 for the Cayuco Restaurant for May 23, our wedding anniversary day, noted on the restaurant slip of paper but it was ignored, we might have received more attention had we been dead. Our wedding anniversary was fully spoiled and this set the stage for the vacation somewhat but we tried to make the best of it.

The resort pros:
- Grounds very well kept, clean, tidy and in good repair
- Lifeguards always around and helpful
- Food is good with a variety of selection, in both buffet and a la carte restaurants, few if any line-ups for food
- Large pool area with lots of open spaces, never felt crowded and could find shade
- Rooms are large but lack a bath tub, shower stall large
- Staff generally helpful and attentive most of the time.
- The Café Med and Kontiki restaurants the best for sit down dinners and food top notch. Did not go to El Canal, fish was better at Kontiki.
- Beach was clean, swept daily and water very warm. Lots of shade Only 2 days of red flag.
- Not hassled on the beach by souvenir sellers.

The resorts cons:
- Too large and noisy
- Constant foot traffic along the main path between the restaurants and bars
- Constant service vehicles using the same path, people must get out of the way
- Bar and restaurant closings for conventions and/or weddings not posted early to allow for alternate arrangements. Postings only in some lobbies, not throughout the resort at least a day in advance.
- Bar, restaurant and snack station closing for no apparent reason.
- Staff rotation makes it difficult to “get to know people”
- The entertainment and resort geared to the main clientele from South America, English speaking tend to come in second.
- Tours and outside activities expensive for a country that has low earnings. ATV for 2 hours at $58, Canopy Adventure $65, Mountain peddle bike tour $21, Anton Valley tour $40, all in USD. (Anton Valley by public bus $2.50, Penonome $1.50)

Clientele issues
- Kids and babies in larger pools without diapers intended for adults, some relieved themselves. Found small infinity adults only pool near lobby 3, only to have adults sit on bar serving ledge with legs in the water.
- Some adults took water in their mouths, then spit out or clear their noses.
- Adult relieved themselves in staircase of the building.
- Been to other Spanish speaking countries but the language was not as loud or sharp as encountered here?

The last 2 days we were fortunate to have the option of going to the Decapolis in Panama City, great hotel, excellent food and good places to shop. Buy souvenirs and other items at the local duty free shops or malls, the airport charges at least 20% more for the same. A Panama beach towel at Decameron beach was $5, at the airport $15.

Even during the rainy season we had little rain at Decameron Resort and it was a much needed rest. For the money paid for the trip, it was worth it. A four star for this resort.

Will we go back, I do not think so having been to other locations throughout the world, Tunisia, Bali, Costa Rica, Mexico, Cuba, Aruba, Sint Maarten and the list goes on.
Royal Decameron Costa Blanca
Sara 
Holland Landing, Ontario
May 2006
I just returned from a week in Panama at the Royal Decameron Costa Blanca. I traveled with a group of 70 people for a friend's wedding. Overall, a good time was had by all, and I would recommend this resort to others.

We flew Air Transat from Toronto, Ontario direct to Panama City. 5 hour flight was not too bad, a little squished in the seats, but nothing out of the ordinary. Upon arrival in Panama, we noticed that the airport was under a lot of construction, and looked very run down. After about an hour of lining up for the Nolitours package, we were able to collect our bags and head for customs (another line up). Then we brought our bags outside and got in yet another line up to board the bus. The baggage is delivered to the resort on a separate truck from what you travel on. This is a little unnerving, but when it arrives at the resort, they bring it right to your hotel room door.

The bus ride is long, but there is a guide who tells you interesting bits of information about Panama City and the areas that you pass through on the way to the resort. Consider this your first free tour, beautiful scenery, especially when going through the mountain area known as the Continental Divide. They also provide a drink when you get on the bus. You stop halfway to the resort at a little roadside restaurant, and you can purchase a snack or a drink and use the washrooms. From here its only about 50 mins to the resort.

Check in at the resort was really fast, they give you a rum punch and away you go. The first thing you will notice about this resort is that there are approximately 70 stairs from the main lobby to the beach. This gets to be a little much, especially with the heat, but I guess it allows you to work off some of the massive quantities of food and drink that you will consume through the week.

The rooms are nice, simple decor and pretty well kept. Here's a list of the things you WONT find in the rooms: Refrigerator, Kleenex, Face Cloths, Alarm Clock. If you need to get up early in the morning, bring your own clock, or arrange with the lobby for a wake-up call. On the Royal Decameron website, it says that the rooms have satellite TV...I wouldn't call it Satellite TV. There are about 10 channels, most of which are in Spanish. We didn't spend much time watching TV however, so it really didn't matter to me.

