We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Imagine Paradise!”

We can't find prices for this accommodation
Our online travel partners don't provide prices for this accommodation, but we can search other options in San Blas Islands
Check In dd/mm/yyyy Check Out dd/mm/yyyy
Yandup Island Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 16 June 2014

We booked two nights at the Yandup Lodge after reading the glowing reviews and were not disappointed. If you are planning on visiting San Blas, this is the place to go! Disclaimers though that this is not an exclusive lounge around beach resort with a party nightlife. Yandup is an experience for those who want to disconnect and experience some culture and beautiful scenery while traveling. From the beginning, the flight in is an experience. We were on a 6 seater plane through Air Panama with other Kuna villagers, and while I love flying, my wife is a little more apprehensive and it may be "interesting" to some. I took it as an adventure and all went well and does on a regular basis. The planes are how these people get around to their isolated area and the isolation is part of the experience. The lodge staff was more than friendly, attentive, and warm throughout our stay. The setting is idyllic with palm trees on small islands and well appointed bungalows. You have to remember where you are in that there is no cell, wi-fi, internet, and intermittent electric, but you are here to get away and experience culture which we found lovely. We stayed in an over-water bungalow with our 1 year old which we were concerned before arriving, but the island and services are safe and the staff loved him! The bungalow itself was clean, comfortable, and provided a true island experience with open bamboo walls, comfy bed, flush toilet, fan and electric lights. The food provided was exquisite with adequate portions of the freshest fish we had ever eaten and other tasty dishes. The two provided tours a day were fascinating and well worth the excursion as well as being included. Free time is also spent in the beautiful surrounds on your private deck and hammocks or on the beach with some pretty good snorkeling (which are available for rent at $5 for a full setup on the island). The staff is lovely and you truly feel like a welcomed guest. They were great with our son and all wanted to hold him during meals. On the village visit, be prepared for some fascinating culture shock, but remember that this is their home that you're visiting and we found everyone to be extremely friendly and welcoming. We did not encounter any sort of tourist trap, pushy sales or money grabs from tourists. We were also never asked for money for photos, but remember to be respectful since you're the visitor. Bottom line, if you want a great island and cultural experience at an incredible location and for an incredible value in an over-water bungalow, this is what an island paradise looks like!

Room Tip: The over-water bungalows are worth the little extra. An once in a lifetime experience that you don...
See more room tips
  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
7  Thank PBEadventures
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a Review
Reviews (427)
Traveller rating
Traveller type
Time of year
Language

86 - 92 of 427 reviews

Reviewed 1 June 2014

We just returned from 3 days at Yandup. Originally, we had planned on 2 days there, but it was so wonderful we extended our stay - and would have stayed on longer if we could have done so but my husband had to return to our home in California.

The flight from Albrook Airport, Panama City's domestic terminal, leaves very early - 6 am - and we were a bit concerned as there were a number of power cuts while we were awaiting our departure. But all was well. Note that you can bring water - including liters and larger bottles - in your hand luggage for this trip since there is no water available at most places in San Blas. Albrook is tiny - no bathrooms or water fountains once you pass security. The plane is a small Twin Otter with a mere 19 passengers (and no flight attendants or toilet) aboard. So if small planes worry you, take a tranquilizer or air sickness meds before boarding.

Our flight was smooth, although the folks who came the next day were not so lucky - there was bad weather (rain, wind, and fog) that forced them to circle, land elsewhere to wait it out, and eventually to land after several passes at the runway. Given that is always possible, especially during the rainy season (which it is now), be prepared.

The airport at Playon Chico is tiny - just a landing strip and a tiny building. The folks from Yandup were there to meet us and to take us by boat to their hotel.

The hotel is great. I don't understand the negative reviews. It's basic - yes - and the wind/sand/sea make it difficult for things to be 100% spotless all the time, but the cottage was lovely and the service was terrific. As others have noted, this is a very small secluded island that's quiet and peaceful. There's not a lot to "do" - so it's certainly not a place for thrill-seekers or adventurers, but if your idea of wonderful is a hammock to snooze or read a book in, or a perfect white sand beach then you will also be in heaven as we were.

We had an over-water cabin - so the sea lulled us to sleep each night. One night, a huge wind came up, bringing along a change in the weather. It rained briefly which cooled things down, and then it cleared.

