Know Before You Go
TOP 5 QUESTIONS
We’re located in the tropics and close to the equator, with consistent temperatures year-round: highs typically hover around 92F/33°C and lows around 70F/21°C. However, weather patterns vary over the course of the year and can be divided into three distinct seasons:
Dry Season: mid-December to mid-April
Green Season: late April through September
Rainy Season: October through mid-December
Dry Season brings four months of glorious sunshine and almost zero rain. During Green Season, most days on the island will be sunny or partly cloudy, with an afternoon or evening “warm” storm that typically lasts a few hours. In Rainy Season we can get some downpours but don’t let the rain discourage you – October is the very best month for humpback whale watching in the Gulf.
A visa is not necessary to travel to Panama from most countries in the world, however, Panama law requires you have a return ticket leaving the country in order to enter, and that passports be valid for at least 6 months at the date of entry. You may also be asked to prove that you have at least US$500 – a credit card, bank statement or cash usually work. Keep your booking for Isla Palenque handy too, as sometimes visitors are asked to confirm their hotel reservations.
Citizens of the following countries do not require a visa: USA, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Singapore and Taiwan.
If you come to Panama from South America and plan to continue on to Costa Rica or Nicaragua, you will need to show proof of a Yellow Fever shot. Ask us for more details on this.
It would also be wise to check with your personal physician for individual recommendations.
While we may be off the beaten path, getting to Isla Palenque is easy. We can take care of all domestic ground transport for you so you can just sit back and enjoy the adventure.
Isla Palenque can be reached by a short domestic flight from Panama City to Enrique Malek International Airport (DAV) in David. Flights with Copa Airlines are available from Panama City’s Tocumen International Airport (PTY), or with Air Panama from Albrook Airport (PAC). We recommend flying rather than driving from Panama City, but this can also be arranged.
You can find more detailed information on travelling to our island resort on our dedicated Getting Here page.
Yes! Families love it here. Our island is an ideal natural playground for the inquisitive. It’s perfect for multi-generational families too, with things to do for every age and interest. With parental supervision, or while partaking in guided activities like rainforest walks and boat trips, your kids will find tremendous opportunities to learn, explore, discover, and play on Isla Palenque. We have direct access to a number of beaches and also have a pool for quality relaxation time together. Additionally, many of our rooms are large enough to accommodate whole families, and our restaurant also has a tasty kid-friendly menu.
Is there anything more romantic than a private island escape for two? Our beautiful beaches and natural setting are perfect for post-wedding relaxation, and the small size of our resort makes for an intimate getaway. You can enjoy private candlelit dinners on the beach, dramatic sunsets every evening, gourmet food, and many unforgettable adventures around the island. With so much to do at Isla Palenque, you’ll be able to create memories to last a lifetime.
Let us plan your dream honeymoon or romantic getaway
This depends on which season you’d like to stay at Isla Palenque. Generally for High and Holiday Season (November through April), we recommend booking up to 6 months in advance. Our hotel is small and can get booked up fast. From April to November, we suggest booking a few months in advance to avoid disappointment.
The longer, the better, but given our remoteness, we recommend staying at least 4 nights. That way you’ll have time to soak up the Isla Palenque experience and enjoy a number of our island and activities.
Yes. We can arrange all domestic ground transport for you including transfers to Tocumen International or Albrook Airport in Panama City and transfers from Enrique Malek International Airport in David to Boca Chica where we’ll be waiting for you in our boat. We can even arrange transport from Costa Rica. You can find more information on travelling to Isla Palenque and transport options on our Getting Here page.
At Isla Palenque, we’ve got 400-acres of rainforest to explore, 7 beaches to discover, and a number of included island tours to enjoy – there’s enough to keep you occupied from sunrise to nightfall if you wish. Alternatively, time on the island is equally well spent relaxing, hammocking and cooling off in the pool.
Our eight Beachfront Casitas are located along the sprawling Playa Palenque on the island’s west side. Each is available to be booked individually and can accommodate a maximum of 4 guests. Resort amenities on this side of the island include Las Rocas Restaurant & Bar and an infinity pool.
