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“The best staff!” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Boutique Hotel Cala Mia

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Boutique Hotel Cala Mia
3.5 of 5 Hotel   |   Isla Boca Brava, Boca Chica, Panama   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #3 of 4 Hotels in Boca Chica
Stillwater, Minnesota
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“The best staff!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 7, 2010 via mobile

Your on on island! Your options for food are limited to the restuarant which, is great but, pricy.
It was very hot when we were there and there is no AC which, is ok, if you can deal with heat.
The walk up from the boat dock is not for the faint of heart, literally. Nor, if you have bad knees or hips.
My wife and enjoyed our stay but our traveling companions did not. A side note to that, alcohol does not help you cool down !
We, my wife and I, went diving at 250 usd each for a lunch and 2 tank dive. We have been diving for 30 some years, 2000 plus dives. It was some of the best diving we have ever done!
Again the help is spectacular !

    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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70 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    44
    14
    5
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (17)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
London, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
51 reviews 51 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 10, 2010

We went here as part of a tour of Costa Rica and Panama. It was simply superb. We booked the hotel at the last minute and was lucky they had availability (but we did go at the end of the low season). Found it by simply searching for hotels in that region on Google.
To get to the hotel, you pay $30 for a one way boat trip to the Island the hotel's on. This lasts quite a while and is a nice precursor to arrival. The rooms are individual, luxury huts with great beds, mosquito nets and walk-in showers. They also have beautiful decked patios with a comfy seat and swing chair. Your own private idle by the sea. Best to get a villa with a view of the sea rather than the other side (but I think that's good too).

The service was amazing- just a few staff but each treated you so well, you felt so special. They offered to do our laundry which I don't think they even charged for and it came back perfectly folded and smelling great. There is so much to do at this place once you've stopped sipping on a cold beer/cocktail in the inifinity pool. We spent a day kayaking and snorkelling (they have all the gear and it's all free to use). There are some beautiful mangroves nearby to wade/kayak through. We then ventured further afield to an isolated beach and had a romantic laze.

You can also go on various tours but we were too lazy. The highlight for me was the food. As the hotel is pretty remote, you pretty much have to eat in. But this was not a bad thing. We stayed two nights and each dinner was superb. I will not be forgetting for a long time, the second meal which was a Seafood bisque for starter with Lobster for main. I'm lucky enough to eat out quite a lot in top restaurants in London, UK for my job and I was blown away. London restaurants could learn much from this place! The cost was more than reasonable too. for everything, the food, drinks and the accomodation.

I will DEFINITELY be returning to this place!!!

Thank you to all at Cala Mia. x

  • Stayed December 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Atlanta, GA
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 7, 2009

Cala Mia on Boca Brava was the fourth stop on our trip around Panama, and we couldn't have planned the timing of it any better. After days of adventure, it was unbelievably nice to relax by the infinity pool with a glass of sangria and the sound of the Pacific ocean in the background. The staff was unbelievable. Anything we needed or wanted was taken care of. Arelys, the guest manager/masseuse was amazing. It was also reassuring that the staff at our previous stay at Boquete Garden Inn were friends with the staff at Cala Mia. All the meals are in house, and thank goodness. Breakfast, lunch, and especially dinner are absolutely amazing. This is in part due to the fact that Cala Mia employs an in house chef. This made having our Thanksgiving meal of lobster really special. While the website is lovely, it does nothing to truly capture the beauty of all the bungalows, the dining/social building, the zen-like massage room (that's accessed by an adorable rope bridge), the gardens, and the volcanic rock formations that surround the island. Not only would I recommend anyone to visit, I would highly suggest it being a honeymoon destination.

  • Stayed November 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.
Brooklyn, NY
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
37 helpful votes 37 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 22, 2009

Just returned from a four-night stay at Cala Mia and don't have a single bad thing to say about it. I've read some of the negative comments here and it seems like those who wrote them should have skipped Cala Mia and gone to a boring, luxury resort somewhere else. Cala Mia feels like it's at the end of the Earth, so, no, not everything is going to be totally perfect (ie, having to wait for meals, not having someone to entertain your every whim, paying more for your dinner than you would, say, in a more populated area). If you go into your stay there with an open mind, and go with the flow, you will only have an amazing time.

My friend and I were very comfortable in our room - it had two double beds (with large mosquito nets), and faced the ocean. We had a great time kayaking from beach to beach and exploring. And the lovely pool provided a very welcome respite from the afternoon heat. The restaurant/bar area was very comfortable. Elvis and Dianna make a mean caipirinha! Fidel's food was simple and delicious: lobster, fish, ceviche, vegetables, etc. And breakfast was always very tasty. It's true, you might not be able to get any food between the set dining hours. But my friend and I were actually happy not to snack between meals (and my husband commented that I felt skinnier upon my return!).

Beto took us on an amazing boat ride to one of the white-sand beaches, and on the way, stopped so we could look for whales. We were about 15 feet from a mother and baby - an incredible experience. The beach he took us to was gorgeous. We swam out just a bit and snorkeled over a coral reef and saw the most beautiful fish. The snorkel, mask and flippers were in pristine condition, almost as if we were the first to use them. Then, Beto took us out in the boat and gave us fishing rods. My friend caught a mackerel, which Fidel cooked for our dinner that evening. It was delicious!

I could go on and on, but the one thing I want to stress is how warm and fun the staff is. Evelyn was a dear. Dianna had a great sense of humor and we will really miss her. Elvis always had a smile on his face. And Beto was so accommodating. When we left, everyone gathered to wave goodbye from the windows of the restaurant and we departed knowing that not only had we just had an unforgettable vacation, but that we had made good friends, too.