Each morning, there is an excursion - when we were there, it was snorkeling and swimming. Afternoons included going to the community (which I did twice - it was fascinating!), hiking to the waterfalls (not while we were there), visiting the mangroves (which we skipped because we've gone into mangroves often before) or the cemetery (rained out for us), and perhaps other things at other times. Everything we did was fun - snorkeling is always a treat for my husband, and my husband's (1) and my (2) visits to the community were magical. Blanco took us both the first time, and David, the owner's son, took me the second - both were great interpreters and story tellers. There are women selling molas at very reasonable prices and other crafts available, but no one is pushy or trying to sell aggressively. Indeed, when I bought a wini (a beaded bracelet characteristic of Kuna women - worn both on the arms and on the legs), I gave the woman a small bracelet I had made, and she in turn gave me a special shell, then we hugged and smiled at each other. She was totally delightful. That was pretty much characteristic of the entire trip.

The food was terrific. Yes, it is true that there's a lot of fish - just as the website clearly states. Personal dietary needs and likes were catered too - for instance, we don't eat peppers, and they were left off our food. One of the other guests couldn't eat fish, so he was served meat. The amount of food was perfect too - neither of us ever felt hungry between meals until close to when the conch shell was blown and we all hurried over for our meals.

Rum, wine, beer, and soft drinks are all available for purchase. My husband bought some rum which we shared with other guests and which all agreed was quite good.

While we were there, there was a great deal of camaraderie between the guests. We sat and talked, discussed books, traded reactions to the activities (all of which were positive BTW), shared experiences from our lives and generally got to know each other. Our last night there, I gave bracelets I had made while I was at Yandup to all of the women staying there. And I also gave necklaces (also made at Yandup) for the Kuna women who were serving and cooking. And black beaded bracelets for all of the men working there. We all hugged, posed for photos, and exchanged addresses when we left.

The staff are fabulous! They were friendly and helpful with everything - including helping me in and out of the boat (I am somewhat mobility-impaired). They are happy to explain Kuna culture and to recommend activities. Plus they are just plain nice people.

As for the heat, this is Panama, and it is HOT here. There are fans in the room (over the bed and free standing) and you can leave your door to the porch open to catch more breeze if you like. That said, our first night was uncomfortably hot until we figured out how to get the fan to blow in the right direction while using the mosquito netting. Be prepared to deal with heat and humidity - there's no AC here. But then again, one reason to choose a place like Yandup is for the experience of being someplace totally different and being "close to nature". And there's no way your experience here will be "run of the mill"

Yes, there were a few times when there was no water for showers or when the solar (or generator) power failed briefly, but that was all part of the experience and it never lasted. Don't expect TV, internet, cell phone coverage, music (unless you make it) or other entertainment - it's not that kind of place.

Be sure to take a good book (or two), hobby materials (e.g., I took lots of beads), games (if you like them), a flashlight, bug spray, and lots of sunscreen. Also, water if you want. There is a water cooler in the dining area, too. There is a "cruiser's library" where you can borrow books or leave the one you finish. There were books in English, Spanish, German and Polish when we were there.

I had such a great time that I will be returning with a friend later this month and my daughter next month.

Room Tip: The over-water cabins are lovely.
See more room tips
  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
7  Thank Marg050
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 May 2014

We just returned from Yandup. One of the worst Lodges we ever stayed in our lives. We are European, world travelers. The reviews totally misled us .
We were not seeking for any sophistication or modern coms , but given all the reviews and the price, we were expecting a comfortable room with a decent / clean bathroom area. Curtains and rugs were unclean.
The bungalows were essentially dirty, badly prepared for the high level of humidity, heat and mosquitos.
Food was mediocre and not a place service oriented. We wouldn't recommend Yandup if you are looking for a relaxing and charming holiday.
The islands and beaches were absolutely stunning which is the plus of this vacation

Room Tip: It doesn't matter if above the water or not!
See more room tips
  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
4  Thank Amanda S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
PrYa08, Owner at Yandup Island Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 16 May 2014

Dear guest,

We are really sorry to learn about a bad experience at our lodge, we would like to apologize for any inconvenience. There’s no excuse if you found dirty rooms, however, it is important to be aware that due to the conditions and distance of the location there are some things that are very hard to manage, for example how the humidity and nature affect most of our linens.

