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“Most friendly place”
Review of Casa del Sol

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Casa del Sol
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 30 January 2011

We rented the sunrise room for 3 nights in January 2011. The room is not big, but nice and clean and has very fast Wifi access. Breakfast is waiting for you in the refrigerator and is refilled every day. The facility itself is just a safe, clean and comfortable place to sleep, nothing more or less. The really outstanding thing about the place is Jenny, the panamanian girl who runs the place for the owners. She could not be more helpful and friendly. Because of her you feel very welcome and home on the island. It is really a big advantage to have such a welcoming and helpful host, especially if you need advice or help with organizing a day trip or other activity on the islands. I would definitely recommend Casa del Sol to my friends.

  • Stayed: January 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank martin_germany_2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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73 - 79 of 124 reviews

Reviewed 8 January 2011

We were assigned the "Sunset" room which is 11' x 12' cracker box on the back of house probably built in the '60's. No sunset visible because this place is in an unremarkable jungle. Paper thin walls letting in constant road noise from endless ATV-type vehicles running up and down the adjacent dirt road at all hours. Very poor lighting for reading. Mediocre double bed and two very uncomfortable bar stools for seating, furnishings one might expect in a homeless shelter. Located more than a kilometer from the beach and necessarily renting a motorized vehicle ($45/day) makes the price of this place very poor value. Breakfast is a skimpy in-room offering of some bread and cheese or dry cereal, not worth the name.

  • Stayed: December 2010, travelled as a couple
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17  Thank Dustin51
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 December 2010

we stayed in casa del sol over christmas and we enjoyed it very much.
The room (sunset) was very clean and quiet. the garden was beautifull.
Jenny who is managing it now, is very nice and helpfull. We met anke(the owner) as well and she is also very nice. The beaches are all in walking distance(from 10 to 20 min). The snorkeling and scubadiving was amazing. Thank you for the great stay

  • Stayed: December 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank hil12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 October 2010

Peter's place is very simple and understated. There is nothing very 'nice' about it but it was clean and Peter could not have been more helpful.

We stayed in the room with the kitchen which was great, we were there for 4 nights and the kitchen made a big difference. We hired a golf cart which you really need to do. Casa Del Sol is too far from the beach and town to want to walk more than once a day considering the heat. You could go back and forth to Playa Executiva which is a lovely beach, but if you're trying to relax it's not that appealing. The bed was also not great and really needs to be replaced. It was a double which was not great when 1 of us is 6"4, and after 4 nights we both had sore backs. You also can't roll over without the thing sounding like it was falling apart. All of this is fine if it was cheaper, although I think air-con really puts prices up in Panama. As soon as there is air con you will pay for it regardless of room quality.

We were expecting a lot more of Isla Contadora. The island has the feeling of being a little bit past it all and some of the less frequented beaches are terribly polluted. That said, the main beaches are really nice. Punta Galeon had sewerage spilling out over their patio 2 days in a row, and when we sat on their chairs on the beach they asked us for $5 despite their being no one else around. It is also expensive and the shops stock little and poor quality fresh vegetables.

We went on a taxi boat snorkling for 2 hours which was great and I would recommend that. To give you an idea though, this cost $60 for 2 people, in Bocas Del Toro we did a 6 hour snorkling and island tour for $25 for 2 people.

  • Stayed: October 2010, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank 28days
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 October 2010

Peter, the owner is awesome, and the rooms are charming and very pretty. The only gripe was that it was far inland in the residential area of the island which was why the prices for rooms were so cheap but getting to the beaches and restaurants took at least a 10-minute walk. Not that big of a deal but sometimes you just want to be in the water right then and there, not trek for 10 minutes in the sun.

However, I would definitely recommend this place as a more cost-friendly alternative to the other hotels that are closer to the beaches and therefore, more expensive.

  • Stayed: October 2010, travelled with friends
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1  Thank nicquk2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 August 2010

My wife and I spent 3 or 4 nights at Casa del Sol. We rented the room with the kitchen; however, we probably would go for the normal room next time. There are no real grocery stores on the island so there's really no way to utilize the kitchen.

The room was very nice and the breakfast was perfect - toast, jam, cereal, eggs, coffee, etc. The owners are very pleasant - ready to help in any way that they can but mostly stay out of the way. About a week later, we actually ran into Anke in Panama City and had a few beers.

