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“Under New Management. Still Great!”
Review of Garden of Eden Inn

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Garden of Eden Inn
Ranked #1 of 1 Isla Solarte B&B and Inns
Reviewed June 10, 2012

We initially had reserved 4 nights in February 2012, but then some indigenous Panamanians closed some roads in a dispute with the government. We took a rain-check and rescheduled in May.
On arrival we were met not by Helena, Bob, and Malo (doberman), but by Kipp, Lindsey, Bill, and Zeus (weimaraner). Reportedly, some medical issues had resulted in Helena and Bob (We wish them well) selling Garden of Eden to longtime friend and neighbor Kipp. Kipp persuaded Lindsey (born Texas, more recently Colorado) and Bill (Rhode Island, played hockey in Canada), both of whom also have lived in the Bocas area for years, to help him run the place. Magali, Tiki, and Woody were all still there.
Kipp, Lindsey, and Bill were great hosts, and made it clear that they were still working out kinks but that if we wanted anything, just to let them know. They meant it, and we had a great time. They helped us a lot arranging off-island activities, and introduced us to some very pleasant and reliable water-taxi operators, including Choi (67118878) and Chingo (65037050).
We had great breakfasts every morning and dinners every evening. Lunch was available on request but we were generally off-island at lunch time.
During our visit, Kipp was working from Helena and Bob's menu, but I expect some items on the menu may change a little in the future.
If you've been there before, I believe you'll find it largely unchanged and still delightful. If prior reviews have persuaded you that this is where you want to vacation, it still is.
"Tranquilo" is a popular word in Panama. Garden of Eden epitomizes "tranquilo".
Enjoy.

  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank mtnmarathoner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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106 - 112 of 289 reviews

Reviewed May 4, 2012

By Helena Eberhardy.
I visited with my friend Karla Myers. I had a great time in beautiful Panama..
I had a chance to see thier new house and it is a beautiful spot with a great view. I enjoyed Helena and Bobby very much.The food was to die for and Magali was a great help. I also enjoyed Woody-the other two parrots and of course malo, the friendly Doberman. Thank you so much for my stay on your lovery island

  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled with friends
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Thank kAMFLORIDA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 28, 2012

My husband and I stayed at Garden of Eden in late February. The property is unique. It is accessed by water taxi from Bocas del Toro. We had a lovely large cottage set away from the main house and the other two cottages. We woke in the morning to hummingbirds. My husband was greeted by fruit bats when he went to bring me my morning coffee. The gardens are lovely. Helena and Bob built Garden of Eden and tend it with love. If you are looking for a "party house" this may not be your place. If you are here to enjoy a different way of life come on over. We kayaked to Red Frog beach, which is lovely (you can also hire a water taxi). If you don't want to move that much, you can snorkel or swim off the pier or just sit awhile and meditate. We water taxied to Bocas town each night, and came home in the dark. The drivers are amazing and navigate the waters through knowledge (and night vision glasses). Helena makes the arrangements for you and you are compensated for one round trip to Bocas per day.

We didn't feel obligated to eat at Garden of Eden, though they asked each day if we were (and why not since they had to prepare). The food was adequate but not exceptional.

Helena let me use her laptop to access my e:mail and voice mail. Other than the, we were on vacation.

I wish there were an outlet in the bathroom, a hairdryer and bath accessories (i.e. shampoo etc).

Room Tip: Ask for the cottage that overlooks the bay, away from the pool and dining area.
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  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank k2com
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 23, 2012

