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Yandup Island Lodge
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99 - 104 of 437 reviews
Reviewed 31 January 2014 via mobile

Beautiful island, romantic cabins on the water, lovely (sea)food, everything you wish on your island trip. There are 2 tours per day, beach in the morning and community/cemetery/mangrove or hiking in afternoon. THE way to end your holiday in Panama. Hopefully they will release the turtle!

Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
1  Thank ppc2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 January 2014

We stayed in bungalow 10 on Yandup for only one night and it was not enough time. But in that short amount of time, we got to know two of the "guides" Domi and Nikolas and had a wonderful time conversing about their people, the Kuna Yala. The trip to Domi's village, meeting his wife a few of his 6 children, witnessing a short dance, etc. was really an eye opening experience. They are some of the most caring people I've ever met! We have to go back! Oh yeah, the plane landing through the tree tops is a great thrill ride!

  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank Jon H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 January 2014

We stayed at Yandup for five nights in December 2013. Yandup is a wonderful place, perfect for an eco-escape.

Our girls stayed in hut #10 which was huge, large enough for a big family. Hut #10 is probably the quietest hut on the tiny island as the waves do not break underneath it.

My husband and I stayed in hut #8 - gorgeous views and very loud waves breaking underneath our hut. We love hearing the water all day and all night.

The huts are clean and spacious. The maids make the beds and refresh the towels daily.

The food is delicious. Americans should understand that the portions are not Cheesecake Factory sized portions. Our family of four shared all our meals and by the end, there was not a bite left on the plates. The fish is fresh - we watched the catch being delivered most days. They did not have as many fruits and vegetables as I had expected, but perhaps we were not there at the right season. Eggs, pancakes, bread, ham for breakfast. Lots of fresh soups, chicken, fish, potatoes, carrots, rice and pasta for dinner and lunch. We brought diet cokes on the plane from Panama City to feed my addiction. Yandup does sell sodas, wine, beer and spirits.

We spent our days reading on the tiny beach, swimming and taking part in the daily tours. The beaches they bring you to are delightful. The cultural tours help you to understand about the people and their way of life. Blanco is a gift - he was so kind to our family, and we were glad to get to know him better.

Nights were spent eating dinner, sharing a bottle of wine and playing cards with our children. We went to bed early - the rooms are dark at night! We rose with the sun.

A few things to know -

Playon Chico is dirty. It is shocking when you get off the plane. The Kuna Yala and the Panamanian government really need to address this problem. I know the lodge sponsors cleans-ups. After talking with some locals in Panama City - we heard it is a problem though out the Kuna Yala as well as Bocas del Toro. Yandup is immaculate as are the beaches they bring you to.

There is a new cell tower on an island that faces Yandup. It is too bad to see that tower marring the view. I know Yandup can do nothing about this.

Bring beach towels if you have room. We borrowed some from the lodge.

Do all the morning and afternoon tours. The cemetery is fascinating.

Bring snacks. You can buy some mid day snacks at the dining room, but we were glad we had some nuts and granola bars.

Swim at sunset - it is glorious.

Showers are cool - but it truly does not matter. We spent the day in bathing suits and the nights in shorts and tops. We did not dry our hair or use make-up. Refreshing.

The lodge should invest in a few more lounge chairs for the little beach.

Four nights is plenty - you will see all the beaches and get to do all the tours. We stayed five nights as we did not want to travel on Christmas day. Blanco, our guide, gave our family a special tour so we did not have to repeat. We were bummed it was too wet to see the waterfall.

Be prepared to relax, rest and rejuvenate in a gorgeous setting with lovely people. It is a very unique spot, and I am glad we went.

If you go at the holidays, spend Christmas Eve at Yandup. The food was abundant as were the drinks. The Kuna dancers they brought were awesome. And, we ate outside on the grass, under the stars. A magical night.

