Why are there almost no Boutique Luxury Hotels & Resorts in Panama?  

When you do a search for “Luxury Hotels and Resorts in Costa Rica”, there is a long list of boutique hotels that a visitor can choose from along the Pacific coast.  Among them Arenas del Mar in Manuel Antonio, Kura in Uvita, Latitude 10 in Santa Teresa and the Harmony Hotel in Nosara.  But in Panama, the list is very short.  Why is that?

Panama’s economy has been very focused on the Panama Canal, the Banking Sector and Real Estate development in and around Panama City.  And the few hotels and lodges on the beach are either large all-inclusive hotels that have a connection to the Panama Business Hotels or small two to three-star hotels, resorts and lodges scattered along the coast.  The fact is that tourism and especially sustainable and boutique tourism has not been on the agenda of the Panamanian government as there were ‘bigger fish to fry’ for them in other sectors.

Carribean Coast

On the one hand, this was great news when we decided to develop Isla Palenque as a Boutique Luxury Island Resort.  Almost no competition.  But on the other hand, it became a problem as there are only very few places in Panama that our visitors could combine with a stay at Isla Palenque.  So we found that a lot of guests, actually combine two of our Cayuga Collection hotels and lodges in the south Pacific of Costa Rica with a stay at Isla Palenque.  Thankfully, the border crossing is quite manageable.

And in case they decide to stay only in Panama, we recommend them to visit El Otro Lado in Portobello on the Caribbean Coast and stay in the Casco Viejo of Panama City at La Concordia.

If you were wondering on “How to get to Isla Palenque?”, take a look at this video or contact us at reservations@islapalenque.com for more details.

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Andrea Bonilla

Co-Owner & VP Operations