Why Cayuga Collection's Isla Palenque Should Be on Your Travel Bucket List

By Patricia Tortolani | July 24, 2019 | Lifestyle

Barefoot luxury meets pristine wilderness at Cayuga Collections Isla Palenque.

Photos courtesy of Isla Palenque

Are you going to be Fyre Festivaled? Does this place even exist? Has anyone you know been there?

These are the kinds of questions you get before heading off to vacation somewhere that seems too good to be true—somewhere cool and exotic that hasn’t been geotagged on Instagram, an over-the-top luxurious spot that even your most over-the-top luxurious friends don’t know about—somewhere like Isla Palenque, the newest property from award-winning luxury hospitality group Cayuga Collection. To get there, you take a plane, car, boat and then an all-terrain island vehicle. But once you arrive, you’ll never want to leave.

The 400-acre luxury resort is situated on Panama’s Pacific coast near the protected Gulf of Chiriquí National Marine Park and just south of Costa Rica. There are more howler monkeys than humans on the island, which makes for a wild greeting reminiscent of the opening scenes of Jurassic Park. (Other notable wildlife includes bottlenose dolphins, giant sea turtles and a veritable rainbow of tropical birds.) You are alone but also very much not alone—even when you are in your private casita. This is how the resort refers to its eight secluded beachfront suites, which were completed in late 2018. Each one is tucked away in palm groves with a private path straight to the pristine—and often deserted—beach. The decor is eco-luxe with highlights including a daybed hammock for morning coffee and a soaker tub for open-air baths under a blanket of stars.

Even the food is jaw-dropping. As with all Cayuga properties, Isla Palenque operates with a healthy respect for sustainability. Fresh dock-to-dish seafood, local and seasonal organic produce and grass-fed, hormone-free meats fill the menu. It’s a five-star culinary experience— you just happen to be wearing a swimsuit and sunscreen while taking it all in. But it’s when the bartender whips up a piña colada using coconuts and pineapples he picked that morning that you realize you’ll have a very, very hard time returning to civilization. Casitas including meals $770-$980 per night

Photos courtesy of Isla Palenque

The journey to Isla Palenque includes a stop in Panama City, the capital celebrating its 500- year anniversary in 2019. Here’s how to see it in a day.

Whether it’s a visit to the Miraflores Locks of the Panama Canal or a daytrip to historic Casco Viejo, vacationtopanama.com has local expat-guided tours.

Hot spot Miss Cho has an Asian-inspired menu and interiors by Miami’s Morada Haute Furniture Boutique.

The Bristol Panama is centrally located and only 12 miles from the airport.

Getting to Isla Palenque
Copa Airlines offers daily one-hour flights from Panama City to David, Panama.

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