We had a ground level room facing the beach in building 12, right out in front of NegaNega bar. This was nice because we had no stairs to climb to our room. We could see the ocean, but the rooms on the third floor had a better ocean view. Our bags were waiting for us when we arrived. Word of warning...if you get a ground level room, security is VERY careful about making sure that your sliding door is kept locked. They have a security guy who tours around and checks to see if the doors are locked, and if it isn't locked (even if you are standing in the room) they will call up to the lobby and have the lobby call you to tell you to lock it. This is a little annoying, because they did it even when I was inside having a nap, but I guess it is good to know that the security personnel are on top of things. One nice thing about having a ground level room though is that you see a lot more wildlife at night. We had a few animals pass by our terrace, like a land crab, Iguanas, peacocks, house geckos, and another type of lizard that I'm not sure of the name.

We rented the lock for the safety deposit box in our room, it cost $14 for the week ($2/day). We only used US dollars when we were here, and never had a problem at any location. My cell phone did not work in Panama, I'm with Rogers and I have a "GSM" phone, but it still didn't work. Anyway, if you want to make a call, there are instructions on the phone in the room, but be prepared to pay for this service.

The food at the buffets was great, lots of delicious fruit and veggies, and the cooked dishes were pretty good. At breakfast, they always had scrambled eggs, but they are ALWAYS runny. There is an omelet stand where you can get a custom omelette, and those were very tasty. We ate also at the Creperia (beside Pacifiko buffet), the Italian restaurant (Pannamai), and the seafood restaurant (El Canal), all were excellent. In the buffet restaurants, they have these little speakers that make bird noises, and they get a little annoying after a while, but I heard that they were there to scare off the nuisance birds that keep trying to swoop in and steal food from people's plates, and from the buffet. We saw a couple of these nuisance birds, but not many.

If you want a unique Panama experience, and a great seafood dinner, go down the beach to Pipa's Beach Bar. From the Decameron, go on the beach and turn right and walk for about 1.5 km, its a nice walk, and WELL WORTH IT!!! We walked down one afternoon and made reservations for Saturday, and we met the owner, Nancy (and her husband), who have just recently taken over the ownership and management of Pipa's. They are from California and speak perfect English and Spanish. We had such a good time, I made friends with Nancy and she asked me to help her out with DJ'ing and bar tending, so that was a unique experience in itself. Then there was the food...I'm not a big seafood eater, and let me tell you, this food was to die for. Huge shrimps and a delicious lobster cooked and seasoned to perfection. They also put on a beach bonfire for us, and one of the waiters did a little show with fire sticks, which was really nice.

I did three excursions from the resort. The first was a $1.50 bus ride into Penonome to do some shopping. You can catch the local bus at Lobby 2, and they run about every 15 minutes or so. The bus ride was really exciting, they cram about 20 people in a vehicle the size of a mini-van, and just when you think that its full, the driver pulls over and picks up 2 or 3 more passengers. The ride is about 20 minutes, and they drive really fast. If you get motion sick, make sure to take some gravol before boarding the "bus". With all the speeding, frequent stops, and curves in the road, you are in for a ride! The town is pretty good for shopping, LOTS of shoes, and dirt cheap too. I saw a pair of decent sandals for 2.99 US. The same would be worth 29.99 in Canada. We had ice cream for 50 cents each, and a bottle of water for .75 cents. It is worth the trip, just to get away from the resort for a couple hours, and its good to see the local culture.

The second excursion we did was the Jungle Boat tour. This is an all day tour, you catch the bus at 8am and are back at the resort at 6pm. Well worth the $90 we paid to go. You are taken out by bus to a pair of boats, which then take you to a houseboat on Gatun lake. Gatun lake is part of the Panama Canal. This is where we were given lunch and could go out by canoe or kayak, and do some exploring on your own. We saw Tamarind monkeys while out on the canoe.
After lunch you are taken by boat out to see some wildlife. We saw lots of birds, turtles, manatees, crocodiles, an iguana, 3 types of monkeys, and a sloth. We also got to see a few of the big transport ships coming through the canal. We drove up right beside one and saw how immense they are. This is definitely a great choice for a day trip from the resort.