Our Beachfront Villa Estate is located on the east side of the island, right above Playa Primera. It can accommodate from 2 to 14 guests in its six separate rooms and suites, and is an excellent choice for large families or groups. The Beachfront Villa Estate can only be booked out as a vacation rental. Rooms may not be booked individually. Amenities on the property include a lounge and dining area, poolside bar, and infinity pool.
Both accommodation options include 3 meals daily, snacks, non-alcoholic drinks, island guided tours, round trip transfers between Boca Chica and Isla Palenque, and complimentary use of kayaks, paddleboards and fishing gear. Guests of both the Casitas and the Villa Estate are free to explore the entire island and its beaches.
Yes. Our rooms have full air conditioning and large ceiling fans too. Some of our guests however prefer to open the large sliding doors and fall asleep with the ocean breezes.
Yes, there is complimentary Wi-Fi at Isla Palenque and cell phone reception in many parts of the island. Please note that if you stay at our Beachfront Casitas, there is no cell phone reception at Playa Palenque. Calls can also be made from our phone at the Guest Services Office which is capable of connecting to all landlines worldwide.
Yes. We are committed to making fresh, tasty food for each and every one of our guests, and strive to accommodate all food allergies and preferences. Our menus feature a number of vegetarian and vegan dishes, and lots of our traditional Panamanian dishes – being corn rather than wheat based – are naturally gluten free. To discuss specific dietary requirements, please get in touch and ask about accommodating your needs. Good food is for everyone!
Yes. We are privileged to have our own natural aquifer which fulfils all of our water needs on the island. We filter this mineral-rich water once to remove sediments and twice more to bring out its flavor. The water that flows from our taps is pure and completely safe to drink.
We’re lucky to be located amidst 400 acres of beautiful tropical jungle. With this in mind, all sorts of wildlife – including insects – can be encountered. Depending on the time of year and day, there may be periods where you’ll see mosquitoes, especially after periods of extended rains. It’s a good idea to apply insect repellent especially for activities in the rainforest.
Yes, lots. It’s common to see howler monkeys, iguanas and all kind of exotic birds, but our 400 acres of rainforest are also inhabited by creatures including anteaters, armadillos and porcupines. Our in-house guides will help you spot even the most camouflaged wildlife.
Isla Palenque is framed by 7 beaches, a number of which are perfect for swimming. One – Playa Palenque – is merely steps from our Beachfront Casitas and our Villa Estate rooms also have direct beach access. Others are accessible by hiking through the rainforest. We will always be around to advise on tides and safety.
Our cancellation policies vary by season:
Holiday Season – Dec 22nd – Jan 3rd
– We accept cancellations up to 90 days prior to the arrival date without any penalty.
– If a reservation is cancelled between 90 and 60 days prior to the arrival date, 50% of the reservation will be charged.
– If a reservation is cancelled 59 days or less prior to the arrival date, 100% of the reservation will be charged.
– Cancellation policies may apply to modifications or night reductions made 90 days or less prior to the arrival date
High Season – Jan 4th – April 30th, Nov 1st – Dec 21st
– We accept cancellations up to 60 days prior to the arrival date without any penalty.
-If a reservation is cancelled 60 days or less prior to the arrival date, 100% of the reservation will be charged.
– Cancellation policies may apply to modifications or night reductions made 60 days or less prior to the arrival date.
Green Season– May 1st – Oct 31st
– We accept cancellations up to 30 days prior to the arrival date without any penalty.
– If a reservation is cancelled 30 days or less prior to the arrival date, 100% of the reservation will be charged.
– Cancellation policies may apply to modifications or night reductions made 30 days or less prior to the arrival date.
In all cases:
-If there is a “no-show” 100% of the reservation total will be charged.
-In the event the cancelled room is resold, reimbursement will be made in full.
– Unused prepaid services (such as airport transfers or tours booking in advance) are non-refundable.
Check in is from 2pm. Should you arrive earlier at Isla Palenque, we will do everything possible to have your room ready. However, if you do have to wait, you won’t have to wait to start your vacation: go ahead and take a dip in the pool or enjoy some lunch. Check out is at 12pm. If you would like to leave later in the day, please let us know and if possible, we’ll be happy to accommodate you.
