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“Fabulous Casa Cayuco” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Casa Cayuco

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Casa Cayuco
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Punta Vieja, Isla Bastimentos, Panama   |  
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GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Seattle, Washington
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“Fabulous Casa Cayuco”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 28, 2014

My family and I spent 3 wonderful days last week at Casa Cayuco. Dave and Suzanne have created a gem. They and their staff from the local village took wonderful care of all guests. We loved the snorkeling excursions, complete with dolphins in the wake of the boat. The food was marvelous. I could not recommend Casa Cayuco more highly.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with family
    • 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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177 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
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Eugene
1 review
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 18, 2014

My husband and I traveled to this paradise with two other couples in February 2014 and stayed four nights. We could not have asked for a better trip -- except perhaps to have stayed longer. The meals were exceptional, the beach scene fantastic and the host and hostess of Casa Cayuco were accommodating, polite and always ready to serve our every need. We snorkeled, fished, swam, hiked, paddle boarded, kayaked and just relaxed on their dock. The best part for me was waking up early (we stayed in Pelicano), putting on my bathing suit, walking perhaps 20 steps to the beach, grabbing a paddle board and greeting the sunrise on the ocean. Besides the numerous excursions offered, one can just hike on the beach or kayak to the indigenous village and take a tour there. I loved the fact that Suzanne and David incorporate not only the food, but also the lifestyle of the indigenous people, creating an exceptional experience for their guests. On one particular snorkeling trip, we watched Sebastian, a native of the island, catch lobsters with a simple stick with wire attached. Incredible to watch! The food was very good, including their afternoon snacks and desserts. This is not a Hilton Hotel -- this is a resort that offers a true remote island experience. You can see monkeys, caman, frogs, geckos, flowers (too many to count) and exotic birds. Keep an open mind on this trip to fully experience what Casa Cayuco has to offer and you will not be disappointed.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 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 14
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oakland, California
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 9, 2014

You will be so happy you chose to stay at Casa Cayuco. We stayed for four nights in January 2014. The owners, Dave and Suzanne, are wonderful people who work tirelessly to make sure that each guest has an outstanding experience. The property and location are gorgeous. The accommodations are comfortable. The food is delicious. We went snorkeling at an amazingly vibrant coral reef in the mangroves, which was the highlight for me. My husband loved taking out the hobbie cat sailboat. The other guests were lovely, and I felt that we formed a friendly community by the end of the trip. We stayed in Pelicano and could hear the waves breaking on the shore as we fell asleep at night and as we woke up in the morning. We were thoroughly relaxed by the end of the trip, which was my main goal. The hammocks on the dock and quiet setting help in that regard. Dave and Suzanne went way above and beyond to make sure we were happy, safe, and comfortable. They even set up a beautiful private candle-lit dinner on the end of the dock for my husband's birthday, which we enjoyed with a bottle of champagne.

The only thing I think I should mention that may be an issue for some people is the flying bugs at night. If you have a phobia or something, you may want to think twice about an open-air accommodation on this island. However, the bed netting at Casa Cayuco is the thickest and highest quality netting I've ever seen. The nighttime bugs are not a reason for a normal person to think twice about booking, but should be taken into account if you have a serious fear of bugs.

Casa Cayuco is truly a special place. I think our departure illustrates our experience. As we walked to the boat where Dave was waiting to take us to the airport, we hugged all of the other guests goodbye and said we would keep in touch. Dave helped us into the boat and Suzanne sat down on the dock and said she wished we could stay. As we drove off, waiving goodbye to Suzanne and the other guests, I had the same bittersweet feeling associated with saying goodbye to friends at camp at the end of an amazing summer - thankful for the experience but sad it has to end.

