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“A Delightful Stay at Careening Cay”
Review of Cosmic Crab Resort

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Cosmic Crab Resort
Ithaca, NY
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“A Delightful Stay at Careening Cay”
Reviewed April 29, 2006

Our visit to Bocas Del Toro and our stay at Careening Cay Resort was a delight and one of our best family vacations!!!! In spite of the rain (it rained more on than off for 4 of our 7 days), we made the most of our much needed respite and precious vacation time with our kids. Joan and Steve's wonderful, warm hospitality, good nature and good humor, (he is a funny guy!), helped shift the rain clouds to laughing rounds, spontaneous fun and true R&R. We borrowed movies, played board games in the restaurant (under an amazing handwoven thatched roof, a must see work of art!), listened to great music, moved the tables and danced in the restaurant, then literally danced in the rain out on the dock. Edwin, the bartender, brought us frozen drinks (sans booze for the kids) while we lazed in hammocks on the "rancho" over the water. The frozen Bocas Blue Breeze and appropo, Tropical Storm are delicious. We dove in and swam off the rancho. Steve gave us fishing poles and bait and we caught yellow snapper. Mostly we laughed...............ALOT!!!!!!!!!!

The food in the Sunset Grill is superb. Banana leaf wrapped fish...divine. The Tequila Lime Chicken Fettuccine was a delicious family favorite. The mixed Seafood with Linguini, artichokes, sundried tomatoes, pine nuts (+) was one of the best meals I've ever had ANYWHERE!!!

Our 2 room cabin was clean, lovely, all wooden with kitchenette, TV/DVD. We spent much time simply enjoying the view from our front porch.

And then the sun came out.......Hallelujah!!!!
Day trips were about $15-20 per person. Go to Dolphin Bay. There were lots of dolphin who also seemed to delight in the return of the sun. Great lunch at Crawl Cay and don't miss Red Frog Beach, it IS gorgeous!!! Joan gave us snorkles and masks and the coral reefs are beautiful.
We enjoyed walking around town, stocking up on treats at Super Gourmet and buying trinkets from street vendors. Everyone is friendly, though we're glad we chose not to stay in town, a little too crowded and noisy for us, and it's such a quick and easy boat ride by water taxi ($1) to Carenero. Take a walk around the island, an eye opener to a different lifestyle. The sandy beach and beautiful view on the other side of the island is worth the walk.

All in all, in spite of some rain, and maybe even because of it, we had a great time in Bocas. We will definitely be back, and Careening Cay is a fantastic place to stay with friends and family.

Sharon, Pat, Josh and Ian
Ithaca, New York

  • Stayed March 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank singtheblues
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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167 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (33)
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English first
USA
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed April 4, 2006

To amplify what has been said recently, the Careening Cay definitely has some problems. Besides the construction noise, lack of window coverings and maid service and difficulty getting transportation across to town, it's also situated in such a way that you get bombarded with loud rock music all night long from the clubs on Isla Colon. I mean, really, really loud.

The new owners mean well, but they have grossly overpriced the place for what you get. And worse, they are so new to the area that there is no information available on tours or activities in the area.

I would recommend staying elsewhere in Bocas del Toro.


  • Stayed April 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank cyberk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
St. Petersburg, FL
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed April 2, 2006

Ditto, what the two prior guests had to say. The sparse cabins with no shades are located in a construction zone with a garbage pit out the back door. Complete with a dozen out dated DVD's, a roaring air conditioner in the kitchen, 8:00 am construction next door, crying children, no breakfast, no lunch, no maid service, no clock, no boat service (find your own and you are not getting anything unless you leave the Island) and essentially no beach or no anything at all that would lead one to believe this is in any way a "resort". The owner is much more concerned with flogging over priced real estate than in the comfort of his guests. I have travelled all over and made a lot of ad-hoc reservations sight unseen and rarely has a website so blatently miss-represented a property. Bocas is a beautiful place- spend a third as much money and get a clean and hospitable place to stay in Bocas town.

  • Stayed March 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank cdilley_10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed March 28, 2006

Our visit to the Careening Cay was extremely disappointing. This "resort" is not worth its price. There is no beachfront for swimming, no pool, no breakfast, and no way to do anything unless you leave the island. In order to get to a nice beach to swim or snorkel, you will need to take a $20 pp/rt boat ride. This seems a little ridiculous, considering it is located on an island in the Caribbean. Currently the hotel is undergoing construction, and the owner will excitedly talk about the bar situated over the water that will be ready next year... but that's not a consolation when you're a guest there THIS year. The construction was a noisy backdrop, beginning early each day. It was not relaxing and not what one might expect on a vacation to a pricey bungalow.

