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“Great Place- Good People” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Solarte Inn

Solarte Inn
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Solarte Inn
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Isla Solarte, Panama   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #2 of 2 Hotels in Isla Solarte
Washington DC, District of Columbia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Great Place- Good People”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 26, 2012

From what I hear Solarte Inn has been thru a lot in the past couple of years, but as of Mid Feb 2012 it is under new management and I can tell this truly makes a difference.

The Rooms:
They are modern, clean and comfortable-- I mean what more can you want. The rooms are some of the best in the Bocas area, the air conditioning works great, the hot water gets HOT! and the beds are comfortable. The rooms are right off the open space dining area which makes it nice to just walk out and enjoy the nice views. We stayed in Room 1 and were pleased with the location (being away from the kitchen) and Nell keeps the rooms very clean which is hard to do with sand everywhere all the time.

The Area:
Isla Solarte is a very peaceful island which is great to get away from the constant noise and music of isla colon. The Inn is set on a hill which overlooks the ocean and has great views of birds in the morning and stars at night. A short walk thru the village will bring you to hospital point which is a nice area to lay out (no beach area mostly just grass) and the water is clean on that side of the island-- so its safe to swim and snorkel. Adrian has several people that he can call to bring you on a boat where ever you need to go. The only thing that was a little frustrating is because not that many people are going to Isla Solarte you generally have to call your own boat-- not a big deal, just bring a good book and relax a little-- you are on vacation after all!

The Food:
Adrian will serve you what ever you want and he makes that pretty clear-- breakfast was always great and fresh, he is very flexible and you can eat as early or as late as you want. Breakfast is included, as is fresh drinking water (from the tank). Dinner is a separate charge but is worth it-- it wasnt that expensive and his portions are generous. He generally will tell you what he has and then depending on your preferences you can let him know what you want. If you are staying for a few days and ask for something in particular he is more than willing to go the extra mile to get what you want.

All in all the place is coming around and I know in a few months with the Inn under Adrian and Nell's care the place will only improve. Adrian is very responsive to both email and phone so if you have any questions just get in touch with him. I know only positive reviews will start to roll in from this place.

Room Tip: ask for AC and to be in either room 1, 2, or 7-- away from the entrance of the kitchen.
See more room tips
  • Stayed February 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
    • 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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8 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room Tips
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Antwerp, Belgium
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed February 25, 2012

Please note that all previous reviews are dated from 2010 and before.
We made a reservation for solarte Inn in February 2012 based on the information on their website.
The water taxi did not know where the resort was and had to ask people living nearby.
There was no sign near the dock and no visible mark of any life on the isle.
When we walked up the hill we only saw a house in decay. The management was not available on the phone. After walking around some more, a man came out of the bushes to show us the direction to the 'hotel'. Only one room was ready (smelly, musty and dark). There was no ocean view (management: we are still cutting trees to create the ocean view). It was not near a beach. The owner offered to eat something he prepared himself as there was no restaurant, no guests cooks (contrary to indication on their site). I asked for a natural juice at the 'bar' (after three weeks travelling through Panama I got quite addicted to them). Something was prepared that was said to be a Papaya juice, but looked nor tasted like papaya.
The couple managing the estate just arrived early February and lots had still to be done to start the place up again I think. So we were quite shocked that the price for one night was still 88 dollar.
We left the same evening and stayed in Buccaneers instead, where we had all facilities, great view, great assistance, nice local juices (!) for more or less the same money per night.
It looks like a great place to walk by during a hiking, but to stay it is not worth (not even close) the money at this moment. Maybe in a couple of months or years. Arriving at this place was our greatest dissappointment during a month stay in Panama.

Stayed February 2012, traveled with friends
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oakland, California
Level Contributor
43 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 16, 2010

If you’re looking for a place where you can party all night, try Bocas Town. If on the other hand you want a little solitude and natural beauty, and don’t mind putting in a little effort in search of dining and nightlife, this is a great option.

Isla Solarte is a 5-10 minute boat ride from Bocas Town ($3-$5 per person at the time of this review, depending on your negotiations and whether it’s day or night). It’s also a similar boat ride to the town of Old Bank and just a bit further to beautiful Red Frog Beach in Isla Bastimentos. Aside from the natural beauty of its jungle and beaches—including a top spot for swimming and snorkeling at Solarte’s Hospital Point—Solarte Inn is about the only commercial activity on the Island; aside from the Inn there are just two small and friendly indigenous villages (or perhaps more accurately, extended families). Whatever commercial development may have been planned on Solarte, there was no sight of it in Spring 2010.

In adding to what other reviews have to say, I should mention that the Inn is under new management. Chip and Sherrie—recent to Bocas from Colorado—are super nice, interesting people, and while they might not have a long history of lodging management they definitely aim to please.

The physical property itself is really beautiful, on a hill with nice breezes, huge wooden porch, and semi-open common area looking out into the jungle. The rooms are very nice, if basic (nice private bathrooms with clean hot and cold water, ceiling fans, but no TV or internet; some rooms have A/C). Continental breakfast is included, and with a little advance notice you can have a nice lunch and/or dinner on-site. Also, they are happy to stock the beverages of your choice, to enjoy as you like for a moderate charge.

