About this listing
Welcome to our Tropical Island Paradise on the Southern tip of Isla San Cristobal in the Bocas Del Toro Archipelago. The island has no roads and no mains electricity but we support ourselves with solar panels, a backup generator and a rainwater collection system.
You'll be staying in The Reef Cabin, in one of two rooms, perched above the island's coastal coral reef. The Sunrise Room sleeps 2 people in our deluxe king size bed. The room offers a rustic experience with low cane walls and curtains for your privacy. The sea breeze will make you forget about air conditioning, but there is also a fan if you are feeling the Panamanian heat!
If you are a party of 4, the Reef Cabin has a second bedroom for rent, with a queen sized bed called the Diving Board Room. Both Rooms are above the shared kitchen and living space equipped with hammocks, swing chairs and sun loungers for your ultimate relaxation. All guests at the retreat do have use of the common dock and kitchen.
We provide a Restaurant Service but if you prefer to cook for yourself note that kitchen access is limited in high season (Dec- April). We offer deliciously prepared meals for our guests on request. We also have a BBQ.
There is a freshwater shower (biodegradable soap only, please!) at the Reef Cabin, and the composting toilet is a 2 minute walk away.
Beneath you, there is lots of aquamarine life: starfish, our resident nurse shark, octopus, colorful fish, a family of snappers, and of course the dolphins (see them during the day, hear them at night), amazing coral and magical bioluminescence in the water at night!
As mentioned, a large deck around the Reef Cabin is open to all guests for swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, or relaxing in a hammock.
Other options on the property include 2 cabins on the waters edge, more removed from the common area, and a house on the hill which accommodates larger groups . The hill house has its own kitchen, bathroom and relaxation areas and can accommodate up to 12 people: Bookings for larger groups (up to 18 people) are possible via:
Right across from the reef cabin, about 250 ft. away, our local caretaker has a cabin on the water.
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 5 minute boat ride (or half an hour kayak or an hour swim :-)) takes you across the bay where you can buy (limited!) extra supplies from a local shop or a local organic Indian farm or even a remote Pizza restaurant which is open on Friday and Sunday and offers an opportunity to meet locals and expats in a great atmosphere. Another local Afro-Caribbean restaurant offers simple daily meals (fried chicken) or if you order on time they cook on demand (rice, beans, chicken and freshly caught fish).
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 sunscreen, 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. (This also means: sorry, but no, you can't keep all the beer cold all of the time.) The Internet is fast and reliable — but it does go down on occasion.
WEAR BUG PROTECTION: Generally there are less bugs and mosquitos on the dock than inland. Around dusk and dawn chitras (sand fleas or no-see-ums) might show up. Mostly this lasts not longer than half an hour and they are more perseverant when it's wind still. In that case, hide inside and close doors and curtains or use a strong repellent, because their bites are annoying. In bed and in the kitchen you won't be bothered. We use chitraproof netting.
If this still sounds awesome, come check this out! We will pick you up, and make sure you have what you need to enjoy your stay.
!!! 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)
• BOAT TRIP TO THE CHIRIQUI LAGOON: visit the island Loma Partida, go upriver on the mainland and meet local Ngobe Indians. On the river there's even a chance to spot manatees. ($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 ($5 to $15/person, including boat ride)
• OTHER TOURS: upon request
• MEALS upon request: breakfast 8usd pp, lunch 12 pp, dinner 15pp. Only fresh and mostly local ingredients, prepared with love!
Take in account that the cleaning fee (70 dollar) includes pick up and drop off (in Bocas Town or Almirante).
If you feel comfortable in nature and remoteness, come and check this place out for an unforgettable experience.
Cleaning fee includes pick up and drop off by boat from town (30 min ride).
The boat is an open panga with an outboard engine 150hp and capacity of 18 people.
You're welcome to use any of the toys (kayaks, snorkeling gear, SUP) but please leave them in the same or better shape as you found them.
Help yourself to any fruit you find on the farm (but ask if you're not sure what it is :)
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).
Likewise, but less critically, with water. The tanks last for about a month with no rain, but please conserve.
Come with an open attitude! All guests at CocoVivo will have access to the common dock, the shared kitchen, Kyaks, Snorkling Gear, and SUP boards.
Interaction with Guests
Two hosts on site will be able to help you with any of your needs at all hours. They offer jungle walk tours, can arrange day trips with the boat, and will take care of your pick up and drop off. They will be here to
make sure your off the grid experience runs as smoothly as possible, and will provide meal services upon request.
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!
Other Things to Note
Business group? Check our Hill House offer: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/326033
- 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. really bad idea.