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“Amazing food and service! Great yoga! ”
Review of La Buena Vida

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La Buena Vida
Ranked #2 of 11 Santa Catalina B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 15 March 2017 via mobile

Love love love this restaurant. I was in SC for 3 weeks and ate here almost every day without getting sick of it. The food is fresh and they have lots of healthy and vegetarian options (hard to find). They also make awesome smoothies and energy bars. Only downside is they don't do dinner :( staff is really friendly and service is great. The owners are also very lovely and helpful.
They have yoga here every morning and evening on a deck that is on a hilltop with beautiful views and a great breeze. The yoga instructors are all really great - certified and well trained. They offer Hatha, Ashtanga, Flow, and Pilates classes for very reasonable prices.
We didn't stay at this hotel for this stay but we have in the past and the rooms are very nice and clean and comfortable. We will stay there next time we are in town.

Stayed: March 2017, travelled with family
Thank Anthea S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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10 - 14 of 159 reviews

Reviewed 22 February 2017

My wife and I stayed here 4 nights to visit the Unesco Coiba National Park. We arrived by taxi($30) from Sona as the hourly bus was standing room only. We were met by the manager, Ian, who checked us in at the roadside restaurant/office and walked us 10 meters behind to their clean Butterfly Villa.
The 1 room house(small balcony with rocking chair and hammock) has a comfortable queen, large nightstand, wardrobe with drawers, desk with chair, bunk bed(we used for bag storage), refer, fan, quiet effective AC, safe, and fully outfitted bathroom(with outside shower). This villa is very quiet for sleeping because its set behind the restaurant(does not serve dinner) with houses on each side.
We ate all our breakfasts(cafe con leche with muesli or pancakes or eggs or fruit and yogurt-$7.25 each), and one delicious lunch(special drinks with egg salad or tacos-$13 each) at their large, modern well attended restaurant(6:30AM-14:00PM).
We walked ~400 meters down the road to the Santa Catalina Beach to watch the beginning surfers, for all of the 18:25PM sunsets, and one morning for our 90 minute boat("Watching Dolphin") to the National Park.
One morning, we walked ~1 km up to the Point Break lookout to watch the ~20 daring surfers above the rocks. One morning, we walked ~1 mile down the paved road to Estero, then 1 mile down its 2 surf laden beaches.
The WIFI is virtually unusable, the village lost its electricity twice for ~4 hours each time, but we are happy to have chosen this pleasantly shaded, value complex sitting at the top of the road, providing easy access to the numerous restaurants, mini markets and dive/snorkeling centers in this laid back beach village.

  • Stayed: February 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
1  Thank Gene J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Michelle M, Owner at La Buena Vida, responded to this reviewResponded 1 March 2017

Thanks so much Gene for all the details here! It helps readers and future guests to see just how centrally located we are, close to the majority of restaurants, all the dive/snorkel outfitters and both grocery stores. Plus, just one mile (about 15 minutes walking) to the point surf break or the Estero Beach. Sorry if you found the wifi to be slow. We hope to have a better option available to us here shortly. We loved having you and your wife here and wish you well on the rest of your UNESCO journey.

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Reviewed 11 February 2017

My friend and I stayed for days at La Buena Vida in January while diving in Santa Catalina. We stayed in the Bird Villa and we loved it. The staff was very friendly and professional. The villa was great. The restaurant serves the best breakfast and lunch in town. And the restaurant opens at 6am, which is very convenient when you go diving or surfing early in the morning.

This place is really great value for money and I would definately go back next time I'm in town.

Only negative is that the WiFi is really slow - like in all other places in town. But really - who cares?

Thanks your a great stay guys!

  • Stayed: January 2017, travelled with friends
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Benjamin P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Michelle M, Owner at La Buena Vida, responded to this reviewResponded 1 March 2017

Thank you Benjamen P for the great complement on the restaurant and your overall stay. We hope to have a better Internet option available in Santa Catalina soon. Until then, future travelers should know Santa Catalina still remains a great place to disconnect.

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Reviewed 22 January 2017 via mobile

My Boyfriend and I very much enjoyed out stay in la buena vista. There are a lot of nice artistical details to discover in the rooms and the restaurant area. We can highly recommend the yoga lessons!
Also the staff was very friendly and helpful and the breakfast was delicious. Still there is one little negative aspect; the beddings could get replaced, as they got a little unpleasant smell (that surely comes from the humidity of the jungle).
Apart from this: fantastic Hostel!!

Stayed: January 2017
1  Thank Jbaduizm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Michelle M, Owner at La Buena Vida, responded to this reviewResponded 1 March 2017

Thank you Jbaduizm for the 4 star review for our Artistic HOTEL, LA BUENA VIDA. We hope future guests take your advice and join us in the beautiful "Bird's Eye View" Yoga Studio for class. We always take care to wash and change bedding and curtains regularly because as you say, the humidity of the jungle can affect linens here rapidly. I'm sorry if that aspect of your stay affected your overall experience. We will be more diligent in that department, especially as we come into green season. Thanks again!

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Reviewed 9 January 2017

My husband, 2 teenagers and I stayed in the Butterfly Villa for 4 nights in December. It was big enough for all of us and we loved the outdoor shower. I chose this one because the boys would have their own beds, but the patio is quite small. Michelle, Michael and all the staff (shout out to Melissa and Ian) were friendly, helpful, and accommodating. They have worked hard to make La Buena Vida homey, environmentally friendly, warm and inviting. We ate several yummy meals there, including a take away picnic lunch for our day at Coiba, had a massage, swung in the hammock, and marveled at Michelle and Mike's beautiful artwork (mosaics, ironwork and construction). I also loved the attention to detail such as the binder full of information about the hotel, the area, and how to make the most of your time in Santa Catalina. The location is perfect for walking to "town" and all the activities. We went diving at Coiba as well as on a snorkeling and birding tour of Coiba (thanks for the recommendation) and they were both highlights of our 2 week trip to Panama. Thanks guys! I hope to see you again one day soon!

  • Stayed: December 2016, travelled with family
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank yonherboyz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Michelle M, Owner at La Buena Vida, responded to this reviewResponded 1 March 2017

Thank you guys for noticing :)! I'll be sure to tell Ian and Melissa that all their efforts are being appreciated as well. HOORAY! Coiba! A MUST SEE while here... and yes we still are... so come back again, stay and recommend us to friends!

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Additional Information about La Buena Vida

Address: Main Street | 600 Meters From the Beach, Santa Catalina 60745, Panama
Phone Number:
Region: Panama > Veraguas Province > Santa Catalina
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 11 B&Bs / Inns in Santa Catalina
Price Range: ₹ 3,240 - ₹ 7,129 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
INNOVATIVE - ARTISTIC- COMFORTABLE - WELLNESS -DISCONNECT - RELAX - RESET. La Buena Vida is located in the heart of Santa Catalina, Panama. Conveniently located near all super markets, restaurants, dive shops, and just a short walk from beaches and surf breaks. All our private villas have hot water, A/C and a mini frige. Book our "Casa del Mar" or house at Las Casitas for a full kitchen. Our artistic garden cafe serves healthy breakfast and lunch from 6:30 a.m. - 2 p.m. We offer regular yoga classes to the public in our beautiful tree-top yoga studio. As well as custom massage treatments. ... more   less 

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