The grounds are attractive in some parts- tropical in feel, and it's clear the owner is trying to work on the greenery. However, right now most areas are muddy and the hotel itself is steps from a poverty-stricken area where some of the island locals live. The difference is stark and not pretty. Panama is obviously a third world country, but to have such an expensively priced property next to such poverty seems a little off. I felt uncomfortable and conspicuous, like I was intruding on someone's way of life. By the way, to get to the only swimming area accessible to hotel guests on this tiny island, you need to walk through the back "yards" of the locals living in shanties on stilts.

There are hostels and lower priced hotels on neighboring islands- probably more for your money.

  • Stayed March 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
9 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
new york, new york
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed March 27, 2006

We stayed at Careening Cay because we read how terrible the owner of Buccaneer was and wanted an enjoyable experience with helpful hosts. We did not receive that. In fact we enjoyed our brief visit to Buccaneer much more than our time at Careening Cay and the owner was helpful and friendly!

In terms of privacy - Our cabana was not private as there are no shades on the window and people can see right in. Outside of our window was not a beautiful ocean view, but rather a view of children running around, clothes lines and burning garbage. You are paying a lot of money for a very underdeveloped part of the island. You are right on top of other people's homes. At night you do not feel safe just walking around.

Many promised services were not received. The hotel promised us that they had boat service to bocas town, but we were on our own in getting that. When we asked for help the owners were sarcastic and very unhelpful. At one point the owner went to bed after he told us we would have a hard time getting a ride to the airport. (He owned a boat but was admittingly to lazy to get up early to take us). The garbage was overflowing in our room and no one came to make up our room, change our towels, or empty the garbage. We were terribly bitten one night by bugs and NEVER had hot water.

It was not a peaceful stay as the owners are building a new home for themselves and the banging, drilling began at 8:00am. I also wonder what kind of view those that stay there will have after their home is built!

Buccaneer is on a prettier part of the island and has sand where you can lay out on. There is nowhere to lay out near careening cay and the water by the resort is dirty and you can not go in it. It is on an isolated part of the island and was a diappointment from the beginning.

I agree that the owners are not hotel owners nor are they hospitable people. The food at the restaurant was the worst food that we ate while in Panama, including the airport food!!!

I loved panama, loved bocas del toro - hated this place!! Do not make the same mistake we did. I am not a complainer and have traveled all over the world and stayed at a variety of different places. This was not an enjoyable experience and to make things worse, for the money you are getting ripped off!!



  • Stayed March 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
12 Thank new_york1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ottawa ON
Level Contributor
49 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
Reviewed March 27, 2006

These cabanas are definately very nice, open, bright and clean. The grounds are beautiful and the owner, Stephen is doing a lot of work to make the place even better. However, there were a few details that seemed to be overlooked that would have made our stay much better. The rooms are bright with lots of space and windows that ensure a nice breeze and comfortable room temperature at night (there's air conditioning but we didn't need it). However, the cabana had no window coverings so anyone walking by can see in (including the men working on the house and the dock). This made us very uncomfortable and we always felt we had to be covered up while in our cabin.

The kitchen in the cabin is great and we really appreciated being able to make our own breakfast and lunch when we wanted to. But, there's no place to sit down and eat it. Although we could sit on the deck chairs and eat off our laps, a table with a couple of chairs would have made it a lot more enjoyable.

We stayed here a week and only had maid service once. I don't need maid service every day but for the price of this place, fresh towels once in awhile would have been nice and we would have appreciated someone emptying our garbage (especially since toilet paper goes in the garbage can, not the toilet).

There's no beach at this hotel but the dock is nice to relax on and will be great once it's finished. When you arrive, make sure to tell the water taxi guy that you're going to the Sunset Grill as they got very confused when we asked to be taken to Careening Cay resort.

Overall, we enjoyed our stay but were a little disappointed. From the reviews, and for the price of the place, we expected more.

Stayed March 2006
Helpful?
4 Thank Stang1sk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level Contributor
43 reviews
36 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
Reviewed March 19, 2006

We stayed here in February and it was very quiet which was nice. The bungalows are nice but they are quite expensive for the area.
The owner was very friendly and did his best but hasn't run a hotel before and he seemed more interested in selling property which is his day job. One evening there was a power cut for hours but there was no one around to help with torches or candles. I would have expected a bit more for the money but it was really nice being over the water from Bocas Town and the rooms were kept nice and clean.

  • Stayed February 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank bradburyburrows
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member 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): $
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Cosmic Crab Resort 2.5*
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 
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Also Known As:
Careening Cay Hotel Carenero Island
Cosmic Crab Resort Panama/Carenero Island, Bocas Del Toro

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