Room Tip: Hut #10 is the largest. If you do not want ocean noise, it is probably the quietest. We loved staying over water in hut #8 as the sound of the waves was awesome.
  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled with family
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4  Thank Michele G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 January 2014

I know there are lots of reviews posted – believe all the positive things you read! This is truly an amazing place!! The beautiful huts are incredibly comfortable and roomy and the views are nothing short of breathtaking! Lying in the hammocks is a perfect way to relax after any of the fun trips…either to gorgeous white sand beaches on uninhabited islands or visits to the mangroves or to the community, which is where you will see the Kuna and their gorgeous, fun children! Everyone we met was kind, helpful and made our visit perfect. My husband and 16 year old son even had a great volleyball game with the Kuna women who work in the restaurant. My 20 and 21 year old daughters thought this was one of the most relaxing places they had ever visited. The meals were also amazing – especially considering that four of us don’t eat seafood, which I understand could not be fresher. But do know, this isn’t a Four Seasons and if that is what you are looking for, this isn’t your place. Yes, the showers are cool water, but you know, when you are hot, it is a blessing! Yes, sometimes the waves are a little loud for sleeping, but what a lovely sound! You need to want to experience a real environment – and enjoy a little rustic lodging. We loved it!

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled with family
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1  Thank torontoliz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 January 2014

We chose this as an eco-destination.

We came as a family for 2 nights and stayed in bungalow 10 over the water which was great fun and perfect for the 5 of us. We wish we had stayed another 2 days. It is a spectacular place and area which we thoroughly enjoyed having already adjusted to "Panama time" (be patient). We had done our homework so our expectations were met. I am quite amazed at a few reviews expecting some sort of 5* resort. We think the facilities, tours, food, and hospitality were just wonderful.

SNORKELING. We already knew about the problem of the Caribbean reefs but were more than pleasantly surprised by the beautiful clear water and variety of coral and sea life we saw. The snorkeling time flew by and we would have loved to come back to that spot. They do have some spare gear but I recommend that you bring your own.

OTHER TOURS. We were not able to visit the waterfall or the farm, but we did visit the Kuna island community and found that tour to be very interesting indeed, learning about the history, culture and way of life of the Kuna. The guides advise you in advance of the do's and dont's for visitors. Follow the advice and enjoy the experience. We also enjoyed seeing all the Molas and buying some from the ladies who actually made them. The Mangrove tour was also fascinating. The natural wonder and the way the Kuna have learned to preserve and use this tree in their lives is very interesting.

The days are planned out very nicely with breakfast, a morning trip, lunch, free time for a nap or snorkel around the island, then an afternoon trip, and dinner. The meals are fresh food - with similar meals to the locals and that makes for a special experience. The portion sizes are probably perfect, although certainly not what is served in a typical American restaurant.

It was so nice to see the local fishermen arrive in their dugouts to sell their catch. Lobster, Octopus, Crabs, Corvina .... soon to be part of the lunch or dinner.

HOSPITALITY. The whole team was friendly and helpful. The pace of the place is perfectly matched with the idea of a peaceful holiday.

Flying in. Yandup is not responsible for Air Panama's service, or lack thereof. It is definitely worthwhile to be on "Panama time" when in Panama which means that things happen a little slow and perhaps not to schedule. We took off an hour late from Panama City and not a word of explanation from the pilot or the Air Line, but the Yandup folks were waiting for us with a big smile, and took us off to the island.

They are building a new bungalow on the island which will house a spa apparently. I would suggest that they should invest in a few more beach chairs. I think there should be one per guest. The water supply comes from the mainland and is not heated or drinkable. Guests are encouraged to limit the use of water and the shower temperature helps with that goal. However, it would be nice to introduce a little discreet solar heating at some point, and perhaps solar powered lighting ?

The open air platform out away from the main buildings with the hammocks ready for a relaxing rest in a light sea breeze is very nice.

SADLY there is one draw-back of this trip which is quite distressing and that is the floating trash which is on almost every beach. Yandup is kept clean, but the rest of Panama, including the back of the snorkeling Island, the Playa Chico landing strip, and the community island, is sadly the victim of this plague. I really hope that the Kuna, and the Panamanian government will manage this scourge otherwise I fear that Panama will lose it's attractiveness as a beautiful beach destination. Yandup Island itself is kept clean.

All-in-all this was a relaxing, interesting and beautiful few days. We highly recommend this beautiful place and hope to be back.

Stayed: December 2013, travelled with family
2  Thank Philip R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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