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“A Pause to be pampered at the end of our trip!”

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Monkey Lodge Panama
Ranked #2 of 79 Panama City B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed March 26, 2014

The focus of our trip to Panama was 3 weeks of Spanish immersion school for the family in Boquete and Boca del Toro. My husband had to leave earlier, and I booked our final night before flying out of Panama City with my teenage boys at the Monkey Lodge. Our three weeks had been very full of action, study, decisions, people and events. We were met at the airport by the charming Max, and as we were ushered through the gate into the enchanting, peaceful grounds of the Monkey Lodge, I knew immediately we had found a fabulous last stop before leaving this great country. Less than 5 minutes after being shown to our gorgeous casita - and making the only decision we would have to make "Will you be joining us for lunch?" - the boys were in the pool and I was on a lounge nursing the after affects of a robust round of goodbyes the night before. There was only one other casita occupied that night, so it was as if we had out own private little paradise.

I cannot comment on the tours because we were SO happy to be going nowhere and doing nothing in such a wonderful place! The boys found the monkeys highly entertaining...and Papaya at least found my son also entertaining when he gave his first private monkey concert for her on his guitar. At the end of each song she would scrape her chair back and forth to make noise...a jungle version of applause we decided! By the second meal...on the wonderful patio, the food delicious and beautifully presented...my 17 year old son proclaimed "I am going to marry a French woman...for the cooking!" Max and his parents are delightful hosts, there when you need them, but unobtrusive enough to make you feel relaxed using their shared space. I could not have designed a more perfect last experience to refuel away from the hubbub before we said good bye to Panama. I would recommend this to anyone, including women traveling alone who might want a little retreat from city life.

The ONLY hitch in our perfect stopover was that Max was a little optimistic in his assessment of traffic on Sunday morning enroute to the airport and we had some nervous moments considering Plan B should we miss our international flight. Once he realized we were in trouble, Max chose an alternative route and drove with a determination that had us hanging on tight, but arriving just in time! I am sure he has since made adjustments to his estimates, but I think it is well to remember there is NO time without possible traffic issues in Panama City! Leave more time than you think you need!

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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3  Thank Kate F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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27 - 33 of 212 reviews

Reviewed March 2, 2014

We stayed here previously 2 years ago. The thing that has changed is that sadly but probably inevitably the monkeys no longer roam free. It is a lovely oasis on a wooded hill, close to the road network, so you hear the traffic quite often, but it is a lovely setting and there's quite a bit of birdlife. The pool area and verandah is very pleasant. The evening meals once again of a high standard and the cabina (Papaye) was comfortable, although better lighting would be nice. The major downside (and quite different from 2 yeas ago) was arrival in Panama Tocumen airport. It took 2 hours to go through exit procedures and then a nightmare drive of 2 hours to reach the turn-off for Monkey Lodge because of a whole series of major roadworks, including some near Monkey Lodge. I've driven in many countries round the world but i can't remember anything as bad as this.Then to add to the problems it took me ¾hour to find Monkey Lodge as the map on the website is quite inaccurate (after you turn off the main road past the bus stop there's a further right turn not shown). So at the moment I can't give it a high rating, although these are factors outside Monkey Lodge's control. It looks as though the Panama City region , its airport and its roads are being developed rapidly and perhaps there will be chaos for a year or two to come.

  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank cymraeg4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 24, 2014

We stayed at the Monkey Lodge for 5 nights with our 3 children ages, 13, 13, and 17 over February break 2014. We did the tour a day special on their website. Fabrice is an excellent tour guide. He’s funny , knowledgeable, and easy going. Because we were 5 people, it was always a private tour, and we could move along / skip/ customize everything as the day went on. If we wanted to do something or go somewhere, he just said “of course!”. If the kids were tired, he got the car/ boat and we moved on. If they liked something, he let us stay as long as we wanted. It was all about us. He entertained us with his good humor, and created lots of great photo opportunities. I wish I could take him on all our vacations. He took all the stress/ pressure out of traveling. So here’s a summary of our tours:

Swim in the Pacific tour:
We drove 1.5 hours to a big, flat beach with waves. For $60 we rented a thatched hut overlooking the beach with 3 hammocks, a table and chairs, and 2 private surfing lessons 1.5 hours long. The local instructors were excellent and got my 17 year old who had never surfed before up in an hour. There is an open air restaurant right there overlooking the beach, where we got decent hamburgers, fries, Greek salad, and Pina Coladas. The kids really enjoyed the surfing. I found some interesting seashells.

