Funded! This project was successfully funded on September 21, 2012.


Come celebrate the Caribbean at a unique tropical getaway in Panama, opening by the end of this year!

what is YEMANJA?

YEMANJA is a very special travel destination in the Caribbean. Founded by two Caribbean women, it is a restaurant, bar and hostel in Bocas del Toro, Panama. Named in honor of the mythical Caribbean mermaid, YEMANJA will open its doors in December, 2012.

where is Bocas del Toro?

Bocas del Toro is a province on the Northeast coast of Panama, just an hour south of Costa Rica. The area is a popular travel destination with beautiful beaches, strong surf, gentle bays, jungle tours and wild birding. There are many different communities that reside in Bocas del Toro, and many languages spoken. YEMANJA is located on the edge of one serene island called Careneros, and just minutes away, by boat, from the main drag of bustling Bocas Town.

what makes YEMANJA unique?

YEMANJA's founders were born and raised in very different parts of the Caribbean - one in Jamaica and the other in Panama. After meeting in Brooklyn in 2008 they decided to bring their respective Caribbeans together, and to design a space that truly reflects the rich and enormous culture of the region. YEMANJA's mission is to change conventional ideas of Caribbean travel, and to create a space where guests and visitors, as well as locals, celebrate this diverse culture, with delicious food, music, and engagement with the local community.

about the HOSTEL

YEMANJA's hostel is run out of a rustic and traditional Caribbean home, along a quiet waterfront, but just across from the busy, main island of Isla Colon. YEMANJA accommodates eighteen guests - twelve inside the house and six more in bungalows. Guests have access to a kitchen, a garden, an outdoor lounge with hammocks and spectacular views, as well as a breathtaking swimming beach that is just a ten-minute walk from the hostel. The rooms will be designed and decorated in a traditional Caribbean style with folk art from around the region. Guests may want to cook and eat together at the hostel, or stroll down the sandy pathway to the watertop restaurant and bar.

what about the RESTAURANT?

Yemanja's restaurant is a 750 square foot structure set atop crystal blue water, overlooking the surrounding mountainous islands. As soon as you walk in from the dock you will be greeted by our friendly, open kitchen. The dining room, which seats forty people at large, communal tables, will also serve delicious tropical drinks from the long cocktail bar.

Right now we have a lease signed on both these spaces and are almost ready to open the hostel! But we need to raise the final $15,000 in order to finish the kitchen, dining room, and bathroom inside the restaurant.

what can you tell me about the food?

At YEMANJA you'll eat fresh, locally caught seafood. You'll also eat produce grown on neighboring islands, or in our very own backyard! You'll get to taste our "comida remezclada," traditional Caribbean dishes remixed in our kitchen. All day long we'll serve ceviche with tropical island fruits and empanadas filled with Jamaican "jerk" chicken. In the morning we'll make salt cod and cassava fritters, and arepas with local cheese. At night you can come try our curry-coconut stew or goat braised slowly with hot peppers. Our cocktails will be strong and delicious, and made with fresh fruits and rums from all over the Caribbean.

what do i get by donating?

Our dream is that all of our supporters will come visit us down in Panama! The larger your donation, the longer and fuller your reservation will be! For example, a $50 donation earns you dinner and drinks for two in our brand new restaurant. A $500 donation earns you a weeks full stay in our hostel plus dinner and drinks each night of your stay! And we're also offering a donors dinner, from a very tropical New York City restaurant, on Monday the 24th of September, where contributors of $125 or more can come sample the dishes and drinks we'll be serving in Panama.

special thanks

There are a lot of people who helped us with this Kickstarter page, who tried our hundreds of recipes and cocktails, and who gave us tremendous love and encouragement so far. Extra special thanks to David Felix Sutcliffe and Helene Zund for making an amazing video and graphics; Ryan Greer of Flux Productions for designing YEMANJA's lovely t-shirts; Sebastien Aubert and Michelle Lane of Kaz an Nou for their incredible support and for providing us with such a beautiful space to create and serve our dishes; Reaghan Malloy, Liam and Sophia for sharing the dream; Smooch Cafe for letting us host fundraising events; Mayra Cimet for handmaking our thank you cards; Max Bartoli and his business genius; and our top taste testers: Erin Eldridge, Ahmed Gallab, Nicola Rigoli, Jason Trammel; and to Mr Basquali

********* en español **********

¿Qué es YEMANJA?

Yemanja es un destino de viajes muy especial situado en el Caribe.  Fundado por dos mujeres provenientes del Caribe, es un Restaurante, Bar y Hostal en Bocas del Toro, Panamá. Nombrado en honor a la mística diosa del mar, YEMANJA abrirá sus puertas en Diciembre del 2012.

