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“Dissapointing”
Review of Canopy Tower

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Canopy Tower
Certificate of Excellence
Lisbon, New Hampshire
Level Contributor
26 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Dissapointing”
Reviewed October 29, 2012

We were here for 2 nights in October. In summary, though we had a reasonably good time, we felt that the Canopy Tower offered very poor value for our tourism dollar. We have spent time in eco-lodges on 3 occasions deep in the Amazon and once in Costa Rica. We have always been pleased with our choices. But, we felt like the Canopy Tower was terribly overpriced for what it provided. We were in a standard double room and it felt like a jail cell. The sound insulation is so bad that they issue ear plugs. The morning after our first night, several guests (including, to some extent, me) were sick which was quite clear given the noise transfer between rooms. I attribute it to the watercress salad which is notoriously risky to eat where sanitation is not perfect. I was concerned about one person but could not even get a staff member interested in checking on him. (On this trip, I stayed in 19 hotels and this was my only experience of getting sick.) The observation level is pleasant with a view of passing ships but I saw far more wildlife in 1 hour at Barro Colorado, some years ago, than I saw in many hours scanning the tree tops with binoculars from the observation deck at the Canopy Tower. That said, I know other guests were very happy with their experience. We did not use a guide, having spent so much on the lodge already, but other guests were very pleased with their guides. The first morning I was too sick to attend the morning viewing (with a guide present) at the observation level. The second morning, we found him helpful though there was less to see than I had anticipated. The howler monkeys were wonderful and they put on a better show (howling from a closer local) than I have experienced elsewhere.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
7 Thank Jan M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Raul2009, Owner at Canopy Tower, responded to this review, November 16, 2012
Dear Guest,

We would like to thank you for taking the time to provide your
feedback regarding your stay in our lodge. We are disappointed that
your stay was not all that you expected and would like to clarify
certain points made in the review. First, we would like to emphasize
that the Canopy Tower is not your standard hotel, but rather, is a
very unique type of lodge located in a national park that caters to a
specific market. Guests who do not fall inside our niche will probably
not appreciate all we have to offer.

We mention in several places on our website that the Tower is a
“recycled” US Military radar tower turned eco-lodge, thus the
structure itself is made of steel which allows sound to travel easily.
We do provide complimentary earplugs for light sleepers who prefer to
use them -- they are not a requirement and are certainly not "issued"
at the door.

We are also hurt by the description of our standard double rooms as a
"jail cell." We are aware that they are not the usual size of a
typical hotel room, but they are nothing like a jail cell. In fact,
the close proximity of the rooms to nature has been the major draw for
eco-tourists here for more than 12 years!

Regarding the food complaint, our chef and kitchen personnel are well
trained in handling food and have been doing so for over a decade.
Also, our kitchen passes rigorous health certifications on a yearly
basis. None of the other guests had any complaints with the food that
was served, and all of them attended the morning tour.

Regarding not seeing wildlife, to fully experience what our ecosystem
has to offer, one must go on a guided tour. Neotropical rainforest
animals are well camouflaged such that the untrained eye could easily
miss them. In fact the animals rely on this camouflage and mimicry in
order to survive.

This all being said, we welcome you to return soon for a longer visit,
and we are sure you would have a great time. And the howlers will be very close again, most likely.

All the best,

Raul Arias de Para
President / Founder
The Canopy Tower Family
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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297 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (79)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Long Island NY
Level Contributor
270 reviews
51 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 153 helpful votes
Reviewed September 7, 2012

There is no question this place is for the birds! Some have complained about that. If you are not a birder I recommend you make that known when you make your reservation so the staff can plan accordingly. We went on our walks separate from the birders, which makes sense given we have different interests. The best part about the our stay was being able to look out the window and see everything from Sloths to Toucans from the top of the canopy to the ground. You can’t do that anywhere else. In addition to monkeys (howler and tamarin) saw a lot of lovely birds from the roof. Thank you to the birders and our guide for spotting them for us, don’t ask me to remember their names.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
3 Thank travelingNYfamily
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Indianapolis, Indiana
Level Contributor
8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed August 4, 2012

My best friend and I go on a birding trip every year and this year we chose Canopy Tower. We visited on July 9 – 14 and my only complaint is that the trip wasn’t longer. From the moment we arrived we knew we were in an awesome place. Within five minutes we were on top of tower looking at our first Three-toed Sloth – within 15 feet from our binoculars!

Our primary objective was the birds and they did not disappoint. The tower property itself can keep you busy for hours. From the dining windows you will routinely see Aracari’s, Toucans, Honeycreepers, Hummingbirds, Tanagers, Caciques, and many more. Howler Monkey’s also make themselves present day after day in the trees that circle the tower.

