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“The Manager is great, the setting beautiful, and the experience unique”

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Lodge at Swan's Cay
Bay Area, California
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“The Manager is great, the setting beautiful, and the experience unique”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 January 2010

We were well taken care of by Ormelio, the manager, who organized our pick up at the airport and transportation to the lodge, snorkeling, a visit to bird island and Red Frog Beach, Estrella Beach, and our car, boat, taxi and bus trip to Changuinola to fly back to Panama City. Ormelio also took us on a jungle walk, which was interesting. The food was good. If you don't speak very good Spanish, don't worry because Ormelio sounds like he's lived in America. He's a member of the Ngoble Bugle indigenous group and it was fascinating to talk to him about his background and family and the local people. The other guests were also interesting.

The website doesn't quite capture the remoteness of this place, which is a 20 minute ride from the paved road on a bumpy dirt road. There are no longer any bikes to borrow or shopping to speak of in the little community of Drago, which is 8 miles away. The sea was too rough to use the kayaks and you couldn't snorkel on the beach by the lodge at the time of year we were there. We are flexible so we didn't mind but a more balanced description would set more realistic expectations. That said, it is truly a beautiful place to stay for nature lovers. We saw lots of birds (I'm a birder) and monkeys and sloths.

  • Stayed January 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Service
Helpful?
Thank coach49
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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19 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
    14
    2
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
panama
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 January 2010

For me new years is a very special time of the year. I had 23 of my closest friends flying to Panama fromall over the world and the lodge at Swan's cay was simply perfect. The state is awsome, the rooms are perfect, the place is eco friendly so you felt good about everything. Ormelio the guy who manages the place is the awesomest guy in the planet and he will make shure that your stay there is perfect. The Place is rustic, there are bugs and there is no AC, but hello this is Bocas del Toro YOU DONT NEED NY OF THESE THINGS. If you are adventurous and have a great grouo of freinds then i would recomend these place a million times. Mark the owner is super nie and the whole experience was just perfect.

  • Stayed January 2010, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank mikyPanama
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Massachusetts
2 reviews
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 January 2010

We came to Drago Adventures to fish, because it was outside of town and because it was not too far from reprtedly decent snorkeling. When we arrived we had to take a taxi out there instead of the hotel pickup advertised on the site - this was after a few panicked hours in Bocas Town not being able to contact the lodge because phone lines were down. There was no offer to arrange meals for us, so we ate a lot of peanut butter and jelly that we bought in town. The beach in front of the hotel was dangerous (though admittedly gorgeous) because of coral hidden under muddy waves just feet from the shore. I think we have a sour taste in part because of our timing - the first day we were there the entire staff and neighboring community was on the mainland for a funeral, so we were left without any real way to get around (the bikes advertised on the website were unavailable even though we were the only people staying there at the time) and the car we were supposed to be able to rent was unavailable because they had taken it to town for the funeral (the second car they had didn't have gas). The next day we made plans to go fishing, but a storm blew in and wrecked that plan. Even if the weather wasn't a mess, we were going to go out in a different boat because Mark Rush's boat didn't have any gas in it. Albeit, we made our reservations late in the game, people were involved in the community mourning, and our trip was affected by weather, but I feel there was little initiative taken to help us enjoy our stay. Ormelio, the manager, was quick to do anything we asked for help with, but when we asked for his advice on what we could do in bocas if it was rainy (which it was), he shrugged and told us we might as well just stay in our rooms. We decided to go to Costa Rica instead.

  • Stayed January 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank gnaipte
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Austin
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 November 2009

Upon arriving in Panama City, we were able to get hold of Lisa and book this place the day before. Lisa was very accomodating booking us transportation the last minute to and from the lodge.

After a day of visiting Bocas Town we took the bumpy ride to the Lodge. Luckily we prepared ourselves for the trip by having several drinks. If your schedule permits, I recommend taking a boat to the place during the daylight.

Upon arrival we were greated by Ornelio, the property manager, who showed us our house. The house is very green, with electricity provided by solar power and water collected through rain harvesting. The house was rustic, yet very comforting. It had a beautiful wrap around porch that overlooked the water and jungle. It goes without saying that we spent all our time on the porch enjoying the views and the sounds of the waves crashing on the private beach located just few steps from the place.

