|Minimum Stay||3 - 4 nights|
Beautiful Caribbean Island Villa for Rent in Bocas del Toro, Panama on Shepherd Island. This Villa can be rented in whole or part. In addition, we have 3 similar Villas for rent adjacent to this one. Very comfortable accommodations with orthopedic mattresses sized for Kings and Queens. Quality linens in over sized guest rooms with incredible views of the ocean, mountains, and jungle. Coral reef wall skirts sand bar rimmed salt water lagoon off of the beautiful & small man made white sand beach. Lush jungle hiking trails produce ample sightings of butterflies, birds, frogs, lizards, flora, and fauna. Paddle Boat, cayucos, snorkel gear, water skis available for use. Chocolate tours and jungle tours on site.
Tours for beachcombing, dolphin sighting, botanical gardens, fishing, diving, butterfly farms, yoga/spa treatments, Zapatilla Keys (Survivor series filmed), Red Frog Beach, Bocas town shopping, Indian Village, to the mountains (overnight tours/3-4 hr drive each way) for white water rafting and coffee tours are all available, and much much more. Or you can relax on the beach and take in the view. In relation to Bocas town . . . we are secluded from the 24 hr noise of Bocas yet only a 20 min. taxi ride away. In addition our beach water is calm for snorkeling, floating, swimming, canoeing without breaking waves or dangerous undertow. Starfish Reef is located on beautiful Shepherd Island which is 10 minutes away from Almirante and 20 minutes by boat away from Bocas Town in tranquil waters. There are water taxis available for transportation between island and mainland locations. This is an active outdoor lifestyle community. You will get exercise unless you do not leave your villa.
This Villa has high quality stainless steel appliances in the full kitchen complete with coffee maker, ice maker, and microwave. Laundry service is available, family style meals and/or romantic gourmet dinners can be purchased with advance notice, or you can hire your own cook with 2 wks advance notice to prepare meals in your villa. There is a movie and book library, snorkel gear is available for rent, or bring your own, great swimming, snorkeling, fishing, lounging, floating, paddling, exploring, birding, boating, relaxing, resting, hiking, learning, etc. Ocean view: 250' of Cacao Tree Grove, large mangos, coconut palms, tropical flowers, and a tree canopied walk/hike/ATV trail are all that is between your villa and the beach. Mountain views as well. Small man made white sand beach, sand bar rimmed salt water swimming lagoon, shallow Coral Reef & 20' coral Wall for diving snorkeling, chairs for sunbathing on the sand bar in the water.
Our calendar is almost never full as we have several accommodations very similar. We have a 3 night minimum stay. We can accommodate small groups for yoga retreats, weddings, dive package vacations, family reunions, corporate retreats, fishing groups, etc. We are available for planning and setting up your Destination Wedding on site. The same goes for planning yoga, corporate retreats, dive, fishing, and family reunion vacation packages. About Us-We are from Austin, TX where we spend time when we are not here in Panama. We have a small cabin property on Lake Travis in Austin. Please email with any questions.
reviewed 2 months ago
Had an excellent time snorkeling, walking through the jungle, boating to a nearby restaurant, and just lounging around. A bit of a ride from the main island in Bocas, and you have to bring your own food, but the hostess is wonderful. If you're nice to Niko (her local helper) he'll scrounge around for a coconut, cut it up with his machete, and give it to you for a nice refreshing drink. This was my favorite stop on my trip!
Thanks for your patience Jack and Kelly. Yup it was last year our family stayed at your casa. Good place to relax on the leeward side. Perfect for our 9 year old grandson and his parents to spend time together on and in the water. Lovely accomodations, clean, safe and well equiped. The paddle boat was a real hit as we were able to get up close to diverse aquatic life and island fauna. Fill your first boat trip with supplies as it is a long and spendie boat ride back and forth to Bocas Town. Thanks heaps for an enjoyable vacation. Oh yeah, and wear shoes that make it easy for you to go up and down the steep paths.
