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“Nice rooms, delicious food, no beach” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Careening Cay Resort

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Careening Cay Resort
, Carenero Island, Panama   |  
Hotel amenities
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
29 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“Nice rooms, delicious food, no beach”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 26, 2012

My daughter and I spent 2 nights here in July. No problem finding it, we thought BocasTown would be too loud and busy so wanted to spend time away from there. In July, Bocas is pretty quiet, so our theory that Bocas town would be too busy was wrong.Either way, we really enjoyeyed Careening Cay. The owner Steve showed us a few rooms and made sure we picked the one we were happiest with (ended up being one of the over-water Tahitian style cabins). Accomodations were tight (basically a bed and a head) but the ability to see the moving water thru the cracks in the floor planks outweighed anything. The shower was great, incredible water pressure. Teh water taxis were easy. Best of all, the dinner at Kosmic Krab. The best dinner of our 2 week Costa Rican/Panama vacay!! But I do agree with the earlier post, they need to have more breakfast food. Both mornings I got there before the posted end time for breakfast, and there was nothing left but juice. That was a bummer.

Room Tip: Loud amplified music from a waterfront bar across the way actually makes the room vibrate! Bring ear...
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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114 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (29)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Quepos, Costa Rica
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 7, 2012

We stayed at Careening Cay for four nights and had a great time. The owners were very friendly and helpful, I can see where some people may find them "gruff" or whatever word you want to use but it helps to understand that they run a restaurant, a hotel other businesses as well as raise two young children. Everyone has their bad days. Their staff is incredible and always friendly. You may run into Joan as she is in the middle of trying to get her kids to do their homework and at the same time trying to flag down the lobster fisherman so her restaurant can have fresh lobster and she MAY be a little frazzled but the point is they are only human and they do a fantastic job of running the place. Most places you go and/or stay at you'll never even meet the owner! Both Joan and Steve sat down with us and talked to us and gave us tons of advice. The rooms were comfortable and spacious. The restaurant is great. The drinks are great. It is SUPER easy to get around, all you have to do is call a water taxi from the phone they provide and someone is there to get you in less than two minutes. You can be on the main island 2 minutes and $1/person later. The great thing is though, you don't even have to leave Isla Carenero. It is a large island with two other restaurants/bars and a lot to explore. Our ONLY complaint was we wished there was at least a small refrigerator in the room for leftovers/snacks/beers. The larger rooms may have this feature though, I am not sure. We didn't think the noise was a problem as others have stated. One thing you need to understand before even coming to Bocas though is there is a lot of night life and it is LOUD. It is not quiet, ever. That being said, the music did not carry too bad and if we popped in a movie before bed we never noticed it. Make sure you ask Joan if you can meet Kinka, she is adorable. You won't have to ask for Mango, their golden retriever. She'll be there waiting for you.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Jose, Costa Rica
Level Contributor
13 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 30, 2012

The hotel was fine according to the price. We had to get up early to be among the first to get to the breakfast time, because the fruit and bread/pancakes wasn't enough for all the guests.
The owners were not in a very good mood and weren't very helpful, they were a little gruff.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Treasure Island, Florida
Level Contributor
14 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 1, 2012

Part of my 18 day visit to Panama last week was a trip to Bocas del Toro, first time there, researched various resorts/hotels before my arrival. My plan was to stay 2 nights on the main island of Isal Colon (Bocas Town), then 2 nights on the neighboring island of Carenero, which I chose because of my review of the Careening Cay Resort and the more private location. Upon arriving off of the water taxi ($1 from Bocas Town), I was taken aback by the beauty and tropical landscaping of this intimate and private piece of paradise. The dock housed cabins built right on the waters below. The restaurant, Cosmic Crab, was appropriately decorated, hence the name, with a wonderful reputation throughout Bocas Town. I was greeted by one of the owners, Joan, who offered me lunch, since the restaurant is closed on Mondays, and sat with me for about an hour, writing down all of the different places I should see while on my stay in Bocas. She was simply amazing, and her suggestions turned out to be so very memorable and fun, from boat trips to other restaurants to places to shop to gourmet delis and grocery stores to bring in any supplies (snacks, drinks, etc.) that I might want/need. I stayed in two different cabins, just to experience both types available (over the water/in the beautiful surroundings deep in the tropical rain forest) and enjoyed being there so much, that I stayed on for another 2 nights instead of going to Bouquete, located very far way. The next 2 nights and three days were even better than the first two. I was traveling alone, and felt very safe and comfortable where I was. I wanted to stay longer, but I had to get back to Panama City to spend a few days there before I was scheduled to fly back to the states. I didn't ever want to leave this place. I enjoyed the Cosmic Crab everyday, especially their $7.95 3 course meals offered from 12pm -6pm daily, and their incredible drink list that seems to go on forever! I met Stephen, Joan's husband, and he was just as delightful as she was to me. Joan also has the best store in all of Bocas, located on the property, with some of the most amazing crafts and jewlery I have ever seen (they both were in the business prior in the states). My stay at The Careening Cay Resort was better than I imagined/expected it would be and since I have been home, for just a few days now, I miss the place already and am planning my return trip back in a few months, I enjoyed it so. Stephen also is in real estate development and has property for sale on a neighboring island from Carenero for sale, and I am going to explore that opportunity as well, his website is definitely worth a look, www.Coral Coast Cristobal.com. If you are looking for very inexpensive lodging and wonderful, friendly and out-of-the-way helpful staff, and a piece of tranquility on your trip to Bocas del Toro, you must check this resort out, it is truly an amazing place to stay and be!! Janet from Florida.

