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“Heaven”
Review of Hacienda del Mar

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Hacienda del Mar
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in San Jose Island
Reviewed 9 November 2013 via mobile

My husband and I immensely enjoyed our stay at this hotel. Our cabin was rustic, no TV, no telephone, no WiFi in the room (only around the pool and restaurant area), yet very intelligently and generously decorated. Mattresses are very comfortable and showers are good. The service and kitchen are excellent. We enjoyed the snorkeling tour of the beaches, the half day frisking trip and the four wheeler tour of the island. This place is heaven and the perfect place to rest and recover, and still have lots of fun.

Stayed: November 2013
2  Thank Cedar32
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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41 - 47 of 106 reviews

Reviewed 30 October 2013

The food was above expectations, the service and attenttion was above expectations, the room over the sea were awesome, although much bigger than needed...but hey, it was great. Inside bar great, pool was great, the view is fan tas tic....our guests compared it only second to Phuket. Keep the widlife coming. Boat fising trip rentals seemed steep. Very enjoyable, watch out for the sand flies at sunset...they are a menace...lather with the provided soap...it works!!!

Watch where you wonder, unexploded ordenance from WWII tests still in site. Will be back.

Room Tip: room 14 has great view
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  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank felipegdep
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 October 2013 via mobile

Some of the if not the most beautiful hotel setting of any of the 32 countries and 200+ cities I have visited... only Pha Nag Bay Thailand comes to mind as a close comparison .

The views are all post card quality but for an extra special treat get cabin 11 or 12 out over the rocks on stilts..

Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
1  Thank KPS92-5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 July 2013

Landing on the grassy runway lets you know you have arrived at a private exclusive island/resort. The drive to the resort is breath taking giving us a snapshot of the wildlife, fruits...we see later in the trip. We were received at the resort by Toucans and Parrots all in the wild and so pretty and sounds to sooth your soul. The property is meticulously maintained and we were greeted with a fruit drink, delightful, yummy I see the ocean all around us! The beautifully decorated and furnished rooms are complete with amenities and all of which have access and visibility of the ocean, wow. We have landed in paradise.
This resort has Boating and Fishing, Hiking, ATV, jeeps, and trucks for exploring the island, relaxation by the Infinity pool, jacuzzi by the ocean or on one of the 54 beaches, some are very private.
The wildlife roam freely making for an excellent safari type experience by day and by night, we did both and it was AMAZING.
Many foods are Organically grown and served to you. The cashews, honey, and mangos are examples of what is harvested right there. The fish is in abundance in the ocean and for your meals. The food all together is presented beautifully and in abundance. EVERYTHING we ate was delicious.
We chose a fishing experience for the day and that it was! We saw over 20 whales of which 7 whales breached very close and 3 of the 7 fully breached. 2 whales layed on there backs and lifted there fins and slapped them down on the water, beautiful! I honestly didn't even know whales were there. My husband and I were traveling with 2 friends and we all found this "special". Now, we were fishing while all the whale activity was happening and the dolphins swimming and jumping along side the boat. Mahi, Mahi, Trigger fish, and 26 Albacore Tuna to finish the day, WOW!! Yes, we ate fresh fish and sushi elegantly and deliciously prepared.
The next day my husband was popping for 8-10 lb Snapper and mahi mahi while I enjoyed photographing the wildlife, the pool, the ocean, appetizers and delicious island refreshments.
I highly recommend this trip. Obviously, I wanted to share all the experiences. Don't get me wrong, laying by the pool or in one of the hammocks receiving excellent care and service the entire trip would be beautiful also. I did that one day.

  • Stayed: July 2013, travelled with friends
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4  Thank Liz950
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 June 2013

This is a great hotel if you want to get away from the everything. No phones, wireless internet connection on public areas so you can choose to either connect with nature or keep connected to the hectic business world. I chose the first one.
Food is awesome.... Pricy but is worth it. Try for the Mahi-Mahi (Dorado) with Arroz con Coco.
The owners are great people and the staff is very well trained. They are not present all the time but are easy to find.
We went for 3 days and decided to stay an extra day. This is a place to relax, have a glass of wine, enjoy nature and reconnect with yourself. A hidden jewel on the Pacific.

  • Stayed: May 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank GyR17
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 May 2013

