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“Review for Cabanas only”

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Los Quetzales Lodge & Spa
Certificate of Excellence
Dallas, Texas
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Review for Cabanas only”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 June 2014

The cabanas are for hard core birders or 4WD enthusiasts or anyone with enough pluck to enjoy a rugged trip. Once you make it over the very rocky road (even with AWD Kia, I bottomed out many times), it is the best place in Panama to stay. The cains are nestled in the deep forest and we saw many Quetzals right from the cabin in the aguacatillo trees above. We stayed in the upper level of Cabana 4 and could not get internet. However, if you walk up to Cabana 6, you can get excellent internet. That is where their tower is and the owner was kind enough to give us the keys so we could sit on the front porch and use internet as much as we liked. The signal was good enough that I could talk to my husband in the States using Google Talk from my computer.

The kitchen was pretty good, with enough pots and pans to cook trout (excellent) that we ordered from the lodge to be delivered, as well as rice and veggies. Big dining table and lots of plates, silverware, etc.

There was a wood burning stove and plenty of firewood and newspaper to start a cozy fire. We had some damp clothes that we hung above to dry in the heat.

Overall, just a magical place and well worth the drive. We were in Panama for 10 days and this was my favorite spot. We were here June 18 and 19 and still saw at least 5 Quetzals easily, as well as many other birds. It rained a bit everyday but cleared up and the temperature was perfect and cool.

Room Tip: Cabana 6 is up a pretty steep incline, but the view is spectacular. If you had help getting luggage...
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  • Stayed June 2014, travelled with family
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Helpful?
Thank Als466
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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264 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (79)
Date | Rating
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English first
Corvallis, Oregon USA
Level Contributor
24 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 May 2014

Two of us stayed (in room 15) for a couple of nights; this is on the ground level, not part of the main lodge but across the grassy area. We had a fireplace which was very nice given that the rainy season has started and it's a bit cool at night. The bed was fine, though a bit soft for one of us. The shower was amazing, and no problem with hot water. Breakfast was fine, good fruit, eggs, cereal and breads, as well as juices, coffee and organic hot chocolate made there from locally grown cacao. In fact, upon arriving, we were greeted with hot chocolate and coffee. We ate two dinners, one lunch and two breakfasts there and their food is excellent--the prices are very reasonable as well. We had fresh tuna (three of us for dinner one night) prepared three different ways and we were all pleased with our selections. Most of the greens and vegetables are grown right there on the property.

What we really appreciate is the efforts that Carlos, the owner, has put into developing this ecolodge. Carlos is quite knowledgeable about the environment in this part of Central America, as well as its wildlife. As part of the cost of the room, you are offered a free guided hike, and we thoroughly enjoyed that. What a beautiful area of Panama this is. We cannot wait to go back. We just want to emphasize that Carlos and his staff are so hospitable. We really felt at home and want to share with everyone what a lovely experience you can look forward to having.

Further, I chose to have a massage. For 90 minutes, at a cost of only 45 dollars, I had one of the best Deep Tissue massages that I've had in years. (Two of the women who work at the reception desk are trained in massage.)

Overall, we highly recommend Los Quetzales. We look forward to returning soon.

Room Tip: we stayed in room 15, so ground level. The ones above looked great too, but we were only two so we...
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  • Stayed May 2014, travelled as a couple
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1 Thank NamasteJudi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Panama City, Panama
Level Contributor
15 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 May 2014

Disclaimer: There are a few things going on at Los Quetzales--they have cabins, fancy nice rooms, an expensive restaurant, and a hostel-style dorm room. I am writing about the dorm room, from the point of view of a long-term backpacker who is used to staying in cheap, crappy shared rooms. My review is targeted to other low-budget backpackers.
I was the only person staying in the dorm room when I was there, so it seemed quite luxurious to me. There are a lot of beds in a small room, and I think it would be very crowded at max capacity. The room itself--the beds, the furniture, decor, etc--are very nice for a hostel. Woody, cozy, very clean. Amazing hot shower, nice sheets, beds, towels, etc. There is no kitchen available to use, and the on-site restaurant is very expensive. The room was by far the most expensive dorm room I payed for in Central America--$18 for a bed, but this didn't bother me since I had the whole place to myself, and it was effectively a private room for the five nights I spent there. They had an option to tack on a nice breakfast buffet and a guided morning rainforest tour for an extra $7. This is worth doing once or twice--I did see quetzales and hummingbirds that the guide pointed out that I would have missed.
There are several nice places to go hiking in the area: Parque Internacional La Amistad, Los Quetzales trail, and, most notably, the longer, more strenuous way up Volcan Baru. This is a beautiful area with a cool, misty climate--lots of farms, mountains, forests. You are also 20 minutes from Volcan by bus, which is a fairly major town with every convenience.
There is a good grocery store almost next door, and a great local-style cheap restaurant past that where you can get your $4 plates of rice, beans, and chicken. Several places nearby serve strawberries and cream.
Overall I enjoyed my stay at Los Quetzales, but it was on the expensive side for my budget.