We stayed in the Hotel from the 10th to the 13 of March, and though I agree fully with everything posted in the former post ("Quite A Gem”" by Jennifire77), in order to give some more valuable info I wrote this post.
I read a lot of posts from where I could not really understand the nature of the place. I think we felt somehow more as guests in somebody's private house than having a real "Hotel" experience. It is up to you to decide if you prefer this experience or not but take into consideration no real anonymity is possible there. There are maximum 3 couples as guests and the current owner (Hellena) and/or housekeeper (Migali) is almost always in the "dining office/kitchen area. As this place is totally isolated (water on one side of the island and Mangroves on the other side, you practically have nowhere to go (without a boat), so you find yourself either in your room/private porch) or in the common area by the small pool/dining area- you get to know all people around you and chat with them all day long, whether you like it or not…
Some examples for the feeling of a private house rather than a Hotel: Helena always asks you at noon what you would like to order for the dinner. Everybody eats dinner together on the same table (not mandatory, but you may feel a little rude/snob sitting in another table- we had one couple there that I can almost bet they wanted to sit alone but did not feel comfortable doing so). As you have no fridge in the room, Hellena allows you to use the main kitchen fridge. You take by yourself drinks and ice from the kitchen, etc.
Regarding naturism experience- we were not sure at the beginning if indeed it is expectable to tan full nude or not, but Hellena did not mind and in fact another elder Canadian couple joined us, so you could say the pool area is "clothing optional" (some other guests, mainly from the UK where all clothed, so this is indeed "optional"). For those of you with dirty minds re the definition of "adult only" Hotel, forget it- there is no sexual atmosphere there, in fact because of the lack of anonymity, I would say even you may feel a little uncomfortable to do anything "noisy" in your own room.
Going to "Bocas Del Toro" town is possible in the day time, but the trip may be "jumpy" and I would not feel very combatable to do it during the night time, though I understand going to Bocas during the night is the whole idea. In the day time there is not a lot to do there anyway. Going to excursions from the hotel is possible but take into account this is a rainforest weather, so you could find yourself waking up to noises of showers, taking breakfast with sunny skies and at noon running back to your room because of a thunderstorm passing by- so finding yourself on a boat in the middle of the storm would be very possible, even if all was sunny when you planned the trip. Kayaking to "red frog beach" takes about 45-50 min each way- worth the ride, but do not expect too much from red frog beach, it is nice- not more than that (we came to Bocas after being in Contadora island and the pearl islands were way better for a summer vacation).
Wifi Service- very poor- not becasue of the hotel (the signal was OK), but the wireless connection of the hotel to the town was not stable and you cannot really surf in reasonable speed. for basic E-mail it is OK, not more than that

One important twist- as I understood, in May 2012 the owners are planned to change- so I am not sure what will be the experience with the new owner- we've seen him, and he looks very friendly but I can't really know if the atmosphere will stay the same.
Generally it is a nice place, a little boring for me, and in case of rain could be very boring….but for romantic couples I think 2-3 days are worth the visit.

Room Tip: better Wifi service on the cheaper rooms next to the pool, and better balcony on the private room. A...
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  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled as a couple
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19  Thank odedb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 19, 2012

My husband and I stayed at the Garden of Eden from 3/13-3/15. This place is located truly in a magnificent place. We were immediately greeted from Helena at her dock. One of the first things she asked us was what we wanted to drink. The bar is always open at this place and the common area invites you to relax with such ease and converse with the other travelers staying there. The pool is sparkly clean and the gardens are lush and beautiful. Their toucan, Woody, was such a cool addition to the atmosphere. Not too mention, their parrot Chiquita. And, they also have a wonderful dog, Malo. He is a sweet, sweet, chocolate doberman with an adorable disposition. They have a game room equipped with a nice pool table. No warps or rips and cues that are straight. Eveything is clean yet homey. Helena, Bob and their staff give you as much or as little attention as you need in a very casual atmosphere. Things here are on the "honor" system as far as drinks in the fridge or cocktails after hrs go. You just tick your total on your tally sheet behind the bar. A simple breakfast of Johnny cake and fresh fruit accompanied with great coffee or juice a served every morning whenever you happen to wake up. A delicious and balanced dinner is served every night at 7 for a fee under $20. Migali is the cook as well as the head of keeping this place clean. She is adorable and very friendly. Our rooms were simple and clean. The shower, I must say, I was not too thrilled with. It was not hot, it was luke warm at best. Perhaps I could have mentioned that and it could have been a simple tweaking of the thermastat on the gas. (I only took one shower though). My husband and I had a magical morning kayaking around the other islands and mangroves. It was absolutely gorgeous and peaceful. We saw dolphins swim right by us. There is a water taxi at your service when requested and the main island of Colon is about a 15 min ride. This place was well worth our $ and stay. We had a memorable time and give great thanks to Helena, Bob and their staff.

Jennifer and David Williams

  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Jennifire77
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 9, 2012

After staying in the vibrant and diverse town of Bocas for one night we moved on to our private island resort only a 15 minute water taxi ride away.  What an Oasis is the Garden of Eden both visually from the water and from the island itself. We were met by Helena, the friendly and dynamic owner and her side-kick Malo the passive doberman.  We later met Bob, the co-owner and contractor for this oasis and Woody (tucan) and Pepito & Tiki (parrots with attitude).  Bring treats for Malo, she is very appreciative and will be your best friend- she also likes playing and when gets too hot she simply jumps in the ocean - a true island dog, Bob's pal!

