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“Remote birding extraveganza!”
Review of Burbayar Lodge

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Burbayar Lodge
Reviewed 13 July 2012

We stayed 2 nights and had guided tours of birds and wildlife along the many trails that lead from their property. Very remote and quite primitive, yet comfortable and safe. Food was average, yet tasty (bring wine/beer or request it before you get there). We drove in with a rental car. Beware of steep slippery drive (best to may be park at bottom of hill if you don't have 4wd). Saw great birds and frogs and other wildlife. Trails are muddy (they provide muck boots) and steep in some places. Great adventrure!

  • Stayed: July 2012, travelled with friends
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1  Thank Gina K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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5 - 11 of 18 reviews

Reviewed 26 April 2011

I am a serious birder (I was hoping for Xernoris and Sapayoa). I expected to be guided by an English speaking guide in a group of other serious birders. The only other people at the lodge were a family of 5 (parents and kids 12-17) The first day the only option provided was going out with them. The second day I had the option of going out with an under-equipped Spanish speaking guide (no binoculars). Only on the third day (which was the last day for the family) did I go out with the primary guide (who was actually a replacement for Jose Tejada, the main lodge guide). If you go, insure when you book that you will be provided with the guide service that you expect.

I explained my concern from the time I arrived at the lodge. After I left I received an email from the lodge offering 2 complementary days as a make-up. But I would have to travel again from the US to take advantage of the offer

  • Stayed: April 2011, travelled solo
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7  Thank BirdDogOakland_CA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 April 2011

Being a lover of the outdoors, it was an awesome experience for me... We went on a nice hike where we saw Puma, Tapir, and Javeline tracks... I am not much of a bird watcher, but I was even able to catch a glimpse of a very rare bird called a Xonornis, which means nothing to me...but apparently is a very big deal for bird water aficionados... The trip was great and if you love the outdoors and want to experience the jungle and all of it's beauties, I highly suggest Burbayar lode...

  • Stayed: March 2011, travelled with friends
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Thank japanama
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 April 2011

Our trip to Panama was a multiple stop tour of many areas of the country, Burbayar Lodge is not our first eco resort, so we were expecting limited services and rustic conditions.

Jose is the primary guide. Our intention of staying here was birding and adventure hikes. Jose is truly incredible. His knowledge of nature is staggering including the full Latin names of most species. In 2 days my wife was able to see over 80 species of birds including parrots, toucans and dozens of smaller species. The 2 hour ride to the Lodge was in a comfortable air conditioned van and was included in our package. The road has now been paved and not a problem for access. To enjoy this place fully, plan to bring the proper gear although Jose has a high quality spotting scope.

Antonio and his family are the primary managers. The 3 daily meals are simple, plentiful and acceptable. Expect eggs, toast and fruit for breakfast, stewed chicked and rice for lunch and fish/meat with rice and beans and ice cream for dessert. The cabins are rustic but clean and functional. Although open air, we had zero issues with bugs in the room and didn't even use spray. Do know that after you finish dinner and take some time to prepare for bed, they turn off the power until morning. We brought a little flashlight and would highly recommend doing so. Also, bring good socks so you can wear the Lodge-supplied rubber boots.

You should know that there is nothing to do here except wildlife hikes, birding and serenity. I mean nothing. Also note that the terrain is hilly and you will need to be in decent health. If you can walk and climb stairs you will be fine. The guides will go at your pace.

Compared to other places we stayed in Panama, the package price seems to be on the high end, but all-inclusive with ride, food, and guide services it was an enjoyable visit. Also note that they now offer basic beer and wine for purchase.

Room Tip: All cabins are the same.
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  • Stayed: March 2011, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank tonyandk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 February 2011