Contadora is an absolutely beautiful island. The beaches are amazing. However, it is very isolated. There are 4 restaurants - none of which are particularly good and all of which are more expensive than anywhere else in Panama. However, if you want to just relax, lay on the beach, go to bed early, etc., then it is absolutely perfect. In hindsight, we probably would not have stayed a full 4 days on account of getting restless from all of the laying around and doing nothing.

We'd definitely recommend Casa del Sol for anyone going to Contadora!!

  • Stayed: July 2010, travelled solo
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Thank delseroad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 March 2010

Casa del Sol has two small rooms (one with cooking facilities) and a house for rent. I stayed in one of the small rooms (with no cooking facilities) for two nights. My room was small but spotlessly clean and nicely decorated, but the lighting at night is insufficient. There are beige tiles, pale green walls, a queen bed, and two cupboards (only one holds clothes –folded, no hanging space. The other cupboard holds a small fridge with your breakfast. Both rooms have en suite shower and toilet.

It´s a pretty meager breakfast of bread and jam and packets of cereal. They also offered me a boiled egg, but the breakfast isn´t as substantial as their web site or the Bradt Guide would have you believe. You will still be hungry after having had it.

The owners are kindly and efficient but they will let you be unless you knock and ask for help. (German lady with British husband pro golfers. They plan to move to Coronado to be closer to the golf courses in six months and get someone else in to manage the place, so check for updated reviews after new management is in place ). They picked me up at the airport on a `mule` (local quad bike/ golf cart) and gave me a tour around the very small island (you can walk around it in 90 minutes) so I would have my bearings. Note that Case del Sol is off the beaten path. It´s about a 20 minute walk into town and it´s not near a beach either. There´s no TV or pool. They have high speed WIFI, but it didn´t work when I was there, so you better like your peace and quiet. (I also got no response to any of the e-mails I sent establishments on Contadora although they did apparently receive my e-mails and responded to me, so I had to call to make bookings.) That said, many places will pick you up for dinner or activities like the glass bottom boat and diving, or the owners will give you a ride.

The beaches aren´t great. They are rocky and at high tide the water nearly covers the beach and at low tide, sand with rocks materialize for miles, so you have to wade a long way out to get water you can swim in. Other than a nine island tour or a spin out on a glass bottom boat, there´s nothing to do on Contadora. Two nights is plenty. A fly in day trip with boat and snorkel trip from Crystal Divers might be a better bet if you want to maximize your time in Panama.

I came here to check out the diving. Diving is shallow and while there are lots of fish on some sights it´s pretty mediocre. It´s also pricey at $90 for two tank dive, $80 if you have your own gear. By way of comparison, it costs $50 to dive with your own gear on Bocas del Toro and only an incredibly low $175 to learn how to dive there, thanks to greater competition. Mind you, they were kind enough to take me out by myself for this, although they usually request a two person minimum.

The 25 minute flight from Panama City to Contadora is on tiny prop planes with barely any luggage room. They couldn´t accept my dive bag as it was too big, so I had to take my stuff out so the bag would fit. Also, on all domestic flights in Panama, you only get 15 kilos luggage allowance. Fortunately, excess baggage charges are reasonable. Note that AeroPerlas is more reliable than Air Panama. You can book your tickets online very easily. You can rent gear from the dive shop, but for those of us who like diving with our own gear, be warned. Dive shop has 3 mm suits. Water is usually 25C but it 22C when I dove in mid March. Apparently the cold Humboldt current comes through for a few weeks a year and maybe that´s what I dove in. I was glad I had brought thicker wet suits.

Casa del Sol only takes cash for now-- payable when you arrive in your room. (You can´t really get off the island without them noticing, so I thought this was a bit odd.) They are applying to get a credit card machine set up though. It´s a nice enough place to stay, but just be ready for the fact that there´s not much to do on Contadora Island, unless you come end August/September when the humpback whales congregate here to breed and give birth. Then you supposedly get great whale encounters by snorkeling.

  • Stayed: March 2010, travelled solo
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4  Thank poleinahole1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Casa del Sol

Address: Panama Province, Panama
Region: Panama > Panama Province > Pearl Islands > Contadora Island
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 10 B&Bs / Inns in Contadora Island
Price Range: $127 - $204 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Casa del Sol 3*
Number of rooms: 5
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