5 Top EcoLodges in Panama

Panama is the best keep secret in Latin America.  My country is one of the best adventure travel destinations with amazing ecolodges surrounded by nature.   Panama is part of the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor and is known as one of the most biologically diverse countries in Central America.   There are more ecolodges in Panama and below you will see a list of my favorites.

Mount Totumas Cloudforest Ecolodge


Just 2 hours from David in Volcan is located this wonderful cloudforest Eco lodge a truly unique experience in Panama.  At Mount Totumas Cloud Forest there is a variety of accommodations and depending on guests preferences and budget.   I love the Cabin where I stayed with my partner and loved the amazing views of the National Park.   The ecolodge is located in the buffer zone directly bordering La Amistad National Park.  Guests can enjoy 8 marked trails through the reserve with access into the adjacent national park, which is Central America’s largest protected mountain wilderness area. Hot springs are also located nearby. In the Mount Totumas Cloud Forest Reserve there are keystone species presented such as Resplendent Quetzal, Three Wattled Bellbirds, Mantled Howler Monkey, Black and Crested Guan, White-Faced Capuchin, spider monkeys, mountain lions amongst many others.   The hotel has a sustainable practice and most of the employees and guides are locals who work as integral players in the operation of the hotel.  The owner brings her expertise in Asian and European cuisine to Mount Totumas and creates dishes drawing from their gardens  and the local produce vendors in Volcan.

Canopy Camp Darien

canopy tent

This is the best birding ecolodge to experience the Darien specialties.  The Canopy Camp Darien features eight large, safari-style tents that are designed specifically for use in environmentally sensitive areas; they are very eco-friendly. The tents are on raised platforms, to keep you up off the ground and dry in the lowland rainforest of Darien.  Each the tents occupies an area of 173 square feet and offer plenty of space to store your luggage, clothing, and gear. Large windows on all sides with flaps allow natural light and breeze to enter the tent during the daylight hours.  Each has two single beds or one queen bed, two tables, a floor fan and overhead light, and a solid plantation teak wood floor.  Each tent has a full private bathroom located directly outside of the tent on the platform.  Each bathroom has all the essentials – flush toilets and a shower that offers serene, private views of the surrounding rainforest.   Just a step outside of the tent, the platform offers covered space to relax in lounge chairs in the shade during the hot mid-day sun or an afternoon rain, with exquisite views of the jungle surrounding the camp from your own observation deck.

Tranquilo Bay EcoLodge


Discover the ecosystem of Bocas del Toro Archipelago through snorkeling, kayaking or hiking with one of the lodge’s biologist guides. Encounter uncounted birds, different monkey species, iguanas and much more during your stay, relax and refresh in a unique natural environment.The interior of each of the cabanas is tastefully and comfortably appointed with air-conditioning, local hardwoods, tile floors, fine linens and a calming color palette to welcome you at the end of your adventure each day.
 The Tranquilo Bay EcoLodge offers 6 individual cabanas, 4 with ocean view and 2 with rainforest view, and all equipped with either queen-size or double bed equipped with orthopedic mattresses. Additional beds for children are available upon request. The furniture is carefully handcrafted from local hardwoods, and every bedroom is equipped with a small seating area, reading lights and a small supply of books for leisurely hours. And if you prefer relaxing outdoors, there’s a covered porch with hammock and Adirondack chairs waiting for you. All cabanas have air conditioning and hot water, as well as coffee makers and hair dryers.  A covered porch with a hammock and Adirondack chairs awaits to help you escape the “every day” that you left behind when you enter the grounds at Tranquilo Bay.


Villa Tavida Ecolodge

 Located in a private reserve that has been protected for 25 years, Villa Tavida offers its guests the opportunity to escape from the modern day world. Surrounded in nature, guests have breathtaking views of a nearby waterfall and can easily be accessed by a hike down a nature trail to get a closer look. Villa Tavida is just 35 km from Penonome and approximately 50 km from Playa Blanca.  This exclusive guest house offers 5 comfortable rooms, all overlooking the waterfall Tavida.  Some units include a balcony and/or patio. Every unit has a private bathroom with free toiletries.  The lodge offers free parking on-site. Guests can enjoy a meal at the on-site restaurant. The services are aimed at promoting environmental, cultural and economic welfare.


