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. 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. The property can accommodate groups up to 16 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 2 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.
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 and If I'm there, I'll also 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. ($50/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 and three course dinner or breakfast, lunch and dinner prepared by Lazare. Fresh and quality products only! ($30/person)
• LAUNDRY: per-piece laundry service provided by housekeeping ($0.50 per item)
|Room type:||Entire home/apt|
|Bed type:||Real Bed|
|Extra people:||$40 / night after the first guest|
|Weekly Price:||$500 /week|
|Monthly Price:||$1600 /month|
|City:||Bocas del Toro District|
|Pet Owner:||Dog(s) and Other pet(s)|
We had a great stay here. The description is accurate and it is a beautiful place. We stayed in the Hill House, which was very comfortable. We pretreated our clothes with bug spray and didn't have any issue with bugs. If you are looking for a relaxing place away from Bocas town, this is a great option.
The reservation was canceled 42 days before arrival. This is an automated posting.
We stayed five days with two kids at the hillhouse, and it was like visiting old friends. A really charming place, with so much friendliness, the beautiful lagoon, were we snorkled a lot, and the garden were we bought saw Tucans, parrots, sloths and heard a lot of monkeys.
We are already looking forward to coming back!! Thanks Lazare, Leo and Dorian for making the stay wonderful!!
My friend and I loved our time here. We stayed in Hill House for 3 days and we kind of lived on / near the dock. We relaxed in the hammocks, snorkeled, kayaked, and swam. Along with some of the other guests, we took a boat to another part of the island and did a short rainforest hike. Getting to know the other guests, as well as the volunteers working on the property, was really wonderful.
The other reviews are quite accurate. The setting is beautiful and very relaxing; it's also quite rustic. I'd recommend wearing bug spray even to bed - the mosquito nets are adequate but the chitras can easily get through them because they are so tiny.
We would have stayed longer if we could have; this destination feels like a true getaway.
Put simply, this property is paradise.
I had an amazing stay and the location couldn't be more spectacular. The hill house is clean and fully equipped.
This place is crazy awesome. The pictures of the reef under the dock ain't no lie - there really is amazing snorkeling and dolphins passing right by the boat house. Caretakers Leo, Dorien & Lazare are great. Considering how remote we are, the hill house is surprisingly well outfitted and bugproofed, and the Internet is fast and reliable.
You couldn't find a truer Bocas experience. We just got here but we like it so much, we're staying 3 months!
It's a facinating place with lots to do and see and Lazare is a wonderful host and seeks to make his visitors as comfortable as they can possibly be living indoor/outdoor on the edge of a jungle!
My daughter said she loved kayaking across the bay to visit the little village (quaint and picturesque yet Ernesto, the owner of the little store lived in the United States for many years and speaks English. He's really nice and brought out food for my daughter to feed to the fish that gather around his dock) because it was above the jellyfish and sea urchins and below the wasps and chitres :-)
Kind of true, but if you want to night snorkel with bioluminescent organisms making trails of light stream off of your hands and feet, paddle board up to wild dolphins, jump out of your second-story window into warm water, snorkel with rays, nice, healthy coral, lots of juvenile fish and some lovely mangrove root environments, and even ride a horse (well, briefly, they don't have the saddle yet but it's a pretty, willing little almost-black horse) you have to put up with the invertebrate life.
In actuality, the wasps make a lot of noise but never bothered any of us though my engineer husband liked drinking beer and watching them make their nests. The sea urchins can actually be held (!) if you're careful though they should be knocked off the stairs each morning before using them to get on and off the dock. The jellyfish are mostly towards the middle of the bay. We snorkeled in spite of them though we usually wore dive skins so we wouldn't have to worry. (Diveskins are a great investment. We used them for the last three trips. They protect you from everything… jellyfish, sun, and chitres). There also geckos and bats but we like those little bug eaters and you sleep under a mosquito net so you don't have to share your space TOO closely. BTW the main bedroom is quite romantic.
The house itself was much more comfortable and better appointed than I had expected. Lazare and his wife live there when there are no guests and make you feel free to borrow anything you need. Lots of charming, Swiss family Robinson touches plus all the comforts of home and some our home doesn't have like a juicer :-) good snorkeling equipment, several kayaks and the paddle board which turned out to be even better than the kayaks, etc. The only missing comfort was an indoor toilet though you can work around that if you are creative. There is even a camping water heater for showering though that seemed like too much bother in such a warm climate.
In all, it was a great, once-in-a-lifetime experience and as comfortable as one could expect to be without being sealed in an air-conditioned room!
The place is a paradise itself!
An isolated stunning natural landscape without tourists, a pristine lagoon with dolphins, coconut palm trees and coral reef under your feet...
The jungle and reef houses are a nice mix of creativity, sustainable engineering, a Robinson Crusoe experience, and a relaxing paradise resort. You are in the middle of nowhere, but the houses are equiped with everything you need to live and have a lot of fun.
Metropolitan people... keep in mind this is not a high luxury resort...this is the real jungle and you should expect plenty of heat, humidity and all kind of bugs.... But it's worth! Relax, cover your body with coconut oil during the dusk, ignore bugs and enjoy the paradise.
Dorien and Lazare were so helpful and friendly from the first time. Thay make us feel confortable and showed us the way of life in the area. Thank you!
This is my second trip to Bocas and to this property, but this time I sent my good friends and room mates to visit for their honeymoon (after Panama City and on the Way to Limon Rain forest). Again, couldn't be happier. For those that cringe at the idea of staying at a Sheraton hotel, welcome to a real getaway. See my earlier review for my last trip details.
This is a fabulous and special place! It's not for everybody - It's not for someone that doesn't like the outdoors and wants to be pampered in a resort. There are plenty of those places, but this is quite unique and special. This is is for people that want to see and be close to all kinds of fabulous nature in a gorgeous and largely unspoiled area, where you might get fish for dinner from an indigenous fisherman paddling by. You will get coconut water a minute after it was chopped from the tree. You'll see an amazing coral reef that's underneath your feet and your bed. I counted at least a half-dozen corals, a dozen invertebrates, and lots of different fishes.
All this with good internet ((website hidden) video works well), good solar power and rainwater or bottled water. I used the Internet to keep up on some work things, learn about coral and the area, and to post pictures that made my friends want to join me.
The hosts, Dorene and Lazare, are friendly and helpful. I took the meals option, which I would recommend, especially for a short stay. As others mentioned, you should read the advice about preparations. By all means take precautions against bug bites. The rooms are well screened, but when you go out, especially morning or late afternoon, use your favorite bug protection method. I got complacent after a couple days and then they got me! But I would go back in a heartbeat and I miss it already. So maybe next year another visit!