People of Palenque – Meet Benny

At Isla Palenque we like to think of ourselves as a little private island with a lot of personality. If you’ve visited our Panama paradise since our opening in 2018, you’ll likely have met a fair few memorable characters, and almost certainly our extraordinary Food & Beverage Coordinator, Benny Olmos.  He might have mixed you up a playful cocktail or two, taught you all about Central American rums, played the guitar and sang you a song, or chatted about island life over dinner.

Benny is one of our longest serving and most beloved staff members at Isla Palenque, first joining the team in 2013.  Son of an accountant and a teacher, he grew up in nearby David with five siblings, and a dog called Boxy.  Always a lover of food, Benny would cook his mother dinner when she came back late from work, and eventually went on to become a cook at a youth hostel, his first job in hospitality.

Benny at Isla Palenque

An artist in every sense of the word, Benny is quite the enigma.  And with a number of unexpected passions, it’s easy to find something in common with him.  On the one hand he’s a metal-head surfer.  On the other, he’s an imaginative poet with a passion for playing the guitar and an unwavering faith in the power of the universe.  When Benny wants something out of life, he turns his wish into a song and sings it over and over loud and strong, all day long, at work, at the beach and during break time.  In the process, he’s defined his very own “Law of Attraction” and managed to successfully manifest his every desire.

As much an inspiring storyteller as a curious listener, Benny makes a great conversationalist.  He loves to learn new things and has discovered travel as a way to expand his knowledge and horizons.  His work at Isla Palenque has allowed him to meet people from across the globe and to travel to almost all of the Cayuga Collection hotels and lodges in Costa Rica.

Benny is always on the lookout for opportunities to develop personally and professionally, and is especially grateful to Isla Palenque and Cayuga’s owners and managers for the stepping stones they’ve provided him with.  What ultimately fills Benny with satisfaction is to see his guests happy and enchanted with island life.  And it’s especially touching to see some of them shed a tear when it’s time to leave the palm-fringed paradise that is Isla Palenque.  He always prefers to say hasta luego because he knows they’ll be back someday.

Isla Palenque Panama

In the future, Benny hopes to continue growing and would love to someday own his own business.  For now, he’s pleased to be an integral member of the Isla Palenque and Cayuga family and loves the idea of helping us open new hotels and lodges as we expand throughout Latin America. 

Before we send him around the continent, make sure to catch Benny in his element.  You’ll find him behind Palenque’s Las Rocas Bar, with a rum-enriched cocktail in hand and an infectious smile across his face – ready to welcome you for a private island experience that’s straight out of a fantasy novel.


To plan your stay at Isla Palenque, a member of the Cayuga Collection, chat to us below or reach out to us at You can also call us toll free on +1 855 679-4364.  

Benny singing to guests

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Andrea Bonilla

Co-Owner & VP Operations