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“The only place to stay in Santa Catalina!!!”
Review of Hotel Sol y Mar

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Hotel Sol y Mar
Certificate of Excellence
Huntington Beach, California
Level Contributor
55 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“The only place to stay in Santa Catalina!!!”
Reviewed 30 December 2013

My husband and I recently stayed for four nights at Sol y Mar owned by Luis Silva and we had a wonderful time. Luis organized a private tour (8 hrs) to Coiba for us ($350) and we enjoyed it immensely. We toured the prison and snorkeled. . My husband had a terrible cold so the cost benefit was well worth it considering we weren't sure if he would be able to do all the activities if we were in a group. Our tour guides (Victor and his Dad) spotted a whale shark on our way back to Santa Catalina and we interacted with the whale shark for about 15 mins which was priceless. The whale shark was rubbing against our boat and curiously swimming towards our hands when we put them i n the water. Don't worry whale sharks only eat plankton.
The best part about Sol y Mar is Luis' hospitality. He is very friendly and goes out of his way to make sure you have a good time. Sol y Mar also has the best high speed wifi in Santa Catalina and in my opinion the best restaurant. It's also VERY affordable! The chef prepared a wonderful Christmas Eve dinner for us. The breakfast included is fantastic with a menu of hot prepared food to choose from. We recommend the banana pancakes!!! Almost forgot Sol y Mar takes credit cards which is very hard to come by in Santa Catalina. The power went off to the whole town for about five hours and Luis just turned on his generator (by the way we were without power for 30 hrs in Bocas del Toro with no toilets working and no running water bc of the hydroelectric water systems in some parts of Panama so we appreciated the generator). The showers have hot water and the bathrooms are all modernized. The pool is also very nice to have at Sol y Mar. The second best part about Sol y Mar is Luis' awesome dog Blackie. It's very nice to stay at Sol y Mar as Luis and his beautiful family live on the property and he is always available and happy to assist. We stayed in room 5 which I recommend as its close to the restaurant, wifi, pool etc.

Room Tip: If you have issues with stairs ask for a room near the top and we recommend 4WW car if you want to b...
See more room tips
  • Stayed December 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
Thank tntbolsachica2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SantaCatalinaSurfer, Owner at Hotel Sol y Mar, responded to this review, 6 March 2014
Dear guest
Thank you for taking your time to review our property and thank you for so nice comments.
We are proud to read this kind of opinions that make us want to keep improving the well being of our guests.
The generator,pool,new,more comfortable bed linen are just some of the many additions we have made in the last year or so to make sol y mar a truly comfortable place.
Thank you again and hope to have your visit again some time
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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208 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (28)
Date | Rating
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English first
Panama City, Panama
Level Contributor
24 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 December 2013 via mobile

First time in Santa Catalina and Sol y Mar was a nice surprise. When we got to the top and looked out from our deck I thought their description was incorrect as to how long it would take to get the beach. It wasn't! It was 10 minutes to get there but longer to get back because it sits up on a hill affording expansive view. The rooms were spacious and nicely decorated. The beds were a bit squeaky but ok. The pillows were a bit hard and when discussed with the owner, he said it was a challenge because people prefer one or the other. Since then, we have decided to bring our own pillows as long as we are driving. It's been a good decision.

The food was very good and had lamb chops for the first time since moving to Panama City 8 months ago. It's not found here not because we didn't want to have them. The preparation and presentation was quite good.

All in all a good experience and would stay again.

them.

  • Stayed November 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank phyzzzy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SantaCatalinaSurfer, Owner at Hotel Sol y Mar, responded to this review, 6 March 2014
Thank you for your review of hotel sol y mar and for your nice comments.
We take pride in providing comfort (not luxury,this is a remote place in the jungle) and appreciate when our guests recognize our efforts.
We listen to your comments and have recently made several improvements,like bed linen for instance to increase the comfort of our rooms.
Also proud of always trying to have on our menu food choices that are not easily found in this country,we have cuts of meat that only the very best restaurants in Panama city have and at very reasonable prices,the lamb chops are just one example,glad you enjoyed it.
Hope to have your visit again soon
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Geneva, Switzerland
Level Contributor
679 reviews
188 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 249 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 December 2013

Nice location at the entrance of town and 10 minutes from everything in the village. The rooms are in small cabanas on a hill with restaurant and a small pool at the top, and, unless you've got a 4wd it is difficult to reach them with your vehicle and you'll have to use stairs to go everywhere (but the staff will transport your bags if needed). The rooms are simple but functional with a terrace and a hammock. As each cabin has two rooms separated by thin walls you'd better have quite neighbors. Hot water was working well but wifi is only available in the restaurant. We stayed 3 nights and for some reason our rooms were not done during this time... not a big deal for such a short stay... but we still wonder whether it was a bug or a feature. Breakfast is rather minimalist but tasty. Front desk is something like inexistent. Cold beer was unavailable at the bar when we went there... cool, very cool... this being said the price was very reasonable and we had quite a good time at Sol y Mar. So why not?!

