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“The Wonder of It All”

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The Resort at Isla Palenque
Ranked #3 of 4 Hotels in Boca Chica
Chicago, Illinois, United States
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“The Wonder of It All”
Reviewed April 8, 2013

After reading the other rave reviews and well-described island resort attributes, I am beginning to think it may be impossible in words to actually share how incredibly unique, and how incredibly awesome, a visit to this place can be. Maybe TripAdvisor could expand its owl eyeball rating system, giving us early visitors an opportunity to capture in a special sixth circle a wordless assessment about a once in a life time experience!

The family trip planning for this adventure felt like a big risk - new place, new resort, remote location - what could, in fact, go right? It turns out - everything.

The "remoteness" added to the sense of adventure and discovery. Getting there feels a bit like an expedition, water landing and all. The lack of development as you crawl through jungle in your pint-sized shiny white van only enhances the feeling that you have been assigned to the island as an explorer of sorts.

After arriving at the resort, the feeling slightly changes from a pure adventure trip to the possibility that you are a celebrity invited to your wealthy friend's private island. Spacious and uber comfortable private spaces, island elegant communal spaces, and the pool and dining area all connected by outdoor walkways - a great way to keep you connected to the surroundings and to make certain your gaze is pulled to the animals of the moment (iguanas and howler monkeys the favorites) and/or the impossibly cool beach at the foot of the resort. On top of the design is piled the service and food. Both exceptional and well-reviewed.

From these first impressions forward, my family was able to move effortlessly back and forth between being the explorers/adventurers and the celebrity visitor. Sometimes lounging about the pool, and sometimes lunging around island. For all the remoteness and wild, everything felt safe and secure. Manual, Rodolfo, Hiro (our Hero) and Aris - expert eco-guides with patience beyond the call of duty.

Our one desire upon returning home was that the place could stay exactly as is and wait for us until we visit again. It can't and won't - but here is hoping that all visitors to this special place (and the operators) work to keep the wonder of it all in place.

Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
Helpful?
8 Thank HolzFam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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110 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (42)
Date | Rating
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English first
London, England, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed April 7, 2013

We have travelled to Panama for 20 years, but this is the first truly 5 star luxury eco resort we have found. The food and service are world class, and there are enough activities for all types of visitors. Our kids love the beach and the island hopping. We loved the island walks and drinks at sunset, We thought 3 nights would be perfect but we left feeling we should have spent a week!

Special experiences included watching from the ocean suites the howler monkeys eating fruit high up in the nearby trees; enjoying the dolphins swim with the boat on the island hopping tour.

Ask chef Oliver for cooking lessons, or master guide Aris about the local island legends - magical realism still lives on in Chiriqui!

Room Tip: The ocean suites have the best views, but the jungle rooms are very quiet.
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank Henry R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Panama City, Panama
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed April 1, 2013

We'd rather not share the secret because our kids want to go back and dig up the secret treasures they couldn't find ... It was an amazing stay, we have stayed in a fair share of Panamanian hotels and this is one of our favorites. The cabins have beautiful views, beds with heavenly pillows and lots of storage space (towel hooks missing in bathroom though). Food was served with an ocean view and a delicious combination of international and Panamanian cuisine (never knew chicaron could taste so good). Adventurewise it is unmatched, monkeys, crabs, secret paths, snorkeling, bat caves, rock climbing, lunch on a deserted beach; then a siesta in the cool room and dip in the pool at the end of the day. It might not be the ultimate holiday for very small kids (< 3) though. Summing it all up, pirate patch during the day and high heels at night. Just the way a luxury Jungle Island Retreat should be!

