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“Lots of fun but too expensive” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Canopy Tower

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Canopy Tower
Certificate of Excellence
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
64 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“Lots of fun but too expensive”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 18, 2013

The tower is a fun adventure and the guides are exceptional at showing guests all sorts of birds and wildlife. I'm glad we had the opportunity to spend 3 nights there recently. On the down side, the radar tower setting is loud, and the beds not very comfortable given how much the lodge costs. The couple in the room next to us got up at 4:30 in the morning and spoke very loudly to each other waking us up since the rooms really have no sound proofing and thin walls. One has to realize that there really is no way around that in a radar tower. One thing they could improve, however, is making the beds more comfy given the first class rates the place charges. Really good overall, though, and our guide, Michael, was super!

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Domino221
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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289 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (74)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
11 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 31, 2012

We stayed at the Canopy Tower for three nights in December. (We also stayed at the Lodge.) The Tower is relatively spartan as compared with the Lodge, with smaller rooms and a smaller staff.  There is no air conditioning, but the location is higher in elevation and is much cooler than in Panama City.  

The food is served family style and is excellent.  My wife is lactose intolerant and can't eat red meat or salads, and the staff accommodated these and other food issues with no problem (e.g., another guest at the Lodge was vegetarian).

The Tower itself is a marvel. Who would have thought one could convert a radar tower into a hotel? It has a common area with windows all around overlooking the rainforest canopy, and an observation deck with a 360° view. A sloth sometimes hangs out in a neighboring tree!

There are some complaints on TripAdvisor about the noise at the Tower, and they actually provide ear plugs if you want them.  Sound does carry in the Tower, but we had no problem with noise as everyone was asleep by 10.  Another guest we met at the Lodge, who had just come from a stary at the Tower, made the same observation.  The howler monkeys can wake you up at sunrise, depending on how close they are to the Tower, but we were up by then anyway.

Both the Lodge and the Tower cater to birders, and many of the guests we were fairly intense about it. My wife is an avid birder, while I just enjoy seeing the birds and other wildlife. Between the two locations, by my wife’s accounting we saw some 170 bird species.

We both had a great time and we found other guests at both places to be quite congenial.  There were several non-birder spouses like me, who just enjoyed seeing a rain forest.  The bird/nature guides are incredibly good. They can spot a bird in the far distance, identify it, and find in their spotting scope within minutes. They are also quite tenacious in seeking rare birds.

The Tower has non-birding nature tours and also quite a few activities for non-birders, which are listed on their web site. We really enjoyed a half day boat trip on the Canal and Gatun Lake, where we saw many animals, and also a tour of the Panama Canal Visitor Center in Miraflores Locks.  There was also a sign at the Tower regarding excursions that they would arrange, including a half or full passage of the Canal.  While the Tower has more basic accommodations than other hotels, I think it's location in the rainforest and proximity to the city and the Canal make it a good candidate for a base.  

We had a good time on our stay at the Tower and recommend it.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank rgw28970
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sofia, Bulgaria
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 29, 2012

We spent 4 days at Canopy Tower and it really proved to be among the world-top birding destinations! Every morning we witnessed various wildlife from the observation deck, which provides unique opportunities for observing and photographing/filming birds and other wildlife. All attended tours were very well organized and the guides were extremely knowledgeable and helpful. We have chosen to visit the Canopy Tower during the autumn migration of soaring raptors - one of the most spectacular in the world!

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Iva_HristovaNikolova
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Juan Capistrano, California
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 29, 2012

I have traveled and studied birds in many parts of the world and this is a really unique place to stay in panama. The food was good and the ability to see species at eye level is amazing. The staff is really nice and the rooms are clean and unique. However, it is completely overpriced and unless you stay for at least 3 nights, no tours are included. I was only able to afford one night but I figured I could use the next morning to bird but we were really discouraged from lingering after the 9:00am checkout. Also, the atmosphere really caters to what is known as "listers", whose only concern is finding every bird on their list instead of observing and appreciating being apart of the rainforest via this tower. This is more of a place for a wealthy traveler/birder that wants a full tour operator to bring them to each bird species and I don't think a regular tourist or naturalist would get much value from this.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank quino24
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pisgah Forest, North Carolina
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 18, 2012