Starfish Reef Villas are excellently appointed! The bedrooms are very comfortable. The decks are great for drinks, watching birds & just hanging out looking at the jungle. & you are up at mid tree level in their jungle. Four of us escaped the cold north lands of Texas & Ohio & went to Panama for this adventure. All of us love to cook & create wonderful food. The kitchen is fully equipped with all the stuff you could want to prepare fabulous meals. Jack & Kelly were wonderful hosts with helpful answers & ideas for adventures. Niko, the tireless grounds keeper, surprized us daily with fresh bananas, opened coconuts, papayas or bush peas. Whatever he found for us around the jungle. He also taught us some new spanish words & some words in his native Indio language. The jungle has lots flowers, huge trees, wonderful plants, birds, frogs, insects & sounds you can't identify or wonder what or who they might be coming from.
The beach area is small & very private & wonderful. The snorkeling is good with lots of live corals, reef fish of all sizes, snowflake jelly fish, they don't sting just set on the bottom & lots of colorful starfish. Paddling the cayuco is a bit tricky, but you are already wet anyway. Be sure & take everything you think you want down to the beach with you. Its quite a hike both ways!
Jack arranged a day trip to Crawl Caye for snorkeling, A great lunch & the on to Red Frog Beach & some much needed provisioning in Bocas Town. Be sure & make a good shopping list to start with & get everything you might want to take to Shepard Island on your first trip out. You'll be happy if you bring extra bags for your carry out goodies. Remember the beer store is an extra water taxi ride away, $10 each way.
WE hope everyone enjoys their stay as much as we did. Thanks Jack & Kelly & Niko
This property is a collection of 3 rental houses and the owners' home on an isolated island. The setting is absolutely beautiful. There is a small beach and dock from which you can snorkel. This property is not for elderly or anyone with mobility issues, as the houses are perched high above the beach and the stairs are irregular and not well maintained. The house was very nice but the living area air conditioner was broken and the ones in the bedrooms ran sporadically when the generator was running. The ceiling fans were sufficient most of the time. As stated on the website, every time we left the island it cost $10 per person each way by water taxi since it's off the main route. This makes it important to plan grocery trips carefully as there are no facilities on the island. While we were there the chitras (sand fly common in the Bocas area) were especially bad, causing us to stay indoors from 5pm to 10am. Making a fire on the beach seemed to help some.
We took an excursion to La Oreba cacao farm near Almirante. Well worth the $30 (+$20 water taxi). Lunch was included. We also went to Los Monos botanical gardens (near Bocas town) for a WONDERFUL half day retreat that included a tour of the gardens, use of a private pool in a "garden of eden" setting, drinks and a delicious lunch.
Our family of four stayed at Starfish Reef for three and a half weeks at the end of 2010. We have two small children, ages two and three months. There were several things about our stay that were very nice, such as:
- Jack and Kelly made dinner for us twice;
- Jack and Kelly called water taxis for us whenever we asked;
- A few times Jack drove us in his water taxi to places we requested (for a fee), and soon after we first arrived he took several hours to show us around Almirante and help us with our shopping there;
- Jack picked us up in his mule (a small ATV) the last few days of our trip. For the first three weeks of our stay it was unavailable;
- The snorkeling on Starfish Reef was very nice, and we saw an octopus, a manta ray, and lots of small fish;
- Jack and Kelly installed a safety latch on the outside door of the room our two year old slept in;
- Jack and Kelly recommended a lovely hotel in Panama City for our stay there, as well as a local tour guide who was knowledgeable and helpful.