The birding off the property is excellent as well. No matter which destination, the birds were there and the guides all did an outstanding job making sure we saw as many birds as possible. My target bird was the Black-chested Jay and I got it (along with 5 others) in great scope view at Summit Park, which is about 5 minutes from the tower. The list goes on and on but if you have a craving for an American Pygmy Kingfisher, Blue-headed Parrot, Orange-chinned Parakeet, Red-lored Parrot, Keel-billed Toucan, Blue Cotinga, Cinnamon Becard, or a Black-tailed Trogon you probably just need to get to Canopy Tower because the odds are you will see them all and many more.

The lodge itself was great! We stayed in the single rooms and were very pleased. On this level, the bathroom and the shower are shared but it didn’t pose and issue whatsoever. During our visit there were only a couple of other guests so noise was a non-issue for the most part but they do provide earplugs if you need them. The tower was hot but not unbearable. You will be so caught up in the birds and wildlife, it won’t matter. It does cool down some at night which will help you sleep but I do recommend you bring a very small, quiet fan if you like it really cool.

The food was terrific! All three meals were wonderful and diverse, lots of flavor and plenty to satisfy your hunger. Soda and water is included with your stay as well so you can drink as much as you want. Wine is included with dinner. Alcohol is available in the evenings for a small cost. One of the best things is that you can drink the water at the tower right from the faucet, although you don’t have to since they stock bottled water but, this is eliminates and enormous amount of stress during the trip. You even shower in clean water so you will be in good shape with the agua.

July is the rainy season so you will get a good shower everyday but it is never for long. Typically, it rains in the afternoon for a few hours and then dries up. So, just expect it and you will not be disappointed. One cool advantage to the rain is that it seemed to re-charge the birds. When the rain stopped the birds became very active again so you basically get a second morning each day in the afternoon after the rain. Pretty cool!

Lastly, I want to make sure I appreciate the entire staff for their patience and understanding with me. I had an emergency come up back in the states and had to cut my trip short by three days. Even though I created a little confusion in my attempt to book a flight and get back to the airport, they all worked very hard to make sure I got back home to my family. They were very willing to help me out. I had to use the phone a lot and they allowed me to keep their cordless with me most of the time while I was at the lodge. I am very thankful for all of their help!!!

Simply put, you will not be disappointed with Canopy Tower. If you want birds, an awesome experience, and a staff willing to make sure you have both than GO! I can’t wait to go back and plan to very soon!

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
5 Thank Indiana_Birder
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
50 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
Reviewed July 19, 2012

Great place! Go for the nature and you won't be disappointed. Our last days in PC and our time at the Canopy Tower did not disappoint. Great birding, amazing tower (how cool is a hotel from an old radar tower not be awesome?!) super helpful staff with great eyes for birds.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Pamela325
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Raleigh, North Carolina
1 review
Reviewed July 18, 2012

Once again the Canopy Tower was fantastic! Everything about it was amazing, from the excellent and friendly guides to the great food to the outstanding view from the top of the tower. Each morning you awoke to the sounds of the rainforest right outside the window! For any birder or wildlife lover travelling to Panama, the Canopy Tower (and its sister Canopy Lodge) is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the best of Panama!

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank KKTurtleDude
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gainesville, Florida
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed July 15, 2012

I highly recommend a trip to the world-famous Canopy Tower. The guides are great, the staff helpful and the setting spectacular! Watching birds from the top deck before breakfast and night monkeys in the evenings were highlights!

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
1 Thank Adam K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gainesville, Florida, United States
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed July 13, 2012

Exceptional place, outstanding guides!
The famous Canopy Tower lived up to its reputation! After years of hearing about this place from friends and reading about in birding magazines, we had high hopes and, needless to say, we were not disappointed. The staff at the Tower were friendly, the guides knowledgeable, and the food delicious. Despite visiting during the rainy season in July, it only rained for a small part of the few days we were in the area and it didn’t negatively affect our trip. The view from the top of the tower is spectacular, with Cecropias and other trees in fruit drawing in tanagers, honeycreepers and other tropical birds. In addition to the abundant birdlife visible from the top of the tower, we saw sloths and two species of monkey from our rooms, including night monkeys. One of my favorite experiences was having the opportunity to study two similar species, the Short-tailed and Band-rumped Swifts, at eye level as they foraged around the Tower. We highly recommend a visit to the Canopy Tower!

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Gina K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Canopy Tower

Property: Canopy Tower
Address: Semaphore Hill Road | Soberania National Park, Panama City 0832, Panama
Location: Panama > Panama Province > Panama City
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 105 Specialty Lodging in Panama City
Number of rooms: 12
Also Known As:
Canopy Tower Hotel Panama City
Canopy Tower Panama/Panama City

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