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“A remote and rustic destination for a more local adventure” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Akwadup Lodge

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Akwadup Lodge
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Akwadup, Panama   |  
Hotel amenities
Certificate of Excellence 2014
New York City, New York
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“A remote and rustic destination for a more local adventure”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 6, 2013

A friend and I chose to go to the Akwadup Lodge as opposed to the more touristy Western part of Panama. We cared less about hanging out on the beach and being with other tourists and more about seeing the local Guna culture, an indigenous group. With that said, the beach alongside the hotel really isn't for swimming. It's too rocky with some trash. There is the potential for snorkeling, but it's not even that spectacular. What I will say, is that this is worth it to see a different culture and to eat fresh seafood (shrimp, octopus, king crab) by a hotel run by wonderful people. The cabins are on the water with hammocks in the back. The staff ensure there is bug-repelling incense burning at night and misquito nets. Please note that the airport strip is full of little biting bugs so definitely bring the bug spray.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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68 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (2)
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English first
Fairhope, Alabama
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 10, 2013

My husband, daughter, and I stayed 3 nights at the Akwadup Lodge in San Blas, Panama. We had a magnificient vacation. We wre well taken care of and made many happy memories and met some wonderful Kuna people. The staff, especially including "Sam", Fronilda, Jose, and Horacio were so gracious and fun. Sam, the chef, really prepared some of the best fresh seafood we have ever tasted! Fronilda was a darling server that taught us during each meal, and Horacio and Jose took us on boat adventures, including snorkeling and a beautiful day trip to a gorgeous beach on the Carribbean. We definitely reccomend this lodge - and would go again!!!

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Denpasar, Indonesia
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 4, 2013

We accidently crashed in the Akwadup Lodge because we first wanted to go to another Island but then we stayed there for 4 wonderful days. Due to the fact that we were alone most of the time, the beach was completely ours and the service was excellent. During these four days I think I ate the best fish I've ever tasted!
It was a really relaxing time and we enjoyed it very much !

Room Tip: My tip would be to prepare very very good against mosquitos !!! we got bit like 200 times although...
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 25, 2013

I spent my vacation in Panama in multiple hotels and lodges, but Akwadup was the best experience I had! Spending time on such a beautiful island, staying in rooms built over the crystal blue water was so exciting. The people on the island are so friendly and open their home up to their guests. During the day, the young man working there Daniel was so kind and after me telling him I really wanted to lay on a beach, he took all the guests out to a private island with perfect white sand, in the center of the turquoise water. Every location in San Blas is beautiful, and Daniel showed us all the most exquisite ones. The lodges are comfortable and at night, the sound of the ocean and slight breeze are very comforting. Waking up and laying in one of the hammocks or going in for a meal with fresh, local fruit, it is always an amazing experience. I would love to go back and stay longer! Thank you, Akwadup :)

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 11, 2013

We wanted to get a real experience with the Kuna's and this is it. We arrived at our islands to view the 6 thatched cabins over the water...great way to arrive! We had a slight mix up with the number of cabins but we were able to sort it out quickly. We booked our reservation ourselves and had some translation issues over email. The cabins are basic but clean and comfortable. Bring something for the sand fleas! You will get eaten alive in a short period of time without it. It was great to visit the local villages and see life as they live it. The food was just OK - they cook what they catch for the day so it is always a surprise. Overall it is a great way to relax and live life like the Kuna's do!

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Panama City, Panama
Top Contributor
78 reviews 78 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
56 helpful votes 56 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 10, 2013

Being a Panamanian tour guide enables me to experience different areas of the Kuna Yala archipelago. After staying in many lodges, I can tell you that this is the most "comfort" you are going to get in Kuna Yala. The Kuna Yala area IS NOT about comfort, but about the culture and the beautiful landscapes. That said, in Akwadup you have real showers, real toilets, fans and electricity and this is more than you will get in most of the other places. The owner and the staff make a great effort to make you stay pleasant, the food is the typical Kuna type, but here they even provide an appetizer! (not in the Kuna culture). What I am trying to say is that if you want comfort DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT go to San Blas, but if you want to experience beautiful beaches and the Kuna culture, the most "comfort" you are going to get is staying at Akwadup. It is very clear to me, as an expereinced traveler through the area, how they are making a difference in their lodge.

Stayed April 2013, traveled with friends
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 24, 2012 via mobile

We ended up staying here, after we got to The Dad Ibe Lodge and they were not expecting us (bad reservation through www.latindestinations.com). We were the only guests at Akwadup Lodge (aka Dolphin Lodge), so they really took good care of us. There were 4 women & 3 men working/living on this island. They are VERY NICE people. Unfortunately, we only speak English - so it was like playing charades trying to communicate. In hindsight, we would recommend knowing Spanish before traveling to Panama. The Kuna people are very small. I think they thought we needed to eat A LOT because we're so much larger.
There are 7 huts for guests to stay in. They include beds, mosquito netting, chairs, luggage area, bathroom (flush toilet, sink, shower), deck, ceiling fan, lights, other fan and bug light. The electricity was not dependable, so a good flashlight is a must. We brought a couple of games to entertain ourselves in the daylight hours.
We visited the community "dog island" with Xavier. It was interesting to see their living conditions, school, medical building, store, government building, etc. We tried to interpret what we could. A couple of little girls asked if they could get their picture taken with me, because they wanted to get $1. It is not appropriate to take pictures of the adult people. So, I kept having to ask Xavier what was OK to take pictures of, or not. Some homes had some appliances (stoves, refrigerators) connected to propane tanks.
We went back with Xavier on Sunday night for church. He ended up being the church leader. The people were very engaged in church - lots of different people were involved, lots of singing, and different activities. It was a celebration. We think that they were Christian. Everyone that came into church personally came up to us to welcome us.
Back at the lodge island, I ended up covered with bug bites. I don't know if they were bed bugs or sand fleas - but they itched like crazy. Use bug spray, even though it is extremely humid. Chameleons ran around in our hut - they didn't bother us.
Need to fly in & out of Achutupu not Playon Chico. This caused some confusion on our trip as well.
Very interesting trip. We have experienced different travel - but this was very unique. Different traditions. Trust throughout an entire community (no locks on doors, raising each others kids, hard lives but simple lives).

Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
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Additional Information about Akwadup Lodge

Address: Akwadup, Panama
Location: Panama > Guna Yala Region > San Blas Islands
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 19 Specialty Lodging in San Blas Islands
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 7
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
If you want the ocean breeze in a welcoming place, far away from your city and life’s stress, let me help,I would like to tell you about a special place in central America, off the Caribbean coast of Panama.we belong to the Kuna indigenous people and are the owners of two palm fringed eco-tourist lodges on islands in Kuna Yala, meaning Kuna territory (also known as the san Blas Islands). The names of these highly regarded resorts are UAGUINEGA (winner of an International Business award) and AKWADUP, they are on small coral reefs close to the island of Achutupu which has one of the most traditional Kuna cultures, little changed over the centuries. Our guided tours will take you to watch the native women making their world renowned molas; at your selection you may wish to take a trip up river into the rainforest. Enjoy the snorkelling, swimming, or just relax in a palm shaded hammock. At night under the moon and shining stars.We are waiting to greet you. The Kuna dance, culture, stories and enjoyable,unique experience are sure to stay in your memory. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Akwadup Hotel San Blas Islands

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