A magical experience starts with a magical journey! For us the magic is the thrill of boarding a small boat casting off and skipping over the ocean, even the overcast skies could not dispel our wide grins.
Our “escape” to our island refuge started with a very courteous driver who delivered us to Boca Chica, Panama where our concierge, captain and an extremely comfortable well-designed boat waited to whisk us away.
Warm welcomes greet us, as does a refreshing cocktail as we tour this six-room eco-resort tucked away on the under developed island of Isla Palenque. Water cascading from the infinity pool, the surf caressing the rocks below and bird song from the surrounding jungle are the sounds of life here.
The resort is an award winning design, featuring wood clad steel framed buildings, open-air halls, bamboo decking and local artwork. Very different from the usual concrete and tile five star resort’s that pepper the tropics like fallen coconuts.
Playa Primera “first beach” is steps away, the broad expanse of soft sand freshly smoothed with each tide beckons for its first footprint, the denizens of the tidal pools included crabs, blennies, sea slugs, whelks, chitons and an octopus frantically squeezing itself into its own refuge.
Over breakfast, we spotted our first island native, an anteater clambering from branch to branch, agile as a monkey as he foraged for dinner. Not to be outdone, the local howler monkey troop moved in to munch on the fresh new leaves overhanging our balcony.
As we had arrived in the “green season”, the weather was overcast and rainy, good for providing monkey fodder and perfect for the mosquito population who waited in ambush on the trails. Long pants and long sleeved shirts are a great deterrent as is a readily available leafy stem emulating a horse’s use of his tail as he whisks those annoying flies away.
Returning hot and sweaty from our jungle explorations to the sanctuary of our cool room, our unique suspended outdoor bamboo screened shower was bliss! As was the double shower and soaker tub in the ocean view suite.
The organic furniture made with the islands dead, fallen trees used throughout the resort fascinated me. As did the multitude of life around us, from vine wrapped trees, exotic bromeliads, hawks, flycatchers and baby green iguanas.
Jungle traipsing and ocean air mean a good appetite, fueled superbly by Chef Oliver’s creations. Eden is the well-named restaurant serving innovative dishes using local ingredients and Panamanian flair. Lunch and dinner options changed daily offering seafood, meat or vegetarian choices and some very interesting deserts, such as raw cocoa beans in a sweet syrup and lemon chocolate basil ice cream.
Our five days passed in an exquisite blur of beaches, jungle, wildlife encounters, gourmet food and wonderful people. We plan to be back as often as we can, maybe when they open the tented suites later this year. In the meantime, you too can experience this paradise for a fraction of normal rates right here