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank jungle999999
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 April 2014

April is quetzal nesting season, so we lucked out and saw four! We stayed in cabin #4 in the upper unit and recommend it for 4 people as it has skylights that brighten the place and big porches front and back with lots of hummingbird action. One of the quetzales we even spotted from our front porch. We were not prepared for how cold it was in terms of bringing the right clothing; a fleece and even long underwear might make you more comfortable (I wore yoga pants under my hiking pants). Thankfully there is a wood stove and plenty of firewood, so we could warm up the cabin. The cold is really due to the altitude as the village of Cerro Punto below is typically sunnier and warmer. A rain jacket is a must as you are up in the cloud forest where it's often misty, though the sun does come out.
TRANSPORTATION - The lodge arranged for a taxi pick-up at the David airport and back again for $40-$50. The road from the lodge to the cabins, as others have mentioned, is extremely rough and though a 4-wheel drive can make it, our neighbor was apologizing to his car afterward. Better to ride up in the covered and cushioned wagon behind the tractor and plan to stay at your cabin and hike from there. Going to the lodge for a meal really isn't very appealing given the rough road and certainly too far to walk (though the office personnel said otherwise).
FOOD - We had the taxi driver stop at El Rey in David, which has almost everything, so we were able to cook for ourselves in the cabin, which is fairly well appointed with utensils and pans for cooking. If you're trying to keep costs down, that's an option.
THE LODGE - We were in the lodge for the last night and really enjoyed it as well. It was nice to have someone cook for us and the food was delicious. I enjoyed my massage and though there were no yoga classes, we used the beautiful space by the river for our own yoga sessions, using their mats. The bed in our room had an extra layer of memory foam which made it especially comfortable after roughing it at the cabin. Best of all was the friendliness of the people in town and its environs. Farmers offered us carrots and peaches and were super nice. It is a sweet little area. All the employees at the lodge were also very nice and helpful, giving us a parting gift of fresh herbs to take with us. Sorry to read of the person who ran into the school group, but barring that, I would highly recommend Los Quetzales.
COMMUNICATION: Though wi-fi is available in the lodge, we seemed to be in a dead zone at cabin #4. We could not communicate using our phone or the internet, except on rare occasion. We did send messages via the guides that came from the lodge each morning to take us on walks.

Room Tip: Cabins #8 & 9 are the prime spots, but I think they require quite a few people. Cabin #6 is far...
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  • Stayed April 2014, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank Laurel B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Panama City, Panama
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 April 2014

This is a very comfortable hotel in an awe inspiring part of the world. The true beauty is in the farmers and their crops on the sloped hills of Cerro Punta. The hotel itself was more than adequate with great meals, attentive staff, and fast internet. The meals are slightly expensive but they are well made. There are also some small restaurant/street food options worth checking out, I recommend the batido lady down the street. Also, definitely take advantage of the complimentary morning hike. Habel, the knowledgeable and comedic tour guide takes you up the hill to the trail head on the back of his tractor. Then you are lead on a great hour long hike in the forest, great way to start the day.

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank Timo P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Boquete, Panama
1 review
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 March 2014

We booked a month in advance one room for 2 and the only available one was the suite at 130$. As we were planning a rest day & night, we though that we would enjoy the premises and great calm night. We arrived around 2.00pm and the reception asked us if we liked children; as I have 2, I said yes. We were than asked to come for diner at 6.00pm because it was fully booked from 7.00 till 9.00pm and for breakfast before 7.00am or after 8.00am. Later we saw that a private school and its 80 children were staying at the hotel for a few days. We spent our evening between shouting children because they were eating cakes and marshmallows ( the sofa is still sticky) after diner in the bar and it was the only place where we had internet (it does not work in the rooms). Many of the children were sleeping next to our room and were still very active at 11.30pm and some others started at 5.00am. We were able to sleep 4 hours! When we asked for a serious discount because we found the situation unacceptable, the receptionist told us that the mgr proposed us 10% discount. The mgr did not want to come or even to speak with us when we tried to call him. After 1 hour waiting and threatening to stop income calls to the hotel, the mgr accepted our proposal of 50% discount (via a call to the receptionist). He never apologised or even talk to us. Interesting is the fact that the night before, he told us that he wants to repaint the rooms in order to be able to increase the rates. Knowing now the person, I would be very careful to book a room in his hotel. Maybe he has contracts with many private schools from Panama city.....He is an impolite and arrogant person. On the positive side, the evening meal was very good.

