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B&B Hotel Cerrito Tropical Lodge
Ranked #1 of 4 Isla Taboga B&B and Inns
Reviewed January 8, 2011

We stayed for one night with my bf in Cerrito Tropical. The owner, Cynthia was very kind to us and the service was good. Room was also clean and spacious enough for two. The only minuses were that Cerrito was a 10 minute walk away from the beach on a very high hill. The other staff apart Cynthia did not speak English at all, which was a bit difficult. The breakfast was OK, nothing very special.

  • Stayed: December 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank AV2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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48 - 54 of 109 reviews

Reviewed October 6, 2010

Why would anyone travel to Central America, have one of the best B & B experiences of their life, make wonderful friends with both staff and guests, and not do it again?
I cannot rave enough about this place or these people. I did not have one disappointment or bad experience the entire four days I was their guest. Wonderful, delicious meals made to order, atmosphere and view out of this world, attentive and concerned staff, what more could one ask for? I traveled to the island to get away for few days to work on a book I'm writing. Not only did I get an enormous amount of work done, but I had fun doing it. I love the inn, the island, and who wouldn't be wild about the view. Special thanks to Lynn for all of her hard work.
And ... yes! I'll do it again!! Wayne.... hudland@cableone.net

  • Stayed: October 2010, traveled on business
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Thank Cruzman_10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 15, 2010

My friend and I stayed on the island for two days. The hotel staff was great. No one we ran into spoke any English, but we were able to communicate alright in Spanish. Armedes is an excellent chef. All the food we had was freshly prepared and very tasty! That was my favorite part of the stay. It rained the second day that we had planned a snorkeling trip, so we decided not to go and instead we sat at the hotel and relaxed. There are lots of black and green dart frogs hopping around. There is a nice view of the sea from the deck/restaurant area. The staff was friendly and helpful. I recommend this hotel, especially for relaxation.

  • Stayed: July 2010, traveled with friends
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Thank planeaaron
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 10, 2010

I'm sorry to hear my brother and sister-in-law had a terrible time at my wedding, I wish they had told me during their stay so something could've been done. I had a wonderful time at Cerrito Tropical and found the lodgings to be comfortable and Cynthia, her staff and her extended group of friends on the island to be most friendly and welcoming. Taboga was a truly an amazing tropical setting for my wedding and I will always have fond memories of my time there -- I truly believe most of my family and friends would say the same thing. I look forward with great anticipation to the next time I can visit Taboga and Cerrito Tropical!

Stayed: June 2010, traveled with family
Thank jwr_nyc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 8, 2010

Miss Cynthia is not only a very good B/B hostess, but also an excellent wedding planner. Our daughter was married in this tropical paradise recently and Miss Cynthia and her staff from the first contact to the very last day was exceptional in her eye for detail. Our wedding had 35 guests and all marveled at the beauty of the island, the fantastic food/drinks, the views, but more importantly the caring service that was in display each morning through the evening. Every request was attended to with prompt professionalism.
The cook did magic with all of the meals and the service was attentive, courteous, and humorous.
This wedding was a huge success and our daughter was the envy of all her friends. All now have a lifetime of memories of this beautiful little island. Success starts at the top and our hostess deserves a great deal of praise for all of her organizational skills and flexibility that a wedding deserves. Thank you Miss Cynthia for a memorable four days.

  • Stayed: July 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Futbolvisit
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 8, 2010

At the end of June, my husband and I went to Panama for the wedding of his brother and his brother's lovely fiance. We bookended our trip with a few days in Panama City, but the wedding itself was to be held on Taboga Island, an hour-long ferry ride into the Pacific, and we booked three nights at the Cerrito Tropical, where my in-laws, the bride and groom, several friends of the bride, and the bride-to-be's parents were staying, and which was coordinating the wedding.