We spent seven nights at Canopy Tower, a jewel in the center of Panama. Our stay included accomodations, food, transportation, and fantastic wildlife guides. Our primary purpose for this trip was serious birding. The Tower is unique and somewhat rustic. The room was immaculate and clean, basic but comfortable. The food was simple, well prepared, plentiful, and totally tasty. The birding was incomparable because of the world-class guides. Be prepared for extensive walking over sometimes hilly and rocky trails. Simply put, birding at Canopy Tower exceeded our every expectation. The atmosphere is friendly, and the hotel staff is unfailingly helpful. This trip will remain a highlight for us.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank M B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sequim, Washington
Level Contributor
30 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 13, 2012

First off, the only reason to stay here is if you want an amazing view and are into being close to nature. I gave this place a 4 out of 5 because of the eye candy. However, this is geared towards serious birders – which we are not. We only stayed one night, and didn't get a tour included so we were on our own. We took a hike and enjoyed sitting on top the observation deck looking at the monkeys, sloths and birds. You can see Panama City in the distance and boats cruising through the canal. Sunrise and sunsets were phenomenal. If that alone is not enough to justify the cost then I will warn you the rest might disappoint.

Food wise, eating there is your only option. We were there over Thanksgiving, and at dinner my husband and I were the last to eat at the buffet and they out ran out of food. Three of the four chaffing dishes were empty. We were left to eat cauliflower and beets. They had a beautiful looking turkey, but my husband and I don't eat meat. They accommodated us with fish which was nice. The food quality was not great either, first day we had a dessert that was obviously pre-made frozen and hadn't thawed yet. Having said that, it wasn't bad, just nothing special.

Sleep quality was all or nothing. When it was loud it was very loud and impossible for me to sleep, but when it was quiet the jungle outside was humming and lulled me into a very heavy sleep. I think it all depends on the courtesy of the neighbors. Maybe signs encouraging guest to keep it to low tones might help.

This is a very unique experience in a great location and only 30 minutes away from Panama City. I'm inclined to try staying at their other properties next time and come up here for a day trip.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Kerry M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego, California
Level Contributor
79 reviews
43 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 11, 2012

My wife and I stayed at the Canopy Tower for three nights just before Thanksgiving, after having spent the previous three nights at the Canopy Lodge. The Canopy Tower Family arranged for transport between all our stops during the trip and they were punctual, safe and reasonably priced. The Tower isn't luxurious in any way, but it was neat, clean and fun. We stayed in the Blue Cotinga room, which was very nice and had a small balcony, but we were rarely in there to enjoy it. We spent most of our time on guided bird watching expeditions, eating in the dining room or enjoying the incredible view from the top balcony. The food was good, wine was provided at dinner and beer or spirits were available for $4.

Each morning and afternoon were spent hunting for birds and this usually included a ride to the spot of the day in their open "Birdmobile", which was fun, but can be wet and windy! The guides were knowledgeable and spoke English well. We did Pipeline Road and Ammo Dump Ponds along with a few other sites. The birding is incredible, but my wife and I both thought the trips were more suited for avid birders. More casual birders may want to skip a trip or two and stay at the tower where you can relax and enjoy the canopy at eye level. We saw Howler Monkeys and Geoffroy's Tamarins as well as sloths and birds from the balcony. There are several hummingbird feeders in the garden which attract quite a few hummers. It's always fun to watch them as they defend what they think is their particular feeder. One morning there was an optimistic little boa stretched across a branch above one of the feeders, hoping for a quick little snack.

When we first arrived, we were asked if we had any dietary restrictions, and I told them I don't eat fish. They seemed to understand, but one of the three main courses was only fish. There was plenty to eat with salad, rice and beans, but it would have been much nicer to have a main course for me that wasn't fish!

With that exception, and understanding that the main focus of the daily activities is hardcore bird watching, this is a fabulous place and we'd certainly recommend it!

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank GeneBarb
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 #3 of 110 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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