A great trip that I will never forget!

  • Stayed November 2009, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
1 Thank nearmmm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
97 reviews
77 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 98 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 November 2009

We planned on a Panama trip at the very last minute. It was easy to find a luxury hotel in Panama City (Le Meridien) but the options in Boca del Toro or Isla del Toro are more complex. We are so glad we found the the Lodge as an option and could not have been happier.

When we arrived in PC, we called Lisa, who owns the Lodge with her partner Mark. Lisa could not have been more accommodating or lovely as she worked hard to book us an extremely last minute stay in paradise, including all of the details and transportation reservations.

We arrived in Boca del Toro on the flight that lands around 5pm. We thought we might hang out for a few hours and enjoy the nightlife and meals in town before heading to the wilderness, even while Boca is actually kind of in the wilderness. After refreshing beverages at various places, and a nice dinner at 9-degrees, we jumped into a cab with a whole bunch of groceries and wine from the market which was open until 11:30.

The drive to the Lodge is not easy on the stomach. It is 50 minutes and some of the roads are really bumpy. But we knew we were heading to a beautiful escape, almost an hour from a town that is remote to begin with.

Upon arrival, the wonderful property manager, Ornelio, surfaced and brought us to our cute home, which is primarily for the owner's parents, or so we learned. We had a master bedroom on the main floor, along with a kitchen and living room, and 2 queens on the upper floor. What a wonderful place to escape from reality. The entire property is off-the-grid, and it was a fantastic environmentally friendly place. The porch was our home for 1/2 of the trip, while the beautiful private beach with palm trees and coconuts was our home for the rest of the time.

We appreciated everything about the Lodge - waking up to the crazy howler monkeys (bring your ipod in case you need another couple hours of sleep after a few too many glasses of wine!), the gardens, the wonderful beach where you are in complete privacy, the DELICIOUS and fresh foods prepared daily at a very reasonable rate, the charming manager. I recommend taking a water taxi either to or from the lodge or both. Stunning beauty.

A trip we will never forget. We will come back for sure. And we'll always be grateful to Lisa, Ornelio, and the staff of lovely people who made the trip a smashing, relaxing, remote, and beautiful escape from our lives in NY and Austin.

  • Stayed November 2009, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank phillysilver
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
marlinman25
Level Contributor
9 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 31 August 2009

We had a GREAT time at Swan's Cay!!! It is beautiful.

  • Stayed March 2009, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank marlinman25
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
West Friendship Maryland
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 29 August 2009

Our stay at Swan's Cay with our three teenage boys was one of our most memorable family vacations. The lodge had a rustic family atmosphere with all the comforts of home. We loved the spacious rooms with porches and ocean views. We woke to the calls of Howler monkeys, Amazon parrots and Orpendulas each morning. The ocean was a short walk down a staircase built into a slope. We were able to enjoy boat excursions to see dolphins, snorkel and scuba dive. One could hike along the beach for hours and not meet another soul. A guide from Swan's Cay took us on a rain forest hike where we saw small waterfalls, beautiful plants and flowers and a pond that was home to a Caiman family! The Rush family made sure our stay was hassle free. One highlight was dinner each night in the main lodge over looking the ocean as the sun set. Many of the other guests attended and each night we traded stories about the sights we'd seen and the fun we'd had. Tales of surfing, fishing hiking, kayaking, diving and just being lazy were shared.

Swan's Cay is a great place to re-connect with your family and nature. I plan to return.

  • Stayed December 2007, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank turtle1959
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Lodge at Swan's Cay

Property: Lodge at Swan's Cay
Address: Isla Colon, Panama
Region: Panama > Bocas del Toro Province > Isla Colon
Hotel Style:
Ranked #32 of 49 Speciality Lodging in Isla Colon
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Number of rooms: 46
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Two private houses (sleep 6) with six additional apartments (sleeps 2+). All accommodations have kitchens and refrigeration. 20 acres of of private property and private beach. Larger, long beaches within walkng distance. 'A private, natural hideaway' Like being at a friend's beach house... ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Lodge At Swan's Cay Panama/Bocas Del Toro - Isla Colon

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