It's difficult to know where to start. Our room, Number 5, was dirty. The drop ceiling was dilapidated and stained. There was ... stuff stuck to the wall behind the bed. It looked at first inspection like boogers, but the uniformity of the globules later convinced me that the stuff was deceased bug chrysalises. The room stank - *stank* - of mold and mildew. For furniture, we had: a bed, the "mattress" of which could only charitably be called a mattress; one "bedside table" that was in fact a set of plastic Rubbermaid drawers of the sort used to store things in one's garage; a fake plant; a small lamp; a bedraggled chair that, when sat in, sank practically to the floor; a minifridge; and on either side of the bed two stained bathmats, so disgusting that my husband and I each independently and immediately picked them up cautiously between two fingers and tossed them into the corner, lest we accidentally step on them barefoot. There were no windows in the room, except in the bathroom, where they cast no light into the bedroom (and were to small to do much to air out the mildew stink). In the bathroom there was a sink, another small set of plastic drawers, a toilet, and a shower, whose head was so rusted that, combined with the poor water pressure, showering was made into an overlong farce -- a misfortune, since there was no control over the water temperature, and the one water temperature available was best described as "chilly." As a charming feature of the shower, a crude hole had been drilled in the wall, so that water from the air conditioning unit in the other room could drip through a tube into the shower.

Speaking of that air conditioner, we were met with a sign that asked us to turn it off when we were not in the room -- fair enough. The same sign also informed us if we wanted to run the A/C during the day WHILE WE WERE IN THE ROOM, we were expected to pay $10 extra a day. What? It was 90+ degrees on Taboga Island, and, as we were soon to discover, there was very little to do there besides sit in your room and read a book. I was aghast, considering how overpriced our filthy room was to start with. (Our in-laws got stuck with the bill for all of this, though my mother-in-law told me she was spending $75 a night for Room Number 5.)

Speaking of aghast, the Cerrito Tropical bills itself as a "Bed & Breakfast." There ought to be an asterisk after "Breakfast" that leads down to "*Does not actually provide breakfast." In the mornings, we were greeted with a table, set up outside and swarming with flies, that featured: bread to toast, small corn muffins, slices of watermelon, slices of un-cored pineapple, coffee, and butter and milk that were left to sit unchilled in the heat. Upon request, you could get a plate of scrambled eggs. My husband and I made that request on the first morning, but never again, because the eggs tasted as though whatever they had been fried in had gone rancid. If you wanted anything else for breakfast, you had to pay extra. You cold also pay for lunch and dinner.

Speaking of the food, our in-laws had arranged for dinners for all of the guests there for the wedding for the three nights. I and the groom are piscaterians, which my mother-in-law had made clear to the owner during booking; other vegetarians were set to attend the rehearsal and wedding dinners. The "vegetarian option" turned out to canned black beans and whatever side dishes the main meal had. Not seasoned. Not drained and rinsed. Just, a can of black beans, dumped into a bowl. I guess I was supposed to be grateful they'd been warmed up? On the night of the wedding, they served fish, which the groom and I ate, but which amounted to a piece of corvina covered in what looked and tasted like jarred salsa, with rice and beans on the side. The actual vegetarians were provided with no alternative, and had to go back to the kitchen to ask for more rice and beans. At lunch, there were no vegetarian, or even piscaterian, options. One day I was presented with chicken soup. None of this was a translation problem: the owner of the place is Canadian. Even if you had no dietary restrictions, like my husband, the situation didn't much improve: he said everything tasted just as horrible as the canned beans.

But bad food is one thing -- bad water is another. Be forewarned, you can't drink the water on Taboga Island (though the water in Panama City is fine). The Cerrito Tropical offered bottled water at a dollar a piece, which we had no choice but to avail ourselves of liberally. The B&B* also claimed that the "filtered" water in the kitchen was safe to drink. This sounded ridiculous to me: I've got a Brita at home - it takes out chlorine, not dysentery. Suspicious, my husband and I didn't drink any of the "filtered" tap water, nor did we drink anything with ice in it, and we brushed our teeth with bottled water. On Wednesday, upon our return to the mainland, we were, according to my in-laws' report, the only people who had stayed at the Cerrito Tropical who weren't violently ill for several days afterward.

There was more: the place itself is located at the top of a tremendously steep hill, which my father-in-law, who has a heart condition, could not climb. He was effectively trapped in this dreadful place unless a "taxi" (a guy with a truck) could be procured to take him down the hill, and then found again to take him back up later. If you have a heart condition or a physical disability, you probably cannot stay at the Cerrito Tropical, even though you wouldn't want to anyway. They ought to specify this on their website, but as far as I can tell, they do not.

Another point was the fact that for the rehearsal and wedding dinners, the owner enlisted a local expat American to be the "bartender" for the events. He was an older man who on both nights got very, very drunk and became inappropriately belligerent or touchy with the guests; I was personally subjected to two boozy hugs and forehead kisses from this off-putting man. Hardly the kind of "help" I would want at an establishment I owned.