The third tour was to El Valle D'Anton, or Anton Valley. We went hiking in the rainforest, saw the el Chorro Macho waterfall, lots of wildlife, and then we stopped on the way back at the local market, and at a wildlife zoo. This is a half-day trip, and cost only $40, and definitely worth while.

There is a mini "market" set up at the resort on Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights. They have lots of neat souvenirs and jewelery for good prices. Most of the souvenirs we saw were the same at all the places we visited. There are some vendors down the beach a little ways, and they had similar things there as well.

The beach is nothing fancy. The water is not clear and blue like in many Caribbean locations, it is a bit darker, and the surf is rough. The red flag was up for all but two days that we were there, which indicates dangerous undertows. We went in the water when the yellow flag was up, and the waves are strong, and you do get pulled around a bit, but its nothing that you can't control, as long as you stay aware of how far out you are going. We didn't go in to the point where we couldn't touch bottom, we stayed at about shoulder-deep and were able to keep our footing pretty easily. I am a strong swimmer, and had no worries about the undertow, and I enjoyed myself while in the water, but if you are unsure of your swimming abilities, take extra care. The sand on the beach is also a bit rough, its quite coarse and was a little hard on my feet at first, but I got used to it after a little while. If you walk down the beach, you will notice that the sand gets a bit softer and is pretty nice to walk on around the vendor huts.

One thing you definitely must check out is the live entertainment. The dancers are great, and its a pretty action-packed show. There is also live acoustic music at the Cafe Med bar almost every night. Two or three guys (depending on the night) came and had their guitars, and boy could they sing! It was probably the best live music I've ever heard. They do a mixture of English and Spanish songs. It was the perfect end to the day, you can sit on the beach chairs with your feet in the sand and a cold beverage in your hand and just relax and listen to the waves crashing and the guys singing.

Overall, I would say that we had a great time in Panama at the Royal Decameron. I would recommend this hotel to my friends, however, if you are a beach bunny and spend most of your time on the beach, you may want to consider a different location. I hope you found this review informative, and I hope it helps you to plan your trip to the Royal Decameron.
Royal Decameron Costa Blanca
Craig and Leah 
Canada
March 2006
We stayed for a one week vacation at the Royal D as we called it, and had the time of our lives! We are btwn 25-29 and were on our honeymoon. We are writing this review to help others make a decision on a resort as we have used this site often ourselves. We arrived no problems - we checked in - no problems - room was fantastic - we did not pay for oceanfront - but needless to say we received it. Plenty of bars to amuse yourself at, could have used another bartender at each one - but really that is the only negative thing I have to say about this resort. The food was to die for - I am having a hard time eating back at home, because the food there was so much better that it is here....wish I could go back for the Thai restaurant (Mogo Mogo). I do not care for Thai food - but please try this restaurant if you go. Think they would seriously have to try to disaapoint you there. The only restaurant that was just Ok, was Club Med - down by the beach - I thought that it would be the most like home - steak and beef dishes - stray away from homelike meals!! Try something different. The dishes they prepare are so good my mouth is watering as I write this. Lots of choices at the 3 buffet restaurants ( yes I said 3 - wow) and all the dessert is good. Would have to have stayed for 2 weeks to try all the a la cartes available to you - (believe there is 8). Pizza at the snack bar at Sushi Samba pool is extremely yummy as well. You can only get it in the afternoon so be sure to head there for some...if you try it near the beginning of your vacation, you will definitely go back. Lots of walking - love it - the resort is spralled out over a huge area - if you do not like stairs - find somewhere else to go - We felt great after eating having a short walk to wear off a few calories at least! Too bad we always ended up at a bar for a Big Beverage or 7 before heading to the nightly entertainment ( which was pretty good ) will comment that I have seen better but was great none the less. There is also a disco nightly - smelled a little funny - but hey, so do I after a few hours of dancing to some funky spanish beats! There is also a beach disco on the weekends. How much more fun could you ask for? We did the canopy tour - GO - it was amazing swinging on the ropes like George of the Jungle over a small waterfall and landing on what looks like a McDonalds tray strapped to a tree! The guides seem to know what they are doing, which is encouraging since you cannot communicate who to leave your favourite bathing suit to if you crash or fall... We also took an ATV tour - highly recommended, we were able to swim in a river, stop by a beach bar in Santa Clara, race down the old military air strip ( in case you didn't know this resort used to be an old American Army base in Central America - very cool - they still have the spot light and horns up at the coffee and cappucino bar - which you really should try - Spanish coffees are quite good after dinner! ).... all in all we were very happy with our ATV adventure. We also spent an afternoon in Penomme - worthwhile - bought 2 swimsuits for $17 US, and some shoes - loads of choice for men and women - some really expensive brands here in Canada were less than half there - take your males along - they will find some deals too! You only have to go to Penomme for 2 hours if you want, so it does not take up a whole day and if you get a great cab driver he will let you stop at a store and grab some cold beers before the trip home. Which you will want - it is fairly warm there. The weather was great - there was a few clouds but no rain - All in all the Royal D is a fabulous way to spend your vacation - singles, couples, families and groups can all have a heck of a good time at this resort - Highly remcommended - would definitely return but,,,,,, for 2 weeks next time... Hopefully will see you there soon !
Royal Decameron Costa Blanca
Rene 
Toronto
March 2006
date of trip Jan.30 for 2 weeks, another amazing trip to the Decameron, we were there last year and plan to go for 3 weeks next year. Awesome food, great rooms and very accomodating staff.
A few hints; first, pay the extra for an ocean front room, money well spent as the resort is built on a hill and the stairs to the other buildings are exhausting especially in the heat, we were in building 11 which was great.
The trip to penome was great, the bus stops in front of the resort and is $1.50 one way. Shoes are very cheap!!! Between 4 women that went down there, we bought 56 pairs of shoes (only other women would appreciate that). Also we hired a cab for the day, cab driver was Carlos who brought his brother along who spoke English and took us for a tour to Panama City, the canal, the causeway, old panama city, the panamanian White house as well as to Albrook Mall which is where the locals shop. Huge mall where you can shop till you drop. Very good prices!! I bought 2 official soccer shirts, one Italian and one Dutch, they sell here for $120.00 down there paid $6.99. The cost of the cab for the day 12hr. was $100.00 plus we tipped well and bought the boys lunch. Carlos has a family and his brother is a university student, the average wage is $1.00 per hour, so please be generous with the cabbies as well as some of the other staff i.e., the staff that cook the omelettes and pancakes in the morning, they all work very hard. Don't worry if you forget something, there are 3 gift shops that carry all the necessities and don't charge an arm and a leg like they do in the Dominican.

