The Resort at Isla Palenque
What We Love
- Daily breakfast is included in the Jetsetter rate
- Palenque bursts with the wildlife from its dense jungles, volcanic bluffs, mangroves, lagoons and coastline
- Service and meals are five-star, and many ingredients come from an on-site organic garden
- Thoughtful touches: a personal iPad during the stay, a bound island book to take home
What To Know
- Amenities are first-rate, but the island is largely undeveloped, suiting the sophisticated but adventurous traveler
- The nearest airport (in David, Panama) is a 15-minute boat ride and a 45-minute drive away
- Expect occasional rain showers from May though November, mostly in the evening
- A 10 percent service charge per night will be collected at the Jetsetter checkout
- Free WiFi
- Room Service
The resort’s design is all about celebrating — and preserving — the natural wonders of Isla Palenque. Tropical hardwood, bamboo and stone are featured throughout, as are neutral tones that blend the structures into their surroundings and encourage monkeys and falcons to stop by. Guests enter the infinity lap pool from a stairway made of varnished spiny cedar cleared from what became the island’s hiking trails, and the stones piled to create a 12-foot waterfall were discovered onsite during construction. Sprinkled throughout the property are antique maps of the Chiriquí province; colorful artisanal masks crafted by the Embera tribe complete the homage.
Bed and Bath
The accommodations are defined outdoors by lustrous wooden siding and stylish skillion roofs, and indoors by signature spiny cedar headboards sliced and varnished by island carpenters. Although the six ocean, jungle and garden units are uniquely designed and furnished, all offer at least a window’s worth of pure blue Pacific Ocean. Some feature full ocean vistas and expansive private decks, while others have private outdoor showers made of bamboo. Every bathroom includes fluffy towels, organic products and powerful rainfall showerheads.
You’d expect that being on a remote island would mean limited dining options, but at Palenque’s restaurant, Eden, it’s somehow the opposite. The innovative and talented chef whips up flavorful garlic clams, tender Chiricano filets and mouthwatering yucca blinis stuffed with goat cheese and bathed in a house chimichurri — and that’s just one choice for dinner. The menu changes daily, but the only recurring ingredient is crisp plantains harvested from around the island. Each night offers three specialty cocktails and, in January 2014, the Las Rocas beach bar and grill opened on the opposite side of the island.
In the Area
The resort is equipped to have you scaling gargantuan strangler fig and Panama trees, spying on falcons and howler monkeys and zipping through the sea for as many days as you can handle. Those guests determined to get some time on the mainland can also opt for the Ngöbe-Buglé tour and waterfall hike, a remarkable excursion that includes horseback riding to a waterfall along with a deep exploration of the tribe’s culture. There are also countless trails to hike and beaches to walk, and the resort provides binoculars, maps and everything else you’ll need to set out like a modern-day Robinson Crusoe.
How to Get There
Stayed there from the 18-21 and I wish my wife and I could stay longer. We flew into David and met Chava and the driver. It was about an hour drive maybe a little longer but an easy commute. Hopped on the boat and made our way to the dock, dock to van to the front. We were treated to a welcome drink and provided our documents and shown to our room. The room was very nice and comfortable. AC worked great. We did the island hopping tour which costs but it was fun, workout in the morning, Rum 101 class with Benny, cooking class and kayaking. All of them great. The chef and his team were amazing. Everyone of the staff was helpful and super nice. We will either be back or enjoy another property from Cayuga. Thank you to all the staff who helped us during that time.
Isla Palenque is a secluded high end resort on the National Marine Park of Panama's pacific ocean in the Boca Chica region, a very well preserved protected area with a lot of undiscovered places and pristine clear water beaches where you will feel like in haven. A one hour smooth drive separates from international airport Enrique Malek of David from the main dock in Boca Chica town where you get on board of the scenic 15 minutes boat ride to the resort welcome hut on the side of the Island. My wife and I stayed over a weekend and where amazed by the customer services level and the high quality of the entire development, they are pretty focused on taking care of you every second, the pool is gorgeous and the menu is detailed and excellent for every personal demand. The ingredients are of the highest quality and i learned they work with local providers to ensure the freshest meals on a daily basis. The rooms are specially decorated and detailed to make sure you enjoy every corner. We stayed in one of the beach casitas and where a few steps from the pool and restaurant, just perfect for us. I absolutely will come back to Isla Palenque resort and highly encourage any traveler to visit this unique place.
Panama is full of good surprises and Isla Palenque is one of those. A small Boutique Hotel located in Boca Chica in which you will find amazing service, good food and beautiful sunsets.
This property is a must when you visit Panama.