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“Delightful Experience in Bocas del Toro”
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 January 30, 2010

My husband and I stayed at the Garden of Eden January 13-16 and had a fantastic time. Helena was the most gracious hostess who made sure that we had everything we wanted and more. Kaylia also worked day and night to make our stay special. Other guests at the resort soon became friends and we hope to keep in contact with all of them. The resort is like a family atmosphere, yet you can easily escape for quiet time together. We went on a fabulous day boat trip with the other guests and had so much fun. We saw dolphins, snorkelled in the open ocean, had a great lunch at a little restaurant over the ocean, visited some beautiful beaches, and certainly laughed alot!
Meals at the Garden of Eden were plentiful and there was a variety to choose from. Given that Helena and Kaylia had to run the whole place by themselves we were impressed with the meals that they turned out. We definitely did not go hungry! The drinks also went down very nicely!
Unfortunately we did not get to meet the infamous Bob. However, we certainly felt his presence as he phoned everyday to see how things were going and obviously missed Helena and being with the guests. I missed not having Magali around as I was really looking forward to one of her massages. Just another good reason to go back to the Garden of Eden!
The resort is extremely clean and the grounds are beautiful. There is a games room where we played pool with the other guests one evening after a delightful meal and drinks. A nice pool kept extremely clean and just the right temperature. There are three rooms to choose from at the resort. We had one of the rooms close to the pool area, which suited us just fine. We did get a chance to see the other rooms and they also were very nice. If you really are wanting to get away from the action or have true quiet time then I would suggest that you book the separate suite away from the pool area. It is on its own and so you would definitely have quiet in that room. However, in saying that it was nice being so close to the pool and bar/restaurant, so we had no complaints with our room. The resort sits on an island that is remote but a short water taxi ride away is Bocas Town and other islands/beaches to visit. Red Frog Beach was absolutely beautiful with great surf and beautiful sandy beach.
We spent a couple of our days walking around Bocas Town, which was interesting. Very friending people and some great little restaurants also. One restaurant in particular was "Om' which served really good Indian food.
There is an abundance of foliage and birds in the area. We kayaked one day all around the waters close to the resort, which made for a peaceful and memorable day. The weather was fabulous when we were there.
Helena makes any calls you need for water taxis and helps with arrangements for any day trips that you might want to take.
All in all we had a wonderful time at the Garden of Eden and would certainly go back.

  • Stayed: January 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank waterlogged23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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172 - 178 of 289 reviews

Reviewed January 24, 2010

My wife, I and 2 friends stayed at the Garden of Eden for three nights in January. Helena and Kalya were running the place on their own while we were there but provided excellent service. Bob and their main chef, Magali, were in David attending to a medical crisis. Helena treats her guests as if they were family and we really appreciated it. She even helped when we called from a cab on our way asking for assistance in understanding what the driver was trying to tell us in espaniol. Her hospitality makes everyone feel like family and by the time we left, we had formed friendships with the other guests.

On the downside - I noticed a lot of rave reviews for the food. I don't think I can substantiate those reviews, we found that the meals were hit and miss. Some were pretty good but others were disappointing. However, it may have been due to the guesthouse being short-staffed so our disappointment should not be taken as an indication of the "normal" food quality. Helena and Kalya had to prepare 4-8 different dishes simultaneously each evening. That is a challenge in itself.

Other disappointments are the lack of AC and the Chitras. I assumed that a place with an almost perfect rating and charging so much would have AC available. I have trouble sleeping in heat and didn't sleep well during our stay. Fans are available but my wife doesn't like any breeze so I couldn't keep one running through the night. We have stayed in a number of rustic thatched roof cabañas with AC in the past and I can't see any reason it couldn't be offered, particularly for $160 per night.

Being surrounded by mangroves the chitras are plentiful. Helena offers a citrus oil spray which I used too excessively (I ruined my favorite hiking shorts with the stuff). Even with the spray I suffered the next week with dozens of very itchy bites. There is no solution too this that I can think off other than perhaps a powerful fan in the sitting area to keep them away.

Overall we enjoyed our stay immensely because of the hospitality and the other guests. It was like a visit with friends and as such, the other inconveniences are forgivable. I am torn on what to give as a rating. I enjoyed our stay, yet to give it 5/5 isn't justified in comparison to other guesthouses we have stayed in before. The service for sure deserves a 5. But the location (mangroves) and the facilities (lack of AC and internet access for example) demand a lower rating.