Some advice: put bug spray! There are small bugs that you may not feel biting you, but can do some major damage! Spray yourself all over, or wear long pants and a long-sleeved shirt from 5pm on. If you forget to bring spray, ask for some at the bar. They have Off.

  • Stayed November 2009, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Bermuda
1 review
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed October 13, 2009

Cala Mia was nice enough but way too expensive! We stayed in places in Panama for half the price that were just as nice and provided better service. The snorkels were moldy, the food was extremely expensive for what you get and we found out that the other guests who were staying there at the same were paying half as much as us for almost the exact same package!

  • Stayed September 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington, DC
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 21, 2009

I couldn't find a bad thing to say about Cala Mia if I tried. We showed up there unexpectedly the day after a major rain storm. We didn't have a reservation and there were no guests there that night, so they were surprised when our boat showed up at the dock. Although a surprise, they were kind enough to make up two bungalows for my boyfriend and I and our friends we were traveling with. As soon as we came up the dock we were completely wowed by the view and were so happy we decided to go for this place among the other choices in Boca Chica/Boca Brava. The resort is on the tip of a small little peninsula and has amazing views in every direction. There is a beautiful infinity pool overlooking the water, right next to the "lobby" which consists of a beautiful open air hut with a great bar, sitting area and dining tables. This is the main hang out of the resort where meals are served. The bungalows are thoughtfully designed as well, were just the right mix of luxury and middle of nowhere charm. We had ocean side bungalows which seemed to have a better breeze than the bay side ones. The view in the morning with the sun coming up was a perfect way to wake up. The service at Cala Mia was wonderful. Since we were the only guests there, we had the full attention of Deanna, Fidel the cook, and Beto (Deanna's husband and the fisherman). We thoroughly enjoyed getting to know them and they were a big reason for our experience there being so memorable. The food from Fidel's kitchen was absolutely amazing although a little bit on the expensive side for Panama ($32 per person for dinner, not including drinks - overall not expensive relative to home but unexpected for Panama). Lobster tail the first night, Fresh fish the second - every part of the meal was delicious and worth the cost. We took a boat right with Beto out to the islands to do some snorkeling and relaxing, saw some amazing beaches and even some whales along the way - quite a day! I would recommend this place to anyone - and would suggest a visit in the rainy season instead of dry season. It would be more relaxing than the busy season as you are likely to have a quieter stay and truly enjoy the peace and beauty of the place. It rained a bit the first night we were there but nothing major and we had perfect weather the rest of our stay there. It does rain during the afternoons but usually passes over, and we were wishing we saw a big storm from there as the views would have been great. it is a bit harder to get here than the other resorts in the area, you have to take a 20 minute and $25 boat from Boca Chica and leave your car (we didn't have any problems with this) there but it was well worth it.

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 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.
London
Top Contributor
99 reviews 99 reviews
92 hotel reviews
Reviews in 80 cities Reviews in 80 cities
137 helpful votes 137 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 29, 2009

We stayed here for 4 nights at the end of a fairly hectic holiday to relax in a secluded beach setting before returning home.

We were on our honeymoon and the hotel staff greeted us with a complimentary bottle of champagne which we enjoyed on our terrace, and they had placed petals in a heart shape on hour bed - these were really nice touches :-)

We loved the setting and the huts, which were far enough apart for privacy. Having said that, we were the only people staying at Cala Mia at the time and hence had the whole place to ourselves (other than the staff!). The beach was lovely (it would have been perfect if the sand had been white!) and we spent our time reading, relaxing, swimming and canoeing.

The price we were originally quoted ($180 per night plus tax and including only breakfast) was probably too much for the hotel, but we were given a generous discount and so left feeling happy and confident that we had received good value for money.

We were a bit suprised to discover that the hotel's restaurant was the only place to eat - we had assumed that if this was the case the price would have been all inclusive. In addition, as we are vegetarians there was no choice of meal and initially we were not given the option to only have 1 or 2 courses, so we were tied to $30 each plus tax and service for a fixed price 3 course dinner (very expensive for fairly basic vegetarian food), or having no food at all! However, we discussed our concerns with the Manager after the first evening and he addressed them quickly and efficiently, so that for the remaining days we were asked in advance what we wanted to eat for dinner, and we had just 2 courses for very reasonable prices.

We found the Manager very receptive to our feedback and he dealt with it in a very positive and friendly manner, which was really appreciated as it is not nice to have to "complain" or to feel like a "problem guest" when you are on holiday! We ended up having dinner with the Manager a couple of times and left on good and friendly terms having had a wonderful break and with every intention of recommending Cala Mia to our friends.

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Additional Information about Boutique Hotel Cala Mia

Address: Isla Boca Brava, Boca Chica, Panama
Location: Panama > Chiriqui Province > Boca Chica
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 4 Hotels in Boca Chica
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Boutique Hotel Cala Mia 3.5*
Number of rooms: 11
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
This magical small boutique hotel and island resort is located in Panama on the tip of a pristine island that runs into the Pacific Ocean, flanked by untouched tropical palm-lined beaches. At a 15-minute boat-ride from Boca Chica, bordering on the unspoiled, for-you-to-discover Panama’s Marine Park "Archipielago de Chiriqui", Cala Mia is the perfect jumping-off point to world renowned sport fishing grounds: Coiba’s Hannibal Bank or Islas Las Secas; Islas Los Ladrones for scuba diving and for surfing: Moro Negrito and Isla Afuera! Luxury hotel Cala Mia consists of 11 beautiful Bungalows, or suites, each with its own thatched roof rancho and all within 10 meters from the ocean or the beach/bay-side. Furniture, materials and woodwork are home designed and handcrafted by local artisans blending aesthetics, art, quality and functionality into a new standard!. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Boutique Hotel Chiriqui
Boutique Hotel Cala Mia Panama/Boca Chica

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