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“Panamanian Paradise Found”
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Excellent
7 reviews
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Overview
Holiday Rental House -
3 Bedrooms, 3 Bathrooms, Sleeps 8
Isla San Cristobal, Bocas del Toro Province

Reviews from our community

Excellent - based on 7 reviews
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Reviews from our community

Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
English first
Any
English first
Angela M
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Panamanian Paradise Found”
Reviewed 27 November 2015 for a stay in November 2015
1
person found this review helpful

Casa Del Mar is a truly unique property on the water with the jungle in the backyard. It is appointed with fine finishes of local wood, quality fixtures, linens and towels - well appointed yet 100% off the grid. It comes with hosts Erika and Jose' (who live a 5 minute boat ride away) who seamlessly coordinated our chosen extra curricular actives including boat rides, snorkeling, zip lining, massages at the house and a personal chef for our dinners in.

The house is outfitted with snorkeling gear, boogie boards, stand up paddle boards, kayaks, tall rubber boots in several sizes, rain jackets and pants, beach towels, yoga mats and more. Coral and starfish are visible on the dock. Dolphins played along side our paddle boards on several different outings and one time while we stood on our front porch we watched a stingray swim by.

Since we were here during the rainy season, we did not see much sunshine but there was still plenty to do and the tropical warmth enabled us to continue to do all we so desired and take full advantage of all that CDM and the area has to offer. There is a guide book in the house with descriptions of local activities and sites that is very helpful in planning your day. From it we chose what we wanted to do and emailing with Erika while at the house made arranging everything very simple.

It is a good idea to bring one light long sleeved shirt and long cotton pants for the short time during the morning and evening when the no-see-ums come out to play. If not, no worries, CDM is outfitted with the tried and true local bug spray known as coconut oil which works wonders.

Two thumbs up for Erika and Jose' and our whole stay at CDM! We highly recommend this place!

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Liked best: Relaxation
Liked least: No-see-ums
Travelling group: Extended Family
Your age range 35-49
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend?   Yes.
Recommended for:
Friends getaway
  • Was the property as advertised?
  • Would you recommend the location of this property?
  • Was it a good value for the price paid?
  • Did the property offer wi-fi/internet access?
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Br00klynN...
Brooklyn, New York
Level 4 Contributor
25 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Unique paradise on the water and in the jungle”
Reviewed 21 August 2015 for a stay in August 2015
2
people found this review helpful

This is really is a unique property on a choral reef in a tropical paradise. Snorkeling right off your porch, stand up paddle boards, kayaks - all as advertised. The views are amazing, morning sunrise absolutely gorgeous and nighttimes incredibly peaceful. We took walks in the jungle in back of the house and picked Cocoa fruit and bananas. You need to be comfortable being a bit isolated - that was what we really liked about it. You can call Jose whenever you need to and he will pick you up and take you anywhere you want to go. He has great suggestions so ask him. We did not see any Dolphins for the first 2 days so we asked Jose to show us where they are. Within 10 minutes on his boat he showed us several Dolphins and we took some great pictures. He took us into Bocas town for some shopping and lunch, to a great tour of a cocoa plantation, and to an indigenous village to buy some local crafts and observe the culture. On another day he took us red-frog beach for some zip-lining through the jungle. Erika is also very helpful and will answer any questions you have so just ask. You need to be comfortable and understand that you are in the tropics and in a jungle - some humid/hot weather and rain at times, insects, lizards, etc. are all the norm. If you are ok with that you will absolutely love this place. We highly recommend it.

How easy was it to book the property? How helpful were the directions to the property?
How easy was key pickup/access to the property? Overall condition of the property
Bedding & mattresses Kitchen & utensils
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Liked best: Solitude and Beauty of the location
Liked least: Insects - but it comes with the jungle
Travelling group: Teenagers
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend?   Yes.
Recommended for:
Friends getaway
  • Was the property as advertised?
  • Would you recommend the location of this property?
  • Was it a good value for the price paid?
  • Did the property offer wi-fi/internet access?
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
giseladag...
Oisterwijk, The Netherlands
Level 5 Contributor
49 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
“Paradise does exist”
Reviewed 18 May 2015 for a stay in May 2015
2
people found this review helpful

We are a family of 4, with 2 grown up "kids" and while searching for " the perfect getaway" for a week we came across Casa Del Mar. and perfect it was.
Casa Del Mar is not on the main island, but a 20 minute boat-ride away in Dolphin Bay. Once you leave the chaotic town of Bocas behind, you slowly drift away into the serene silence of Dolphin Bay. Casa Del Mar is only accessible by boat which adds up to the eco-experience.

