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Royal Decameron, Panama


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#51 TA Becky

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    Posted 20 September 2010 - 02:04 PM

    Hi RandR,

     

    Question for you since your fiance is from Panama. I'm actually heading there with my boyfriend this December. We're flying into Panama City and it doesn't look like our flight to Bocas will connect the same day so we were considering driving to where we catch the boat over to Bocas. It sounds like you did exactly this, so how long did it take?

     

    If anyone's interested in seeing Punta Caracol (I think it's a great Honeymoon property) I'll be doing a site inspection when I'm there so I'll post pics in the early new year once I'm home.

     

     

     



     

    Originally Posted by RandR 

    Hey Amanda+Dave!

     

    To help subside your fiances fears of safety. My fiance is from Panama and I have gone there with him to visit family. I did not have any issues with crime and in certain areas of Panama there are actually a lot of retired Canadians and Americans due to the lower living costs. I think this is becoming more and more popular.

    Panama city is big and there are areas like any city that you wouldn't walk alone at night. I would be more afraid of the driving then the crime :P

     

    In Feb 09 my fiance and I actually rented a car and drove for 7 days through out Panama. Going from Panama city to Punta Chame to El Valle to Boquete to Bocas (boat to the main island) and Back to Panama City. I never felt concerned about crime during this trip. We did get pulled over for speeding though.

    It helps that my fiance is fluent in Spanish, but most people in Panama thought that he was a foreigner and I was a locale, bc of his light skin and eyes.

    I don't think crime is any higher in Panama then in any other popular tropical destination, it's just not as "touristy" yet.
     


     




    #52 JR14

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      Posted 28 September 2010 - 02:51 PM

      You got mail ladies! :)


      J + R ~ Bristol Buenaventura, Panama ~ 26.May.2011~~ 95 booked (+ bride & groom)


      #53 JR14

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        Posted 28 September 2010 - 02:55 PM

        Now that I know how to post pictures on this site, I might as well share what I have for everyone!!  

         

        wedding-set-up.jpg

         

        panama-beach wedding.jpg

         

        arcos decoracion.jpg


        J + R ~ Bristol Buenaventura, Panama ~ 26.May.2011~~ 95 booked (+ bride & groom)


        #54 JR14

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          Posted 28 September 2010 - 03:21 PM

          I just came back from Panama yesterday and am soooo happy I went!!!  The Decameron is an extremely large resort, with 3 lobbies, lots of pools, bars and restaurants, and STEEP stairs and driveways to walk up to the rooms (unless you book a ground level oceanview room).  The grounds and property are well taken care of and nice to walk around at night, they have these enormous Corotu trees which are a sight to see, so amazing.  My only complaints were the rooms, we switched from rm 2317 which was in the oldest set of buildings (10-20s) to the newer buildings (40-49) to rm 4133.  Both weren't much different from one another, there was mold in the shower and wasn't very clean, had a little damp smell too which either went away or I got used to it.  The staff are very nice and accommodating as well, they were all great.  

          I was super busy coordinating my wedding and shopping around all week, I hardly had any pool or beach time (2hrs tops!), but managed to catch the staff setting up for a 5pm wedding on Sunday Sep. 26.  Here are the pics I took, sorry I didn't get better ones.

           

          P1050184.JPG

           

          P1050186.JPG


          J + R ~ Bristol Buenaventura, Panama ~ 26.May.2011~~ 95 booked (+ bride & groom)


          #55 CND_Redhead

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            Posted 29 September 2010 - 05:34 AM

            Thank you for posting that JR14,

             

            The more pics I see and the more people give me their reviews the harder it is to wait!!!

            How did your wedding go? Any tips you can give us Royal Decameron brides to be (what to ask for, not to get, what to look for etc...?)

             

            Congrats, and thanks again!

             

            Cheers,
            Jen


            :http://www.ezticker.....ing/ticker.png

            Bride & Groom + 38 BOOKED!!!

            #56 JR14

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              Posted 29 September 2010 - 08:48 AM

              Hi Jen,

               

              Not sure if you've read my other posts in this thread but I'm actually NOT a Decameron bride, but will be staying there with my guests for the week of the wedding next May.  I was down there doing a site visit for both of my hotels (Decameron and Buenaventura) and meeting wedding coordinators.

