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“Fantastic base for Bocas del Toro fun!” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Cosmic Crab Resort

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Cosmic Crab Resort
Certificate of Excellence
Boston, Massachusetts
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Fantastic base for Bocas del Toro fun!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 12, 2014

Just got back from a 5 night stay at Careening Cay with my husband and our two kids (ages 2 and 5). It was a wonderful trip, in large part because of our experience at Careening Cay. We stayed in the Hummingbird cabin and it was a good set up for a family. It'd also be good for a group of friends traveling together. We had two rooms, one set up with a queen bed and the other with three twins (a bunk and a single). The cabin was basic but very comfortable. The whole setting of Careening Cay is fantastic - my kids enjoyed playing at the small and charming playground they have and my husband and I enjoyed being able to watch them from the comfort of our front porch. The restaurant/bar is outdoors, beautiful and very good. The staff is friendly and welcoming. The best part of Careening Cay is the owners and staff - Joan and Victoria were amazingly helpful with telling us where to go, suggesting things to do, and engaging with our kids. And they did it all with a warmth that made them feel more like old friends that hosts. We will definitely be back!

Room Tip: We stayed in Hummingbird and our friends stayed in Tucan. Both were great!
See more room tips
  • Stayed March 2014, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank 397rockpile
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JoanCrabtree, Owner at Cosmic Crab Resort, responded to this review, April 22, 2014
We enjoyed having you and your friends here with us!
We love seeing the excitement and joy especially when families with young children
embrace the experience and natural beauty that is Bocas.
Your little guy, Arlo, is (as you know!!!) a very special, bright, thoughtful, funny and oh so entertaining person! We enjoyed his company and creative narratives.
You're always welcome back "home" at Careening Cay!
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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160 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (32)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Bettendorf, Iowa
1 review
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 8, 2014

Thank you, Victoria, Joan and Stephen! We especially enjoyed peaceful seaside mornings in the Cosmic Crab Café, catching up with wireless while we waited for the yummy breakfast to be served, a wonderful start to the day. The fiddler crabs are a great source of entertainment. Add the soothing call of the Oropendula bird and the stunning flora; beautiful grounds!

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Wendy S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Playa Avellanas, Costa Rica
Level Contributor
53 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 13, 2014

THIS IS A TERRIBLE HOTEL . We made a reservation for the ¨THREE BEDROOM bungalow¨ as it shows in their website, and to start with it had ONLY ONE ROOM. The bungalow was dark and extremely dirty: the bathroom had hairs from previous visitors and the shower was discounting. In the website it said that it has a kitchenette but it ONLY has a tiny and dirty refrigerator, so we could not cook the things that we bought for dinner. The sink is also in horrible state.
I would maybe expect this from a $5 hostel... but we were paying $169 for this!!!!. They should be ashamed.

Oh, breakfast is supposed to be from 8 30 to 9 30 but you have to wait because is not ready at 8 30... or even 9 15! And is a crappy one.

We decided that we wanted to leave as soon as we saw the room, but we got a hotel for the next day. The manager was sleeping during breakfast and she/he never showed up to charge us for the room when we called him trough the cook. We waited for 10 minutes and we had to leave the money with the cook because thanks to that we were late for our tour.

Also: The day we were supposed to arrive they called us to let us know that they have a construction going on in case we want to avoid it going to another hotel.... which is a nice gesture if you have time to change your option... but on the very same day and in high season it´s really hard to come up with another hotel fast.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with friends
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Violetagrancelli
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JoanCrabtree, Owner at Cosmic Crab Resort, responded to this review, April 22, 2014
Trip Advisor claims to take MALICIOUS REVIEWS BY COMPETITORS seriously. The writer of this review is ALSO from the very small tourist town of Bocas Del Toro. Hmmmm……..
Trip Advisor was consulted regarding this highly suspicious, distorted and damaging review. yet declined to remove it. I am obliged to respond to clarify accurate info and omitted details.

