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Panama`s Paradise: Rafael`s House in Bastimentos!

Rafael`s House in the heart of Bastimentos Town. The Caribbean Dream!
Rafael`s House in the heart of Bastimentos Town. The Caribbean Dream!
Rafael`s House in the heart of Bastimentos Town. The Caribbean Dream!
Rafael`s House frontporch with first class view on Main Street..
The bacony, surrounded by plamtrees and with view on Bastimentos Bay and Isla Solarte.
Rafael's fully equipped kitchen. Ready for your own Home cooking!
Rafael`s dining area.
Isla Bastimentos
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Rental Home – 
2 Bedrooms, 1 Bathroom, Sleeps 6

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Reviews from our community

Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
MvdHoff
Aalsmeer, The Netherlands
Top Contributor
165 reviews 165 reviews
40 hotel reviews
Reviews in 70 cities Reviews in 70 cities
68 helpful votes 68 helpful votes
“Beautiful Caribbean house”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 4, 2013 for a stay in July 2013
2
people found this review helpful

We stayed for one week in Rafael's House. We rented the entire house. This nice house is located within the small town Old Banks on Bastimentos, which is 10 minutes by boot from Bocas. Boats are running constantly and cost 3 dollars a person. The house is owned and maintained by a Dutch woman, Jenny, which is immediately evident upon entering the house. It is clean and very well equipped. Though each room has a fan, the house has no airco. On Bastimentos are three small supermarkets, in which the essentials can be bought. However, they are not cheap. The owners of the supermarket a bit further down the street are most friendly. There are also three good restaurants at walking distance and a very good diving shop, Scuba6diving, see our reviews.
The place has one potential caviat, the Coco bar next door. During the week, we stayed, they had one big party with very loud music till 23.45. If you would have these parties every night ......

5 of 5 stars How easy was it to book the property? 4 of 5 stars How helpful were the directions to the property?
5 of 5 stars How easy was key pickup/access to the property? 4 of 5 stars Overall condition of the property
4 of 5 stars Bedding & mattresses 4 of 5 stars Kitchen & utensils
4 of 5 stars Bathroom cleanliness 4 of 5 stars Other facilities & amenities
4 of 5 stars Service
Liked best: Living between the locals
Liked least: No airco and noise of bar
Traveling group: Tieners
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend?   Yes.
Recommended for:
Friends getaway
  • Was the property as advertised?
  • Would you recommend the location of this property?
  • Was it a good value for the price paid?
  • Did the property offer wi-fi/internet access?
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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James O
Melbourne, Australia
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“Five Nights Soon Became Seven...”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 4, 2013 for a stay in March 2013
1
person found this review helpful

Rafael's place was an excellent place to stay.

PROS:
- walking distance to Wizards Beach, the water taxi dock, shops (there are two) and a few restaurants
- nestled on the beautiful Bastimentos which is quieter and much more picturesque than neighbouring Bocas Town (although only a short boat ride away).
- swimming, surfing, hiking and canoeing to keep you occupied
- Rafael looks after his guests
- the house is cleaned regularly and thoroughly
- well equipped kitchen
- great views from the deck with hammocks and chairs to relax on
- many homely and thoughtful touches around the place

CONS:
- a nightclub nearby which can be loud some nights (Easter weekend, but almost impossible to find somewhere quiet that weekend)
- some funky smells from the drainage, but nothing worse than we've smelt
- paper thin bedroom walls

5 of 5 stars How easy was it to book the property? 4 of 5 stars How helpful were the directions to the property?
4 of 5 stars How easy was key pickup/access to the property? 4 of 5 stars Overall condition of the property
4 of 5 stars Bedding & mattresses 5 of 5 stars Kitchen & utensils
3 of 5 stars Bathroom cleanliness 4 of 5 stars Other facilities & amenities
5 of 5 stars Service
Traveling group: Spouse/Partner
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend?   Yes.
Recommended for:
Friends getaway Older travelers
Large groups
  • Was the property as advertised?
  • Would you recommend the location of this property?
  • Was it a good value for the price paid?
  • Did the property offer wi-fi/internet access?
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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annmarieR...
Vashon, Washington
2 reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“a very memorable experience.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 9, 2013 for a stay in January 2013
2
people found this review helpful

we arrived in bocas without a reservation, as we were not sure how we wanted our trip to go. jennifer from "panama's paradise" had responded to my email a few months earlier, but i had not booked at the time. i called her the evening before our arrival, and she had raphel's place available, which we immediately booked, and she gave us verbal directions how to get there. true to her word, from Bocas town, all we had to do was tell the boat driver that we were going to Raphel's place and we were brought right to his dock. Raphael was there, and though a little slow with his arthritis met us at the house and gave us the rundown. it is his old family house which was very nicely remodeled, and we felt right at home. we told him we'd stay one night, and ended up staying three nights on bastamentos, and only left as we felt we owed it to ourselves to see more of bocas. could easily have stayed longer, as being there was a very unique experience. there are no cars, only a long walking path going through the small village. people were friendly, but i felt we blended in, as the locals just went about their own business. in the evening we sat on the porch listening to local music. no bugs!