Location: where the ocean surf pounds most other locations, Casa Del Mar is surrounded by tranquility and serenity. Perfect view and sunrise, a coral reef (including starfish and colourful other species) surrounding the house, crystal clear calm waters make it perfect for swimming, snorkelling, kayaking or SUP.
It just never gets boring.
Behind the house you have nice rainforest trails to wander if you have seen enough water ;)
Although the location is isolated, giving optimum privacy, you should not feel locked up, because Erika and Jose are always available to get you anywhere by boat. Groceries, excursions or a visit to the fish-taco restaurant across the bay (highly recommended).

House: Wow, where to start? beautiful high quality finishings, tastefully decorated. The open floor plan gives a very spacious feeling.
The Patio/deck (covered) provides for 100% relaxation with hammocks, chairs, dining-table, etc. If it weren't for the beautiful inside you could spend your whole vacation out there.
The bedrooms upstairs are very nice, and share a large and beautiful bathroom. The downstairs bedroom is smaller, and so is it's bathroom, but again, very nicely done!
The kitchen is very well equipped, with more than we have at home, including things we didn't know existed.
For relaxation, everything is there. SUP's, kayaks, snorkel-equipment, binoculars, games, fishing rod, BBQ, washer/dryer, beach towels etc.
You almost forget you are in a 100% eco-villa ;)

Service: If you stay 5 or more nights, extra cleaning is included. a local cellphone is provided that also gets you to erika and Jose (caretakers) to help you with anything or take you anywhere (at a cost), but trip to/from the villa from Bocas town is included. Upon arrival the house was very clean and nicely decorated with fresh flowers and all amenities were there.

To end:The simplicity of island life passes by every day, when indians in dugout canoes float by on their way to school or work, or offer you freshly caught lobster.

How easy was it to book the property? How helpful were the directions to the property?
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Bedding & mattresses Kitchen & utensils
Bathroom cleanliness Other facilities & amenities
Service
Liked best: everything
Liked least: could not find anything
Travelling group: Teenagers
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend?   Yes.
Recommended for:
Friends getaway Families with young children
  • Was the property as advertised?
  • Would you recommend the location of this property?
  • Was it a good value for the price paid?
  • Did the property offer wi-fi/internet access?
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
curlytb
Washington, DC
Level 4 Contributor
38 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“Mahvelous!!!!!”
Reviewed 12 March 2015 for a stay in February 2015
6
people found this review helpful