We take reviews seriously and listen to our guests constructive recommendations
Most of our guests enjoy their experience at Careening Cay. We are committed to contribute to the overall positive experience for all Bocas visitors. We take time and care to assist with advise to guests in the resort and the Cosmic Crab for snorkeling day trips, beach destinations, transportation and dining around Bocas.

Everyone who knows us locally, and guests who have stayed here for several days and/or have RETURNED FOR MULTIPLE STAYS, KNOW our commitment and the incredible improvements and upgrades we have made on the resort over the years.

Because we were still in the process of construction, including renovating THE 3 R00M CABIN you reserved, (a private bedroom + a huge living room with 4 sofa beds & pool table,
+ kitchenette with bar and fridge + a semi private alcove with another single bed + a spacious bathroom, WE CONTACTED YOU IN ADVANCE OF YOUR ARRIVAL to inform you that unfortunately the repairs to the bathroom and kitchenette were not completed on schedule. We offered to release you from the obligation of your reservation and help place you in another hotel that had a beautiful room available IF YOU CHOSE.
THAT WAS AN OPTION OFFERED TO YOU
After seeing the cabin ……AS IS........YOU CHOSE TO STAY.

Usually we collect payment from guests at check in. I do not recall why that did not happen then. Visitors are often eager to head out for day tours or the beach.
I am usually in the restaurant by 9 am to assist with check ins/outs, guest needs, requests and recommendations for outings. As I work 12-15 hours a day during season, and especially busy Holiday weeks such as Carnival, I had not yet arrived in the restaurant as early the next morning. I am sorry you were offended I was not there for your departure, or to process your payment myself. A resort employee was available and was able to accept your payment.

Our housekeeping staff usually does an excellent job cleaning and maintaining the cabins.
The Crab cabin is a favorite for families and groups of friends because of the LARGE PRIVATE BEDROOM AND HUGE LIVINGROOM. You were informed of AND saw the incomplete renovations prior to check in and agreed to stay. I do apologize if the bathroom was not pristine as I agree it should be, and the faucet had not yet been changed prior to your arrival, it should have been. I address cleaning and maintenance issues with staff immediately when it is brought to my attention.
Had you done that, WHILE YOU WERE HERE, It would have been corrected immediately

Our housekeepers retrieve the keys to open the restaurant FROM ME every morning promptly at 7:30 to prepare breakfast. Our breakfasts are served buffet style from 8:30-9:30 and includes daily: Fresh Fruit, Hard Boiled Eggs AND Scrambled OR Fried Eggs, Pancakes OR French Toast, a variety of breads (with a toaster on the buffet), Butter, Peanut Butter, assorted Jellys and Jams, Juice, coffee and a selection of teas.
The resort was FULL. We had 45 other very satisfied guests, most of whom I did have the opportunity to speak with during their stay. Everyone I spoke with was very pleased with their accommodations, food, and service.
Not one other guest mentioned inadequate or a delayed breakfast service during Carnival.

Because you identify yourself from Bocas Del Toro, I question the integrity of your venomous title and vindictive comments and whether you are, or are an associate of, a competitive local business owner???
I choose to work in cooperation with local colleagues, many of whom I am proud to call friends.

As Trip advisor has declined to remove your suspicious review, I hope this response CLARIFIES YOUR MISREPRESENTED DISPARAGING COMMENTS.

Joan Crabtree
Careening Cay Resort
Cosmic Crab Cafe
Owner
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 2, 2014