5 of 5 stars How easy was it to book the property? 5 of 5 stars How helpful were the directions to the property?
5 of 5 stars How easy was key pickup/access to the property? 5 of 5 stars Overall condition of the property
5 of 5 stars Bedding & mattresses 5 of 5 stars Kitchen & utensils
5 of 5 stars Bathroom cleanliness 5 of 5 stars Other facilities & amenities
5 of 5 stars Service
Liked best: funk appeal. very unique village.
Liked least: poor lighting inside was hard for me with my older eyes.
Traveling group: Teenagers
Your age range 50-64
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend?   Yes.
Recommended for:
Friends getaway
  • Was the property as advertised?
  • Would you recommend the location of this property?
  • Was it a good value for the price paid?
  • Did the property offer wi-fi/internet access?
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Jennifer...
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
“Great place during the day, but 4 sleepless nights from VERY loud music next door”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 4, 2013 for a stay in February 2013
1
person found this review helpful

This place is so close to being the perfect place to stay in Bastimentos...if only it wasn't for the Coco Bar next door, playing EXTREMELY LOUD music every night from 7pm - 1am or 3am, depending on the night. This was such a disappointment for us! We loved the house and the decor, very Panamanian style with a European touch thanks to Jenny's creative eye. The kitchen is great, the porch is great and the island of Bastimentos is a really nice place away from it all with no roads or cars. Knowing that, we expected a quiet 4 night stay...but we are weary and have headaches from the LOUD music...imagine the house shaking....yes, that loud! Jenny was very nice and extremely accommodating in every way. The internet did not work the first day, and she did everything possible to get it working for the next day. Due to that and the noise issue, she even gave us one night for free which we felt was extremely generous. But, Rafael seemed to change when he realized our last night was free - he became angry and seemed to yell at us for everything! I guess he wanted money and was unhappy with the 'free' arrangement (every other day we offered him food and water and we had a very good relation with him, so we felt upset with the sudden change). Overall, we can only say that if the Coco Bar went away, this would be the best bargain and cutest place to stay in Bastimentos. As it stands now, we would recommend that you consider booking at the Colon property for Panama Paradise instead...we heard very good things about it and we would have moved there if there had been space available! Sunday was the worst day...the music started at 10am and went until 1:30am - yes, over 13 hours of non-stop VERY loud music...so if anything, avoid staying on a Sunday!

5 of 5 stars How easy was it to book the property? 5 of 5 stars How helpful were the directions to the property?
5 of 5 stars How easy was key pickup/access to the property? 5 of 5 stars Overall condition of the property
4 of 5 stars Bedding & mattresses 5 of 5 stars Kitchen & utensils
4 of 5 stars Bathroom cleanliness 1 of 5 stars Other facilities & amenities
3 of 5 stars Service
Liked best: Veranda, house on the water
Liked least: Loud music playing all the time hurts the brain and causes headaches, not a holiday relax feel!
Traveling group: Spouse/Partner
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend?   No.
  • Was it a good value for the price paid?
  • Did the property offer wi-fi/internet access?
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Management Response
Feb 4, 2013
Hello!
Thanks for taking the time to review us.
Yes, Cocos Bar is definitly not our favorite neighbour....
We are working on this problem, but it has not been as succesfull as we want it to be. For now we have a phone in the house and we suggest all guests to call Jenny (at any time), so I can call the police. What they do is pass by and ask the bar to turn down the volume. This helps a little, but is far from ideal still.
Cocos Bar doesn´t have a very frequent scedule: sometimes they are closed for days, even weeks, and than all of a sudden they decide to open again and have loud music. Defininetly more around holidays like Christmas and Carnaval.
All I can say is that we are doing all we can, but it´s not easy to fight the system in a place far a way from civilication where laws and rules are not greatly respected.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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LifeStori...
Asheville, NC
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
“Beautiful home, Beautiful view, Beautiful Raphael”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 3, 2013 for a stay in January 2013