Face cloths are not provided for some reason, so I bought a pack of 12 at our local linen liquidators and then left them there, facecloths can also be bought at the gift shop. Also, no cushions on the lounge chairs, but most people purchased air mattresses from the gift shop for $5.00 which the folks at the towel booth would blow up for you. We have travelled to Mexico and Dominican, but much prefer panama, the country and the people are amazing. Go to this place you won't be dissappointed
Royal Decameron Costa Blanca
Betty Jane 
Canada
March 2006
We did the 10/4 day split with the Royal Decameron and the Gamboa Rainforest Resort from Feb. 13th to Feb. 27th, 2006; the Royal Decameron was an excellent resort, great food and no problem reserving at the a la carte restaurants. Rooms were clean, staff okay but certainly not as friendly or welcoming as the Costa Ricans. My only complaint would be the many, many stairs from the upper rooms to the pools and ocean and some restaurants; buildings 10 through 14 and 30 to 32 are at ocean and pool level. I found the 72 odd stairs from our room a little challenging; you can wait for the mini buses but they are not always there when needed. I have traveled extensively and personally prefer a smaller more intimate location, this is a very large complex and I will not return.
Royal Decameron Costa Blanca
Scott & Siân 
Thunder Bay, ON
February 2006
We were married at the Decameron on Jan 27th, with 32 of our nearest and dearest. What an adventure!

This was our first all inclusive holiday and if this is only 4 star, I can't imagine what they could have done to spoil us more. If you are a first timer or getting married abroad The Royal Decameron Panama is for you!!

Rooms: Were clean and comfortable. The beds were very comfortable as specially the pillows. We booked about a year in advanced and were all in section 12 on the beach front. Well worth the extra couple of bucks, if I had had to hike it all the way up those hills every day, I might have been a little disappointed.

Staff: SOOOOO nice, those who spoke little or no english did everything they could to figure out our "international" hand gestu! res with a great smile doing all they could to get us what we needed. Which is much more friendly then the tired old Quebec vs. Canada complaining. Our first week was mostly folks who flew out of Toronto who complained about the French Canadian tourists to no end. As did the group that flew out of Montreal, that were there our second week. They complained about the English Canadians. Let's live up to our reputations people, we're supposed to be friendly!

