Sarah's Cozy Casita's/Playa Coronado

Old Feb 9th, 2016, 02:23 PM
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Sarah's Cozy Casita's/Playa Coronado

We traveled to Playa Coronado, Panama for a 6 week stay at Sarah's Cozy Casita's. We only stayed for 4 1/2 weeks. We were late in booking due to the possible sale of our home and it cost us dearly. We had stayed in the Coronado Bay towers last January and received first class treatment and customer service from Panama Tropics and their manager Sharon Francis. She took care of all our needs and made our stay fun. They were booked up for the time we requested so we contacted Sarah Booth to inquire about staying at one of her casita's. My wife and I were well aware that they would be on the smaller side but the weather was our calling card and we chose to stay there. BIG MISTAKE!

Flew from Chicago to Panama City via Copa Airlines with an upgrade to business class. They give you the chance to get the upgrade by bidding for it. The lowest bid allowed was $180 so that's what we bid and we were chosen and enjoyed our flight. Landed and after gathering luggage we hailed a cab. Armed with what the cost should be $30-$35 dollars we asked about sharing a cab and settled on $25. Problem is, when the driver left the airport we had no idea where the other passenger was headed but it turned out he departed just a short distance from our destination, The Tryp Allbrook Hotel. Checked in and immediately toured the hotel and we were very happy with our choice. Booked through Booking.com and paid $80, great deal. The Allbrook mall is attached and has a food court so we decided to have a Johnny Rocket's cheeseburger. Prices are high in the mall but it was good and we were happy. After a good night's sleep, the last one we will have for awhile we decided to get a cab for the short distance to the main bus terminal which is next door. With our luggage, the cab ride would be easier. We talk to Carlos Madrid outside the hotel and he says $8. We agreed and when we went back down with luggage he was nowhere to be found. Hailed a cab and he said $2, WHAT?

Since we were here last year we knew our way around the main bus terminal and we went to the window marked "Chame". This bus is on a direct route to Coronado. Cost, $2.50 each. My wife is trying to secure a big bus to store our luggage but I think the attendant can see our luggage and say, "Let's get going", BIG MISTAKE! We have a mini bus that is mostly full with a few seats near the back. My wife enters and then shoots daggers at me with her eyes as she lifts her 2 pieces and barrels towards the back. Wearing sunglasses, I can't see anything until I remove them and then realize I'm in deep SH__! I struggle towards the back and we settle in. When you take these buses, there is a driver and then a kid that yells out stops and collects money as you leave the bus. He kept telling us to put luggage on our laps but we played dumb and kept them on the seat next to us, he was not happy, Gringos!

After bumping and bouncing we arrive in Coronado an hour later. My wife has a bruise on her arm from all the banging around while on the bus. Another stare down, YIKES! Cab ride to Sarah's is $2. We arrive thinking this will be our home for 6 weeks, can't wait to change and jump into the pool! We get stopped before entering the casita by a guy who says he needs to see if it's ready, WHAT? We were supposed to arrive yesterday but stayed at the Tryp so we are actually 23 hours late and you are seeing if it's ready? Just a preview of what is to come. He says OK so we enter and immediately we are shocked. Does not look like the pictures online and it is filthy. We notice that guy has disappeared and Sarah tells us that the pool is being painted and won't be in service for 3-4 days, our stove/oven has no propane for some lame excuse of a reason and the lock box that we made sure beforehand that they had was broken but would be replaced. Great start and we now think, "We are here for 6 weeks", not good. Sarah does offer us a pass to the beach club a half mile away and we think it is a nice gesture until we find out later in our stay that everyone who stays here gets one. It is all downhill form here and it's only day 1

We knew going in that the casita was small but this is really small. We start to unpack and realize we need to do it one at a time. We are sweating because the A/C is on but not helping much at this point. The kitchen does not have A/C. Very hot in there and no pool to cool off, this sucks! They won't turn the air on ahead of your time of arrival because electricity costs a lot in Panama and they don't want the extra expense. The guests comfort level doesn't matter. We sweat. After getting our clothes put away we take stock of items in kitchen so we know what we have before going to grocery store. We have a half a roll of toilet paper and nothing else. No coffee, no salt, no pepper, no paper towels, etc. They must be expensive in Panama and they don't want the extra expense. We were told there was a welcome package with above items but the lies are starting to add up. My wife opens the refrigerator to check it out and immediately glares at me while she points to a filthy fridge. That guy said it was ready? Ready to be cleaned from top to bottom? We don't have cleaning materials or supply's. What kind of place is this?

