Though Sarah wasn't really ready to rent the work-in-process upgraded Casa Gaviota in late December, she graciously accepted our reservation and made it work. Yes, there was construction going on and as it was holiday season, the work was slower than ideal. Details aside, what resulted was a wonderful stay and the foundation for our decision to settle in the Coronado area for the long-term. The people we met through staying with Sarah and her inspired love for Panama life were contagious. Do meet her, stay on her property, and see what evolves. You will not regret the experience.
I preface this review by stating that we have stayed in 3 other casita accommodations in both Costa Rica and Belize in past months and found them to be excellent. Not this one!
We stayed in tortuga for 3 weeks. First impressions are not great when entering parking area especially when there is construction debris everywhere. Cozy casita is a euphemism for very tiny studio motel style room of 195 sq ft. Kitchen is attached but separate tiny 100 sq ft ill equipped and not air conditioned (2 small plates, no steak knives or storage containers, dull knives, no prep area) . The door from kitchen to outside has openings which allowed in construction dust from the room across ( which lasted almost all 3 weeks and woke to saws every a.m.). The bed is small,creaky and uncomfortable with a old egg crate topper. The table and chairs would have to be pulled out against bed in order to dine so we sat on bed to eat. Had to ask for included cleaning as there was no schedule or organization. Some guests arrived with no one to check them in. The pool is nice but there was confusion over pool chemical treatment and what chairs there are, were mostly old and a safety hazard. Overall feeling of neglect and unprofessional organization. Outdoor shower was out of commission for 2/wks and there is an empty fountain at the back. We fixed umbrellas, our sink and the cold water input to the washer which seem like pretty basic maintenance issues. Also cleaned a/c filter. The common area floors and furniture don't seem to be cleaned at all. There were guests in owners pad as she stayed off site so no one felt we could use the outdoor living/kitchen area without disturbing them.
If you like very cramped, run down, hostel/dorm room type accommodation this could work for you but otherwise spend less and get a 2/bed Hi rise condo on the beach in Gorgona for less money.
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The property consists in several casitas and a back area with garden and pool. It is well maintained thanks to an attentive and friendly staff residing on the property itself.
It is well located near the beach, shops, restaurants and the main highway to Panama city.
I was 'upgraded' to the main casita consisting in a 1 bedroom which was simple, clean and with everything necessary. The summary booklet in the casita with local addresses and things to do is very helpful. The Wi-Fi signal power was impressively strong and there was even a few foreign channels on the TV to catch up with European broadcasted news (French) ! Nice.
Unfortunately, only the bedroom in this casita had A/C which made it difficult for me to remain in the other rooms given the Panamanian hammering heat. So evaluate your cooling needs before booking.
I recommend this pleasant property to anyone traveling in the area.
We spent 7 nights in casita la Gaviota and were so happy there that we extended our stay. The casita was the perfect place for our stay with the kitchen to fix our own meals, a good bathroom and bedroom with TV and AC. We had many dinners on our little porch and enjoyed the company of the other tenants in the garden by the pool.
Sarah has really created a homey environment and she often generously invited everyone to join for a drink, a dinner or to come and chat by the pool. If Sarah's not there, she has Vilma who lives on the property as caretaker, to help her out.
The atmosphere is very relaxed and pleasant and we made good friends with Sarah, Scotty and the other guests.
The beach is only a short walk away, so is the Golf Club were there also is a nice pool. There are a few restaurants within walking distance and it's easy and cheap to take a bus or a taxi to the supermarket and more restaurants.
If you're looking for something more than a hotel room, this is where you should go!
Sarah was an amazing host and Casita Gaviota was everything we hoped it would be and more. Coronado is a safe and beautiful city to stay in with breathtakingly beautiful black sand beaches. The property was wonderful. Our room was clean, quite, private, comfortable, and everything was functional and as described. The pool was wonderful and we loved the common areas that were conducive to getting to know the other guests. Sarah went above and beyond to make us feel welcome and truly at home doing our stay. She was eager to answer any questions and to help us navigate the area. She even drew us some maps. I would highly recommend renting though Sarah without hesitation. Our vacation would not have been nearly as enjoyable had we stay somewhere else. She was wonderful!
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