Isla Palenque EcoResort

IP Rooms 3 4 Outside A

A beautiful island of  160 hectares of lush jungle, framed by 7 untouched beaches, house a number of wilderness trails and hidden spaces to be explored by guests of the barefoot-luxury Beach Suites (mid-2018) and Villa Estate.  The ecolodge is at just minutes walk from the beach and it offers an outdoor pool and a restaurant.  The accommodation will provide you with iPad. Featuring a shower, the private bathrooms also come with a hairdryer and free toiletries. Some rooms offer views of the sea and the pool area. Extras include a safety deposit box, linen, and a fan.  At The Resort at Isla Palenque, you will find a private beach area. Other facilities offered at the property include a tour desk and luggage storage. Daily guided tours are offered and the property has a large area with hiking trails.  An additional package must be purchased directly to the Hotel to include additional services : 3 daily meals at the on-site restaurant, as well as on-site guided tours and one round trip boat transfer per party between Boca Chica and Isla Palenque.We encourage you to travel different in Panama.  Explore the real and authentic destination and stay in unique properties that will make your vacation memorable.For more information on this ecolodges and other options in Panama, please contact us at info@ecocircuitos.com



Isla Palenque Island Resort

Located in the Gulf of Chiriquí, Panama, Isla Palenque Island Resort is an undiscovered private island sanctuary. The island’s 160 hectares of lush jungle, framed by 7 untouched beaches, house a number of wilderness trails and hidden spaces to be explored by guests of the barefoot-luxury Beach Suites (mid-2018) and Villa Estate.

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Who should visit Isla Palenque Island Resort?

Wildlife and nature lovers, guests looking for an active beach vacation, soft adventure, relaxation and a unique rainforest and private island experience.

Unique hotel features

A private island where luxury and sustainability intertwine, 8 Beach Suites (mid-2018), 6-room Villa Estate vacation rental house, on-site tours, an abundance of wildlife including monkeys and anteaters, locally-sourced food.

The Experience

As guests check in to Isla Palenque, they open a door to a world of new experiences and undisturbed nature, enhanced by architecture and interior design that effortlessly blend into the tropical surroundings. The atmosphere of the hotel is a balance of sophisticated and private comfort, combined with peacefulness, relaxation, and playfulness. The service provided by the staff is so personalized, professional and detail-oriented that the Resort feels exclusive and at the same time familiar; guests feel free to explore and at the same time feel taken care of. With a whole pristine island to discover through a number of included on-site tours, curious guests truly live an authentic, meaningful experience that goes far beyond a typical beach vacation.

Island Amenities

 Hiking trails and on-site tours

 Complimentary Wi-Fi

 7 private beaches with direct access

 Kayas & paddleboards

 Off-property tours including snorkeling and fishing

Rooms: Villa Estate vacation rental house: 6 rooms total – Garden, Jungle and Ocean Suites.

On-site activities

Secrets of the Island Hike, Hike to Punta Ballena, Kayak Tours, Tree Climbing Canopy Tour, Island Treks, Coastal Rock Hike, Stand-Up Paddleboarding, Rock Fishing, Birdwatching and more. *Ocean-based activities are tide-dependent.

For more information, reservations and rates please contact us at info@ecocircuitos.com


Escape to Veracruz Beach

At only 30 minutes away from Panama city, this little hidden beach named Playa Venado at Veracruz is a really nice place to relax a Saturday or Sunday.

Located in an area known for its several bars and restaurants, you will be immersed in a reggae, relaxed and casual atmosphere.  Fried fish and ceviche is a must and some local cocktails will be refreshing you while overlooking the views.