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank E_Jane_13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Milwaukee, WI
Level 3 Contributor
7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 64 helpful votes
Reviewed March 26, 2013

We were fortunate enough to stay at the Resort on Isla Palenque in early March and we are STILL relishing with amazement at all we experienced. It's truly an over-the-top experience both in the beauty of the island, the amazing attentiveness and friendliness of the staff and the beautiful way the buildings are nestled into the trees, rocks and surroundings. From the moment they greet you at the pier, it's clear you are meant to relax, indulge and enjoy. Visually, the scenery is unmatched - crystal clear water, pristine and undisturbed beaches, monkeys, birds, full lush flora - I could go on and on. We hiked, swam, kayaked and took a boat ride to several private beaches for snorkeling and exploration. Throughout we were treated to gourmet meals prepared by a world class chef (even delivered to our beaches for lunch and snacks!). Each night we dined poolside, with the ocean just steps away. Our rooms (jungle room and ocean suite) were jaw dropping beautiful with keen detail spent on decor, amenities and personal touches. Aris and Rodulfo were amazing guides and full of knowledge. Jorge made our stay so special with his personal attention and kindness. He was always one step ahead of us in assuring we were having the times of our lives...and we did!

If you are looking for a trip to take in the beauty of the world, at a location where the environment is respected and revered, you cannot do wrong at the Resort at Isla Palenque!!

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank GGR
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atlanta, Georgia
Level 1 Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed March 24, 2013

It's been a week since I've returned from The Resort at Isla Palenque...a week of missing the smiling faces of attentive staff, the scrumptious grownup cocktails and Chef Oliver's gastronomic offerings! From the very beginning with a 50 minute boat ride, that put me in the island mood, and the welcome party at the dock I was hooked. We signed up for a package that included several adventures. Lots of hiking...love. Kayaking...love. Sportfishing...love (even if we didn't catch anything, but we did, we were on a boat in the Gulf of Chiriqui just hanging out!). During hikes it was cool to see such biodiversity...going over rocks and marshes to full on jungle. I swear that the monkeys were talking about us.

Overall a great place to vacation if you are the 'let's do it' kind of person. You CAN just sit by the pool all day but the island has so much to offer I suggest you take advantage of it.

Room Tip: I stayed in the Ocean suite...full on view of the ocean, pool and common areas. Beautiful deck to lo...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
4 Thank JerilynJ22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Roselle
Level 2 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed March 20, 2013

My family and I just returned from a 4 night, 5 day stay at this amazing island. This was an absolute dream vacation for us and we feel so fortunate that we found this gem (they were not even officially open yet when I learned about them in January). From our initial and consistent communication with Emily, to our warm welcome from Jorge (the General Manager), to our entertaining escapades with Rodolfo and the baby monkey, to the attentive and caring nature of Manual (guide for our day in Boquete), to the smiling faces of Carlo and Herro (Did you make that sangria!! it was amazing!), the experience was so beautiful. The island and concept of the development intrigued me initially,(eco adventure luxury is how they described it and that is all true) and that alone would have satisfied me but the service made this HANDS DOWN the best vacation we have ever experienced. I felt like a kid; hiking, kayaking, marveling at the beauty and monkeys, but then we had AMAZING gourmet meals and big kid cocktails...no watery, sickly sweet drinks but REAL crafted cocktails. On our last evening, we had planned a surprise 8 course dinner for my sister's birthday and from the planning with Emily to the creative execution by Chef Oliver (beet ice cream!! yes!!) and the lovely staff, it was the topper to a perfect trip. I couldn't have asked for more I mentioned Fantasy Island in the title and other people have used this phrase to describe their experience here as well.....the staff will just have to get used to having this said about them because it was absolutely a fantasy, a dream, brought to life. Thank you for the most beautiful of memories!

Room Tip: They are all beautiful. This island is still being developed. We stayed in a Jungle room; which wa...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
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Helpful?
7 Thank IndyKight
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Resort at Isla Palenque

Property: The Resort at Isla Palenque
Address: Isla Palenque, Boca Chica, Panama
Location: Panama > Chiriqui Province > Boca Chica
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Casino and Gambling Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 4 Hotels in Boca Chica
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:3 star — The Resort at Isla Palenque 3*
Number of rooms: 16
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A new sustainable private island resort on a pristine 400-acre jungle island in the Gulf of Chiriqui, Panama, featuring 16 luxury rooms nestled among forest trees with glimpses of the Pacific, two restaurants, a spa and over 20 custom tours and adventures on the island, in the Gulf and on the mainland. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Resort At Isla Palenque Panama/Boca Chica

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