 ¿Donde es Bocas del Toro?

Bocas del toro es una provincia localizada en el noreste de la Republica de Panamá. La isla Colon, también llamada Bocas del Toro está a solamente una hora de la frontera con Costa Rica. El área es un destino de viajes muy popular, cuenta con bellas playas, para surfear o para relajarse, paseos por la selva tropical y paseos para ver pájaros. YEMANJA está localizada a orillas de una serena isla llamada Careneros, y solo minutos, en bote, del popular y rebosante centro de Bocas de Toro.

¿Qué hace a YEMANJA unica?

Las fundadoras de YEMANJA nacieron y crecieron en distintas partes del Caribe- una en una isla y la otra en Centroamérica.  Juntas han unido sus caribes respectivos y han diseñado YEMANJA para que refleje la diversidad de la región. Visitantes y huéspedes, igual que locales,  disfrutaran del ambiente de este verdaderamente único punto Pancaribeño.

Acerca del HOSTAL

El hostal esta sitiado en un casa caribeña rustica y tradicional, en un sereno marco frente al mar y al frente del la concurrida isla principal, Isla Colon. Acomodaremos a 18 huéspedes- doce adentro de la casa y seis en búngalos. Los huéspedes del hostal tendrán acceso a una cocina, un jardín y una sala al aire libre con hamacas y vistas espectaculares. Los cuartos serán diseñados de la manera tradicional caribeña y con arte folklórico de toda la región.  


El restaurant cuenta con 750 pies cuadrados sobre las aguas cristalinas del Caribe y con vistas a las montañas de las islas circundantes. Acomodaremos a 40 personas en mensas largas y comunales y cinco personas más en el bar. La cocina abierta les dará a los visitantes la oportunidad de oler y ver la comida mientras es preparada y contribuirá al ambiente relajado del sitio.

En estos momentos contamos con un contrato de arrendamiento para los dos sitios y ¡estamos casi listos para abrir el hostal!  Pero necesitamos solamente los últimos $10,000 para construir la cocina, el comedor y el baño adentro del restaurante.

¿Qué me puedes decir acerca de la comida?

En Yemanja comerás mariscos frescos acabados de pescar. También comerás verduras cosechadas en las islas vecinas y en nuestro jardín. Probaras nuestra “comida remezclada,”  comida caribeña tradicional remezclada en nuestra cocina.  Haremos ceviches hechos con frutas y vegetales de la isla y empanadas rellenas de pollo al estilo “jerk” con cítricas ensaladas de col. Arepas hechas con quesos locales y guisados de cabra cocida a fuego lento en salsa de curry con coco. Nuestros cocteles serán fuertes y deliciosos a la vez, y hechos con frutas frescas y rones provenientes de todo el Caribe.

¿Qué consigo si dono?

Todo el que contribuya con YEMANJA tendrá un coctel gratis en el bar. Mientras más contribuyes más larga podrá ser tu reservación. ¡Y te estaremos esperando! Nuestra meta es abrir nuestras puertas en Diciembre de este año, ¡y cuando lo hagamos, podrás venir a visitarnos!


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    12 backers

    A handmade Yemanja postcard/ invitation for a free drink at our bar!

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    handmade postcard postcard + Your name on the Hostel's WALL OF FAME!

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    51 backers

    handmade postcard + your name on the wall of fame + A dinner and drinks for two at YEMANJA (date of your choice) once we're open !!!

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    38 backers

    handmade postcard + your name on the wall of fame + a dinner and drinks for two at YEMANJA + An invitation to a dinner hosted by YEMANJA in New York City on Monday, September 24th where you can sample several dishes from our menu!!! OR for "non-New Yorkers," a limited edition Yemanja t shirt, sent straight to you!!!

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    4 backers

    handmade postcard + your name on the wall of fame + invitation to our donors dinner in New York City + One week free stay with dinner and complimentary drink each night at YEMANJA (date of your choice) once we're open !!!

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    3 backers

    handmade postcard + your name on the wall of fame + invitation to our donors dinner in New York City + One week free stay with dinner and complimentary drink each night for you AND A FRIEND at YEMANJA (date of your choice) once we're open !!!

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    handmade postcard + your name on the wall of fame + invitation to our donors dinner in New York City + One week free stay + dinner and drinks each night for you AND A FRIEND at YEMANJA + a roundtrip ticket for you to come visit us in PANAMA!!!!!!!!!!

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Funding period

- (30 days)