We accept cash (US Dollars and Panamanian Balboa), or credit cards to settle your account. At the resort you won’t need any local currency – all additional expenses such as alcoholic drinks or ocean-based tours can be charged to your room.
Envelopes are available at the Guest Services Office if you would like to leave a gratuity. Unless specifically directed to an individual staff member, your gifts will be shared among the entire staff. We feel that all of our hard working team, many of whom you may not have the opportunity to meet, contribute to the overall guest experience at Isla Palenque. Tipping – including restaurant service charges – is exclusively at your discretion.
In Panama we have strict no smoking policies for public places and hotels. Smoking is not allowed in the Casitas, or on the Las Rocas restaurant premises. If you do smoke at the beach, please be considerate with our wildlife and do not leave cigarette buds in the sand.
The electrical current in Panama is 110 volts. The sockets are American-style: standard US two prong plugs (or three pronged if grounded).
Isla Palenque is independently owned, and the resort is operated by the Cayuga Collection. This Costa Rica based hospitality management company is dedicated to managing and developing sustainable and luxury hotels and lodges in Latin America, including Senda in Costa Rica’s magical cloud forests and Jicaro Island Lodge in Lake Nicaragua.
Read more about the Cayuga Collection here
At the intersection between two oceans and two continents, Panama is a narrow country, but one packed with culture, tropical beaches, Latin spirit, history, nature and wildlife. And making it all the more appealing is the fact that it’s still widely unexplored. Panama is an excellent destination for off the beaten path adventure and undisturbed relaxation.
Boca Chica on Panama’s Pacific coast is the gateway to the pristine Gulf of Chiriqui National Marine Park. It’s an area of remarkable natural beauty and still happily off-the-radar for many. The almost 15,000 hectares of marine park comprise two dozen islands and are teeming with wildlife. The protected area provides the setting for activities including scuba diving, snorkeling, sea kayaking and deep sea fishing beyond the park’s boundaries.
The sport fishing in the Gulf of Chiriqui is world class. It’s one of the best kept secrets of Panama. Thanks to the lack of commercialized fishing and the “catch and release” practice followed by all of the professional operators in the area, the abundance of offshore pelagic and inshore fish species in the Gulf is impressive. Our waters are so rich in nutrients and small bait fish that it’s not unusual to see giant schools of Yellowfin Tuna. The Rooster Fish is also common around the rocky outcrops and shallow beaches among the many islands in the Gulf of Chiriqui.
We recommend choosing a hotel in the Casco Viejo of Panama City. This charming, historic quarter of the city is a World Heritage Site and a charismatic neighborhood worth visiting.
We have essential emergency equipment (such as a defibrillator and anti-venom) onsite, and can provide first-aid care for all minor medical concerns our guests may have during their stay. In the case of an emergency, guests will be taken by boat to the mainland and transported to the hospital in nearby David.
Medical care in Panama is of very high quality, and hospitals particularly in the capital city are some of the most technologically advanced in Latin America.
*Please make sure you bring enough of your personal medication as nearby pharmacies only offer basic medical products.
We advise taking out comprehensive travel and medical insurance to cover yourself and any dependents/travel companions for the duration of our stay in Panama. As a minimum, this insurance should include:
– Emergency evacuation expenses
– Medical expenses
– Repatriation expenses
– Cancellation or curtailment of trip
– Damage/theft/loss of personal luggage, money and goods
In case of medical emergencies, most Panamanian doctors and hospitals expect payment in cash, regardless of whether you have travel health insurance or not. If your health insurance does not cover you for medical expenses while you are abroad, you should consider supplemental insurance. It may also be worth finding out in advance if your insurance plan will make payments directly to providers or if they reimburse you later for any overseas health expenditures.
If you don’t speak Spanish, don’t worry. At Isla Palenque we speak excellent English, and are happy to teach you some Spanish phrases too! Apart from in the most rural areas of Panama, you shouldn’t encounter too many language barriers. Many Panamanians have at least a basic knowledge of English.