This charming home is right on the water and in the center of a village, Bastimentos, whose main pathway, a paved walkway, extends only a five minute walk on either side of the house. Children play and watch over hens who with their baby chicks forage in the grass, old men gather at the square and clothes hang to dry on front porches all along this sidewalk main street. The walkway ends at an exquisite beach, while the other climbs a steep hill to a cemetery giving a view, but clearly, this is life apart from tourism. Here the flavor of the islands can be felt in full, down to the pounding beat of their music. My favorite meals were at Alvins over the water where for $5 you can dine on coconut rice and barbecued chicken with plantains. Raphael's kind presence cast a warmth greater than the sunshine. Bring him some lotion for his legs if you come. There is nothing on the island for the pain, and he would thank you. I loved this place and will return.

5 of 5 stars How easy was it to book the property? 5 of 5 stars How helpful were the directions to the property?
5 of 5 stars How easy was key pickup/access to the property? 5 of 5 stars Overall condition of the property
5 of 5 stars Bedding & mattresses 5 of 5 stars Kitchen & utensils
5 of 5 stars Bathroom cleanliness 5 of 5 stars Other facilities & amenities
5 of 5 stars Service
Liked best: The beautiful woodwork, handmade furniture and shutters, and views
Traveling group: Friends
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend?   Yes.
Recommended for:
Friends getaway Older travelers
Families with young children
  • Was the property as advertised?
  • Would you recommend the location of this property?
  • Was it a good value for the price paid?
  • Did the property offer wi-fi/internet access?
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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GriceHV
New York City, New York
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Best Vacation Ever!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 20, 2012 for a stay in August 2012

I love Rafael's House. It was a wonderful place to relax and have fun. The house is just as advertised, the people in Bocas are WONDERFUL and I cant wait to go back. Once you arrive to Bastimentos everybody knows Raphael's House so you dont worry about getting lost. And if you do get lost dont worry at all the location is full of happy people, I feel safe since day 1. I have the opportunity to visit Red Frog Beach and it was lovely, one of the best beaches I have ever visit in my life. Raphael's House is in a great location, my family and I actually just followed the direction towards Wizzard Beach I believe and it was almost like a 30 minute walk maybe less if you dont care about the muddy road. But I highly recommend this place, you wont regret it. I enjoyed meeting Mr. Rafael too! VIVA PANAMA and BOCAS DEL TORO...

5 of 5 stars How easy was it to book the property? 5 of 5 stars How helpful were the directions to the property?
5 of 5 stars How easy was key pickup/access to the property? 5 of 5 stars Overall condition of the property
5 of 5 stars Bedding & mattresses 5 of 5 stars Kitchen & utensils
5 of 5 stars Bathroom cleanliness 5 of 5 stars Service
Liked best: Everything
Traveling group: Extended Family
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend?   Yes.
Recommended for:
Friends getaway Families with young children
Large groups
  • Was the property as advertised?
  • Would you recommend the location of this property?
  • Was it a good value for the price paid?
  • Did the property offer wi-fi/internet access?
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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John C
Barcelona, Spain
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
“Incredible Stay In Bocas del Toro”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 16, 2012 for a stay in October 2010

This place was special. Great facilities in the house, beautiful location. Good fun walk to get to the beach which was then totally deserted. Village shops have everything you might need. Cannot rave enough about this place. By far my favorite holiday location in the world, so far. Rafeal's house is also just perfect for the price. Wish we had stayed longer.

4 of 5 stars How easy was it to book the property? 4 of 5 stars How helpful were the directions to the property?
5 of 5 stars How easy was key pickup/access to the property? 5 of 5 stars Overall condition of the property
5 of 5 stars Bedding & mattresses 5 of 5 stars Kitchen & utensils
5 of 5 stars Bathroom cleanliness 5 of 5 stars Other facilities & amenities
5 of 5 stars Service
Liked best: The location and the standard of the facilities
Liked least: That we had to leave!
Traveling group: With Spouse/Partner
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend?   Yes.
Recommended for:
Friends getaway Families with young children
People with pets
  • Was the property as advertised?
  • Would you recommend the location of this property?
  • Was it a good value for the price paid?
  • Did the property offer wi-fi/internet access?
  • Was your security deposit returned on time?
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Owner
J R
Speaks English
Listed since : Jun 2009
Response Rate: 30 %
Response Time: Within a few days
Calendar Updated: 36 days ago
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