               

              As for tips, I'd definately say if you're having a beach wedding to get the seat covers.  The thing I didn't like was the beach set up was literally infront of a restaurant, just off the patio steps so it was extremely crowded.  The garden/tree wedding looks to be a little more private and you still can see the water in the distance, but its not the beach!! 
               

              The same goes for the dinner reception, you can choose from Cafe Med or Sushi Samba, where Cafe Med is restaurant where the beach weddings are held infron of, and Sushi Samba is located higher in the property, again probably more private and overlooks a beautiful infinity pool.  I personally liked the food at Cafe Med better, plus it has a band!  :)
               

              Originally Posted by CND_Redhead 

              Thank you for posting that JR14,

               

              The more pics I see and the more people give me their reviews the harder it is to wait!!!

              How did your wedding go? Any tips you can give us Royal Decameron brides to be (what to ask for, not to get, what to look for etc...?)

               

              Congrats, and thanks again!

               

              Cheers,
              Jen




              J + R ~ Bristol Buenaventura, Panama ~ 26.May.2011~~ 95 booked (+ bride & groom)


              #57 RandR

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                Posted 17 October 2010 - 05:07 PM

                Hey TA Becky!

                 

                Sorry for taking so long to reply, my fiance actually typed out a reply for you. Here you go!

                 

                Driving to Almirante in the province of Bocas del Toro from Panama City is an interesting drive. I would recommend that if you can afford it, take the plane from Panama City to Bocas Town in Isla Colon (Columbus Island). That way you save time and effort and spend the most time enjoying your vacation.   If you are driving then this is what to expect. It is not complicated. You just take the Panamerican highway and keep on driving. Then turn right at the single road that goes through the mountains (there are signs) and drive to Almirante. Take the 30-min boat to Bocas town and that's it.   The drive on the Panamerican highway is the longest part. Make sure you fill up before you leave the city and then again in Penonome or Santiago. The highway is double lane for the most part. The part that is single-lane is after Santiago, I believe, unless they expanded by now. We went there in Feb of 2009. If you arrive in David, then you missed your exit. The signs on the exit you will take should say something like Almirante, Changinola or Bocas del Toro. This drive takes about 4 to 5 hours depending on whether you get stuck behind a dump truck in the single-lane section and don't want to pass him. The drive is not boring. There are lots of twists and turns and hills.   The drive through the mountains could be scary. You are cutting through mountains that go as high as 11000 ft. so you are literally in the clouds. That's what the fog is. There was some really bad flooding back in 2008 that took parts of the road down (lanes were missing) or even the whole road. When we drove, there where little signs (yes, little) in Spanish that said "road missing ahead).  This should all be fixed by now, I would assume, since it has been almost 2 years since we went. The road is driveable. We did it in a little Toyota Yaris. No 4x4 required. This part took very long for us because my fiance wouldn't let me drive faster than 40 km/h. There were parts that I didn't even want to drive faster than 30 km/h because of the thick fog (clouds). At that speed, this little stretch took us 3 to 4 hours.    Overall, we took like 9 hours when we drove back from Bocas to Panama city, but keep in mind that we were driving really slow through the mountains, we stopped to get gas and eat a couple of times, and we were at 100 km/h tops on the highway. We were in no rush.    We spent a whole morning driving there and a whole afternoon driving back. We took a car instead of lying because we stopped on a few places along the way: El Valle, Punta Chame, Boquete and Coronado.   When you get to Almirante, you will see people with signs that will show you to a gated parking lot where you can keep your car for like $3/day and then they haul your luggage (for a tip) to the place where you take the boat, which is about $4/person each way, if I recall correctly. There are many places that take you back and forth between the island and mainland and the prices are pretty much the same, except for one that runs later than all others. After a certain time at night, you are stuck on the island pretty much lol. But you can find restaurants and entertainment easily. I think the boats run every 30 or 60 minutes.    Whatever hotel you are staying at should be able to point you in the right direction for boat shuttles to mainland and for boat rides to tour attractions to Starfish Beach, Red Frog Beach, etc. If anyone wants to charge you more than $50 per whole day per person for a tour, it better be a damn good tour or all inclusive, like with food and maybe even booze. The hotel where we stayed (Olas de la Madrugada) had half-day tours for $20 per person. We had problems with that hotel though. They fumigated the main floor they day before we arrived, so it forced all the bugs and roaches to the second floor where we were staying... not a good experience. We had 2 roaches in our room that found their way into our luggage. But that hotel was very cheap like $45/night. There are better, higher quality ones for less than $100 and they are right on the beach.    Enough of my rant. Have a great trip!   