You can take paddling tours or classes with Paddle Paradise  or with Panama Stand Up Paddle Boarding Association, taking a fresh and traditional maracuya smoothie on the beach to relax while you are getting tanned, having lunch in a local restaurant with delicious grilled and fresh fish or any type of seafood, and ending your day with a lovely and yummy cocktail in the reggae bar at the sunset time.

Bring your camera and your good mood, and go to enjoy some free time in this original place, so close from the city!

The Best Beaches near Panama City

Panama is blessed with its unique beaches in both the Pacific and the Atlantic. This amazing country has two long coasts and many islands that are ideal for family beach combing, surfing, kite surfing or other water sports.

Some of my favorite beaches I listed below:

  1.  Veracruz Beach:  It is at only 20 minutes from the City and this spot is great for those interested in Stand up Paddle or kayaking the bay of Panama.  There are several rentals for SUP.  Don’t miss it.
  2. Punta Chame:  if you like kite surfing, this is your spot.  A great mountain backdrop and very long beach.  There are also schools in the area for kite surfing.
  3.  Coronado and Serena beach:  this is a little bay ideal for surfing.  It is located close to condominiums and has easy access during the day.
  4. El Palmar and Rio Mar:  both beaches are ideal for surfers.  Some small hotels and restaurants in the area and close to Rio Mar more beachfront condominiums.  I love to go there during the weekday.
  5. Playa Langosta: in Colon on the Atlantic side this beach is on the road to Portobello and at only 1.5 hours from the city.  It is very very crowed during the weekends.
  6. Isla Grande:  Also in Colon Province a little farther from Portobello this is a small fishing town, this beach is great for swimming and also for surfing on a shallow reef.







Why should you get married in Panama?


by Juliette Darmon

Panama is known as the perfect getaway for a short vacation and and is the perfect destination for nature lovers.

Its tropical climate and warm weather throughout the year, is a magical opportunity to visit Panama at any time.

December, January and February, the colder months in the North but still summer time in Panama.  You will be able to wear your summer wedding dress you were dreaming about!

If you are dreaming about a summer wedding destination, Panama is the place for you!  You will find any type of wedding you were looking for!

Panama is a melting pot and has plenty to offer.  From a cosmopolitan City and a hub for an amazing gastronomy to beautiful beaches in the Caribbean and Pacific where the sunset is waiting for you.

With a great eco-diversity and untouched beaches, you would have the possibility to get married in heavenly and white-sand islands around the archipelago of Bocas del Toro. What better place to spend and enjoy a romantic and relaxed wedding than the Caribbean coast, where the turquoise sea, coral reefs, sun, turtles and exotic fishes will be present?!

You could also prefer a more adventurous wedding in the highlands of Chiriqui, immersed in the mountain fresh air, and hiking the highlands, testing local coffee and honey, learning about butterflies, zip lining and relaxing in other amazing islands in Pacific side like Islas Secas in the Gulf of Chiriqui where snorkeling and kayaking are great for those more adventurous.

Are you more looking for a totally private and shy wedding? Then, the archipelago of San Blas will be the perfect place you were searching for. But be aware that it is also going to be a real rustic wedding!

Enjoy the blue sea view for kilometers, watch at the playful dolphins leap alongside sailboats, the deserted island, palm and coconut trees, cabanas in bamboos, and be immersed in Kuna community’s culture for your wedding.

*You could also decide to get married in a private sailboat, a real original experience not available everywhere…!

For the city lovers, you won’t totally feel out of place! You could have the chance to get married in the charming historic Casco Viejo, enjoying romantic dinners in typical or modern restaurants, staying in a luxurious resort or smaller cozy hotels, tasting local chocolates, walking around the Cinta Costera and visiting the surroundings as the Canal, the tropical rainforest, boarding on the jungle boat or even hiking in the National Park.

You now probably got that Panama has all the options required for any types of weddings and could make your wedding a real customized, appropriate, unique and unforgettable day, whatever your cultural and religious requests are.

