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“Love the Kuna Staff at Yandup Island Lodge!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Yandup Island Lodge

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Yandup Island Lodge
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3.0 of 5 Lodge   |   Playon Chico | Kuna Yala, 0838, Panama   |  
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Key West, Florida
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Love the Kuna Staff at Yandup Island Lodge!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 15, 2008

Loved the Yandup Island Lodge! This is a must, if you are traveling in Panama. By far, the highlight of our trip to Panama. The Kuna Indian staff were so warm and friendly. We stayed in a cabana over the water for two nights. We were there in the height of rainy season, but the only rainstorm we had was enjoyable to watch from our two hammocks on the wraparound deck of our romantic thatched roof hut. The meals were delicious and the food was abundant.
Leo showed my husband how they catch Lobster on one of our daily snorkeling trips. He also loaned my husband the use of his own personal dugout canoe to paddle around the island. On the day we left, Leo took the bracelet off of his own wrist and tied it onto my husband's wrist. This is how genuinely spiritual and sweet these people are.
This place was so beautiful, we thought we had died and gone to
heaven!
We booked our cabana by phone from our hotel in Panama City and someone came right to our hotel to collect the payment. They picked us up at the small airstrip in Playon Chico in dugout canoes! A trip of a lifetime, really!!

  • Liked — Private cabana over the water
  • Disliked — A little buggy
  • Stayed November 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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271 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (51)
Date | Rating
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  • French first
  • German first
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  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
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English first
USA
Senior Contributor
45 reviews 45 reviews
33 hotel reviews
Reviews in 37 cities Reviews in 37 cities
73 helpful votes 73 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 23, 2008

My family and I booked 2 over the water cabanas in July of 2008. The staff was very helpful and very courteous. They tried to make our stay as comfortable as possible. The price was very reasonable, in fact it was cheap. You shouldn't pay more than 150 bucks a night per person. If you do, talk to me, and I'll find you something cheaper. It's not bad for three meals a day, 2 tours a day, and lodging in an over the water cabana. The food was seafood, but they'll prepare you something else if you have an allergy to seafood. But it's delicious. The only problem is that they don't serve much of it. But, it's enough to tie you over till the next meal. Just don't expect to be stuffed. I highly recommend this place. It was so fantastic.

  • Liked — Sooo relaxing
  • Disliked — the food quantity, it tasted so good I wanted more.
  • Stayed July 2008, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 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.
u.s.
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 10, 2008

My friend and I spent the weekend at Yandup from June 7 -9, and we had a fantastic experience!! I highly recommend Yandup Cabanas!

First, the reviews are correct: this is NOT a Hilton resort, and if that is what you are looking for, San Blas is not for you!! The Kuna own all the (400) islands and do not allow foreigners to run hotels. Therefore, the places to stay are modest and run by Kunas. If you are into ecotourism and supporting local economies and indigenous people, this is the best there is.

Our "hut" was awesome. It was beautifully made by the hands of the Kuna and very comfortable. It was the highlight of our stay. We had a very comfortable, thick mattress and slept easily with a cool breeze during the night and the sound of waves singing us to sleep. Our hut overlooked the sea where our wonderful hosts set up two hammocks for us to relax, read and enjoy the heavenly views.

Our guides, Aliberto and Dominique, provided us with everything during the stay -- they took us to a local community and taught us about the history, culture, and local customs of the Kuna; they took us to gorgeous deserted beaches for lounging and snorkeling; they showed us plants used for local remedies and traditional healing. We learned a great deal and enjoyed every minute.

The food is simple and lovely -- fresh fish caught that day (often in your view) and vegetables. I would recommend bringing a bottle of wine (they sell it there, but not a huge selection) and maybe a radio if you enjoy music at night. Also, bug spray is a must.

  • Liked — The authenticity
  • Stayed June 2008, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 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.
Birmingham, AL
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 28, 2008

After reading about San Blas online, we decided that we couldn't go to Panama City without visiting Kuna Yala (the natives' name for San Blas). We regrettably only had one day to spare, but would definitely go back to spend more time. The culture and history of the Kuna is so interesting and unique, the people still live traditional lives and make most of their living from the mountains. It was a privilege to be their guests at Yandup Island Lodge. We were met at the regional airport in Panama City by a Yandup representative and met at the airplane in Playon Chico. They cost included three meals and two tours. The island is absolutely picturesque...really amazing. The island does only have one small beach, but since only a handful of people are staying on the island and they take you to a full beach island each day this was not an issue. We actually snorkelled around the island and found some beautiful coral and several conchs. Compared to other tourist tropical resorts, this was a once in a lifetime experience. Rarely will you have the hospitality, the food, the views, or the culture in one trip...better yet on a island with a handful of other people. If you are going to stay here, you should know...
Splurge and get the cabana over the water with a private bathroom. You'll appreciate it. The water pressure was extremely low, but you are on a tiny island in the middle of the bay. If you come to the island for the showers, you will be dissapointed. They only supply soap.
Do bring bugspray. We sprayed liberally but because we were on an isolated island the mosquitos were negligible. We were bit more in Panama City than on the island.
The food is delicious and the Kuna that serve you want to see you happy. They will ask about allergies and avoid these foods. If you need something else, they are very willing to make your meals and overall stay a success.
Bring your own snorkel gear. They will rent it to you on the island for $7/day but if I had thought about it before hand we would have brought our own.