However, we would not recommend Starfish Reef for several reasons, including:
- Shepherd Island, where Starfish Reef is located, has a terrible chitra (sand fly or no-see-ums) problem. However, Starfish Reef only offers mosquito nets for sleeping. Importantly, chitras are much smaller than mosquitoes, so the nets do not provide much if any coverage from chitras. Jack and Kelly do recommend using smoke coils to keep the chitras away (which we bought at our expense). These smoke coils do work well, however, it is a very heavy smell and not something we were pleased to use around our children, much less ourselves. We were very irritated that readily available finer chitra-repelling netting wasn't used for the beds. And no netting was provided for our son's crib initially, we had to ask for it.
- Internet is very important to us, since Alysa has her own business, and since Gunnar is in the IT field. We specifically asked about internet coverage when deciding where we would stay in Bocas del Toro. Jack and Kelly informed us that their internet is in all of the houses. However, we had hardly any internet coverage for the first week we were guests at Starfish Reef. Gunnar repeatedly spoke with Jack about it, and Jack finally had it fixed approximately one week into our vacation. However, even then, it was not throughout our house...
Read more at: http://hillert.blogspot.com/2011/01/review-starfish-reef-resort-bocas-del.html
Six of us of various ages (77, 69, 50, 40, 7 and 5) spent one week on Shepherd Island in one of the three-bedroom, three-bath villas. It was wonderful! Highlights included:
1. seeing baby eagle rays almost every day
2. seeing huge sea stars just off shore
3. snorkeling on the nearby coral wall! We saw tons of brittle stars, corkscrew anemone, upside-down jellies, moon jellies, a nurse shark, huge crabs, arrow crabs, banded anemone shrimp, ctenophores and tunicates.
4. mastering the cayuco
5. seeing the bioluminescence in the water at night
6. getting a tour of the chocolate farm with Jack
7. Kelly's food!
8. trips to nearby islands and dolphin bay
9. beautiful views of the jungle and the ocean from our deck
10. hearing the howler monkeys at starfish beach
12. seeing sloths with Boy the guide
13. delicious panamanian rum!
14. hearing the oropendulas nearby
Jack and Kelly are wonderful hosts. They are approachable and welcoming and a lot of fun. Kelly is an amazing cook.
Cons are small are largely surmountable:
1. bugs! we hate to use bug spray but caved in quickly. bugs are particularly vicious late-afternoon. but it is the jungle so plan for creepy-crawlies.
2. the island is a distance from the nearest grocery store, so you really need to plan well for food
3. the short trek from the beach to the villas is a bit steep; one of us with knee problems needed help (and Jack was helpful with rides in his "Mule")
4. it's a cash-based society, so plan to have cash. we did and that made a big difference.
We miss you, Jack and Kelly and Starfish Reef!
Starfish reef is one of the most rememberable visits of all time. There is so much things to do, theres swimming in the ocean and seeing the colorful reefs, to taking a hike and seeing the many cacao trees. There is always something to do with the family, there was never a moment where either the kids or the parents were bored. We always were busy. One of our favorite moments was snorkeling in the reef. There were such colorful reefs and one of the most amazing collection of starfish. Not only were there many things to do but the people on the island were great! Jungle Jack and Coconut Kelly really made it enjoyable, and a memorable visit. Oh, and can forget the great Salty the sea dog!(we love him!) Us kids had such a great time and thank you for such a great hospitality.
Starfish Reef is a small Caribbean Island Nature Retreat with eco-villas . . . comfortable accommodations in over sized guest rooms.
Other Activities: jungle hiking, fruit picking, tour boat, paddle boating, cayucos (dugout canoes), sun/beach bathing
We also have 2 bedroom villas at:
Low Season $160/night and $995/week,
High Season $170/night and $1095/week,
Holiday Season $195/night and $1250/week;
and Full Floor Suite at:
Low Season $120/night and $775/week
High Season $130/night and 820/week
Holiday $145/night and $950/week
Monthly and annual rates available. Any form of payment can be made through
PayPal (its easy; ask if you don't know), cash, or direct deposit to our US Chase Bank or Banco Nacional Panama account.
Discounts given for longer stays. See website for details.
Dates Available: Year Round