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Cayo Del Sol Lodge
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Reviewed May 11, 2011

We headed out to Cayo del Sol for just a night and, when we arrived, I immediately regretted we didn't book for longer. This secluded retreat was the kind of place that stress and worry just fell away … I mean, what is there to worry about when you are an hour away by boat from the closest town?

Set amidst mangroves on an island somewhere in the northwest of Panama, this was the ideal escape. Because there are only two rooms, guests receive personalized hospitality of Marlin and his dog Gypsy. Marlin will cook for you, take you on tours and give you an insider’s perspective on life in Bocas.

Each night stay includes a tour to some part of Bocas, whether its bat caves or starfish beaches, but we decided to enjoy the seclusion of island living for the night we were there. We also opted away from the norm (which is a cook-for-yourself experience) and enjoyed Marlin’s famous cheese-chili dogs.

I was a little skeptical about what life on an island would be like for a couple, Marlin and his dog, but Marlin was the perfect host, providing space to us as vacationers when needed, but there for a good conversation too!

  • Stayed: May 2011, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank Christina M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 8, 2011

I spent four days at Cayo Del Sol, a small island not far from Bocas Town. I have been to Bocas many times before but this was the first time that I had stayed at Cayo Del Sol. Marlin picked me up in Bocas Town even though my plane was late arriving. It was a 15 minute boat ride to the island through some of the clearest water you can imagine, which accounts for the many dive shops and snorkeling facilities in town. The island was well landscaped, and the buildings are well constructed unlike some of the other lodgings in the area. The power system, with it’s solar panels and battery bank, was quite impressive. The water was provided by a filtered rainwater cistern system and was safe to drink. There were two guest rooms on the island, but I was the only guest there at the time. My room was clean and large with its own bathroom and shower. All clean towels and linens were provided. My room was furnished with a king size bed and night stands, and constructed in-place features for accommodating clothing and luggage. The room was air conditioned, but you didn’t need it since there is a ceiling fan with large screened windows for ventilation. The facility has a full kitchen where Marlin prepared some very good meals. We took the boat out for a fishing trip where we caught mackerel off of the Zapatillas Islands. We also went to town several times where we ate at various restaurants and did a little bar hopping. Marlin knew which restaurants had the better food and which ones to avoid. As I indicated I have stayed in Bocas Town several times before and found that it can be loud and, since they paved the streets, it can also be very hot during the day. I have also stayed on Carenero Island, across from Bocas Town, but it is also very loud. I was more comfortable on Cayo Del Sol where it was quite and there was always a cooling breeze. I also spent a couple of days in Bocas Town on this trip but if I had it to do over again I would have spent them on Cayo Del Sol. It was a great place to stay and is close, but not too close, to town and the surrounding areas of interest.

  • Stayed: April 2011, traveled solo
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8  Thank ATRAVELER04
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 7, 2011

We originally tried to stay in another hotel in Bocas Town, but were unable to reserve a room in town that we wanted as it was a long term rental. We spoke with Renay Hallman, the manager of Casa Del Sapo, and she suggested her Dad's place, Cayo del Sol. I'm so glad we did!
We made reservations over the phone a couple months prior, and although there was a communication mix-up about our original reservation they were able to accommodate us. They gave us directions to our pick up point, the Rip Tide Bar and Restaurant, in which we decompressed from the "chicken bus" ride we had just completed from David. We were picked up by Chino, a native from the area that works with the lodge who took us on the 15 minute boat ride to Cayo del Sol.
What a beautiful place! We were overjoyed when Chino pulled up to the dock at the lodge. This place is a gem....it's only been open a short time and the owner, Marlin Hallman built this place with his own hands. There are two guest rooms, ours had a king size bed and a private bathroom. There is air conditioning, a ceiling fan and a private terrace. It was far enough away from the open air kitchen and dining area to be private but close enough to be convenient. It was very quiet and peaceful. The entire lodge is powered by generator and solar, and unlike some of the other resorts that we researched the power is kept on 24-7.
Renay and Marlin provide breakfast each morning, then one round trip boat ride to wherever we wanted each day. We chose Starfish Beach, Red Frog Beach and Coral Key for our three trips. We also spent some time in Bocas Town walking around the town and visiting the Rip Tide at the end of the day where we were picked up to return to the lodge. We split the cost of dinner, in which we planned each day over breakfast. We usually hit a beach side bar and restaurant for our lunch.
Remember to bring cash with you to pay for the room as Marlin and Renay didn't have the ability to take credit cards. This may have changed by the time this posts. Renay gave us an itemized bill and it was a very affordable stay. We had a great time and hope to someday return.

  • Stayed: December 2010, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank Dr_Bea
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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