If you found food wasn’t up to your expectations, we will be inquiring more about it and start working on it. We are very surprised to hear about bad service, as our staff is usually characterized for being very service oriented. We will also inquire more about it, as just before the second week of May the community went through a very long ceremony in which they asked for the lodge to be closed and every person in the community had to participate. Our staff might have felt wore off after almost 2 weeks of this ritual. We truly apologize if it was noticeable to our guests when the lodge reopened.

Thank you for your comments as it helps us improve, please do write to our e-mail if you would like to tell us more about the subject.

Kind regards,

Yaiguili A.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 April 2014

My boyfriend and I stayed at Yandop island Lodge for 2 nights last March.

The location is secluded therefore very quiet and the island is very tiny and has a very small white sand beach. I would recommend for a short stay only if you are looking for some relaxing time, reading, swimming etc.

The lodges are reasonably comfortable but basic.

Unfortunately we found that the food served was little and of poor quality, but we must admit our standards in terms of food are quite high.
Breakfast consisted of 1 egg an very tiny and dry slices of bread and a cup of coffee.
Main courses most of the time a stew of fish and peppers with a tiny bit of rice. And an horrible orange fishy soup was often served as a starter.
The general feeling is that getting vegetables, fruit and other goods to the island must be quite difficult.

The excursions organized during that day are a good way to keep yourself busy but quite repetitive.
There is not much too see or nature to explore in this area of the Caribbean sea and we found quite surprising that there were no fishes at all in the water.

The management is friendly and willing to answer to visitor's questions, however the island lodge lacked of atmosphere. There was no chatting, not enough light, no music and no form of entertainment whatsoever in the evening so everyone ended up going back to their lodges immediately after dinner around 8pm.

We expected a lot more for $250 a day but we haven't stayed at any other lodge in the Kuna region so cannot compare with others.

  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
6  Thank Alessandra S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
PrYa08, Owner at Yandup Island Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 16 May 2014

Dear guest,

Thank you for taking a time to review the lodge as it helps us get better. We want to address some of the issues brought up. You are absolutely right about how hard is getting produce to the island. Since most of Kuna agriculture is for family use only, we need to send everything from Panama by plane and by boat. However, we really want to apologize if the food did not meet up your expectations, we will start working on it, asking for an expert’s help.

We try to vary tours as much as possible, and our guides do our best to include preferences in the schedule, however they are the ones that know the weather and conditions better and sometimes we need to repeat. We understand about Yandup not having some kind of “night-life”, we have always mentioned how Yandup is a very quiet and disconnected place. However, as you may have noticed we are building a small bar so guests can hang out at nights as we are aware that sometimes you wish to stay longer, this project is moving a little slow as we need to send very heavy and expensive equipment, including new solar panels. Some guests get together during night at the dining room or in the bar structure while having some drinks, some even bring their own music.

Thank you again for your comments, we hope that you enjoyed Kuna Yala and our culture which is our main objective as an ethno-touristic lodge. If you would like to tell us more, please write to our e-mail address and we will promptly answer.

Sincerely,
Yaiguili A.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 April 2014

My husband, 9 year old daughter and I just came back from a 4 night stay. What a wonderful experience. The area is beautiful, though the trip there on a tiny plane was a little scary. We stayed in an overwater cabin with the waves crashing under us. The room was fine for the amount of time we spent there. Sometimes we lost power or water but usually not for long. The whole island is no bigger than a football field so I had no problem with my 9 year old going off with another child to explore. The food was good and they had chicken for my husband and daughter when they didn't like the fish served. I loved every fish lunch and dinner, especially when I saw them out catching it in the water. The people that run the lodge couldn't have been nicer. The morning snorkel trips are not to be missed as you really get to see the area, beautiful beaches and the serenity of the area. We did a few of the afternoon trips, the community trip, (I brought candy for the children who almost knocked me over getting to it), the mangrove trip and Blanco took us on the cemetery trip with just 1 other couple. He was such a good narrator that the description of the buriel process made me feel like I was witnessing one, very moving. We did not do the hike as I knew my child would not last the 2 hours.
Bring a couple of flash lights and bug spray, though with the constant breeze we had no bugs until the last day.
For the price we paid, the value was great. This is a trip not to be missed and hopefully my 9 year old now appreciates all that she has after seeing what the happy and playful Guna Yala children don't have.