  • Liked — The Kuna people and the tranquility of the island
  • Disliked — water pressure
  • Stayed May 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
tremblant
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 1, 2008

We decided to try the Yandup experience for 5 nights, but left after 1. The problem was the intense heat of the island with no relief(there is no air conditioning on the island) and the bug bites even when sleeping with the mosquito net , they manage to get in anyway, plus the net blocks off the breeze at night. The island is made of volcanic stone, so there is only one small beach of 30 feet or so, the rest of the island is razor sharp stones. The food was actually quite good considering the services on the island. Every day they take you out on 2 tours, which is a nice addition, because you can get bored very quickly on a small island. The staff was very pleasant and refunded our money, and we took off to panama city, were we found air conditioning and a shower that worked and relief from bugs. Before going to San Blast be very sure that you are ready to rough it!!!
We are not the camping type and are too attached to our comfort level. So this experience was too extreme for us, but it may be just what you are looking for, if you want to get away from everything!

  • Stayed April 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Victoria BC
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 28, 2008

Unfortunately Air Panama was late and we didn't get to Yandup until 11:30am - supposed to be 7:00am. Our first impression was wonderful - beautiful and natural. Second hick-up was our reservation. We had pre-paid $600 for 3 cabanas - two single and one double. They over booked so no room at the inn! We ended up doubling up and bunking in with our friends. The food was basic but OK - not exactly large portions. The small islands for snorkeling were gorgeous. This is included and they take you out twice a day. The trip to the island village of Playon Chico was very interesting with some wonderful Kuna art - Molas. Our last day we were taken off the island at 6:30am without breakfast and then had to wait 3 hours at the mosquito infested airport. The lodge knew the plane was going to be late but they insisted on taking us anyway. Not sure why other than it seemed they didn't want to give us one more breakfast - even though we missed the first one! I know it sounds rough but the beauty and the experience was worth the trouble. I wouldn't recommend staying anymore than 2 nights - that gives you two full days which is plenty. I'll probably go back but will check out another lodge.

  • Liked — Location
  • Disliked — Service and mix ups
  • Stayed February 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Salt Lake City, Utah
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
37 helpful votes 37 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 23, 2007

Let me start our by saying that the San Blas Islands are among the most beatiful and precious places on earth. The Yandup Island lodge is a fantastic and secluded place to stay to truly get a great feel for this amazing place. As I write this review I am hesitant because I don't want Yandup Island to get discovered, however, this place is to great not to share. We stayed in a cabin in front of the ocean for 3 nights. I would wake up every morning as the sun came over the ocean and go lay in the hammock on our deck to just take it all in. The cabins are well kept and the surroundings are breathtaking..you feel so secluded and relaxed while staying there. The food at the island is great; Each one of your meals are homecooked and you are waited on by a sweet older Kuna women. The food is great, it varies from pancakes in the morning to various fresh fish dishes for lunch and dinner. The most memorable thing to me would be the people. It is run by Johnny (a Kuna man) and his family and the main tour guide is a Kuna man named "Leo." He is one of the nicest men I have ever meet and it was a priveledge to get to know him. I will never forget sitting on the deck of the dining room watching the sunset and teaching Leo English while he taught me Kuna/Spanish. Every day you are takin in a great little canoe to beautiful beaches, secluded islands, a Kuna village, etc, etc, etc. Anyway, if you are looking for a secluded, beautiful place to truly get a way from it all by all means GO TO YANDUP ISLAND LODGE!

Suggested Items: A good book, snorkel gear, BUG SPRAY, sunscreen.

Take a look at my pictures and if you have any specific questions don't hesitate emailing me at marcduncan11@gmail.com.

  • Liked — Very rustic but clean and efficient
  • Disliked — nothing
  • Stayed October 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Yandup Island Lodge

Address: Playon Chico | Kuna Yala, 0838, Panama
Phone Number:
Location: Panama > Guna Yala Region > San Blas Islands
Amenities:
Beach Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 17 Specialty Lodging in San Blas Islands
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Yandup Island Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Yandup Island Lodge is the perfect getaway in the Caribbean of the Kuna Indians, in the San Blas Archipelago. Perfect place to relax in a hammock, enjoy the sea breeze and the sound of the waves and birds. In this private island with coconut palms, surrounded by coral reefs and a small beach you will be treated as kings and queens in one of our six lovely and comfortable cabins in front of the sea. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Yandup Island Hotel San Blas Islands

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