Room Tip: Pelicano is very romantic, right on the beach and secluded from other rooms.
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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 12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
pennsylvania
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 31, 2014

This is a wonderful place with very hospitable hosts and staff. The accommodations are very comfortable and well maintained in a lovely setting. The location is close to its own beach (with very few people going past) with very calm water and an outer perimeter reef with distant waves crashing. There are paddle boards, a Hobie cat, and kayaks. The mangrove snorkeling was excellent with very colourful soft corals and this trip is really worthwhile. I would suspect that other snorkeling areas probably aren't so great around that area as so much coral has died in general in the region. You can walk down to the village and have a guided walk through the adjacent jungle and village and also walk across the island to the beaches on the other side. The trip to Robert's garden and chocolate "factory" was interesting and I would recommend it to anyone interested in gardens, the area's plants, and how chocolate is produced. At Casa Cayuco, the salads and vegetables were very tasty, but the fish was often overcooked - however, our host was very amenable to addressing this. The afternoon snacks were tasty. Suzanne makes very good margaritas! Frontera sauvignon blanc was the table wine, and there was a red also. I would have preferred stronger coffee but appreciate having it available by 7 am so you can enjoy it whilst sitting watching the pelicans or whatever. The food was very good in general, but I wouldn't call it gourmet. However, unlike another reviewer, I did not think the place was overpriced and would go back again. I wish we had stayed longer than the 5 days.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with friends
    • 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 22, 2014

We stayed at Casa Cayuco in Jan. 2014. The setting, a 30 min. boat ride from Bocas, is lovely, nestled on the beach against subtropical woods. Overall, we had great time, but delicious food and some of the extra touches we've seen elsewhere in this price range were missing. For those reasons, we recommend Casa Cayuco with some hesitation. The cabanas were lovely, with plenty of room for us all (3 beds). However, the bathroom toiletries weren't particularly nice (we had much better in Boquete). We saw monkeys every morning, and the rooms were very clean. The common area has only limited seating beyond the dining table. (The owners will be expanding to address this limitation in an upcoming construction porject.) The new owners, as of June 2013, are friendly and helpful. However, the food (included in the daily rate) was somewhat of a disappointment. They advertise "gourmet" meals but seem to be working out some kinks in food prep and delivery. Several meals were good, but the coffee was lukewarm, the fish was sometimes overcooked and dry, and the desserts were awful. Meals might be better if they transitioned to fresh, healthy Latin American and Caribbean food, with a focus on lighter, simpler meals cooked properly. Almost all excursions and activities cost extra, and they are clearly described in a booklet in your room. These excursions are essential to really enjoying the area; don't miss them! Our favorite was snorkeling around the mangrove islands. The variety of coral was amazing. (The snorkel equipment, however, was moldy and needed a thorough cleaning.) On outings, the packed lunch is pretty unexciting—a soggy chicken wrap and some chips/snacks. On a trip to Zapatillas Island, we saw other groups being served delicious salads and fresh fruit and we were envious. We took walks in both directions along the coast from Casa Cayuco, and guided hikes are offered at fairly reasonable costs from a local village. On our last day we discovered there also were a number of hikes inland we could have done ourselves. It would be nice to get more information about these possibilities for local exploration upon arrival. We've stayed at similar pricey lodges in several locations in Latin American and the Caribbean, and overall, we’d recommend Casa Cayuco if the price were lower, but at current prices guests justifiable expect better food and more extra touches.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with family
    • 3 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dave S, Owner at Casa Cayuco, responded to this review, January 23, 2014
Thank you for your review and we apologize for any situation in which you felt you did not receive what you paid for. As new owners since June 2013, we appreciate all feedback as it tells us how we can do better. Every day we make improvements to provide the best experience for guests. We hope to address some of your concerns below.

We are very glad you loved our location and your cabana (Tortuga). We are one of the only beach resorts in Bocas del Toro and definitely the most private and secluded. As for the toiletries, we are an eco-resort and in order to be formally recognized as such we must eliminate waste and plastics wherever we can. We do not have the usual resort individual shampoos, soaps, sewing kits, shower caps, etc. Those individual toiletries, although convenient, add up to a lot of unnecessary waste that we'd try to avoid even if we had local trash pickup and/or recycling center. What we do have are environmentally friendly shampoos and body washes that get cleaned and refilled for each incoming guest. As always, guests can also use any products they are traveling with. Boquete (although beautiful) is not an eco-resort destination. It is on the mainland electrical grid and water system with regular trash pickup. Waste is not a concern in that area of Panama.

