About this listing
Tropical Island Paradise on Isla San Cristobal, Bocas del Toro, Panama. We have two rustic houses: the Reef Cabin built on stilts on the water and the Hill House with sweeping views. Also a floating cabin is available for rent. The island has no roads, trails, or electricity, but we have solar panels, rainwater collection for fresh water, and even wifi with a back up provider, which makes this site also ideal for co-workers, freelancers and satellite workers or people who want to organize workshops, photo shoots etc...The property can accommodate groups up to 18 people, but couples are also more than welcome.
The Hill House has one private bedroom with a queen sized bed; a loft screened-in space with 3 queen sized beds and a single bed separated by a room divider, and an un-screened balcony with sweeping views; an open-layout kitchen with gas stove, refrigerator, icemaker, blender, etc.; and a bathroom with water flush toilet and shower. Entirely enclosed or screened in. Note: a self catered stay is possible here, but take in account that stocking up supplies before your stay is a not to be underestimated mission. Therefor we offer deliciously prepared meals for our guests. Breakfast 8usd pp, Lunch 10usd pp and dinner 15usd pp.
The Reef Cabin, perched atop the island's coastal coral reef, offers two private bedrooms (one with it's own diving board into the ocean below!); a screened kitchen with refrigerator, stove, blender and running fresh water and a gas barbecue on the deck. There is a freshwater shower (biodegradable soap only, please!) at the cabin, and the composting toilet is a 2 minute walk, on the land. The kitchen is screened in and the beds do have mosquito nets. For separate bookings of the reef cabin book via add: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/919910
A large deck around the Reef Cabin is open to all guests for swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, or relaxing in a hammock. There is miles of jungle hiking all around.
Clean linens and towels are provided for all guests. Spices, cooking oils, rice, and other kitchen basics are provided for your use, along with fresh young coconut juice, bananas, and other fresh goods from the property. (Cilantro, lemongrass, and citruses galore grow all around the Hill House!)
A 30-minute each way, $70 round trip boat ride will take you to the town of Bocas del Toro, which has over a dozen bars and restaurants, a fun backpacker party scene, some very good food, some not-so-good food, an airport, several small supermarkets, local fruit and vegetable stands, and lots of local color and diversity. A similar boat trip will take you to the mainland (Almirante), a jumping off point for extended trips to Panama's incredible cloud forest or Costa Rica.
Bring your bug spray, your tall boots, and your bathing suit! It's tropical adventure time!
!!! IMPORTANT: THIS IS A RUSTIC PLACE, NOT A RESORT !!!
It's for the adventurous, who want reasonable comfort in a remote setting, and want to experience realities of rural life in the tropics. In addition to the abundant pleasures of the lush forests and reefs, you should expect to…..
TEST YOUR SELF-RELIANCE: You will have people come by selling you fish they just caught, and then learn that you have no idea how to clean it, and that that makes a giant mess. Salt water, humidity and the jungle may wrestle with you for control of the electronics, hardware, and other goods we've provided. Get ready to be a little MacGuyver — and speak up if you have questions or problems!
GO OFF GRID: You will run out of running water if you take long showers or if the rains don't come. The solar panels are backed with batteries, but you'll need to remember to turn off lights and fans when not in use — especially when the clouds hang out for a few days. The Internet is fast and reliable — but it does go down on occasion.
WEAR BUG PROTECTION: In the hill house you will see dozens of geckos feeding on the insects on the OUTSIDE of the screen that keeps you nice and relatively bug free in the house. You will forget to close the screen door when you go out for a midnight and spend the rest of the night swatting mosquitos and other bugs. You will get bitten by bugs when you forget to use insect repellent or cover up when leaving the house at dawn or dusk.
If this still sounds awesome, come check it out! We will organize your pickup and will make sure you have what you need to enjoy your stay. We also will show you around and suggest activities.
!!! DELIGHTFUL EXTRAS !!!
