Our friends Bob and Helena opened Garden of Eden in Bocas de Toro a year ago. We were there before they opened and before they finished building. It is a year later and success has been sweet. They are building again and are about to receive a wonderful review in a new book on travel in Panama.
“Garden of Eden Resort $$$
With only three rooms, on a tiny island all by itself, it would be hard not to relax at this peaceful and comfortable resort. It is extremely quiet and private yet only 15 minutes by water taxi from the fleshy delights of Bocas Town.
The rooms are large and comfortably appointed with hot water, showers and hammocks on the balcony. You can gaze out over the blue Caribbean waters without lifting your head up from your pillow. Ceiling fans keep the air moving. No AC. You don’t really need it.
The resort is only a year old and has been lovingly crafted by owners Robert and Helena Myers. Retired from a life of contracting and fishing around Big Pine Key in Florida and the corporate world, the Myers have created an atmosphere of tranquility and laid-back island life. They bring a refreshing air of the Keys to the whole experience. If you nag him, Bob might take you fishing. March, April and May are prime time for tuna. Helena can economically arrange all of the usual area tours. Restorative massages are offered by the talented Señora Talita.
Not only is the Garden of Eden rated number one in Bocas del Toro by posters on Trip Advisor, it is a stone cold bargain. Rooms for two go for $120 per night. The rate includes breakfast and transportation to and from Bocas Town every day (this is a $20 value). Typical meals include very large portions of steak, lobster, shrimp and local vegetables. Their most expensive lunches go for around $6 and their famous steak and lobster dinner is a mere $20. Beer is $1 and umbrella drinks $3. Good Chilean wines go for $16 bottle. So you’re not stuck on a small island paying fancy resort prices for your consumables. Don’t miss the smoked kingfish dip.
One of the best things about the place is the owners. One glance tells you this is a place to relax and chat with old pals while sipping interesting rum concoctions late into the night. One of the reasons they chose this lifestyle is their love of having friends over to hang out and relax. You are their friends.
The grounds are meticulously manicured and loaded with exotic heliconias, orchids, ginger plants and other fantastical tropical plants. The small pool and patio are private, suitable for even the most daring sun worshippers. The sparkling pool is the cleanest I have seen in Panama. Very inviting! Stroll to the end of the dock and you can see hundreds of snapper Helena pampers with kitchen scraps. Julie, a 10-lbs. jewfish, lurks about. There is a sandy area with lounge chairs, but no beach. But still, the swimming is good and the snorkeling right around the island is rewarding. Kayaks are free and the surrounding area is great for exploring. You can paddle to nearby, white sand, Red Frog Beach for lounging around or surfing.
Book early. This is, by popular vote, the nicest place to stay in the Bocas del Toro area. It’s only a year old but the secret is already out. My educated guess is that they will be solidly booked by 2008. Info : Isla Solarte, www.gardenofedenbocaspanama.com; Tel. 561-459-3689 (US), 507-700-0352 (Panama).”
Used with permission