First thing that gets you about this place is the location and views.. It is breathtakingly beautiful!.. I met my friends and family from the UK here and everyone couldn't stop taking photos (which don't do it justice) of the amazing views and landscape. It's a perfect part of the world and a real piece of paradise!! The resort is on the island of Carinero which is a 1min boat ride away from the hustle and bustle of the noise and craziness of Main Street Colon. It's the perfect location, trust me!!
We were met with the owner Joan who was an absolute delight and couldn't help us enough.. We where led to our cosy little wooden cabin, with little rocking chairs out front, wild exotic birds flying about, sea crabs under out feet and she even had little puppies that she owns running about and making the resort even cuter (if that's possible). Anyway, we were there for Xmas and the Xmas lunch was STUNNING!! Joan seems to be a maverick in the kitchen and not only do they cook meat to perfection, they have a smokehouse, so we dined on the most succulent turkey I've ever tasted..
There is another BIG plus! The cocktail menu.. They must have at least 100 listed and although I probably only tried about 8 everyone one was amazing and actually very inventive (passion fruit and chilli was to die for)...
The rooms are lovely and to be honest, very good value for money in comparison to the other places we stayed.
I read other reviews here and people that complain about bugs should really blame the resort as it's unfair and buying their control!!! This is as good as the outskirts of a jungle and Bocas does get it's share of bugs. We moved onto Bastimentos and the bugs there were no different?? Let's be real in expectations. This is a tropical island!
All in all I was desperately sad when I left this place.. I left a bit of my heart in Carinero and envy the next person who goes there. Can't recommend enough.. Enjoy guys x

Room Tip: Get the room with the pool table.. Too much fun!!
See more room tips
  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Lorraine F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 13, 2014 via mobile

Had a great experience! First week in the water cabins and second on land. The bar and restaurant staff were the best! Edwin makes a killer margarita! Joan and Steve are great host's and very friendly. The lion fish was so very delicious! Visit!

Stayed September 2013, traveled solo
Helpful?
Thank Dayvid C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 8, 2014 via mobile

The room had plastic floor and a very discusting shower! Alot of bugs inside of the room, and everything was realy old and need a reform now! Every morning we heard our nighbour next door when his alarm rang and when he was Tallinn on the phone you could hear every word. We payed way too much then it was worh!

  • Stayed November 2013
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank HenrikSandberg76
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JoanCrabtree, Owner at Cosmic Crab Resort, responded to this review, April 22, 2014
In November 2013, you stayed in the Gecko Cabin for $29/night. ($14.50 pp including a full breakfast of fresh fruit, eggs, toast, pancakes or French toast, juice and coffee/tea)

As advertized on our website and supported with pictures, you chose to reserve a small very basic economy cabin which also has a front porch and rockers situated in a lush tropical garden. The “plastic” flooring was a thin faux wood linoleum.

The rainforest is home to wildlife including insects who are attracted by lights at night and especially to food and snacks brought into the rooms. Geckos abound and manage to get everywhere and in every home around the islands. They are a harmless fact of life in the tropics.

Customer satisfaction IS important to us.
We do address legitimate complaints and listen to guest recommendations when appropriate. After reading your review, I inspected the shower. The shower floor was painted cement and had a few chips. The front step was for some reason left unpainted. The grey cement showed. Unattractive, but not dirty. When brought to my attention it was repaired and repainted.

We have recently been able to proceed with a total renovation to that cabin. Insulation and cement board was applied to the shared wall which has successfully stifled the acoustics between the 2 cabins. The entire cabin floor and bathroom was tiled. The ceiling and walls got fresh coats of paint in our tropical color scheme and we bought new furniture, bedspread and decorative accessories.
The cabin is absolutely adorable!!! If you are ever back in Bocas, please consider giving us another chance.

Joan Crabtree
Careening Cay Resort
Cosmic Crab Cafe
Owner
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, CA
Level Contributor
96 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 69 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 9, 2013

My husband and I stayed here for several nights. Unfortunately, the water was turned off during our time here. Our original reservation was for the largest room but after we complained about the smell and cleanliness, we were moved to another cheaper one. This place may be okay if you get one of the small reasonable priced rooms and you are not expecting much. But, I would suggest that you review all the low reviews here before making up your mind. Perhaps just book one night and see how you like it.

