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“Absolute Paradise”
Review of Eclypse de Mar

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Eclypse de Mar
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed February 6, 2009

My daughter (10), husband and I spend four blissful days hanging out at Eclypse De Mar. I had no idea that Panama would offer such an amazing vacation. We spend two and a half weeks in Costa Rica and then came to Bocas Del Toro to check it out for 4 days. We crossed the border on foot at Sixola and made our way to Almirante to catch the water taxi to Bocas Del Toro and on to Eclypse De Mar. The staff is incredible, welcoming, friendly, informative and very eco friendly. Chango and Melena were lovely. They made us feel at home and like we were family rather than guests. I almost cried when I left. The rooms are fabulous with breathtaking views and amazing decor. I can't wait to return and explore more of Panama and the surrounding Islands in the Bocas area.

  • Stayed: January 2009, traveled with family
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Thank labbott
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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169 - 175 of 357 reviews

Reviewed January 31, 2009

This was our first trip to Panama and we stayed at Eclypse de Mar for two nights. I cannot say enough wonderful things about it! First of all our "room" was really our own private bungalow over the water equipped with glass windows in the floor so we could see the fish swimming below. There was a private bedroom with canopy bed (and mosquito nets), a separate living room, and bathroom. There was also a private deck with a hammock, lounge chair, and stairs down into the water so we could swim right off our deck! Although there is not air conditioning, we really didn't need it b/c the bungalow is so well ventilated and there were ceiling fans in every room. Needless to say, the accommodations were great!

The staff was also wonderful. We were greeted as soon as our water taxi arrived and shown around. There are kayaks available to use for no extra cost, plus a jungle trail to see wildlife. Even though the hotel is not in Bocas Town, it is extremely easy (and cheap) to get there by water taxi. The staff set us up with a great snorkeling tour to take one day (also pretty cheap, $22/person for a six hour tour) and were just very helpful in general.

The food at the restaurant was fantastic!!!! Breakfast is included in the rate and was served to us in our bungalow (we ate in bed). Very nice eating breakfast and looking out at the beautiful scenery. We also ate dinner at the restaurant both nights b/c the food was so good and reasonably priced. The coco bread is phenomenal!!!!

There is wireless internet in the restaurant/lobby area, but we found we could also get it in our bungalow b/c we stayed in the first one (apparently the ones further away cannot get it). They also had a variety of games (checkers, chess, etc.), tour books, bug spray (definitely a necessity at night), etc.

Overall, we had such a great time that we wish we had stayed at least one more night.

  • Stayed: January 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank scmommy8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 13, 2009

Read all the reviews before booking. It is a beautiful location and the staff are very friendly. However, the info about the relentless, obnoxious THUMP THUMP of the bass from the music 200 meters away across the water cannot be overstated. It starts at about 9 a.m. and continues until 2 a.m. the following morning. If you want rest and relaxation at night, this is not the place.

Also, another thing they don't tell you on the website is that because the sanitation system is set up to compliment the environment, no paper can be flushed. That means that when you do your business, you fold it up and place it in the trash can next to the toilet. For $180 per night...

The cabanas are very nice. The food is pretty good and you get plenty of it. Daytime activities include sightseeing, beaches, snorkeling, diving, etc. The rates for these activities are reasonable.

Stayed: January 2009
3  Thank coolbreez3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 6, 2008

Travel is my passion, but this is the first time I have ever felt compelled to post a hotel review. Exotic, unspoiled, romantic, and unreal are words that describe our experience at Eclypse de Mar, a beautiful new resort in Bocas del Toro.

The four thached-roof Tahitian-style bungalows are built over water and the hotel is accessible only by boat. I literally gasped in awe as we entered ours: walls, floor, and shutters are all made of wood and there are glass panes in the floor for viewing fish beneath. There is a separate bedroon with a queen-size canopy bed plus a huge sitting area with two twin beds that can be used as couches. Both rooms open to a huge deck and the cabins are strategically situated so that each deck is completely private.

You can swim right off your deck and even see dolphins as you look to the other islands in the distance. Don't expect a sandy bottom or beach because the water plants have not been uprooted or destroyed out of respect for the environment. With the free snorkeling equipment, you can swim to a nearby reef. The terrestrial property of the hotel is devoted to a nature park with trails and lagoons filled with wildlife incuding alligators.

Although the hotel is less than a year old, it was in the planning stages for eight years and is the pride of Malena and Leonardo (Chango), a charming young Argentinian couple who are always there to serve you. They felt so bad that the noise from the construction of two new bungalows had disturbed us (it hadn't) that they took us and a Dutch honeymooning couple on an all-day snorkeling excursion to Zapatillos Cays wher Survivor Panama was filmed at absolutely no cost!

The food at open-air restaurant was well-prepared and tasty but limited, so you will want to dine around as well. Take a water taxi under a sky filled with a million stars to Bocas Town and there will be a host of offerings right on the docks. Do not miss Nine Degrees: incredibly delicious, artistically-presented nouvelle cuisine in a lovely setting at reasonable prices. I wouldn't recommend the two restaurants that are near the hotel, Roots or Alvin's, unless drinks are more important than food and you don't need appetizers or dessert.

The Eclypse de Mar experience isn't for everyone. No telephone, no TV, no room service (other than for breakfast but we preferred to eat on the restaurant deck watching hummingbirds and parrots above and starfish below). No AC, just ceiling fans, electricity available only from 6 PM to 9 AM, and I was politeky requested not to use my hair dryer. No casino or nightly entertainment. However, I believe none of the above are included in the definition of "paradise."

We stayed four nights which was about right. A week might be a little too long unless you are looking for a complete R & R. At $150 per night, it's Bora Bora at bargain prices. The water is a rich green, not the Tidy-bowl blue of Bora Bora, but the setting is just as scenic.

Since we recently retired to Costa Rica, we drove to Panama (which I don't recommend because the border crossing on a one-lane rickety old railroad bridge seems like a scene from National Lampoon's Central American Vacation) and took a boat to the islands. However, it's a quick flight directly to the main island from either San Jose or Panama City.

  • Stayed: October 2008, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank KathyinCostaRica
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 26, 2008

We stayed at Eclypse de Mar at the beginning of October. This was the most unique and romantic places we stayed in Panama.

The cabanas are located directly on the water and are situated in such a way that each one has a great view. The cabanas were just gorgeous and were beautifully decorated.

Breakfast was delicious. They will even deliver it to your cabana in the morning at no extra cost.

The hotel owner was very friendly and eager to please. Our canaba was not ready upon arrival so she offered us some free drinks while we waited for our room to be cleaned. That was a nice touch.

There are a few areas of improvement for this hotel. During our stay, construction of new cabanas were underway -- it just so happens that the one they were building was directly next to our cabana. So, from the hours of 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, we heard drilling, hammering, workers talking, etc. That definitely took a way from the ambiance. We addressed this with the hotel owner and she was apologetic and offered a small discount for the inconvenience.

Also, the town of Bastimentos is directly across the water. One of the hotels in Bastimentos BLASTS music almost all day and late into the night (around midnight). While the music is lively (and you get used to it), it did take away some of the romantic ambiance of the hotel. Unfortunately, this is really beyond the control of the hotel owners but this should be noted.

Finally, we knew prior to booking that the hotel is an "Ecolodge" (and we're all for conservation); however, we did not have a warm shower while we were there. Also, travelers should be aware that there is no electricity during the day. We really didn't mind this but given the price of this hotel (in comparison to others in the area), hot water should be a given.

Overall, this hotel is beautiful and in a gorgeous setting. If a few of the details could be worked-out, it would be paradise!

  • Stayed: October 2008
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Thank AMIBeachGal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 24, 2008

We went to Eclypse de Mar for 4 nights of our honeymoon. We LOVED the bungalows- comfortable beds, gorgeous view, great deck with hammock. We loved how we could open up doors and windows- felt very natural and relaxing.

The owners and staff are all wonderful. The housekeeping even folded our clothes! We felt our belongings were very safe (there is actually a safe for passports, etc) I definitely reccommend doing the day trips through the lodge- prices are reasonable and Salsa, the tour captain, is very knowledgeable and fun to be around.

The food was fine, if a tad repetitive, and little too heavily salted for my taste. The garlic bread is awesome, though, and the drinks are well made. I had a whole fresh lobster the first night for $16- delish! Definately go into town for a few meals if you will be there for any length of time.

The included breakfast didnt seem like much- coffee, coco bread with marmelade, and small fruit skewers, but we added fruit "juice" (actually smoothies of fruit pruee and water or milk- get the milk!) and it lasted us through lunch every day. I wish I could find the bread at home!

The reasons I didn't give it 5 stars: Our in-bungalow breakfast never made it to us on time. One day it was an hour late, and the next day it just never came. After an hour, we went to the restaurant and just ate there. Also, they dont serve until 8, and the light woke us up before 7, so it was a long wait for food in the morning.

The other reason is completely out of the owner's control- the lodge is across the bay from Bastimentos Town. There are a few bars that play music constantly, until about 10pm most nights, and until midnight Fri, Sat, and Mon. So while the mornings were quiet and relaxing, our evenings were punctuated by thumping Carribean base lines from the bars. It wasnt crazy loud, but enough to take away from the peaceful sounds of water and jungle we were looking for.

Overall, we loved the place. It was a great value, especially given the rates at other similar establishments in Bocas. We estimate that what we spent in four days at Eclypse (including food, tours, etc) would have covered two days at comparable overwater lodges in the area. We would definitely go back.

  • Stayed: October 2008, traveled as a couple
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Thank Ellen1071
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 29, 2008

This place is amazingly beautiful! We were only able to spend one night, but it felt like a honeymoon night. The room was spacious, clean, and of course came with an amazing view.

The restaurant had excellent food and the best Caipirinha drinks ever. Breakfast was delivered to our room in the morning for no additional charge.

We walked behind the property and saw the red spotted frogs. Note: they actually come in many other colors too, so pay attention!

My only issue was the water behind the bungalows/property was a little dirty, so it prevented me from wanting to jump in the water off our bungalow. Nonetheless, it was a gorgeous location and they provided boat tours from our dock that took us to other nice snorkeling spots.

What's also nice is that the way the bungalows are layed out, you can't have a bad view (e.g. it doesn't matter which bungalow you get -- even if another bungalow is in front of yours).

  • Stayed: September 2006, traveled with friends
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2  Thank revedelamer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Eclypse de Mar

Address: Isla Bastimentos, Isla Bastimentos, Panama
Location: Panama > Bocas del Toro Province > Isla Bastimentos
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 20 Specialty Lodging in Isla Bastimentos
Price Range: $119 - $328 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Eclypse de Mar 3*
Number of rooms: 24
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Also Known As:
Eclypse De Mar Hotel Isla Bastimentos
Eclypse De Mar Panama/Isla Bastimentos, Bocas Del Toro

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