Food: We love to eat and the food here is really good. If you're ready to try things that are a little different, there is tones for you to eat. If you just want a hamburger, the snack bar is where you want to go. We got up early a few time for the a la cart, which were good, but the buffet was just a good and we didn't like to be rushed.

Food tip: if you're just dying for a simple sandwich, the Pacifica had a sandwich station to the ! right of the big grill. ALSO....if you want a really special meal that is like nothing you've ever eaten, ask the tour desk about Pipas Bar and Grill. OUTSTANDING seafood for $25 and the wine is really good.

Tours: Any place that isn't covered with snow is my idea of great time. But the tours we did were nothing like I could have imagined. The zip line threw the rain forest was like being in my tv as a cast member of the Amazing Race. The crew was very careful and lots of fun. The trip to the Embara Tribe was really cool, a swim in a waterfall, food, dancing, great souvenir shopping, and tattoos. A really good day. All of our tour guides were awesome and loved to answer any questions you have about Panama and the tours etc.

Tour tip: if you have a sensitive tummy any trip into el Valley will require gravel (I used the garlic, non-drowsy kind) as the road is curvy with lots of ups and downs. ALSO...el! Valley is best on Sunday as there are more local vendors then during the week.

Wedding: So perfect! If you're thinking about getting married this way, Marnie (the wedding coordinator) is great, easy to get a hold of and her english is perfect, she's from Canada. I didn't have to worry about anything. The photographer takes amazing shots and the video is done with 2 cameras to get everything in. The live music is very romantic. The setting is very romantic, we were under the big tree. Other tourist were very respectful and stayed at a respectful distance. We were married on a Friday, after dinner we went to the beach disco that was just off site, you still drink for free and you can party until 4. The power went off a few time that day and night ( a little scary as it was pitch black) due to the air conditioners over loading, but came on right away.

The Gamboa...is very different from the Decameron.! This wasn't the best for us, where as others we met loved it. The Gambo is a beautiful big hotel in the middle of the rain forest. It's quiet and reserved with a lot of property to explore, you will see alot of wild life if you get up very early, the hotel has coffee and muffins for the hikers. We stayed in the villas which were beautiful, but I felt a little like an unwanted guest tucked far way from where is was happening. The walk to the hotel was about 10 minutes and a driver would come an pick you up if you called. Our phone was broken for 3 day and I told 4 people at the front desk about it. The food was nice, but we had to wait to get a seat, I wasn't used to waiting. Getting the bus to the airport on going home day was a nightmare, highly unorganized with no representative to tell us if we were missing out bus, when the next one was coming or if we need to get cab.

I worked at a 5 star hotels in down town Toronto for years before moving to ! Thunder Bay, and in my opinion the Gamboa was not a 5 star by Canadian standards, with the exception that the staff generally tried to be 5 star snobby.

I did appreciate that I was able to whined down for a couple of days before heading home. Panama: is a beautiful country with kind and outgoing people. I always felt safe and loved that you could drink the water!
Royal Decameron Costa Blanca
Drake 

February 2006
We have visited this Resort from: December 19th 2005 until Jan. 3th 2006.

weather : excellent

Room: Very Nice good service block 24

Restaurant : It was fine Three dinning hall very busy, Specility restaurant the best Sea Food, Italian steak house Not very good several guests return their meal cold, not very well prepared. Reservation for the speciality restaurant: terrible!! Restaurant should be ALL non smoker Great Evening !!!December 31th 2005. Champagne ,two orchestras dance. A lot of people.

This is a big Resort 800 rooms and during our stay they add a new part total now 1000 rooms, plus a GOLF.

Nice visit to Penonome about 35 miles from the resort it is a smal town we have visited the local market . We take a local bus about 15 passengers and the sercvice is available every 15 minutes.

Excursion: we have visited the old Panama city and the Canal ( canal is quite something) very pittoresque : cost $65.00$us incl. the dinner a good steak house near the Radisson Hotel However trip from the resort to the city is 2 hours. My wife has taken a massage, good ,very professional.

Airport tax $20.00 US. Cash per person .

On this resort the a lot of circulation and noise ( music, lawn mower ,leaf blower. Sea doo on the beach?

After all, I beleive that we will return.
Royal Decameron Costa Blanca
Maureen 
Ottawa Ontario
February 2006
This was our 10th visit to an all inclusive resort but our 1st visit to Panama so I am comparing the Decameron to 4 and 5 star resorts in the Dominican Republic and the Mayan Riviera. It compares well and I would say it is a solid 4 star resort.

