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“Canopy Lodge - Incredible!”
Review of Canopy Lodge

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Canopy Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 14 May 2013

This past February 2013 my wife and I signed up for the 7-day birding package at Canopy Lodge and had an amazing experience. We have both been active, enthusiastic birders for many years (although we do not list). This was our first full-blown birding trip and we wondered what we were getting into. It was everything we hoped for and more.

The transfer from Panama City to the Lodge was excellent and well timed. We were given a welcome orientation, shown our rooms and served a nice lunch. I assumed we would be on our own this first day and planned to sit at the feeders. To our surprise we were told to be back at 3:00 PM to meet our guide for the week Danilo for a few hours of birding. We saw many great birds that first afternoon including a Sun Bittern, Black Crowned Ant Pita, and Tody Motmot.

The grounds at Canopy Lodge are beautiful, with very active bird feeders. I cannot say enough how wonderful the entire staff was. The food was local, plentiful and very well prepared. The inclusive wine was great and the group dinners much fun. Our room was spacious and very clean. Amazingly the evenings were cool, so the lack of air conditioning was not a factor. Plus, we didn’t see a single mosquito the entire week!

Each guide is limited to 8 or less guests, but we never went out with more than 5 total and usually 3-4. We never repeated the same areas and by the end of our week we logged (yes we kept a list for this trip) 227 species, most of which we had never seen before.

Danilo was a wonderful guide with a true passion for birding and an amazing ability to call out and spot birds. He was tireless and made our week of birding at Canopy Lodge the perfect experience in every way. He was the best!

Both my wife and I agree, Canopy Lodge was wonderful in every way. We loved Panama and will return to stay at Canopy Tower and the newest location Canopy Camp Darien when it is completed.

Greg & Danette Vassilopoulos
Minneapolis

  • Stayed: February 2013, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank GregV12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 8 May 2013

Canopy Lodge nestles in a lovely pocket of privately owned Rain Forest , within short walking distance of Caida De Agua, a local nature preserve with trails, waterfalls and natural swimming pools..and within longer walking distance of the small town El Valle de Anton, worth a visit for the Sunday Market. The lodge property sports a river and a swimming hole with swinging ropes which is charming and of which I made use, even in rainy weather..There is a tree house..There is an observation deck, but without much vista as the facility is closely surrounded by mountains.. However it is a good place to spot the odd bird or flower..The Lodge is a bird watchers paradise.

if you are not an obsessed life-lister, or are interested in photographic opportunities, you do not need to leave your front porch, or the communal viewing area. If you are more active then there are excellent guides and daily excursions. Meals and wine with dinner, along with one "field-trip" are included with your stay. The food is quite good, with the odd exception of the rolls, which every night were as hard as rocks..it became a running joke. All dinning is communal. This can become tedious..or not, depending on your need for privacy. Vegetarian/vegan is not a problem..There is wifi in the communal area only..

All that being said, here are some caveats..My husband and I were not pleased with the management of this facility.. To begin with it is very expensive..$242 a night per person...and $75 per person for any additional guided tours.(A la Carte plan)..this implies some level of luxury, and indeed, the guides are outstanding. But what we found was a facility being run on the cheap. They are understaffed. Two folks in the kitchen..one woman occasionally in the office..workmen on what seems a part-time basis and the guides do everything else..The owner shows up for dinner occasionally and noblesse oblige. You may not notice this if you intend to sign up for package deals and be gone all day every day. We opted for a more relaxed experience and spent more time at the facility.