Most of all, as you probably know Panama is a wonderful place for sustainable and green travels, and become therefore the perfect place for the trendy and fancy “Green Wedding”.

More than just getting married, take advantage of being in such a lush country for enjoying the honeymoon trip of your dreams.

Visit our honeymoon page here: http://ecocircuitos.com/tour-category/honeymoon/ and decide the kind of experience you are ready to live!

Do not forget that all our programs and itineraries can be arranged and tailor-made for you.  Contact us for more information at info@ecocircuitos.com


Going where the wind blows

By:  Carina Forster – Intern from Austria

Punta Chame is one of Panama`s best kitesurfing spots and has made its name to the world for its excellent conditions from November to April.

Carina Kitesurfing

The spot is a strap of land with constant N-NE and side-onshore wind, perfectly suitable for all levels, as you will always end up back on the beach and not out in the sea.

My session on this wide sandy beach spot started with the mixture of excitement and respect I always feel when the powerful strength of wind is lifting up my kite. After walking a few steps in the crystal blue water, shuffling my feet to avoid stepping on the only danger of the spot – the sting ray – I got on my board and started moving over the ocean. Going faster and faster over the large and uncrowded bay, I felt the salt and heat of the sun on my face while the coastline was getting smaller and smaller. It is pure happiness you feel when every single part of your body and mind is becoming one with the kite in the sky and the board on your feet, using the power of the wind to move forward. It always astonishes me, how I control this phenomenon without having a single thought on my mind, except this foolish song that keeps coming up when I`m happy.

In Punta Chame you can have several sessions a day, starting in the morning and finishing with a sundowner surrounded by the golden lights of dawn. It is a dream spot with constant wind for smooth freestyle or speed rides.

The Spot

  • November- April constant wind
  • N-NE and side-onshore
  • All levels, great for beginners
  • Soft sandy beach, no currents, small waves
  • No crowds, large space for launch
  • Hot weather, warm water (sunscreen!)
  • Dangers: sting rays, small jellyfish


There are four kite schools with equipment rentals and repairs, different kinds of places to stay (hotels, hostels, apartments, guest houses), a restaurant and a supermarket.

Getting there and away

  • By car: (1.5 hours) take the Panamericana from Panama City south and exit at the Punta Chame “sign”. Rough road for half an hour till Punta Chame.
  • Public transport: take a bus from the bus terminal on direction of “el Valle de Anton” or “Penonome”. Step out in Coronado when you see the big sign ‘REY’ (a supermarket on the main road). From there take taxi to Punta Chame.

Best Diving and Snorkeling Spots in Panama

From: Dive Advisor

Panama was named after an indigenous word meaning, “abundance of fish.” This beautiful Central America paradise is one of the few places in the world where you can dive two oceans in one day. With the warm, tropical waters of the Caribbean on its east and the cooler waters of the Pacific on the west, it’s just a two-hour car ride between them in some places. Panama boasts 1,207km of Caribbean coast and 1,700km of Pacific coast.

On the Caribbean side, divers come for the abundance of colorful reef fish and corals. When rating the best diving in Central American, Bocas del Toro always comes up with its white sand beaches and many calm and the Bastimentos Marine National park. It’s a great place to learn how to dive and the marine life make it a great place to keep diving. Another popular spot on the Caribbean coast is Colon, only two hours from Panama City. Just offshore, the Portobelo National Marine Park has beautiful corals and the area is filled with a history of pirate battles and sunken ships.  Sir Francis Drake died at sea in 1596 and his body, clad in a full suit of armour and in a lead coffin, is thought to be off the coast of Portobello.

On the Pacific side, cooler waters and currents make encounters with pelagic common. Lucky divers can see several species of shark, whale sharks, humpback whales, dolphins, and more. Coiba National Marine Park is often referred to as the Galapagos of Central America and has the second largest coral reef in the Eastern Pacific Ocean and the Pearl Archipelago also offers great options close to Panama City.