You mentioned that our lodge had limited seating. We have put considerable time and resources into designing the perfect relaxation environment where our guests spend most of their time - which is our dock and private porches on each cabana. On our dock, we have a multitude of hammocks, swinging chairs, tables and lounge chairs. On the cabin porches we have loads of comfortable seating along with tables for games, private dining, etc. Our lodge has chairs, cushioned chairs, cushioned benches and barstools - enough to seat around 30 people. However, there are so many things to do and see while you're at Casa Cayuco, it would really be a shame spend days in the lodge and miss out on so much that our dock, cabana's, beach and island have to offer.

We're very sorry the food did not meet your expectations. Most of the dishes served during your stay were local recipes, created by our indigenous staff, that have been served (and loved) at Casa Cayuco for many years. In 2013 the same cooking staff that made your meals was highlighted in Conde Nast Traveler for their culinary skills and we are very proud of them. We record all meals served at Casa Cayuco - a sampling of the gourmet meals your family was served is below.

Dinners:
-Imported prime beef tenderloin over potatoes with a red wine reduction
-Grouper poached in fresh squeezed coconut milk with roasted red peppers, fresh squeezed lime juice and locally grown culantro - over coconut rice
-Barracuda* over potatoes gratin with lemon caper sauce

*As with all our fish - the barracuda was brought to our dock by a local fisherman. The other families and couples staying with us at the same time saw the fish buying process and the whole barracuda delivered to our dock. Some would describe it as a tougher fish and we hesitate to serve it for that reason but the day before you arrived we made the guests already there a promise to serve it. We apologize if it was not to your liking and will evaluate serving barracuda in the future.

Desserts:
-Chocolate pudding cake made with 100% pure cacao from local cacao farm
-Nutella Cheesecake with a cookie crust and chocolate ganache topping
-Pineapple glazed in rum with sugar, honey and drizzled with yogurt

During your stay, you did mention the deserts were very rich - we didn't realize you meant rich in a negative way. We apologize for this. Again, these are among our most popular desserts and always prepare extra for guests wanting seconds - as was the case for other guests during your stay.

Excursion Lunches:
We are happy you loved the excursions - we feel Casa Cayuco has the best adventures in Panama. These adventures take us to remote, beautiful locations where we need to bring our lunch with us and often times eat on the boat. Eating on the boat or pulling up and picnicking on a deserted beach limits our excursion lunch options. Our usual excursion main courses consist of salads, fruits, wraps, burritos, enchiladas and empanadas. Many of our guests take daily excursions and we can't serve them the same lunch on every adventure of their stay. Chicken burritos, among the daily sides cookies, chips, nuts, trail mix, banana's, etc were served for your family excursion to the Zapatillas as well as the other excursions that were led that day. We're sorry to hear that your burrito was "soggy". We work hard packing coolers to ensure that all food is as fresh and delicious as possible. We will be addressing this right away.

Coffee:
Our whole bean coffee comes directly from Boquete. It's ground every morning and prepared with french presses starting at 7am - fresh batches are made constantly until guests have had their coffee fill. We apologize if you got a batch that was losing it's temperature. As for anything at Casa Cayuco - just let us know and we will fix it.
Food is our biggest expense and labor of love at Casa Cayuco and we work very hard and take lots of pride making sure our guests eat well during their stays here.

90% of our masks and snorkels are brand new as of December 10th of 2013 and all equipment is thoroughly cleaned after a guest has returned it to the lodge. We do have some masks (ours for example) that have had a lot of use but we've decided to keep because they work fantastically. Rest assured that any marks on them are usage wear and tear - not mold.

As you mentioned - you found out about numerous hikes closer to the property that you wish you had been aware of. We do have one self-guided trail that we have created that cuts strait through the rainforest to the windward side our peninsula - this trail is explained in our excursion book along with the other guided hikes you referenced and the trailhead is marked by a large sign on our beach - we apologize if this wasn't explained to you. The only other hiking you can do directly from our property is up and down the beach - which can be walked for miles.

Our apologies for the length of this response but this is the first critical review we've received since we took over and we wanted to cover everything. If you have any questions or concerns - please contact us at info@casacayuco.com. We strive every day to improve the guest experience here at Casa Cayuco and again, we appreciate all feedback as this helps us make Casa Cayuco the premier eco-adventure lodge in Panama!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 7, 2014

I was there over Christmas with my wife and really enjoyed ourselves. Its cool for couple and families both. There are a lot of cool excursions to do, and we really enjoyed the snorkeling and a trip to a beautiful island that's a nature preserve, but the best part for us, after a long year of work, was just hanging out on the beautiful dock and beach. Total relaxation, in one of the most beautiful and natural places you can imagine. They have hammocks and swinging chairs galore, and its hard to beat a Casa Cayuco sunset.

Dave and Suzanne, are the owners, hosts, chef, boat captain, guides... you name it. They have support from a great staff of really sweet indigenous locals who really enjoyed getting to know, but they are personally involved with every element and take great care to make sure you are happy at all times.:-).

Food was great. They source very, very locally whenever possible. Yes, incredibly fresh fish, but also some of the best local greens you can imagine. I am a meat eater and was very happy. They are great about any dietary restrictions and preferences, and we are still dreaming about Suzanne's peanut butter cheesecake!

Its not for everyone. Its a true natural environment set against the jungle and a beach. Nature abounds. That means amazing things like encountering a sloth and its baby in a low hanging tree, but also seeing some very weird bugs at night!

But if you want a special experience, a non-cookie cutter vacation where you can disconnect in one of the most beautiful places on Earth, book now. We hope to get back soon.

Room Tip: Pelicano is the smallest, but best for a couple (or a single). The other rooms are bigger and most...
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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 11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 6, 2014

We stayed at Casa Cayuco around xmas time. There are no words to describe how much we liked this place. we stayed with our 2 kids who adored Susan and David (the owners) and their dog, Rosie. Everything was perfect. Its a place that is good both for kids and adults. The excursions were perfect!!!! in sum, everything was said about this place in previous reviews. we just want to say that we would LOVE to come back...

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
    • 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 12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Casa Cayuco

Address: Punta Vieja, Isla Bastimentos, Panama
Phone Number:
Location: Panama > Bocas del Toro Province > Isla Bastimentos
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 15 B&Bs / Inns in Isla Bastimentos
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Casa Cayuco Eco-Adventure Lodge sits on a small swath of land sandwiched between white sand beach and lush, tropical rainforest. Remote by choice, our resort is a 40 minute boat ride from Bocas Town - Colon Island and adjacent to the National Marine Park of Isla Bastimentos. Our resort is eco-friendly, in that our electricity is generated from the sun. Solar panels are mounted on the roofs throughout the resort. All our water comes from the roofs of our buildings and is then filtered for our use. We hire only local indigenous people and by supporting Casa Cayuco, you are making an impact on over 100 people in our local village of Salt Creek. Cabins are stand alone structures and have large covered porches for relaxing and enjoying the scenery. Each is very spacious, open-air and equipped with fans.Our private white sand beach is no more than a minute walk from anywhere on the property. You swim right off our beach or off our thatched roof dock. Kayaks, paddleboards and a Hobie Cat sailboat are available during your stay. Where we are located there are no roads. Locals and tourists use footpaths or boats to get from one place to another. These same paths provide a wonderful trail system for hiking/walking and numerous opportunities for birding and finding sloths and monkeys! ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Casa Cayuco Hotel Isla Bastimentos
Casa Cayuco Panama/Isla Bastimentos, Bocas Del Toro

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