We spent two nights and three whole days at Hacienda del Mar. We took the small flight from Panama City--HDM made the booking, for the same price as on the Air Panama website. The plane there had nine people, total--two pilots, our family of four (children ages 4 and 6), and three guys who worked at the resort. Generally, I would say it's a very laid-back place--you won't get top-notch service, but if you need something--drinks, snacks--you can always wander back to the kitchen, and it will appear. There's a small shop with an honor system; it's a little expensive, but when you need more sunblock (you will need more sunblock), what can you do? There's also a cooler with ice cream bars for $1 a pop, which seemed completely reasonable. (Having small kids, we also packed a lot of snacks, so we had some nuts and granola bars on hand, which helped avoid that feeling of being completely at the mercy of the resort.)
The beach is beautiful, there's a flock of macaws that come to eat, and there's a toucan. There are boats to take out, and small islands to paddle to. And you get the sense the staff is not hovering, but generally aware of where the guests all are.
I feel like it's worth mentioning, however, that the island is privately owned; the resort is pretty much the only thing on it, aside from some soldiers near the "airport." And if you do some Googling, you'll discover that in fact the US Army tested chemical weapons on the island during WWII, and there are apparently some unexploded munitions on the island. It seems this has caused some political friction, and when we found this out (from another family which had taken the night tour and wondered why there were so many bridges, remains of buildings, etc., and did some Googling from the computer in the resort's main building), we were a little shaken, though on balance, I don't regret having gone there and would--and have--recommended it to friends.
And the bugs everyone's complaining about? We didn't notice them, so much. Got a few bites in the evening, but enh.
Overall, I get the sense that they're trying really hard. It's a beautiful location, and really beautiful facilities. The service is not what you might expect from a luxury resort, which we were ok with. The staff are all friendly, but don't go out of their way to anticipate your needs. If you're looking to be fawned over, this might not be the place for you. But if you're looking for a beautiful, quiet spot to lie in a hammock and read and be gloriously bored .... go!

Room Tip: We stayed in a basic Toucan suite, very near the main building. It was perfectly fine--and with smal...
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  • Stayed: March 2013, travelled with family
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2  Thank Hattie F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 March 2013

The place is quite exclusive, the only way to get there is by private yacht or by small plane and the resort is the only building on the whole island (besides a few fishermen huts I am told). The island is pretty big, (second largest of the Las Perlas archipelago) it includes many secluded beaches and a lush tropical forest which is also used for hunting of deer and wild boars.

The sea around the resort is teaming with life, children will find the shallow waters of beach next to the hotel very attractive but you should ensure to check the sandy bottom around with a stick to send off any stingrays hiding just under the sand and a full body lycra suit would be best to prevent any jelly fish stings. Birdwatchers will also be completely overwhelmed by the variety and number of birds around, especially the house toucan and the large parrots circling in the sky and hawking all day.

The area is well known for great fishing and the hotel can provide full assistance for it at a price which is not cheap but also not too expensive considering the big game you will encounter.
The hotel is well geared for sport fishing, any fish caught will be stored in the fridge or can be cooked for you by the chefs, we paid 12$ per person for the fish we provided cooked on the hot plate and a salad.
The menu is reasonable with main courses around 15-20$, fish is cooked very well but the sauces provided seemed a bit strong. The apple pie was good but the lemon tart I was served was only 5x8cm (2”x3”) and it cost 6.50$. The rooms were eco-lodge style, great balconies overlooking the bay, comfortable but not luxurious fittings, and a bit too open to the elements by holes in the mosquito nets and ill-fitting windows.

I thought service was excellent, friendly and welcoming while at the same time allowing complete privacy.

The biggest problem we encountered was the almost invisible sand-flees; they were present in the shaded parts of the beach and in the hotel facilities, especially in the bedrooms. It is very difficult to feel the bites but approximately 12 hours later the itching drives you crazy and it will continue to do so for several days. The hotel provides a repellent, which like a bar of soap needs to be applied to the wet body parts and then left to dry…it seemed not too bad but needs to be reapplied every time you have a swim and I seemed to get bitten anyway…other products which we have used in most other outdoor trips successfully like OFF, also seemed to have no effect on these pests…We also plugged in a mosquito hot plat and tablet but in the very aerated rooms seemed to have no effect at all. The second night there was for me completely sleepless due to the itching and was very glad to get off the island…The hotel should find some way to balance eco-friendliness with some control of these sand-flees. Even though there were no mosquito nets available, the hotel should consider ones with a very fine mesh since these bugs are very very small.

It is difficult to value the very subjective reactions to stunning views of virgin nature, exclusive reclusion and relaxed pampering although for us it seemed overall overpriced and the sand-flies problem would certainly put us off another visit in the short term.

Room Tip: Bring swimming shoes, full body lycra swimming suits, a strong arsenal against sand flees,
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  • Stayed: March 2013, travelled with family
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7  Thank Stefano F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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Additional Information about Hacienda del Mar

Address: A Private Island Resort on San Jose Island | Pearl Islands, Panama, Panama Province, Panama
Phone Number:
Region: Panama > Panama Province > Pearl Islands > San Jose Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Business Centre with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in San Jose Island
Price Range: £250 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Hacienda del Mar 3*
Number of rooms: 14
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Hacienda del Mar offers the most stylish adventure in the Pearl Islands of Panama. Our hotel's unique and spacious air conditioned accommodations blend island charm and modern comfort, all just steps from our majestic white sand beaches. The vacation resort consists of 17 cabanas, each with its own balcony, offering breathtaking panoramic views to the beach, the sea, and the triple canopy forest of the island. Activities include kayaking, snorkeling, ATV tours, Night Safari's, Incredible Inshore and Offshore Fishing......Or relax at the beach or poolside with your favorite drink while watching the Toucan's and Maccaws fly by freely...A Private Island Paradise. Call us!! ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Hacienda Del Mar Hotel San Jose Island
Hacienda Del Mar Panama/San Jose Island

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