  • Stayed December 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank JMGeneva
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SantaCatalinaSurfer, Owner at Hotel Sol y Mar, responded to this review, 6 March 2014
Thank you very much for reviewing sol y mar and sharing your experience.It is important for us to receive both good comments as criticisms in our constant struggle to improve the level of comfort and service.
So glad you enjoyed your stay and at the same time apologies for any inconvenience,along with some explanation.
We are as am sure you noticed a very small (6 rooms) business in an extremely remote place,family run.Your stay was before high season,therefore we had less personal then usual.In high season we have around 8 or 9 people in our staff for 6 rooms,but in low season we only keep 3 or 4 for obvious reasons,so thats why front desk was not attended,even in high season reception is only open 2pm to 7pm or so when we have arrivals.with that said,apologize if the level of service was not as expected,our prices and number of rooms we have do not allow to keep more personal,especially when is low season.
As for the cleaning we didn´t use to clean everyday unless the guests asked,but every other day,something went wrong in your stay,some miscommunication,but because of your comment and others from other guests we now hired one more cleaning lady so for a couple months we have daily cleaning and the comments have been good
Hope to have your visit in the future so you can see the improvements yourself
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Panama City, Panama
1 review
Reviewed 27 November 2013

I have stayed in Sol y Mar several times now and I highly recommend this wonderful place. The view, the room, the food, the service, everything is great!
If you are looking for a quiet, relaxing, and enjoyable time Sol y Mar is the place for you!
If you are looking for a place to go with your family, your special someone or just on your own Sol y Mar is for you.
You will not only have a great time and have a fantastic experience but I am sure you will make new friends.

  • Stayed October 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank Maria C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SantaCatalinaSurfer, Owner at Hotel Sol y Mar, responded to this review, 6 March 2014
Thank you for your kind comments on our place.We always aim to improve the experience of the guests that visit us.
Hope to have your visit again in the future
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Squamish, Canada
Level Contributor
3 reviews
Reviewed 22 November 2013

Very nice hotel, with a great view of the surrounding area. Rooms were very clean and spacious, with all the necessary amenities. Each room has a hammock on their deck, which was handy for relaxing.
The pool and open air restaurant were great to spend time lounging in the hammocks, or playing pool/billiards or table tennis. The food was excellent.
Wifi at the restaurant, which was fast and reliable.
While this location is 5 minute walk from the beach, this is ideal for people looking for a quiet vacation as downtown SC can be quite noisy.
There are many stairs to the top off the property, with the restaurant at the top. The rooms are just below the restaurant. Although the property is somewhat steep, Luis and staff are more than willing to use a vehicle to transport guests and luggage.
We really enjoyed our stay and it was a serene B&B to retire to after a day of SCUBA diving etc...
We would definitely stay here again.

Room Tip: Rooms #5 and #6 have the best view.
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  • Stayed November 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Len H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SantaCatalinaSurfer, Owner at Hotel Sol y Mar, responded to this review, 6 March 2014
Thank you for taking your time to review our property and thank you for an accurate description of what we offer the visitors.
Its always rewarding to know that the guests have a pleasant stay with us,and we keep doing our best to improve
Hope to receive your visit again in the future
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Zipolite, Mexico
Level Contributor
31 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 61 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 November 2013

Favourite place in Santa Catalina, comfortable room, fast Wifi, panoramic sea view, friendly staff, nice pool, better than walking to the beach actually.. U can get a boat to some nice islands nearby for good beaches and snorkelling..

  • Stayed November 2013, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Jonathan_Hey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Orosei, Italy
Level Contributor
13 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 September 2013

I had several stays at Sol y Mar and i will continue staying there.
The location on the border of Santa Catalina is a benefit for good sleep but,
you have to take a 10 minute walk to reach the heart of Santa Catalina and a steep
climb to reach your room while coming back.
The rooms have working a/c and internet access on the restaurant on the top or by cell phone
in your room.
Some of the upper bungalows have sea view, hammocks on the porch and they are 2 apt. bungalows most of them with a car parking by the side.

  • Stayed February 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank ChrigelKarrer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel Sol y Mar

Property: Hotel Sol y Mar
Address: Calle principal, Santa Catalina 00507, Panama
Region: Panama > Veraguas Province > Santa Catalina
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 9 B&Bs / Inns in Santa Catalina
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Hotel Sol y Mar 2.5*
Number of rooms: 9
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located along the main street in Santa Catalina,600 meters from Santa Catalina beach,on a hill overlooking the ocean,Sol y Mar offers 9 spacious rooms, all with air conditioned, private bath with hot shower, satellite TV, mini-fridge,safe-deposit box,terrace, internet (in restaurant area). Six of the rooms have two double beds and a sofa-bed, so they can accommodate up to 5 people Some of the rooms has an additional bunk bed,so can sleep 7.There are three new rooms each with a King bed. We also have a restaurant with pool table,ping-pong and a swimming pool. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sol y Mar Hotel Santa Catalina

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