Chiriqui Province Hotels

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Cala Mia

At a Glance

    Pros

  • gorgeous design and location
  • trips to islands
  • natural food
  • friendly staff

    Cons

  • isolated
  • no-see-ums can be a problem

Fodorite Reviews

Average Rating:  

Cala Mia Review

Bungalows at this Boca Brava eco-lodge are tastefully decorated and have terraces with couches, hammocks, and tree-shrouded water views. The restaurant ($$) sits at the end of the point has walls of windows and specializes in Italian cuisine. A suspension bridge leads to an islet with a massage and yoga gazebo. Activities include sea kayaking, excursions to nearby islands, snorkeling, scuba diving, and horseback riding. Ocean-view bungalows are better ventilated than bay-view ones. Electricity is solar (meaning no a/c), garbage is recycled or composted for farm use, and 5% of income goes to projects for indigenous communities.

    Hotel Details

  • 11 bungalows
  • Rate includes breakfast.
  • Credit cards accepted.
  • Closed Oct.
Updated: 07-26-2012

Fodorite Reviews

Average Rating:  
  • Service  
    Food  
    Décor  
    Value  

    No worth the bucks

    Nice view and settings but big problems with bugs, restaurant and service. For sure not worth the price they charge. Way way overpriced.

    by pfy, 6/4/09
  • Service  
    Food  
    Décor  
    Value  

    Cala Mia Review

    I'm sitting on an isolated Pacific island off the coast of Panama – Isla Boca Brava in the Archipelago Chiriqui – relaxing at Boutique Hotel Cala Mia (which means My Coast in Castellan). Perched on a narrow peninsula with both sunrise and sunset, between the waves of the Pacific and a lovely bay, the hotel would be considered luxurious by any standards. The luxury of Cala Mia is not however in 600 count sheets (they are very close however) or over-the-top room amenities… the sense of luxury comes from the care that the owners Max and Vittoria have lavished on their little corner of paradise. From the individually designed bungalows redolent of Tuscany in their warm colors and soft contours (each with unlimited hot water on demand), to the personal responsibility they have taken in making this tropical escape as environmentally friendly as possible with complete solar power, recycling and an organic farm producing probably the only truly traditional Dutch Gouda in all of central and south America. The couple, full-time residents of Panama for 16 years, have also committed themselves and the resources of both the hotel and the farm to supporting several indigenous families of Ngobe by donating a percentage of sales to the groups and providing jobs (a rarity on the island). A week ago, I stepped from the water taxi (the only way to arrive at Cala Mia) and was greeted by another form of luxury…a well-trained, attentive, yet discrete staff* that seemed to know what I wanted before I did. Upon delivering my bags to a lovely ocean bungalow (no check in required), the staff efficiently explained the amenities of the property, the dining hours, and the ways to mitigate my interaction with the resident bugs (folks, it is not a big deal...you are in the tropics and there will be bugs...simple precautions and it is a non-issue. If sans bugs is a requirement, go enjoy Antarctica.) With the minimal guidelines explained, Adolpho and Evelyn quietly disappeared leaving me to discover what true luxury is…quiet…no cell phones, no TVs, no clocks, and nothing more pressing than making sure I remembered that dinner is served at 7:30. [*A caution for celebrities considering a vacation to the island…Cala Mia will be good for your soul but not for your ego – most likely you won’t be recognized – no less bothered for an autograph! Two celebs are here and happily so.] If you can tear yourself away from the simple pleasure of sitting on your private patio looking out onto a blue-green horizon shadowed with more islands and towering cumulous clouds , you’ll discover a jungle echoing with the eerie chatter of howler monkeys and rare birds calling to each other in the tree tops. Jeweled butterflies flit through the undergrowth, as colorful as the traditional Ngobe dresses worn by the smiling women who are caring for my room each day. And if the pure sybaritic pleasure of doing nothing tires (it hasn't yet!), open air activities abound – horseback riding, hiking, fishing, diving, and kayaking. I travel 4 months each year, and every year to someplace I haven’t been (with the exception of Aix en Provence and Ventimiglia). When I finally leave here next week, I think I’ll be adding ‘my coast’ to a short list of places to revisit again and again. My sincere thanks to the lovely staff at Cala Mia – you gave this woman the space and time to really relax. Muchas gracias.

    by WinterMoon, 2/18/11

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