My friend and I stayed at GOE for 2 nights in the 'Bay View' cabin. We were looking for somewhere isolated, where we could relax and explore by ourselves. GOE was more than we'd hoped... we had an unforgettable time and regretted not staying longer. Steve, Karen, Kipp and Zeus were genuine, warm hosts and really helped us feel at home. To be more detailed, I've broken down my review into different areas and tried to include one negative:
GOE is a very small operation; with only 3 cabins on a small strip of land connected to Isla Solarte by mangroves. Managed by 2-3 people (and Zeus the dog), it's a very personal experience. There aren't any fancy tour desks and the WiFi was pretty unreliable, but these are most certainly not negatives. There's a kitchen, bar, boat, pool, hammocks, snorkelling gear and kayaks. All of which you can use whenever you want.
GOE is in an incredible location... you can barely see another building for miles! It's about 15mins by water taxi from Bocas Town (or you can arrange to be collected from GOE directly). I'd suggest not getting a water taxi as they rip you off badly. Once you're there, the water's calm... there's no-one else around... the view is spectacular and you can practically taste the relaxation. The Inn itself is built within a small garden, which is lovely, but there are no other 'grounds' to speak of.
The 'Bay View' cabin was very large in comparison to other places we stayed. It had 2 extremely comfortable king-size beds, an ensuite bathroom and private balcony/hammock overlooking the bay at eye-level. The view was absolutely stunning (the photos prove it) and the cabin wasn't connected to the communal area, so was nice and isolated. It could easily sleep a family of 6! The other 2 cabins, from what I saw, were both connected to the communal area and had a much more elevated view of the surrounding area. There was no safe, but you genuinely didn't need one here whatsoever.
We only met the owner, Kipp, briefly. However, Karen and Steve (the managers) were there the whole time... and were really warm and welcoming hosts. From the second we stepped onto the dock to the second we left it. We didn't feel like 'guests' as such, more like friends (who paid at the end, heh) and they really went out of their way to make sure we had everything we needed. They also both had a wealth of knowledge on the surrounding area... and gave us some help with directions and organising a couple of trips.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner were all cooked on-site... Karen is one mean cook! The meals weren't included in the price of the room, however were great value for the quality (we're talking Steak with Blue Cheese Sauce). Proper home-cooked delicious food, all served around a communal table with the owners, managers and other guests. Even though my friend and I are working-class and a bit weird, we felt really comfortable. It was a great atmosphere.
We only booked one tour through GOE, the Oreba Chocolate Tour. However, Steve and Karen were always available to give recommendations and help call and book anything we wanted to do. Instead, we did do a lot of snorkelling in the beautiful water around the Inn (all equipment supplied free!) and took one of the kayaks out to red frog beach on our own (again, supplied free!). It felt good to be trusted with the equipment and - with Steve's directions - we made it there and back in one piece!
I'll be honest, GOE is quite an expensive option, however it's worth every penny. If you want a relaxing, isolated paradise... this is the place to go!
- 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
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Garden Of Eden Hotel Isla Solarte
- Hotel Garden Of Eden
- Garden Of Eden Inn Panama/Isla Solarte, Bocas Del Toro