Canal all day tour:
We drove about 20 minutes to Fabrice’s boat in Gamboa. We toured around the canal lake, pulled up to Monkey Island and fed the Monkey’s peanuts. This was quite exciting. Though the Monkeys obviously recognize the boats, they are very wary. If you are quiet and don’t move, they will run onto the boat and snatch the peanuts and run off. We were all were thrilled. We did a short hike to an old WWII building, and then kayaked around the inlets looking for wildlife, and had a water fight between our boats. We stopped and swam at a dock, and jumped off the roof of the dock into the canal. It was a great family day on the water.

Discover Panama City tour:
We started at the Miraflores lock museum. This is built right on the lock, so you can go on the roof decks and look down as the ships progress through the locks at very close range. This was interesting for everyone. We breezed through the exhibits; the real focus is watching the ships. If you go in the morning, there are more ships.
We then went to the fruit market, where we had fresh squeezed cane juice, papaya, mango and water melon. I enjoyed seeing this, the kids did not! Because the kids did not, we skipped the fish market.
We drove to the lookout way above the city, which really has spectacular views and lets you understand the whole area. We saw a Toucan up in a tree, which exemplifies our experience here: the lines between the city and rainforest are blurred and they co-mingle.
We then drove through the old city and looked through the car windows, as the kids were done walking. We stopped at a pedestrian street mall and ate at a local dive. The food was really good.
On the way home we stopped at a craft market. I felt like we got to see an incredible amount of the city in a short time. Fabrice is knowledgeable, and easily slips throughout the alleys, highways, and finds parking!

On our free day, we wanted to go look for birds and monkeys along the Pipeline walk in Sobernia National Park, about 25 minutes away. Max ( their son) arranged a taxi ( $35 each way ) to and from the park for us. It’s a long, flat trail, and you have to be quiet and patient to see animals, and preferably have binoculars. We saw a 10” turtle, a couple Capuchin monkeys, three toucans, and a couple interesting butterflies in an hour and half. My kids and husband hated this walk, but I thought it was interesting. There were lots of people with telescopes on tripods looking for birds.

The food:
We were all worried about the food as there is no choice,and my kids are picky eaters. Sabrina cooked good tasting food, but always very light and clean. For instance, we had curried chicken in coconut milk one night with sauteed bananas and a light caramel sauce. Not too rich or spicy, but still very flavorful. And always a beautiful dessert! We all cleaned our plates every night. Sabrina, I want you to put your recipes online!

In sum, the entire staff is really nice and helpful, the tours are spectacular, the food is far above average,and our entire family had a wonderful, once in a lifetime trip.

  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled with family
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3  Thank Marybeth W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 23, 2014

During the summer of 2013 while in Panama, we went on the Monkey Lodge Canal Tour. It was great!. We enjoyed the boat ride and monkey island. Just before pushing away, we saw a small BOA resting in a tree (that was cool). The short hike was enjoyed by all who ventured off the boat. My child was amazed by the ant super highways along the hike. Kayaking was especially nice, even my 8 year old participated. We ended the day by eating our packed lunch at a wonderfully shaded spot under a Mango tree. Overall the trip was wonderful. It was great to experience a tour that was off the beaten path!

Room Tip: Monkey Lodge Canal Tour.
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  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank Lexton3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 15, 2014

My family and I did the Canal Tour in July 2013. We had a great time feeding the monkeys, hiking through the jungle and visiting an old army outpost, and kayaking into a more remote area of the canal where we got to see a beautiful waterfall. If you enjoy a tour that's a little different than the typical tourist tours I highly recommend the Monkey Lodge Panama Canal Tour. We didn't have time to stay at the lodge but plan to stay there on a return visit to Panama.