                And make sure you get unlimited miles on your car. We put 1500 km on our Yaris in just 1 week.


                 

                Originally Posted by TA Becky 

                Hi RandR,

                 

                Question for you since your fiance is from Panama. I'm actually heading there with my boyfriend this December. We're flying into Panama City and it doesn't look like our flight to Bocas will connect the same day so we were considering driving to where we catch the boat over to Bocas. It sounds like you did exactly this, so how long did it take?

                 

                If anyone's interested in seeing Punta Caracol (I think it's a great Honeymoon property) I'll be doing a site inspection when I'm there so I'll post pics in the early new year once I'm home.

                 

                 

                 



                 


                 




                #58 TA Becky

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                  Posted 18 October 2010 - 09:51 AM

                  Thank you RandR,

                   

                  This is really helpful. We decided just to stay in Panama City for the night and fly out first thing the next morning as we didn't want to be driving in the dark.  Getting pretty excited to go!! :)

                   

                  Thanks again for your feedback. So appreciated!!



                  #59 LadybugJ

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                    Posted 21 October 2010 - 09:19 AM

                    I've also booked my wedding at the Royal Decameron in Panama for April 28th 2011.

                     

                    I have been back and forth with Nolitours and the WC Julia (Spanish translation courtesy of our TA) on some details for our wedding.

                     

                    I need more info!  Any past brides or anyone closer to their date have any info they can share?

                    I would like to know the arch options, I know there's the option of plastic chairs or chairs with covers.

                    I saw something about charges for use of an ipod and equipment...

                     

                    Also, I would l hope to gather some info on the wedding package upgrades, the group transfers, etc.

                    Basicly I need details and I am having trouble getting them from the WC, as I know she is swamped with other weddings at the moment.

                     

                    Oh yes, anyone have any insight as to the food at the resort?  I have heard it is better than others.

                     

                    Any tips are greatly appreciated!

                     

                    Ladybug J



                    #60 jennifersevigny

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                      Posted 24 October 2010 - 05:30 PM

                      hi LadybugJ,

                       

                      I am in the same boat as you. we have booked our wedding at the RD from may 30th - June 13th 2011 and are still trying to get details ironed out. I have been to the RD before and can tell you that there are two choices for your dinner reception, Cafe med and sushi samba. Cafe med is right on the beach and as ou can probably imagine they erve quite a bit of fish. Sushi Samba is more teryaki then sushi and the sushi they do have are hand rolls with no raw fish in them. My FI and i have decided for sushi samba as our reception due to it being more intimate. Cafe med is on the beach and is beautiful but a lot of people walked by the wedding reception that took place while i was down there last year. 

                       

                      Hope that helps,

                      Jen
                       

                      Originally Posted by LadybugJ 

                      I've also booked my wedding at the Royal Decameron in Panama for April 28th 2011.

                       

                      I have been back and forth with Nolitours and the WC Julia (Spanish translation courtesy of our TA) on some details for our wedding.

                       

                      I need more info!  Any past brides or anyone closer to their date have any info they can share?

                      I would like to know the arch options, I know there's the option of plastic chairs or chairs with covers.

                      I saw something about charges for use of an ipod and equipment...

                       

                      Also, I would l hope to gather some info on the wedding package upgrades, the group transfers, etc.

                      Basicly I need details and I am having trouble getting them from the WC, as I know she is swamped with other weddings at the moment.

                       

                      Oh yes, anyone have any insight as to the food at the resort?  I have heard it is better than others.

                       

                      Any tips are greatly appreciated!

                       

                      Ladybug J








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