We stayed 10 days from January 16-26 (then 4 days at the Decapolis - I will review it separately).

Air Transat - we flew from Toronto and arrived on time or even a little early. Club Class is definitely the way to go, no line-ups, we board first, good meal, our luggage comes off first, and the luggage weight is higher and of course the comfy leather seats.

Nolitours - very organized both at the airport and at the resort. You receive your room package at the airport, put your room number luggage tag on your suitcase, go through Customs (no problems here), put your luggage on a bus and get on the bus in front after the tour guide offers you a cold soft drink, water or cerveza for the trip. It is a long trip but the guide makes it interesting and there is lots to see.

The Decameron - check in was very well organized. Lines were organized to get room keys, another line for safety deposit boxes and then we were off to our room in building 10, first floor, room 1016. This is an oceanview room, we could see the pool and the ocean right on the other side, great view. Room was easy to find after checking the map. Room was good, 2 double beds, dressers, shower in bathroom, and a working air conditioner. Nothing fancy but all we needed. Maid service was good the whole time, we never really saw the maid but the room was always made up before noon. We left small Canadian souvenirs and $1 a day as a tip. A few things you may consider, no facecloths ($2 in the shop) and no Kleenex in the room.

Food - 3 buffets for breakfast and lunch, 2 buffets for dinner and a lot of specialty restaurants. The choices in the buffets could have been better but what was there was excellent. Very sanitary, all the servers wore gloves and face masks! Salads, fruit (especially the pineapple) and chicken was the best. Cervesa was good and even the red wine was ok, although it took a bit of getting used to. We heard a lot of complaining about the system to book the specialty restaurants, but I don't really understand the problem, we never had a problem. You get up in the morning and take a number at lobby 1 (or 2 or 3), they start calling the numbers in order at 7:00 and you book your restaurant for the night. You can still book at noon or 2 for the ones that aren't full. I guess the problem is getting up before 7 am but it didn't bother us. Specialty restaurants that we tried were excellent, the fish and seafood had the best salmon and we did the Italian restaurant a few times, it was especially good.

Vendors - there were a few at the resort on Tuesday and Wednesday evening. There were a few huts on the beach to the right and a few walking on the beach but they only came up if you called them.

Beach - excellent walking beach, and great for collecting shells but a scary undertow. You could walk for over an hour to the right and about 15 minutes to the left. The red flag was up most of the time we were there, yellow for a few afternoons. Lifeguards were on duty and we saw them in action one afternoon, just like Baywatch. Nicest part of the beach was in front of building 10, it was quiet, a bit of construction noise but not much. The quiet pool was here while the one with all the activities was further down the beach.
There was a walking tour every morning, starts at the bottom of the stairs by lobby 1, that goes to Noriega's old mansion, a very worthwhile walk, only takes about an hour from start to finish.

Pools - lots of pools, very nice, clean. We usually sat at the beach under a palapas , walked on the beach and then swam in the pool in front of building 10,

Bars - good service and good drinks. Never too crowded even though the resort was full. Our favorite bartender always knew what we wanted in our insulated mugs.

Stairs - OK, the stairs were a bit much sometimes, I counted a few different ways, 72 stairs, 69 stairs, I was glad our room was at the bottom so I only had to climb maybe once or twice a day, but good exercise I guess. We could have taken the little cart but that would have been admitting defeat!

Internet - 3 PC's in the lobby, $10/hour, $7/half hour - high speed and seemed to work well.

Tours - we didn't do any from here as we were going to be in Panama City at the Decapolis for the last 4 days and would do the tours from there, much closer so we didn't waste so much time travelling.

Massage - I booked 2 for $35/each - they are cheaper if you book during the Nolitour information meeting the first morning. An excellent 50 minute massage for $35.

Bugs - no mosquitoes but something, I think a spider maybe, bit me on the foot at supper one night, we were at one of the buffets near the beach. They are constantly spraying so I knew there had to be bugs somewhere. I put bug spray on my legs in the evenings and never had any more problems.

This resort could be a 5* with just a few improvements like, fridges in the rooms (I didn't really miss it though); a bit more selection at the buffets and cushions for the beach/pool chairs. Other than that, just remember that Panama is hot, wear sunscreen, we used SPF 30 a few times every day and didn't get burnt but we saw some bad sunburns. This is a great resort and I would return in a minute.

Any questions please feel free to email us at Glmckenny@sympatico.ca