We decide to check out the rest of the property and the beautiful grounds around the pool. Accept there are beer cans, bottles of beer and liquor on all the tables along with overflowing ashtrays. There was a party here and the maid is off so I guess it waits for her return. We look at each other and think "6 weeks"? I walk over to the outdoor shower to try it out but someone yells out, "it doesn't work"! I then here someone say, "why was it him that found this out", WHAT? As we head back to our casita I ask Sarah if anything works around here? A few minutes later, the on site manager approaches us and tells us that Sarah takes things personally and we need to leave her alone for awhile, WHAT? A little adversity and Sarah pouts, then hides and avoids us. But all the reviews said..... we start to understand how misrepresented this place is and it's not even dark yet.

There are 4 main grocery stores in the Coronado area. Rey's, Machetazo, Super 99 and Reba Smith.
Rey's is the one most people use when they visit Coronado and it is a well equipped store but a little pricey. It does have a good bakery. Machetazo's is the newest and has some great deals and we like their produce department over the others. They have a nice selection of fish and their meats are less expensive than Rey's. All accept Riba have machines to read the UPC codes and tell you the actual price. Nothing is marked correctly on the shelves or placed near the actual tag price so finding these machines will be a great help when shopping. Ask a worker and they will show you where they are. Riba Smith is a little more upscale and has a different selection than the main stores. This was the only store that carried pizza sauce. A bit pricey also. Super 99 is the store that we do most of our shopping. They have an off brand 8 oz shredded cheese package for $1.79 whereas all other stores have Borden's or Kraft and they are over $4 for 8 oz. The ground meat sold here is outstanding and cheaper than the others. Their chicken is also good and less cost The produce department in here is not very good. Liquor and Beer/Wine are less in here. All but Reba have small pharmacies within. They are all located off the main highway (Panamericana) and Robert Eisenmann. If you were to draw a square and at each point there is a grocery store, two on the south side of the main highway and two on the north side. Two on the west side of Eisenmann and two on the east.

After getting the essentials we needed and a 1.5 litre of Sangria to try and make the casita and it's surroundings look better we found ourselves cleaning the casita for over 2 1/2 hours. We notice that there are ants around the floor so we decide to sweep them out but we don't have a broom, WHAT? I start over to ask Sarah but am told that she is off limits and we have to talk to the manager or her ex-still boyfriend, WHAT? We are given a broom within a half hour and told it's "Panama Time", a saying that we will get sick of. We spend another 45 minutes between the fridge and microwave which are also stained and filthy. My wife decides to wash the kitchen floor on her hands and knees to make sure there is no reason for ants to return, they are already back. Cooked some burgers on the grill in the common area which is still littered with empty bottles and overflowing ashtrays and will be through the next day. Drank a few glasses of wine and then called it a night. Tomorrow we get the safe installed and then we can start exploring the area.
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Old Feb 10th, 2016, 06:04 AM
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Day 2,
6 weeks? We did not sleep well because of all the barking dogs in and around the neighborhood. Had a bug crawl across my back twice during the night. Actually caught the second one and it looks sorta like a cricket, freaky, what next? We planned on having a new attitude today and we are going to make this work. Told my wife I would make her breakfast and sausage and eggs it will be. Have to use stick lighter to get 1980's stove to fire up but burners are sporadic. Take out a toothpick and clean all the little holes and finally I get even flame. Do they clean anything in this place?, apparently not. Received an e-mail from Sarah, we guess that to walk the 25 feet and talk face to face is out of the question, still hiding! It asks if 2 PM is OK to put in the new safe, we answer yes and we would like to discuss these issues we keep finding. No reply. We decide that we need to get some sun and fun in a pool. The one we paid for is still out of commission. We head to the Beach club and while walking notice how bad the street is. Potholes, broken glass and garbage everywhere. This will be a common theme wherever we go in Panama. We bring all our valuables with us to the pool because we don't trust anyone when they enter our place to change safe's. After a relaxing time we head back and find that the safe is not installed. When we ask the boyfriend he says Sarah told them not to enter without permission. We explain that we gave it to her but she denied receiving it, another lie, 6 weeks? We figured out how to get English speaking audio and with the help of the Mgr we had a list of stations that we could watch. Things are looking up or are they? My wife is coughing at night but not sure why?
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