There are more tidbits, but I'll stop.

A word on the island itself: it is not worth more than a day trip, as there is not much to do there. There is a beach, but it was covered in trash, and when we went into the water, we discovered that the water itself was dirty, with trash floating in it and a kind of oily film in places. You could arrange to go fishing or snorkeling; I have no interest in fishing, and after seeing the water at the beach, felt no desire to put my face in it to go snorkeling. You could "hike," as most of the island was covered in forest, but there were no trails -- several girls in our party set out on such a hike, discovered the island's garbage dump, and came home somewhat dejected. The local population was not terribly welcoming. There were no decent restaurants (believe me, after how bad the food was at Cerrito Tropical, we looked) and no real bars. There were dogs running in the streets, some owned, some not. We happened to visit on the feast day of San Pedro, so we went to the island's small church for mass. The church was lovely, as was the service, and the choir was superb, especially the guitarist, so I would recommend a trip to the church if you go to Taboga. Otherwise I would recommend nothing.

Looking for something positive to say, the two Panamanian women who worked at Cerrito Tropical were polite and professional. The decorations for the rehearsal dinner, the wedding dinner, and the wedding itself were lovely and well-done, especially the flowers. But that is all.

In summary, if you decide to take the ferry to Taboga, plan to take the morning ferry there and the afternoon ferry back -- that's all the time there you need. Bring plenty of bottled water. If for some reason you must stay overnight, absolutely DO NOT stay at the Cerrito Tropical. I still can't believe what an awful rip-off it was.

  • Stayed: June 2010, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Lekkers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RanchitoCerrito, Owner at B&B Hotel Cerrito Tropical Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded July 9, 2010

We appreciate every review positive and negative. We have had many guests actually come and stay with us specifically because we go out of our way to improve when we hear of a guest experience which was not up to par, and they also read on Trip Advisor that many guests enjoy an exceptional experience. We try to put on our website information which is clear for our future guests´ expectations - information explaining that: Taboga Island is a simple, non-touristic tropical island - with simple infrastructure and shy kind people. In this case this is why the bride and groom chose it for their wedding. We love Taboga Island, as do many of our guests who choose it for what it is, simple, quaint, safe with nice people. It is a fishing village, on a Pacific mountainous island, a Panama vacation spot for almost 500 years.

We do greatly appreciate whenever a guest is not content to hear about it while they are on our premises as soon as possible so we can attempt to improve on their Taboga experience. This guest did not express their concerns about anything to myself or staff and I was onsite 24 hours a day during their stay.

I will approach this response point by point.

Regarding Cleanliness: all of our rooms are well cleaned and aired out after every guest leaves. Had the guest been unhappy with the cleanliness we would have been more than happy to re-clean the room. Re the ceiling, we have replaced much of the ceiling just this year, were there tiles which was not up to standard we could have replaced within minutes since we have them onhand. We will certainly fix this right away. Had we been told that there was an issue of uncleanliness we would have been happy to replace whatever we could have in order to give these guests a better experience.

Regarding the furnishings: since we are located beside a rainforest jungle and on the sea, problems with humidity and rust are major. Therefore we choose to use quality plastic where suitable much as possible for cleanliness and to avoid mold or wood expansion - in this case a heavy duty molded set of drawers from Japan.

Regarding the Windows: We do have windows in all the rooms; the window in this room is in the sink area which readers can check out by viewing our photos online of all the rooms.

Regarding the Shower: the shower in room number 5 (and our first floor rooms) is fed by tanks which are at ambiant temperature from outside which is a constant 85 degrees or higher. We will check into the shower head issue, and again we would have been more than happy to have replaced it had we known. Regarding the water drainage from the ac, our ac technicians designed this as that is the most efficient method to take the humidity out of the room since the water must drain in a downward angle - therefore the ac will work more efficiently.

Regarding the AC room charge: no one was charged this and we rarely charge this - we use that rule for guests who leave the acs on all day and night - leaving them on when no one is in the room - risking that the ac could burn out (in Taboga, Panama, the electricity often has surges which burns out equipment), or use a lot of energy which we are trying to avoid being an environmentally friendly B&B.