I would recommend Bubayar if you’re seeking solitude, don’t mind basic accommodations and a unique nature experience.
Upon arrival at the airport, we were greeted by a transporter arranged by the resort. Unfortunately, we speak very little Spanish and our driver didn’t speak any English so we weren’t able to communicate. After a 1 ½ hour car ride, we were greeted by our tour guide and main resort ‘host’ Jose who made us feel welcomed. However, there wasn’t an introduction as to ‘how Burbayar works’. Just a simple orientation up front would have been nice, but I quickly learned that you have to ask how things work upfront.
The lodge and cabins are rustic and simple (the cabins look exactly as they are pictured on the website). The electricity is powered by a generator which generally runs from sunset to about 8:30/9p. Bringing a flash light is a must!
There were two guides present – Jose and Antonio. Jose is wonderful and extremely knowledgeable and speaks both Spanish/English and Antonio only speaks Spanish.
While I am not a ‘birder’ we were there to enjoy the lodge and the various activities that didn’t necessarily focus on bird watching entirely and we were able to get just that. Our activities included: a 5 mile hike to a waterfall (a must do), a hike along the road in which we saw various bird species and sloths and a hike within the jungle for an educational flora/fauna guided walk (2 mile hike round trip). Guests are able to go on two hikes per day – one in the morning and one in the afternoon. The guides point out things that you would never see and did a fantastic job explaining the different bird species, animals and plants. There wasn’t a thing that Jose didn’t know! Brining a set of binoculars is a must!
Our guide, Jose, didn’t mention that we could have gone to a cave or the lake excursion. The website doesn’t indicate that these excursions need to be arranged prior, so I assumed that I could have made these reservations upon arrival. Jose was more than happy to help coordinate this for me and informed me that the excursions were not included in the all-inclusive package. After learning that the lake excursion would have been $60 per person for a half day excursion, we decided against it.
The food is less than to be desired and I do not understand how anyone could have commented that the food was wonderful. This is one area that greatly needs to be improved.
Every meal ended with fresh fruit (pineapple or papaya). Breakfast included fried eggs, toasted bread from the night before, oatmeal (if desired) and fried hot dogs. Lunch included rice, mystery meat with sauce and salad. If you like spaghetti noodles with random interchangeable meats (sometimes with no sauce) and salty salad (of iceberg lettuce, and hefty portion of salt thrown in and the occasional tomato or two) then you’d love their dinner. The dishes were flavorless and often lacked effort that could have made a simple meal delicious.
Often, the food needed hot sauce or salt/pepper. We found that any requests for these items were met with grunts and a lack of enthusiasm to the point where you felt bad asking for anything. However, you do have to ask otherwise you will be provided the minimum of what they feel is adequate. The portions were fine if you consume normal portions of food. If you’re used to eating a 14 oz. steak, potatoes, salad, vegetable and desert for dinner – then you will feel as though you are not consuming your normal calorie intake.
The resort had beers available for $1 a can and wine for $10 a bottle. I’m not sure that these items are always present and there isn’t a store anywhere near – so be sure to bring cash for these items or pack your own or stop at a local store prior.
I feel this place is totally over priced – yes, your daily rate goes into the transfer to/from the airport, 3 meals a day (remember – it is probably $5 per person when you break down the cost of the meals) and guided walking tours (no transportation to any of the walking tours and if you choose to go to the lake or caves you will pay additional).
I feel this resort should be charging half of the rate for what you actually get.
If you can negotiate the price down to half the cost of what they’re charging, then I would recommend this place to anyone.

  • Stayed: February 2011, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank MotorCityDuo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 February 2010

I'd like to add to the good reviews of Burbayar. We loved it there. The food was simple but delicious & there was plenty of it. The cabins were comfortable and well appointed for a remote lodge with no hot water & electricity for only an hour or two each evening - note: take a flashlight. Our cabin had a private bath & I believe they all do. We left the windows open (there are no screens) and the only bug problem we had were moths attracted by the lights in the evening. The lodge grounds are well kept.

Our driver was arranged by the lodge. He picked us up in Panama City and stopped at the last town on the highway so we could pick up some beer (which they kept cold in the fridge for us), some wine and anything else we needed. There is no bar service at the lodge and the town & store are pretty distant so make sure you have everything you need or want. The lodge info said there was a limit to how much luggage we could bring so we arranged with our Panama City B&B for storage of the things we would not need.

Michael was the onsite guide while we were there and he did a great job. He's quite a good birding guide. He also doubled as our 'host' at the lodge - making sure were had everything we needed & were comfortable, answering questions, etc.. He made our stay most enjoyable.

The trails are rough and quite steep in places, so you need to be in reasonably good physical condition. They are also very, very muddy and thus slippery (at least they were while we were there & this is rain forest). The lodge provides wellies which were essential. They also had walking sticks.

If this type of accomodation and adventure is your style, I don't think you will be disappointed with a stay at Burbayar.

  • Stayed: January 2010, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank CINTraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 April 2009

My partner and I visited Burbayar Lodge to do some birding last week. We were very impressed with the facility. While there I had a very unfortunate accident. More on that later in the review.

The area around the lodge is spectacular and, to put it tritely, a real paradise for birding. Its very interesting habitat and the birds were very cooperative. The food was excellent and the guides are knowledgeable and very friendly. Michael speaks excellent English and is a lot of fun to be around! The cabanas are primitive, with no hot water nor electricity, but they are very comfortable. We didn't miss air conditioning at all. There were no biting insects at all. We were very pleased.

On our second full day at the lodge I had a bad fall and broke my ankle in two places. I was walking on flat ground, stepped on a stick that rolled. I planted my left foot to try and stop myself from falling. Unfortunately I continued to fall and snapped my ankle! Ironically I had hiked a fairly difficult trail the day before with no problems. This accident in no way reflects on negligence by the lodge.

Inaki, the lodge owner was a real jewel! He rushed us to the best hospital in Panama City. He arranged lodging for us in the city and stayed with us through out the ordeal at the hospital, The doctor at the hospital wanted to operate immediately. Inaki had his secretery take the xrays across town to another orthopedic surgeon, who told us we could wait and have it done in the states. He took us to the hotel, where we stayed for 3 days, waiting to fly back home. He arranged transportation back to the airport. There were other things he helped with, also. He is an incredibly kind person!

I can not wait to go back to Burbayar to do more birding! I have downloaded several pictures that I took on the lodge grounds.

  • Stayed: March 2009, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank sngcanary
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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Additional Information about Burbayar Lodge

Address: Llano-Carti, La Loma, Panama
Region: Panama > Cocle Province > La Loma
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Speciality Lodging in La Loma
Number of rooms: 24
Also Known As:
Burbayar Hotel Panama

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