  • Stayed March 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank 462Nature
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Boquete, Panama
Level Contributor
75 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 79 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 March 2014

My wife and I had previously lunched at LQLS and were impressed enough to go back to spend 2 nights in Cabin #9 (#8, recommended in TA, was occupied). Driving a large 4WD SUV, we were able to drive almost to the door, but barely. The road is very rough, and a smaller SUV probably would have bottomed several times. Alternatives are walking (a long walk) or riding in an open wagon pulled by a tractor (potentially chilly, windy, and damp [despite plastic curtains], and a very rough ride). Cabin #9 appears decades older than nearby cabin #8. You can see videos of its interior on LQLS's site.

PROs:
1. Habel (sp?) ("Ah-Bell"). Drives the tractor, takes guests on hikes, delivers dinners, gets things fixed or fixes them himself, always cheerful, courteous, and helpful. Greatly improved the quality of our brief stay.
2. Location: We were in one of the two most remote cabins and saw virtually no one else (the folks in #8, Habel, a few management or maintenance folks). The cloud forest was literally all around us.
3. Windows: The 2-story cabin has numerous uncovered windows, making it easy to see in all directions, and keeping the cabin from otherwise seeming a little dark, as many older cabins do.
4. Cooking: Food prepared at the hotel was usually quite good, if expensive.
5. Staff: Generally pleasant and helpful.
6. Critters: Numerous ( c. 10 at a time, various species) humming birds were at the feeders all day long. At sundown they were replaced by bats. Habel told us that if we left banana slices on the railing in the evening, we might see nocturnal kinkajous coming to snack on them (We did) but that if we put them out during the day, squirrels might come eat them (they did). We heard numerous different bird calls, including quetzals and, we were told, emerald toucanets. We did see a flying male quetzal.
7. Rain gear: Cabin 9 is at the start of the 3-waterfall trail, and management has also provided there an outdoor repository of rain-gear (ponchos, boots, etc.). A good thing.

CONs:
1. Heating/windows: All those windows meant that, come sunset, it got cooler, indoors (no insulation, open seams in floors and walls) as well as outdoors. We used the Franklin stove to warm the cabin until we went to bed but, overnight, the fire eventually went out and it got pretty chilly (c. 50 F?) (There are plenty of blankets but getting up to build a new fire to warm the place up in the morning [the humid environment meant the newspaper and wood were not very dry] wasn't the highlight of the visit). Kudos to Habel for cheerfully continuing to bring more wood as fast as we burned it.
2. Prices: The management of LQLS deserves great appreciation for undertaking a tremendous environmentally friendly facility, and has provided avid gringo (US, Canada, Western Europe; few Panamanians) birders a delightful opportunity to experience the area, but everything costs, sometimes a lot.
3. Electricity. There is a Wi-Fi router in the cabin, but all electricity in the cabin is obtained from roof-top solar panels. Keeping laptop, cell phones, etc., charged is doable, but forget about using a hair dryer or any heavy-demand electric appliance.
4. Hot water: The cabin's only bathroom includes a toilet and bathtub/shower, and a gas-powered demand heater worked for my first shower but, the next day, quit after two minutes. When I mentioned this to Habel, he got right on it, but by then we were leaving on schedule.
5. Weather. Birders we encountered frequently were carrying binoculars, zoom-lensed cameras, etc. The climate seemed a lot wetter than what we experience where we live in nearby Boquete, so I don't know how they worked all that out.

In conclusion, LQLS is a mixed bag. As stated above, it's a tremendous environmental undertaking. However, if I were contemplating spending a week bird watching in Panama (airfare; scarce vacation time; diversity of family member interests and activities, dining and sleeping opportunities, etc.), I would also take a very close look at Boquete. We do live there but I have no economic axe to grind (and would prefer to see fewer, not more, tourists, but I am pretty sure that I could find a greater variety of activities (zip-lining, rafting, etc.), fully competitive birding guides, somewhat drier conditions, more comfortable accommodations, more competitive prices, more varied eating alternatives, etc. Kudos to LQLS for all they're doing, but I thin I could have a better time in Boquete.

  • Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank mtnmarathoner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Los Quetzales Lodge & Spa

Property: Los Quetzales Lodge & Spa
Address: Parque International la Amistad | PO Box 55-0039, Guadalupe, Panama
Region: Panama > Panama Province > Guadalupe
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Speciality Lodging in Guadalupe
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:3 star — Los Quetzales Lodge & Spa 3*
Number of rooms: 22
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Also Known As:
Los Quetzales Lodge And Spa
Los Quetzales Hotel Guadalupe

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