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El Otro Lado
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Reviews (110)
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Reviewed 23 March 2012

El Otro Lado is an amazing place. The attention to detail and beautiful design in the rooms and across the property are truly unique.

When you arrive in Portobelo (small fishing village and port that the Spanish used to use to transport their gold), you are taken on a 5 minute boat ride across the bay to El Otro Lado (land access is blocked by forest and rivers). From here you are taken to your little Caribbean casita overlooking the pool / bay and your vacation begins. In addition to lounging by El Otro Lado's pool and sipping delicious cocktails, there are tons of great activities offered - El Otro Lado will take you on a 15 minute boat ride to a private beach (with lunch and drinks); you can go fishing (on river or ocean), kayak on the rivers surrounded by mangroves full of Panama's diverse bird population, get a massage, have a 'ceviche and champagne tasting' at dusk on a river pontoon, hike the old Spanish fort next to the property (recommended, but watch out for abuelo!), check out the on-site wood shop, and much more.

The food at El Otro Lado was generally quite good. Breakfast is included and lunch and dinner are fixed price and you are served whatever the kitchen is preparing that day (you can order lunch sandwiches a la carte if you want). The majority of the food, particularly the fresh fish, was excellent. One or two meals were a little less stellar, but I think that is more to do with our own high standards.

Lastly, the El Otro Lado staff clearly takes great pride in the property and their guest's enjoyment. As we considered visiting Panama, one of the knocks was always that 'in Panama service is not a priority'. We generally found this to be true, except at El Otro Lado where the service was first rate.

I doubt this hidden gem will remain hidden for long.

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank lucyktravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 March 2012

Given the pricey nature of this place our expectations were high, though cautious. This little boutique retreat is in Panama, after all, our own country which is attracting way too much tourism for its woefully inadequate infrastructure. To say the facilities are just plain beautiful is an understatement. It is hard to find such artfully appointed luxury caribbean style cabanas with the best of everything. The design details are outstanding and the comfort of the ample rooms and bathrooms is quite luxurious. The meals are simple and beautifully presented and served. All the staff is exceedingly friendly and polite and way beyond any other hospitality concern in the country. They are all natives of the neglected, forgotten, historical, unpolished and impoverished gem that is Portobelo, once the most important trading post in Spanish colonial America. One can only hope the rest of the Panamanian tourist workers take notice.

Room Tip: Sunset is closest to the sea and has a wonderfully appointed kitchenette and private deck. The two-bedroom and shared living area unit is also very special.
  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled with friends
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3  Thank greennman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 January 2012

...of life, ...of positive experiences, ...of endulgance during may stay !
Second to none comparable memory of Panama : absorbed by nature and surounded by history, offering tasteful creative and most carefully served meals with a choice of good wines to enjoy it ultimately.

Every day you wait to visit is a day too late !

Here local people really show it is possible to make the difference in taking care of every detail that will make you feel their most important guest, every moment of your stay with them.

Sincere Congratulations -I'll go tell it over the mountains and be back soon.
Werner V - Belgium

Room Tip: As connecting room could serve the house close to the water with 2 bed rooms. Sun House has a kitchenette and is situated as last in the row of 3 houses, offering a little more privacy that the others.
  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled with friends
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4  Thank werner V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 December 2011

Beautiful place!
After arriving in Panama we got picked up by a chauffeur and were brought to this hidden place.
We had a wonderful romantic weekend in Otro Lado. Surrounded by a lush and beautiful nature on a private bay with a great service, exquisite food and a breathtaking room!!!
Thank you very much, we had a great time!

  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank 123XYZ456
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 November 2011

This property is probably the best kept secret in Panama.

A truly 5 star experience next to the old ruins of Portobelo, where a magnificent bay divides civilization from total relaxation. The food is excellent, done with local ingredients and cooked by locals. The service is world class, and it has more merit considering, everyone but one is local. Service is un-obtrusive, but always ready for any demand. They are always one step ahead.

Local, is indeed a theme, here... as this property couldn't be more integrated with its surrounding: nature, arts, culture. This is the perfect place to get engaged and live a true experience or get disengaged and get pampered day and night.

For Panama standards, its on the higher end of the budget, but in contrast to the experience with other leading Caribbean boutique properties, its well worth every penny.

Completely recommend it.

  • Stayed: October 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank entropyman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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