Regarding things to do on Taboga: We offer boat trips when we have reservations - these are organized by the local fishermen, snorkeling, fishing or tours. Also there are 4 nice hikes on Taboga, as well as the beach. Our guests love the boat trips and the hikes.

Regarding Breakfast: Our breakfast is served from 7:30 am until 9 am. We extend those hours for many guests on request. The swarming with flies comment is simply not true as everything is on the buffet table completely covered. We serve fresh fruit every day as well as a various breads and fresh corn muffins. Had the guests desired something else they could have made the request for a fresh plate of food. We do offer eggs, but have no way of knowing if they are to the guests taste or not if we are not told about it. Our chef receives many rave reviews on Trip Advisor and elsewhere.

Regarding the Food: We do not have canned beans nor have we ever served canned beans. All beans are made fresh by the chef. We will check on his recipe as ask him to add more seasonings - but this is a very personal taste - some people like very little spice in their food. Also guests can request hot sauce or other seasonings if they like to spice things up. There was fish ordered for these guests and the first night there was quite a mix up as other guests took their fish and we cooked more fish, and took back the extra chicken. The comment re the salsa is incorrect. The salsa is the chef´s specialty and is a special recipe made from scratch . The salsa is well loved and there was actually a television program from Canada that came to film him making his specialy fresh corvina with creole sauce. The day of the Panamanian chicken sancocho soup was the wedding day; we were told to serve the soup and if anyone wished to have something else they would tell us. Many of the chef´s recipes are typical Panamanian which many people love. That this guest did not, everyone has their personal tastes, but again had we known we could have made something special for them and been very happy to do it.

Regarding the water on Taboga: We have a special Doulton ceramic filter from England on our water tap available to everyone staying with us which filters sediment and kills bacteria. We have been in touch with a medical specialist and it seems there was a stomach flu bout in the entire country of Panama including Taboga Island - it seems that some of our guests unfortunately encountered it either in the city, or on Taboga.

Regarding our hillside: On our website we do say we are "perched on a tranquil hillside", we also have photos showing the view and the hillside and recommend the taxi to come to Cerrito which we help organize for guests. We knew the guest´s father-in-law had a heart condition and because of that had a taxi standing by whenever he wanted to venture out. He was a nice gentleman who seemed quite content to spend time with us. The taxi was available whenever he requested it.

Regarding the Hikes: we do have a good map with all the hikes marked and offer directions. The girls that did venture out hiking did not first ask me for directions or I would have showed them the map and explained how to get to the hikes. If anyone is unsure we can also arrange a personal guide. After they returned I showed them the map and we recommended a route to a private beach which they were going to try out.

I have attempted to answer all the concerns of the guest. We apologize to this guest but we had no idea they had any problems until now. We would have greatly appreciated knowing at the time so as to be able to rectify their concerns. We will take their issues seriously and improve what we can. We value our guests´ input.

Thank you.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 5, 2010

We had the best two days of a great vacation at Cerrito Tropical. We were well fed and well taken care of in every way. This beautifully finished has great rooms, and well sized, very clean apartments. There is a great view of the beach and the bay. I'll be going back for sure.

  • Stayed: May 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank BlaineCalgaryAB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about B&B Hotel Cerrito Tropical Lodge

Address: Via Pizarro and Via Congresso, Isla Taboga 0832-2565, Panama
Location: Panama > Panama Province > Isla Taboga
Amenities:
Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 4 B&Bs / Inns in Isla Taboga
Price Range: $60 - $105 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 7
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Quiet Hillside B&B Hotel Lodge plus Apartments. Ocean view plus tropical garden at the edge of Taboga village, 3 minute walk down to the shore and 10 minute walk from beach. Property backed by forest - quiet & great for bird watching. Offering the best of both worlds! ocean view from the exterior balconies (rooms have exterior shared balconies, one suite has ocean view from the living area). Relaxed Bed and Breakfast hotel lodge, comfortable air conditioned individual rooms, as well as apartments, all with TV & WIFI. Located on the laid back Pacific island of Taboga just 30 minutes from Panama by ferry. Restaurant by reservation offering delicious food by local chef, served by friendly local staff. Ideal quiet vacation spot to relax for 1 day to 1 month. Activities include: Beach, boat trips, fishing, snorkeling, kayaking, hiking, tours and more. Visit us and truly relax with the Cerrito family. Cerrito Tropical Bed and Breakfast Hotel Lodge, Taboga Island, Panama. ... more   less 
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