On the downside, again there are no commercial amenities on the island outside of the Inn itself. To shop, sightsee outside of Solarte, or dine outside of the Inn itself, you need to get a water taxi to one of the more developed islands nearby. Again, it’s pretty quick and cheap to do that, but it’s not as simple as hailing a water taxi outside the lodge. Leroy is still around, and can run to Solarte from Bocas town for pickups with only a little notice. If your Spanish is ok you can also arrange for someone on the island to run you around, just look for someone with a boat and ask; most of the residents are happy to be able to earn a few extra bucks. And you may also be able to flag down a passing water taxi from the small pier, a short walk from the Inn. The later it gets in Bocas Town, the trickier it gets to get a water taxi back to Solarte, but we were able to stay in town a couple nights until about 11pm and were able to make it back without much trouble.

If you’re high-maintenance this place may not be for you. And if you want to party all night, look for someplace else. But if you’re a backpacker at heart but are done with hostels and crowds or want beauty and solitude, away from throngs of tourists, and don’t mind having to do a little work to get yourself around the other islands, I think you will find this a great place to stay.

  • Stayed March 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 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 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Weimar, CA
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 2, 2007

We loved this place! We arrived early evening, were greeted warmly by our host, Steve, at the dock. He led us up a winding path to the top of the hill where the inn is located just at dusk. We settled into our room, while Steve put the finishing touches on our specially prepared meal. The food was delicious, the atmosphere warm and welcoming! After dinner, we sat and chatted with our host on the deck, with a gentle breeze cooling us.

Coffee the next morning was ready when we awoke, an amazing breakfast ready as soon as we sat down to table. We spent a total of four days at the inn, exploring the island on foot, and taking excursions wherever we liked. There was never an issue with getting off island, either for excursions or just to go into Bocas town to wander about. We highly recommend The Solarte del Caribe Inn as an alternative to the noise and heat of Bocas town!

  • Stayed May 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 25, 2007

We just returned from a wonderful week snorkeling and enjoying the laid-back quality of Bocas. Six of us including two teenagers spent the week at the Solarte Inn and enjoyed the warm and friendly atmosphere there. It was like staying with family members in their country house. We had lunch in town or on other islands every day but ate at the inn every night. The food was good and much better than most places in town, plus we didn't have the hassle of taking a boat at night. We wanted to stay in a place not in Bocas town itself because of the noise factor and also because we wanted more natural surroundings. This was the best choice we could have made. The expensive places we found out had a 'chitras' or no-see-ums problem based on where they were located--near the beach or not on the windy side of the island. The Solarte Inn is on a small hill so it was breezier than most places. The rooms had two fans each so we weren't bitten at night. There were other more moderate places to stay in the area but after we spent time there we realized that some were located in more chitra-infested areas or the food was bad or the place wasn't clean. Our rooms at the Solarte were very clean as was the whole place. The staff was very accomodating. We could have lunch or dinner whenever we wanted. They would call for a boat to pick us up to take us wherever. We would definitely go back there again.

Stayed February 2007
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington, DC
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed November 2, 2006

The Inn is the only commercial enterprise on the island, the remainder is being turned into a housing development albeit at a snails pace. The island is definitely beautiful but not any more so than the other convenient islands nearby. Any transportation away from the island needs to be arranged by the woman who dominates the place. One night we were told that no one was available to take us to Bastimientos unless we paid extra and then the individual needed to leave at a certain time so we had to accomodate his schedule. There is not much privacy once you step outside your room so you need to be up for social interactions with staff, other guests, and the devlopment hawker from tropical properties who also brings potential buyers to the common area. They are building a golf cart path through the entire island, squashing tree frogs as they go. Look at the tropical properties website to see pics of the construction. I recommend a stay in Bocas; if you take the snorkel trip you will end up right of the shore of Solarte and can take a peek.

  • Stayed December 2004, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 22, 2006

We had pretty high expectations for Solarte Inn from their website. We also found their emails leading up to our visit really helpful. However, after spending five nights there (pre-booked), we felt like we would have been better staying elsewhere. The location on Isla Solarte is quiet and natural, and Solarte Inn itself is a pleasant wooden guest house. However, the woman who organises Solarte Inn turns up after breakfast each day along with her minions who take over the guest common areas so that there is nowhere to sit and enjoy the surrounds. She shouts at the other staff and treated the guests like cattle. We were discouraged from going to Bocas town to eat(a short boat ride away for which we were charged on each occasion) but the only other option was to eat the meals they prepared. The prices of the meals at Solarte changed on a daily basis and weren't advertised. We ended up being charged more than other guests for eating the same meal. The whole atmosphere during daytime was one of hostility and the only way to escape was to take day trips away from the island. They have a local boat driver they use (Leeroy) who is fabulous and who we had a great time with. The other thing to mention is that Isla Solarte is being redeveloped for housing, so it isn't as undisturbed as their website suggests. All in all, its probably good for a day or two, but then look elsewhere for a place to stay.

Was this review helpful? Yes 19
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Solarte Inn

Address: Isla Solarte, Panama
Location: Panama > Bocas del Toro Province > Isla Solarte
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 2 Hotels in Isla Solarte
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 20
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
7 guest room B&B located on a quiet tropical island minutes from Bocas Town. Great for birding. Private bath and hot water. Rates include tax, breakfast and boat transfer upon arrival and back at end of stay. Evening meals available. We can arrange private tours to other islands and beaches. 2 large common areas good for meetings. Perfect for family. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Solarte Inn Panama/Isla Solarte

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