  • Stayed: January 2010, traveled with friends
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1  Thank Dale S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 17, 2010

We stayed at the Garden of Eden for a week in December 2009. The hotel is a gem amidst the party scene the consumes most of Bocas del Toro. On its own island about a 15-minute boat ride from Bocas town, we felt like we were in our own private paradise. We had imagined Bocas being all about beaches, but the Garden of Eden is actually more of a tropical jungle paradise, and we found ourselves spending more time by the pool than on their little beach (but happily so). We had the suite, which is larger and more private than the two poolside cabanas (though all three rooms are great). We spent many mornings watching hummingbirds and geckos play from the hammock and chairs on our private oceanside porch, and many afternoons drinking pina coladas and lounging in the pool. There's no air conditioning, but we never felt we needed it with the ocean breezes and fans. There are mosquitos and chitras, but both are manageable with deet spray and the bug coils Bob keeps lit in the common areas. Bob and Helena, the owners, and their two employees, Migal and Kalia, are wonderful, friendly people. They have created a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere where your every need is met. Helena is happy to arrange day trips to nearby islands, chocolate farms, dolphin bay, etc. The hotel covers the cost for you to visit Bocas town daily if you wish, but if your desire is to spend your time in town and enjoy the late-night party scene, this probably isn't the right hotel choice for you. However, if you're looking for rest and relaxation in a gorgeous setting, Garden of Eden is the place!

  • Stayed: December 2009, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Barbara26
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 17, 2010

Garden of Eden, located on a picturesque island accessible by boat, is the ideal place for those who want to escape into nature. The 3 room resort is shared with a beautiful friendly dog, toucan, parrot and others. You can swim in the rainwater swimming pool, in the sea surrounded by fish or you can chill in hammock with a book, shoot pool and kick back with a board game. If you are looking for some adventure take a kayak to the nearest beach or visit the amazing Zapatillas islands. We recommend Garden of Eden to people who like to go of the beat and track and don't mind leaving some creature comforts behind. We had an unforgettable holiday.

  • Stayed: January 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank PeteRePete
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 27, 2009

Garden of Eden

We had a wonderful stay at the Garden of Eden. The owners, Helena and Bob, welcome you to a lovely secluded island hotel that is relaxing and comfortable with your choice of lounging by a pool, on the island’s beach, or on a private deck. Helena and her staff are great cooks and we enjoyed both the quality and variety of menus. They also provide their guests lots of help and will line up any sort of area tour and have massage services available as well. It is a fabulous view of the Carribean and lush gardens surround the property that especially draw hummingbirds that seem almost tame enough to be greeting guests.

The nightlife here is limited to talking with other guests over cocktails, playing a friendly game of dominos, shooting pool, or taking a mid night dip in the pool. Our one caution about the Bocas is to remember to pack an insect repellent. The hotel did a good job of burning citronella strips but this is the tropics which means you will want to discourage being bite whether at the hotel or touring near-by beaches.

Sandra

  • Stayed: December 2009
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Thank 1-09-2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 26, 2009

We've stayed here numerous times over the last several years and have never been disappointed. Large variety of excellent food; the hardest job is making a choice from the outstanding options. Helena and Bobby are wonderful hosts. They'll make you feel more like old friends than guests. Magali and and the rest of the staff never fail to exceed expectations. They are always available but never intrusive. We plan on staying here many more times. Check it out.

Jim and Sue
Glen Ellyn, IL

  • Stayed: September 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank jimsueIllinois
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 19, 2009

I love this place! I have been to the Garden of Eden four times, over more than three years. Each time it gets better. Isla Colon the big commercial island of the archipelago is ten minutes away by boat and ten years away in tension level.

Garden of Eden has great food, great hosts, great staff, nice clean rooms with hot water, wireless internet and above all tranquility. I recommend it to anyone.

  • Stayed: December 2009, traveled with friends
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Thank BoqueteGuide
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 - $188 (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 
Also Known As:
Garden Of Eden Hotel Isla Solarte
Hotel Garden Of Eden
Garden Of Eden Inn Panama/Isla Solarte

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