Just nine degrees north of the equator, Panama is hot and humid year round. The rainy season is May- November and the dry season is December-April (with less humidity and almost no rain.) Panama is not in the hurricane belt, but it can get strong winds from nearby storms. Air temperatures throughout the year range form 20-32C, being a bit cooler in the winter/dry season. Water temperatures vary between coasts. The Caribbean side the water can be as cool as 25C in the winter and as warm as 28C in the summer. Coiba can get as cold as 20C during winter and reaches a high of around 24C in the summer.

Best Spots to Dive in Panama

Coiba National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that includes 38 islands. Lonely Planet says it’s “The best diving to be found along the Pacific Coast from Columbia to Mexico.” Coiba gets the big stuff. Sharks can be seen on almost every dive including white-tip reef sharks, black-tip reef sharks, and occasional hammerheads, bull, and tiger sharks. Whale sharks are common visitors from December to April. Humpback whales are seen July through October and orcas and pilot whales frequent the area. Large schools of mantas and mobula rays sometimes swim by, and most dives have turtles, schools of large fish, angelfish, butterflyfish, and dolphins.

On the Caribbean side of Panama, close to the Costa Rica boarder, is Bocas del Toro. This archipelago of nine large islands includes the protected area of Isla Bastimentos National Marine. Bocas is known for its well-preserved hard and soft corals. Being outside of the official hurricane zone, away from large cities and river mouths, the coral is very healthy. It is estimated that 95% of the coral species found in the Caribbean Sea can be found within the archipelago.

Tiger Rock is rated one of the best dive sites around Bocas del Toro, and is three rock pinnacles that rise up from the sea floor at 40m. It’s an advanced dive and can have strong currents, but is a good place to see sharks, rays, large fish schools, whale sharks and dolphins. Its location requires perfect sea conditions for boats to be able to get there. Dolphin Rock is another offshore rock formation where sharks can be seen and has lots of colorful fish life. The diving is also very good around Zapatillas Cays, another more distant boat ride.

Closer to town, Bouy Line is a poplar shallow site (near a deep water channel buoy) that has sea horses, lionfish, crabs, and lots of morays. Hospital Point is near the north end of Isla Solarte and has healthy cauliflower and brain corals on a sloping wall. The dive usually has a slow current and is 15m deep max. Sashek is another drift dive between Bastimentos and Carenero that has rare long lure frogfish. Airport is a protected site good for training dives, and has lots of coral.

Also on the Caribbean side, but further southeast is Portobelo National Park. This is also a popular diving area with great marine life. Being closer to Panama City, people come directly from the city to dive this area that has great reef dives and several wrecks.

Water temperatures on the Caribbean side are warm year round (23-27C) and a 3mm is usually plenty. On the Pacific side, colder currents bring waters (15-23C), so a 5mm will be comfortable. For those doing deep dives in the winter, thermoclines can be present, so a 7mm might be useful.

If you are looking for good snorkelling one of the best spots is the San Blas Archipelago.  In this Guna land is forbidden to dive with a tank but here you will find one of the most untouched coral reefs by mankind. The reef holds its beauty for decades now since people do not pollute the waters around it.  The Kuna Indians or Guna indians live from the sea and hunt on it. They hunt the reefs and sandbanks by using simple snorkeling gear and do not over fish their own waters because they only take what is needed to stay alive. They are scared that scuba dives will kill the great schools of fish and leave the Kuna without food to survive. They will preserve the coral reef for future generations this way.

The rich sea life and the crystal clear water will give you plenty enough time to drift away from the world above water. One of the easy places to get in touch with this sea life is the shipwreck near Isla Perro. This place is perfect for people not used to snorkeling or scuba diving but also gives people that have done it before a nice challenge to spot all the sea life around the ship. Don’t forget to bring your underwater camera because spotting a wild turtle, shark or octopus isn’t a rare sight in the waters around the San Blas Islands.   The best way to snorkel in San Blas is charter a sailing boat.  EcoCircuitos Panama organize this adventure for you.