We had a marvelous stay at Casa del Mar! This house was the perfect size for our 4 person group. The house is very secluded, with only a few local community members in canoes passing every day, and the occasional private sailboat or tourist boat taxi. The beds were comfortable, the porch is great for eating meals and relaxing, and the kitchen and pantry are HUGE and well appointed, great for cooking together with your group. There is a grill at the back of the house and an oven inside, but make sure to get a tutorial on how to use them, as it was not intuitive and we thought they were both broken, until someone showed us how to use them. Probably also a good idea to get the caretakers (see below) to show you the back shed, as much of the equipment is stored back there.
A huge part of our wonderful stay was the attention we received from the house’s caretakers, Erika and Jose. They own a neighboring lodge, and were only an email away when we needed something. Erika and Jose provided transportation to two dinners out, and two day trips (more details follow), as well as groceries and other supplies as needed.
The house is situated right at the edge of a small reef, so you can sit on the patio and watch the fish and coral- very relaxing! We also saw dolphins from a distance, and lots of sea birds. Behind the house is a forested hill, great for bird watching at dawn and dusk (you can look out the bedroom windows and watch the parrots flying back and forth from the hill). The house was equipped with 2 standup paddle boards, 2 kayaks (1 single, 1 two-seater), snorkel and fishing gear, and several floaty toys for lounging in the water. The house has wifi, which came in helpful for communicating with the caretakers. There is also a house man (Victoriano) and a housekeeper/masseuse Alexia. I highly recommend her massages! Even though she is not a certified masseuse, she knows enough to get you relaxed and blissed out. For $30/hour, how can you go wrong?
The house is bright and airy, and we never missed air conditioning- there was a natural breeze and plenty of ceiling fans both inside and on the porch to keep us cool. The fans don’t really keep away the noseeums, so make sure to plan ahead by bringing lightweight long sleeves and pants, or bring along some DEET. The house caretakers discouraged us from using DEET, saying that it was not effective, but more to the point that it would ruin the finished wood floors. After a few days of copious coconut oil application and hundreds of super itchy bites, we decided to use our DEET anyway, and that was by far and away the best way to keep from getting bitten. We only applied it in the bathrooms, where the floors are tile, so we still respected the care of the house but also took care of ourselves. There are bug coils at the house too, but I’m not sure how effective they were. The smell is nice, though, so it can’t hurt.
Although we cooked at the house for almost every meal, we enjoyed dinner at Rana Azul and Dolphin Bay Hideaway. Both had full bars and good food. The portions at Rana Azul were huge, and the food was well executed, including chicken Schnitzel and 2 huge cuts of beef that the diners both enjoyed very much. Presentation at Dolphin Bay Hideaway was a little more upscale, and the tables are communal. The food was also very good, with appetizers and dessert. At the very least, take a boat ride at night to enjoy the bioluminescence in the bay- spectacular! We also ate lunch one day at a little restaurant in Bastimentos. We put in our order in the morning, and when we got back after our field trip, the food was ready within minutes. We also bought lobsters straight out of a canoe while the fisherman was catching them. Obviously, seafood is the most common item on any restaurant menu.
Our excursions were also excellent. One day, we went to a snorkeling area with some decent snorkeling and fish. If you are a frequent snorkeler and trying to prioritize activities, you probably won’t see anything here that you haven’t seen in the rest of the Caribbean, but it was still a nice place to snorkel. We also visited Zapatilla National Park, a small island with a beautiful white sand beach and a boardwalk trail through the forest. This was the most tourist-dense place we visited, but still not terribly crowded. You may need to walk a few minutes away from the ranger station to find a more secluded section of the beach.
Our other excursion was the bat cave, which was definitely a highlight. We rode in a traditional canoe (with a motor) to the mangroves and had a beautiful tour of the mangroves, with our guide doing some brief interpretation along the way. If you have a Spanish speaker in your group, I highly recommend going with a local guide in a canoe, rather than a larger rowboat (where the English speakers had to go with their translator) that made more noise. We saw several sloths, red frogs, and we were told that there are also monkeys and caimans. The walk from the canoes to the bat cave was VERY muddy, so wear clothes and shoes you don’t mind getting muddy, as well as shoes that won’t fall off if you step in deep mud. You should also bring your own headlamp if you have one. The community provides headlamps, but one of ours didn’t work, so better if you have your own. You will be swimming in the cave, so you need to wear a bathing suit under your clothes (unless you don’t want to enter the cave all the way). Lots of bats, some spiders, and cool cave formations- definitely worth the visit.
This was a beautiful vacation that provided an authentic glimpse into Bocas del Toro’s people, culture and natural beauty. A real find!

Travelling group: Friends
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend?   Yes.
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
renee s
alaska
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“a perfect paradise”
Reviewed 11 July 2014 for a stay in March 2014

Casa Del Mar is so beautiful! a great view from every angle, from the large deck area, as well as from every window . The house is very well-appointed, with beautiful wood floors and an open feel.I loved being lulled to sleep by the gentle sound of waves touching the shore. there is access to walking and hiking trails, and many excursions that are easily arranged and a great deal of fun! I especially enjoyed the snorkeling. The water is always warm and the reefs are gorgeous. There is nothing lacking in the house for comfort . An extremely relaxing setting, with access to a nearby town/airport . I highly recommend Casa Del Mar!!

How easy was it to book the property? How helpful were the directions to the property?
How easy was key pickup/access to the property? Overall condition of the property
Bedding & mattresses Kitchen & utensils
Bathroom cleanliness Other facilities & amenities
Service
Liked best: the large deck area
Travelling group: Extended Family
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend?   Yes.
Recommended for:
Friends getaway Older travelers
Large groups
  • Was the property as advertised?
  • Would you recommend the location of this property?
  • Was it a good value for the price paid?
  • Did the property offer wi-fi/internet access?
  • Was your security deposit returned on time?
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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