Room Tip: Any of the 4-5 cabins sitting directly on the water, or any of the other 11 cabins sitting directly...
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  • Stayed May 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Long Beach, CA
1 review
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 27, 2012

Joanie was excellent! She was a gracious host that made sure me and my friends (party of 8) where accomodated. Joanie arranged several trips for us including a day on a catamaran with captain George (captain George was the best part of the trip) and zip lining! Her homade hummus was BEST! Joanie provided towels for us as well, which was great.

However there were some issues with our bungalows. My friends and I rented two "rustic" bungalows (the crab cabin and humming bird). In the crab cabin the roof leaked everywhere and the air condintioner did not work; which made the cabin feel like a sauna. The drain in the shower did not work properly as well. In the humming bird cabin the air conditioner worked, but only in low mode. Often tripped the power and wasn't sufficient enough to cool the cabin. In both cabins the windows where screwed shut so the possibility of getting fresh air without misquitos eating you alive was impossible.

Even though Joanie was the gracious host, it still could not make up for the deficiencies in the lodging quarters. The pictures on the website should be updated to reflect the cabins current state. You definately get what you pay for.

All in all my friends and I made due with the situation at hand and are grateful that we were able to make lemonade out of oranges.

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Oslo, Norway
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 19, 2012

Stayed at cosmic crab during new years 2011. Nice bungalows, but unfortunately a lot of problems with the water supply. We were out of water for almost three days. Quite bad after days at the beach and in the heat. The owners tried to fix the problems as best as they could, but I guess there were too many guests to handle in the season.

The breakfast is simple, but ok. Expect pancakes with sirup. Not exactly healthy, but tasty enough.
The place have a restaurant, but I wouldn't recommend to eat a better dinner at the place. For lunch it is ok.

The owners are a nice qouple, helpful to give advice of where to go and what to see.

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
9 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 11, 2012

THANK YOU JOAN!!! After travelling a lot in Mexico, we found Lonely Planet unable to give us a clear understanding of what to expect in Panama. The first hotel we stayed at in Bocas del Toro was Careening Cay Resort. Joan met us and spent a good amount of time listing out places to visit and things to see. Her suggestions were EXCELLENT - especially a restaurant named Bibi's. The weather was disappointing even though it wasn't the rainy season. But our room, over the water was VERY CLEAN and COMFORTABLE. I was very glad we were away from the party atmosphere of the main island, Colon. We had privacy when we wanted it. Joan solved all of our problems - again, as Lonely Planet wasn't very helpful. The breakfasts included were DELICIOUS and I would definitely recommend staying there. The cabins on land also looked very nice. Be sure to take the kayaks out!!!

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
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Additional Information about Careening Cay Resort

Address: , Carenero Island, Panama
Location: Panama > Bocas del Toro Province > Carenero Island
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 3 B&Bs / Inns in Carenero Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Our waterfront paradise is on the island, Isla Carenero. The resort now encompasses 6 1/2 acres of lush, tropical landscaping and over 600 feet of waterfront. Our backyard is verdant rain forest. We sit on a point facing west, which captures the refreshing Caribbean breeze and offers up fabulous sunsets. We are just a two minute boat ride across the bay to Bocas Town. We enjoy the convenience of close proximity to town, yet are removed from the hub hub, noise, pavement, cars and heat, while on our own tropical island.The resort is peaceful and quiet. We have hummingbird feeders throughout. Many different birds, including parrots can be heard singing and conversing in the trees. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Careening Cay Hotel Carenero Island
Careening Cay Resort Panama/Carenero Island, Bocas Del Toro

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