  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank Pattycakes15
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 April 2014

We had an amazing 2 night stay in Yandup Lodge. This is definitely the type of place to go if you want to turn off the cell phones, get away from it all, and fall asleep with the sound of waves. Do not expect luxurious rooms, nice bathrooms, and tvs because that is not what the Kuna Islands are about. Instead, expect spacious, clean, and private huts with comfortable beds that are either right over the water or facing it. Expect a friendly staff and fresh, delicious, seafood served by the Kuna women. The portions are not huge but they shouldn't be and we were always happy with our meals, never left hungry. Yandup did advise guests to bring snacks so it would be wise to take their advice. The twice daily tours to nearby remote beaches and to the community were enjoyable and gave us the cultural experience we were hoping to gain from this trip. The staff that took us on these tours did a great job. Finally, expect to not need to check what time it is as the only thing you need to look out for is the sound of someone blowing into a conch to signal meal time or excursion time. In this day and age, having an opportunity to turn off our phones is a blessing. Take advantage of it and stay at Yandup!

  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank Ctsui
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 April 2014

We were assisted by Panama Unlimited in narrowing our choice as where to stay in San Blas, and they highly recommended Yandup. We came as a family of 3, as well as with my in-laws. We had a wonderful time, and are very glad we chose Yandup. If you are looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of the everyday, this is the place for you. We state on the Carribean side in a cabin by the sea. We fell asleep to the waves each night. The property is well maintained, in fact you can see them building furniture such as armoires and beds daily. The guides were great, working hard to share their culture and doing a wonderful job. The food was great. If you are a picky eater, this might not be the place for you, as there is a set menu that is heavy on seafood. Portions were just right, and we never felt hungry. This is not a luxurious resort where you expect to be pampered. Come expecting to be immersed in a culture unlike your own. We had trips to the community, which was very special, and to a cemetery and a mangrove. If you like snorkeling and private quiet beaches, there is a trip daily at 9:30 to noon. The water was choppy for 2 out of our 3 days, but we still enjoyed lying on the beach. We went in late March, and it was cloudy but warm, and just rained for a minute or 2 each day. This involves a boat ride to and from the island each day if you plan to partake in the activities. The staff is friendly and well informed. We loved it.

  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank austein8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hotels you might also like...
Travellers also viewed these San Blas Islands hotels
8.5 mi away
Hotel El Porvenir
Hotel El Porvenir
#2 of 2 in San Blas Islands
40 reviews
60.9 mi away
Akwadup Lodge
Akwadup Lodge
#17 of 32 in San Blas Islands
96 reviews
7.0 mi away
Cabanas Naranjo Chico
Cabanas Naranjo Chico
#2 of 3 in San Blas Islands
46 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices
0.0 mi away
Cabanas Demar Achudup
Cabanas Demar Achudup
#1 of 1 in Masargantupo
11 reviews
0.0 mi away
Cabanas Isla Aguja
Cabanas Isla Aguja
#6 of 32 in San Blas Islands
26 reviews
0.3 mi away
Dolphin Lodge Uaguinega
Dolphin Lodge Uaguinega
#10 of 32 in San Blas Islands
27 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices

Been to Yandup Island Lodge? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Additional Information about Yandup Island Lodge

Address: Playon Chico | Kuna Yala, 0838, Panama
Phone Number:
Region: Panama > Guna Yala Region > San Blas Islands
Amenities:
Beach Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 32 Speciality Lodging in San Blas Islands
Price Range: £90 - £158 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Yandup Island Lodge 2.5*
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Yandup Island Lodge is the perfect getaway in the Caribbean of the Kuna Indians, in the San Blas Archipelago. Perfect place to relax in a hammock, enjoy the sea breeze and the sound of the waves and birds. In this private island with coconut palms, surrounded by coral reefs and a small beach you will be treated as kings and queens in one of our six lovely and comfortable cabins in front of the sea. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Yandup Island Hotel San Blas Islands

Is This Your TripAdvisor Listing?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing