What’s in a Name?
For those who might be wondering, Isla Palenque is pronounced Eez-lah Pah-len-kay. For non-Spanish speakers, it’s not the easiest to say, or to decipher for that matter, but as the original name of the island, we’ve stuck with it nonetheless. Here’s why…
There’s often plenty of authenticity to be found in hostels and guest houses, but as far as high-end lodgings go, it can be difficult to find a certain level of quality that doesn’t feel overly Westernized and devoid of local character. As far as we’re concerned, the world needs comfortable, even luxurious travel experiences that retain the feel of the place and the people. And that’s exactly why we retained the authentic name of Isla Palenque. To do otherwise would have felt like adopting a ten-year-old boy from a foreign country and telling him his name is now Steve.
For the Story
The name “Isla Palenque” has mysterious traces of story attached to it. In Central America’s colonial period, native people sometimes escaped indentured slavery in the Spanish mines and formed small island sanctuaries. They defended themselves from the colonial forces by surrounding the coasts of the islands with palisades (fences of sharpened stakes), or palenques in Spanish. As a result, these islands became known as palenques. No one knows when or how Isla Palenque got its name, but we like to think that it was one such sanctuary.
In the Name of History
Isla Palenque may have played a small part in US American history. It is a fact that Panama’s Chiriquí province was Abraham Lincoln’s choice as the place to relocate freed slaves, before he realized that relocation wouldn’t be an option. Since Palenque translates to slave sanctuary, and Isla Palenque is the only place in Chiriquí with the name… dare we suggest that our island was the exact site of the proposed relocation? It’s certainly possible.
After doing the research, the name Palenque began to take on a sense of romance and history to us. We’d like to pass this feeling on to you. Perhaps not everyone will remember the name Isla Palenque, or be able to pronounce it, but for the curious traveller looking to be part of something greater, something unique, it’ll be worth a trip to the island.
Ready to start planning? Chat to us or see our Rates, Packages and Special Promotions here.