I expected Akwadup to be rustic - after all, it *is* San Blas where everything is rustic. I guess I was hoping things would be a bit more "upscale" rustic - since we'd been told that this was the best in San Blas.
First, the positives:
The location is beautiful. A tiny speck of an island less than a mile off the mainland with just 7 stilted cabins located over the water. The island is so small, there are no roads, no vehicles, no utilities, no TV - nothing that makes noise or interrupts the tranquility. (Other than the occasional outboard passing by.) The only sounds that are typically heard are the roar of the surf, and the lapping of the waves underneath the cabin. Combined with the hammocks on the outside deck, this had to be one of the most peaceful, relaxing places I've ever been. Great for sleeping - day or night! Included in the rates are a choice of activities - snorkeling, visit to a Kuna village, nature tour of a nearby river, and a handful of other options.
But still, its rustic. No electricity aside from a small generator that was run for a few hours a day to charge the LED lights in the cabins. Which means no air conditioning. This wouldn't have been a big deal if the cabins had been designed to allow the breeze to flow through. But the windows weren't in quite the right spots, and it got a bit hot inside. There is also no hot water on the island, which means cold showers and shaving with cold water. Again, not too horrendous since it was quite warm out, but still.
Since the water on the island isn't potable, the resort should at least provide drinking water in the rooms. They don't. They make you buy it at $2.50 per half-liter bottle. Petty, in my opinion.
Other than the hammocks, there were no comfortable chairs anywhere. No real common area where you could sit on a comfy chair or sofa and just read.
Service was mediocre - with the dining staff speaking zero English, and only minimal Spanish. It was extremely difficult to communicate to ask for anything that wasn't already being served. The food itself wasn't bad. Lots of fresh seafood. Although if you aren't a seafood eater, the only other option is fried chicken - which gets tiresome after 2 days of having the exact same thing for lunch and dinner. Housekeeping service was also mediocre. The cabins were clean enough, but it required a reminder to have the room made up.
Despite these drawbacks, I enjoyed Akwadup, although my wife not so much. She felt that it wouldn't have taken much for them to step it up just a little which would have made a big difference. She may be right.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- If you want the ocean breeze in a welcoming place, far away from your city and life’s stress, let me help,I would like to tell you about a special place in central America, off the Caribbean coast of Panama.we belong to the Kuna indigenous people and are the owners of two palm fringed eco-tourist lodges on islands in Kuna Yala, meaning Kuna territory (also known as the san Blas Islands). The names of these highly regarded resorts are UAGUINEGA (winner of an International Business award) and AKWADUP, they are on small coral reefs close to the island of Achutupu which has one of the most traditional Kuna cultures, little changed over the centuries. Our guided tours will take you to watch the native women making their world renowned molas; at your selection you may wish to take a trip up river into the rainforest. Enjoy the snorkelling, swimming, or just relax in a palm shaded hammock. At night under the moon and shining stars.We are waiting to greet you. The Kuna dance, culture, stories and enjoyable,unique experience are sure to stay in your memory. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Akwadup Hotel San Blas Islands