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“Nearly fifty years of history with this place!”
3 of 5 bubbles Review of Rio Mar Surf Camp

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Rio Mar Surf Camp
Poughkeepsie, NY
Level Contributor
79 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
“Nearly fifty years of history with this place!”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 June 2012

I can hardly believe it's still here! First stayed in 1966 (when it seemed spanking new) when our car broke down on our way back to the States, 2 km away on the I-A Highway. Went back in 2001 with my family and it had hardly changed a bit. And from other reviews, it still seems the same! Okay, it's a bit retro-primitive, with its cold showers and spartan rooms with a Donald Judd-like minimalist decor. But I don't travel to sit playing gin in my room. Even in 2001 the restaurant was decent - especially if you like the local fish, corvina, which I do. And the grounds were actually very pleasant when you got outside of the rooms. In 1966 was there in March and saw an amazing iridescent series of breaking waves as the surf rolled in - fantastic! You can walk for miles on virtually deserted white and black sand beaches. And close to El Valle - don't miss it if you go to Panama -with Panama City, the Canal, former Canal Zone where I served for almost two years an hour away, and a hop to the Atlantic/Caribbean.
I guess I'm sentimental, so I might just try to stay here again when I revisit Panama next year.
If you are adventurous, give it a try.

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
3 Thank wwtraveller42
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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23 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
    7
    4
    6
    1
    5
See reviews for
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    3 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    3 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (5)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Springfield, Massachusetts
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 January 2012

had a night with partner back in november - rang ahead and booked a couples room.
was given a price of $45 over the phone from american guy who runs bar / cafe.
rocked up just on dark and in a serious rain storm - price was now $65 from manager including air con and tv. should have bailed down the road when price went up - but was late and wet.

Power went out the minute we checked in and did not come on until early hours of morning - asked for discount for no power - not a chance

we were only guests and no surprised!!
had three weeks in another surf spots and found way better accom and service 300% better.

Room Tip: keep away - other surf camps close
See more room tips
  • Stayed November 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
8 Thank snowrider003
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers are raving about these Panama City hotels

San Carlos, Panama
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 September 2011

this place not only has great surf,beauty,and atmosphere..it has THE best food at its new cafe.the best part its right on the premises.it provides a great way to relax without even having to leave.

Room Tip: if you get one of the private rooms it has air but it really depends on what your looking for.they h...
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  • Stayed September 2011, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank panama j
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Tamarindo, Costa Rica
Level Contributor
9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 February 2011

This surf camp is disgrace to surf camps. If you are beginner looking for some place to learn to surf then go anywhere else but here.

While there are waves that break on a low tide, Riomar is location that's full of rocks. Not some where you take beginners.

The place is run by a Panamaim who clearly has other priorities like getting his own waves and drinking until the wee hours. Apparently, he had a second job that he left to go handle while leaving the camp in the hands of young kid that had little no instruction on how to run the place. Specifically which boards we were allowed to use. The first morning we woke up took whichever boards we wanted as we were under the impression all were fair game for the guests.

After surfing for about 2 hours we came back to find the owner, Alan, irate and hungover from his previous night because we took one of his own personal boards to surf. We spent the next 10 minutes trying to apologize to him because we didn't know while he threw a fit like a 12 year old girl.

The rest of the stay was awful. We counted the hours to return back to PC for an enjoyable time.

If you take anything from this is don't stay at this place. It's an absolute waste of your money.

  • Stayed February 2011, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
5 Thank Patrick T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Southern Nevada
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 June 2010

I day tripped at Rio Mar Surf Hostel on several occasions in the course of my Panama trip. I surfed the point with Alan one day (on Stand Up Paddleboards) and found Alan to be a friendly and knowledgeable host-guide. Although not a five star resort, the facilities and staff are more than adequate for a surf safari.

  • Stayed April 2010, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
Helpful?
Thank OldSurfDog
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Panama
1 review
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 December 2009

This place has a really great set up! It's chilled out! Great to relax by the pool or in the hammock! The staff are awesome! They work really hard and aren't paid very well! So if you think they deserve it, leave them a tip!

We went to Rio Mar Surf Camp to recreate an Aussie christmas! It's the perfect surfing base!
The only thing that affected our experience was the owner. He got drunk and talked [--]! and was generally intrusive on our stay. However, don't let this stop you from staying there, he works away from the resort so there is a very good chance he won't be there!

  • Stayed December 2009, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank wunderlustbackpacker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
vemb_28, Owner at Rio Mar Surf Camp, responded to this review, 3 February 2011
If you where capable to understand my dedication to the Panama Canal, which I have had been doing professionally for the last 18 years, you might have tought different, read my reviews, articles on so many magazines and guestbook, then shoot.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
panama
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 January 2008

Excellent place, board rentals, lessons, new chef, good food,easy going atmosphere, good place to hangout...

  • Liked — friendliness
  • Disliked — a little more cleanliness
  • Stayed January 2008, travelled with family
    • Value
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    • Check-in / front desk
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    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank bruner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Rio Mar Surf Camp

Property: Rio Mar Surf Camp
Address: San Carlos, Panama City, Panama
Region: Panama > Panama Province > Panama City
Hotel Style:
Ranked #56 of 110 Speciality Lodging in Panama City
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Number of rooms: 8
Also Known As:
Rio Mar Surf Camp Hotel Panama City
Rio Mar Surf Camp Panama/Panama City

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