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

BungalowWhen 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 is just a small list of them in Costa Rica. 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. But this is changing as more investors look for new places to grow their collection of quality luxury and self-sustaining lodges.

Island hopOn the one hand, this was great news when Cayuga collection decided to develop Isla Palenque as a Boutique Luxury Island Resort near David, Panama in an area referred to as Boca Chica. 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 this new option with a visit to Boquete, Panama. The area of Boquete is a bit more mature with tourism and offers some nice options to combine with Isla Palenque. Clients would fly to Panama City and likely overnight at a nice hotel in the old city called Casco Antiguo or some great luxury options in the modern city. Then fly to David Panama – either via the domestic airport in Albrook or out of the international airport. You need to count on at least 6 nights 3 at each location – Boca Chica and Boquete. You can experience the Pacific Ocean and the Cloud forest. Depending on the time of year –whales are seen in and around Boca Chica and in Boquete, a birders paradise, the resplendent quetzal.Isla Palenque Amenities Private Beach Dining -low res 2

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 Antiguo of Panama City at La Concordia.

If you were wondering on “How to get to book Isla Palenque?” or any Panama travel, reach out to Lori Snow of Condor Tours & Travel, Inc. Lori was born in Panama and grew up in Panama City. Her knowledge of Panama is extensive and she is often called upon to do lectures on Panama and the Canal. She was educated in the Canal Zone but grew up on the streets of Panama City and speaks Spanish like a true “Panamanian”. Her company has been selling tourism to Panama and all of Latin America since 1991. Although their offices are US based, they operate an office in Panama to handle all incoming travelers and can custom create a package that meets all your travel expectations while in Panama.

2 thoughts on “Why are there almost no Boutique Luxury Hotels & Resorts in Panama?”

  1. Hope they can focus on the sustainable high end resorts. They can learn a lot from their Costa Rican neighbors. Isle Palenque is on my list!!

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