Isla Palenque becomes Panama’s First National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World


“The Tropical Island Experience that you have been dreaming of!”

Just months after the opening of Cayuga Collection’s first property in Panama, we are proud to announce that our award-winning island sanctuary from civilization is set to become the newest and youngest member of National Geographic’s Unique Lodges of the World, making it the second in the Cayuga portfolio.

One of just eight hand-picked Unique Lodges in Central America and the Caribbean – and only 55 Worldwide – Isla Palenque joins the fellow Cayuga Collection hotel in the National Geographic portfolio: Jicaro Island Lodge in Nicaragua, a member since 2017.  As a brand new Unique Lodge, Isla Palenque is the first of its kind in Panama, signalling a long-awaited new breed of high-end sustainable tourism in the country, and the discovery of an exceptional destination by a community of rare experience-seekers.

Isla Palenque in Panama.

Guests of Isla Palenque can expect to live out their castaway fantasies in a 400-acre untouched island wilderness with a total developed footprint of less than 3%. A destination resort inspired by novels of shipwrecks and sailors, and the inner musings of an owner-turned-islander, mornings at Isla Palenque hold the promise of rainforest adventures or island hopping in the nearby national marine park.   Lazy afternoons are well spent on any one of seven secluded beaches or the beachside pool.  Find yourself on these palm-fringed shores and you’ll be one of a privileged few to ever experience this undisturbed parcel of paradise.

Isla Palenque
Aerial view of the casitas at Isla Palenque

About National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World

The National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World represent more than a selection of remarkable hotels. They are a collection of truly exceptional and extraordinary experiences, whether those be fantasy island adventures in Panama, or inspiring explorations of endangered forests in Costa Rica and beyond.  Each carefully curated by National Geographic, the lodges invite guests to discover some of the planet’s most treasured places, while helping to protect them for generations to come.

National Geographic’s CEO Gary Knell visited the island with his wife earlier in the year for a well-deserved getaway.  When we asked him about the island, this is what he responded: “Isla Palenque is a treasure.  An island steeped in history with a keen presence for the environment at every turn. The accommodations and food are first rate and the staff is incredibly helpful. Kudos all around.”

With Isla Palenque’s new status as a Unique Lodge, we are proud to see the relationship between the Cayuga Collection and National Geographic strengthening in three different countries.  As previous winners of National Geographic’s Earth Changers Award, our properties embody many of the values that National Geographic hold close, and together we look forward to offering our guests the opportunity to experience travel at its most transformative in some of the most exceptional corners of Latin America.

Jicaro Island Lodge in Nicaragua

Inspired to visit National Geographic’s newest Unique Lodge? Discover some of Isla Palenque’s highlights here. Or, to start planning your stay at Isla Palenque, chat to us below or drop us a note at


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Hans Pfister

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