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank Ludrus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 14, 2014

My husband and I live in Panama and spent a weekend away from home. It was like finding a sweet hidden place for a lovely relaxing weekend. The surroundings and the cabins were a luscious landscape, the meals were prepared just for us and Sabrina and Fabrice welcomed us like friends. We both plan on going back this summer. We also took a tour of the canal for the day and have great memories. The guide took us to alcoves and a waterfall, that was spectacular, where you could swim. Kayaks were also available. We would highly recommend it to anyone in Panama as well as foreign visitors.

Room Tip: Tip: All the rooms are very private if you need a few days of pure relaxation! But if you want a lit...
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  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Carmen L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 5, 2014

We were recently staying in the area of this hotel and had engaged a driver to show us around. As I had read reviews of this hotel I asked him if he would take us there so we could get an impression for a future trip.

As another reviewer mentioned this property is at the top of a VERY steep hill which you must navigate after crossing a VERY narrow bridge. There is NOTHING in the area of this property so if you want to shop make sure you have some means of transport to get away from the hotel. On the positive side it is very close to the Panama-Colon expressway which would allow you to reach Colon in about 20 min.

When we reached the top of the hill we were greeted by a locked fence door with a bell. We rang the bell and finally a person, who seemed VERY annoyed that we had bothered her, came to the door and continually told us that only guests were allowed in and to be a guest YOUR MUST make a reservation on the internet !!

My driver and my wife who both speak Spanish TRIED to explain to this woman that we were simply there to check the place out as a reference for a future visit to Panama but she was having NO part of our explanation and again and again explained that unless we had made a reservation ON THE INTERNET we would not be allowed in.

Again, this situation WAS NOT one of miscommunication because my driver was a local Panamanian tour guide.

So bottom line, this is NOT a review of this property because we were literally driven away by this woman. It may be a the wonderful place to stay as many reviewers have said but I will never consider the place and my TOUR GUIDE has vowed to never recommend the place to any of his clients.

Maybe this review will help the management review their policy of NO ACCESS unless you made an internet reservation. This of course is a silly policy. The nearby hotel we were staying at was selected on the basis of a tour we took during our trip in 2004 so being able to view a property, at least in my case, got the hotel my business.

  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Service
3  Thank Ric E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
monkeylodge, Propriétaire at Monkey Lodge Panama, responded to this reviewResponded January 6, 2014

Hello,

Thank you very much to mentioned the Monkey Lodge is not access free to preserve the tranquility of our guest, The guest love to stay around the pool without people come to visit.
If every body come first to visit we will be with lot of people in the lodge and is not our rules.
We are sure if you reserve a room in MONKEY LODGE you will don't like people come inside to visit and see you relaxing around the pool with your wife.
So before want to scupper an establishment with your bad comment, think about the customer's tranquility.

May be see you again!!!!!

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Monkey Lodge Panama

Address: Carretera Madden | Puente Roque, Panama City 0857, Panama
Phone Number:
Location: Panama > Panama Province > Panama City
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 79 B&Bs / Inns in Panama City
Price Range: $95 - $133 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Monkey Lodge Panama 3*
Number of rooms: 3
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Monkey Lodge is an authentic paradise, located at 20 minutes from Panama City Center, and 10 minutes from the Panama Chanel and neighbor to Soberania National Park.Monkey Lodge is a Bed & Breakfast with four cabins with all the amenities and comfort (refrigerators with drinks, safety box, privet bathroom and air condition on three of them). Furthermore, one of our cabins is located inside the monkey habitat, therefore all monkey lovers will be in close contact with these friendly and funny animals.While in Monkey Lodge, if you want it, you could be as close to monkey life as your will ever dream to spend unforgettable moments, knowing each monkey's personality, and their lifestyle.We also have a magnificent rainforest tropical garden, with an unmatched vegetation full of a enormous variety of flowers and birds, all located nearby our beautiful pool where you can rest and refresh all surround of these amazing place.In order to wake up your senses, we serve a delicious food in front of the garden and poolMonkey Lodge is not only a Bed & Breakfast, we are a travel agency and truism operator, therefore we are completely qualified to arrange, guide and make you holiday and tour as an exclusively experience, and warranty you an unforgettable vacation . We offer different travel offers so you can choose the one or ones that match your requirement. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Monkey Lodge Panama Hotel Panama City
Monkey Lodge Panama Panama City

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