Up on the patio, is the kitchen, bar and eating area which faces a swimming pool with suntan deck, lounge chairs and two  guest rooms with their wonderful views that face the ocean.  Also on this level is Bob and Helena's home and a games room complete with new pool table.  On the lower level is a third but larger guest room with 2 beds (king &queen) and a path with fabulous flora and fauna that leads to 2 docks and a beach, also with lounge chairs and a two-level bungalow for the 2 staff.  Unless you are looking for complete privacy, I would recommend one of 2 pool-side rooms as the view and breezes are better.  For your use are double and single kayaks which you can use to paddle to Red Frog beach.  Remember to bring $3 each to enter the park, you will even receive a free ride on the back ofa truck.  If you want chairs be prepared to pay $5 each (palapa included).  The water is for surfing so be prepared - we saw no red frogs.

From the moment you arrive at Eden, you realize that relaxation is possible.  A drink or two or three, great food (coconut shrimp and pina colada rice) are amazingly good.  Breakfast includes toasted buns (known as Johnny cakes)  plus fresh fruit, juice and a very good Panamanian coffee.  Jessica, the young lady that helps with the business is fabulous - a real treat!  (milahia was on vacation so we did not get to meet her).  Helena and all go out of their way to ensure your enjoyment, comfort and needs are met.

Also for those who like 60s, 70s and 80s music, you will be serenated with some great background tunes.  No T.V. (thank goodness), only paradise and free wi-fi for those so compelled.  The pool area and beach are a great way to relax.  Hammocks can be found on the pool deck and on the decks of the rooms.

The rooms are basic but have everything you need.  That being;  a comfortable bed, futon for relaxing, in-door bathroom facilities with hot shower, table & chairs and that private balcony with fabulous views.  

Water taxi service is included in your stay (1 round trip to Bocas town each day).  You pay the water taxi driver ($15 each way for 2) and it is deducted from your bill at the end.  Both Jampan (owned by canadians who will deliver you to the island as part of a tour) or even better, a local man who is friends of the resort will pick you up or deliver you when you need.  I am sorry i cannot spell his name (i think it is Chika) is exceptionally reliable and friendly.  

A couple of musts to bring :  bug repellant (it is the tropics), suntan lotion, shampoo&conditioner, a book or reader, laptop or ipad if you have the need, binoculars would be nice, treats for Malo, cash to pay for room then you don't pay tax or visa charges, money for water taxi, tours and tips.  Other than that, sit back and enjoy the scenery, the birds, the food, the drinks and the company of Helena and Bob and a few other adult guests!

  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank Hosta_La_Vista
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 28, 2012

Just spent 5 nites at Garden of Eden. Well worth the price! Helena ,Bob, the girls, Malo and Woody (dog and tucan) were a pleasure. Rooms were immaculate, even had flower petals on the bed, food was extremely good and reasonably priced. Snorkel and kayak around the island, good dependable water taxi service. Everyone was friendly. Felt like part of the family within minutes of arriving. This is definitely on my "will do again" list.

Room Tip: We had the suite, but the cabinas are very nice also.
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  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled with friends
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Thank Jerri D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Garden of Eden Inn

Address: Private island near Isla Solarte in Bocas del Toro Panama | Private Island, in Bahia Honda, Isla Solarte, Panama
Phone Number:
Location: Panama > Bocas del Toro Province > Isla Solarte
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 B&Bs / Inns in Isla Solarte
Price Range: $185 - $194 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 3
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
We are a small private island Bed and Breakfast located in a tropical setting of Bocas Del Toro, Panama. The resort offers a swimming pool, kayaks, snorkeling, game room with pool table, restaurant and bar. Don't go to the Caribbean to just rent a room, come here where you can rent an island. We can accommodate up to 10 adults comfortably. Sorry no guests under 18 yrs of age. Close enough to Bocas to shop yet far enough to be as private as you want to be. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Garden Of Eden Hotel Isla Solarte
Hotel Garden Of Eden
Garden Of Eden Inn Panama/Isla Solarte

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