Room Tip: Try to get the small rooms on the water that are inexpensive. Do not book the largest room.
See more room tips
  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank LorAlves
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CosmicCrab, Owner at Cosmic Crab Resort, responded to this review, December 21, 2013
We have endeavored to create a natural, comfortable, clean, beautifully landscaped and fairly priced haven for travelers.
AND.............WE HAVE A VERY LOVELY PLACE!!!!!!
As clearly illustrated in the many pictures available on our website and Picasa gallery, Careening Cay Resort is perfectly situated waterfront on Isla Carenero, just a minute from town, but with true island feel. Our rustic tropical themed AC cabins are comfortable, attractive with colorful decoratives. Many of our guests comment on the beautiful Caribbean color scheme. The gardens are lush with unique tropical plants, flowers and orchids and the restaurant sets over the water with amazing views, especially at sunset.

In the dry season, even in the rainforest, water is precious,
and we ask our guests to adapt to island living, be aware and conserve.
There have been occassions when ALL of Bocas is out of water
We are on rainwater catchment.
We have 7, 1,200 gallon water tanks. We dug a well to access a natual aquifier,
and we invested in an expensive Reverse Osmosis water maker.
If WE dont have water at CCR, no one on the island does!!!
We do not turn the water off to guest inhabited cabins. We do however turn off the main water valve to each cabin to avoid leaks of precious water when cabins are uninhabited.
If we mistakenly forgot to turn on the water to your cabin when you checked in,
YOU SIMPLY HAD TO ASK US TO DO SO.
For goodness sakes, Did you approach us or discuss with us at any time why you may not have had water as you claim?
Dont you think adult seasoned travelers should have the sense to ASK WHILE HERE,
rather than complain 10 months later???????

We cannot keep our air conditioners working while the rooms are not inhabited.
As a result, we sometimes risk some naturally occurring rainforest odors due to the humidity.
Our housekeeping staff usually does an excellent job of maintaining clean rooms, and keep our linen, bedspreads and towels well laundered.
I make natural air fresheners for the rooms and AC filters that contain essential oils of Lavender, Peppermint, Tea Tree and Eucalyptus, (all of which are anti fungal, and natural antiseptics,) smell....wonderful! and are safe to spray in our rooms !

Our largest cabin, the Crab Cabin, has been recently renovated and has a private bedroom, huge livingroom with 4 orthopedic mattresses on sofa beds, a pool table, Kitchenette with minibar, alcove with an additional bed and of course a private bathroom/shower.
The price for this cabin, high season, was $129/night ($99 in summer)
Our additional cabins which vary in size are priced between $39- $89 HIGH SEASON,$29-$69 in summer)
These prices are based on double occupancy AND INCLUDE A HOT BREAKFAST.
We believe our cabins are VERY FAIRLY & COMPETITIVELY PRICED.
Our website has accurate descriptive pictures of all the cabins.
WE DO CARE about our property, and our guests' experience here.
This is our business and our HOME and we have invested much time, money and energy
to develop our little piece of paradise.
We live on site, are service oriented and address any problems that are brought to our attention as expediently as possible.

WE ACCOMMODATED YOUR REQUEST FOR A SMALLER, LESS EXPENSIVE CABIN,
WHICH YOU WERE SATISFIED WITH.

I find it rather.....curious.... that you visited Bocas in January 2013
and then wrote negative reviews.......nearly A YEAR LATER??!!?!?!!?!!!
I felt compelled to fill in the facts of your misleading reviews and title
I suggest potential visitors read ALL the reviews and responses.
MOST OF OUR REVIEWS FOR CAREENING CAY RESORT & THE COSMIC CRAB CAFE
ARE EXCELLENT!!!!

Joan Crabtree
Owner
Careening Cay Resort
Cosmic Crab Cafe
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Cosmic Crab Resort

Property: Cosmic Crab Resort
Address: Carenero Island, Panama (Formerly Careening Cay Resort)
Location: Panama > Bocas del Toro Province > Carenero Island
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 4 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 
Also Known As:
Careening Cay Hotel Carenero Island
Cosmic Crab Resort Panama/Carenero Island, Bocas Del Toro

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