Some of our guests have enjoyed the following extras, so we thought we'd share them with you!
• DOLPHIN WATCHING in Dolphin Bay by sunset or sunrise. A private experience with more than a good chance to approach dolphins very closely with our SUP-board from our panga. $30/trip.
• SNORKELING/PARADISIACAL BEACH/DOLPHIN
WATCHING: boat tours to Islas Zapatillas & Coral Cay, passing through Dolphin Bay twice with a very good chance to spot dolphins. ($60/person, whole day, tour discount as from 3 persons)
• RED FROG BEACH: visit the most scenic beaches of the archipelago with a snorkel stop at Hospital Point, a top snorkeling spot! ($50/person, whole day, tour discount as from 3 persons)
• FARM TOURS: visit a local farm and learn more about the local vegetables & fruits or visit a chocolate farm ($10 to $15/person, including boat ride)
• OTHER TOURS: upon request
• MEALS: breakfast 8usd pp, lunch 12 pp, dinner 15pp. Only fresh and mostly local ingredients, prepared with love!
• LAUNDRY: per-piece laundry service provided by housekeeping ($0.50 per item)
Ok Great, But How Can I Get There?
Travel by Air
There are 1-hour flights from Panamá City's domestic airport (PAC) into Bocas del Toro Airport (BOC). If you fly from Panamá City you will need to go from the international (PTY) to the domestic airport (30-minute taxi ride /$35), unless you fly with AirPanama, which departs from both airports. If you can book a flight from the international airport before 1:30PM you can make it into Bocas del Toro the same day. If you travel from Costa Rica you can book a flight from San José (SJO or SYQ, 1 hour). Take into account that there is also a $28 international departure fee from Costa Rica. Always try to book flights to Bocas del Toro in advance, Skyscanner might help. Once you or your group has arrived at Bocas del Toro airport, which is located on Isla Colón, the Virginia's Dock is a 10-15 minute walk or $1 taxi ride away. There we will happily meet you for the pre-arranged boat pick-up.
Travel by Bus
For an alternate, more cost-effective means of transportation, using the bus system may be the way to go. If you travel from Panamá City you can take a taxi ($35 from the international airport) to the Albrook Bus Terminal. From this terminal (night)buses leave to Almirante, which takes 10-11 hours. Unless it's a national holiday it's unnecessary to book your bus tickets in advance. If you travel from Costa Rica you can save money by taking a bus from San José. You can either take a bus to Changuinola and then take a bus to Almirante, or take a bus to the Sixoala border, do the border crossing procedure by yourself, take a bus to Changuinola and then another bus to Almirante. If you take a bus directly to Changuinola you will be traveling with Transportes Bocatoreños, which departs at 9AM just north of the Coca Cola Bus Terminal in downtown San José in front of the Hotel Cocori. The ride takes about 7 hours, but take into account that the waiting time at the Sixoala border can take a few hours in high season. In Almirante you can take a taxi ($1) to the boat gas station or any other preferred pick-up point where we will be glad to meet you for our boat pick-up.
The Boat Shuttle
The best means for transportation from the mainland to CocoVivo is by boat. When booking with us, you'll be in contact with the host, Lazare, in order to coordinate a pick-up from the nearest dock in the Bocas del Toro province, the Bocas del Toro Airport in Isla Colón or from the bus station in Almirante. The cleaning fee ($70) includes the pick-up and drop-off by boat from one of these locations (30-minute ride).
NOTE: The cleaning fee includes your share in the transportation costs. The rest is covered by us!
- You're welcome to use any of the toys (kayaks, snorkeling gear, aquaskipper, water trampoline) but please leave them in the same or better shape as you found them.
- Extra trips to town $70.
- Please be responsible with electricity use (if there is no sunshine for a couple of days, batteries can run low). Check ECO.
- Likewise, but less critically, with water. The tanks last for about a month with no rain, which almost never happens, but leaving a faucet running overnight is a really bad idea. Check ECO.