We had to repeatedly ask for the banana feeders to be refilled..and finally just did it ourselves..Sometimes they were out of bananas and the guides had to run into town.The brochure says they will disguise feeders for photographers..I asked and nothing was ever done. I did it myself. Not that I really minded, but I didn't want to be questioned about cutting leaves and etc. These are minor details, but there is more. We happened to be there during a rather severe storm, and the power went out. On one of those days I went for a walk and my husband stayed in the lodge..power was never restored..it was cold on the porch and too dark to read inside..and no electronics could be charged..well OK, stuff happens..but later we learn there was a generator and it was only turned on when we asked. Again, this would be acceptable at a bargain facility...In addition the hot water took forever to come up. One guest had none at all..Then we learn that the heater is under our sinks and needs to be turned up..this should have been done automatically.. There is a sign on the gift shop, giving hours of business. It was not opened the entire time we were there,,

Finally, don't have an emergency in the evenings.. You are told that someone is always there..maybe..but do they speak English? I needed to talk to someone in charge the last evening..only the two cooks were on the property and their English was non-existent. I have some Spanish but could not make myself understood..every guest there spoke English..some with more Spanish than I, but still, no luck. A facility like this, with mostly English speaking guests, should not be so poorly staffed..there should be someone multi-lingual there at all times.

The guest quarters are attractive. The rooms are large, the beds comfortable with reading lights and the porches are lovely..but be careful of the beds..the platforms just out beyond the matress and we both had bruised shins from running into them on night trips (!) to the bathroom.Flashlights are provided, a nice touch. There is no in-room safe.

Room Tip: First floor rooms are at feeder level. Second floor rooms, look into tree tops..
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  • Stayed: March 2013, travelled as a couple
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7  Thank gemswinc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 May 2013

Canopy Lodge is owned by Canopy Towers. They also have opened a Canopy B & B in Gamboa and a safari type lodge in Darien called "Canopy Camp Darien". The people were very accommodating and friendly. The rooms were large and very comfortable although there was no AC, it was cool during the nights and I wore a light sweater after dark. I liked the food, served buffet style and the cooks would accommodate guests with special diets. The grounds are beautiful and full of wildlife. .With many bird feeders and hummingbird feeders about! A lovely stream ran through the property and a large swimming pool with a tree house and swinging ropes!

  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled with family
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2  Thank willHouston_Texas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 April 2013

The Canopy Lodge is a great, comfortable lodge in the magical Valle de Anton. Comfortable rooms, great staff, large grounds with a natural pool, tree house and pond. Avid birders can take trips with great guides or wander the grounds and see lots of birds. If you enjoy a little comfort and relaxation after a day of birding, this is an excellent choice. Food is great, staff is friendly and helpful and knowledgeable. The town is small but charming. I would recommend this lodge for anyone who enjoys birding and a little luxury as well!

Room Tip: Each room I saw was special with good views, birds and easily accessible.
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  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank ColibriSMA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 April 2013

Hidden on the slopes of an extinct volcano, difficult to find without a guide !(they will organise your transport from Tower to Lodge or the Airport )it is obtusely hidden away amid the cloud forest of El Valle. The town is small, but has it's 'famous' Sunday market, several places to dine and lots of local 'colour', pleasant after any big city or even the journey to here.
Absolute top are the guides and their tour for birdwatchers, an enormous number of birds to be found, but you have to be keen and patient ( as always?!) maybe not as good as at the Tower I have heard (maybe there the choice is wider) but the accommodation much, much better and quieter , so you sleep better and are ready for the morning tour!
Food is NOT the best aspect here, adequate, but nothing to get excited about, breakfast same as a 3* Hotel, obvious room for improvement and definitely not a selling point. Buffet style meals, pre-prepared, but the location and birds make up for it....
Rates are also a little top-heavy, I suppose they think if you have come this far, you can afford it...maybe so, but value isn't their game, it's a captive audience for bird watchers...!
Just a few minutes walk uphill is their Canopy Adventure where you can either walk past the waterfall on a rope bridge or two, or above it on a Zipline if you're brave (and young enough)!
Careful if wet, could be slippy,you do get a stick to assist walking (or fight of the odd monkey or two....!!)
All in all very sedate and pleasant, but if you are not a bird watcher, it has less appeal

Room Tip: All are all with a view of the pretty stream and jungle surroundings 15 min walk to 'town'...
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  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled with friends
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1  Thank morgieporgie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 April 2013

My wife and I stayed at Canopy Lodge for three nights in April and enjoyed the excellent birding experience offered in El Valle, Panama. If you are an avid birder you will not be disappointed as the bird guides seek out and identify all the local bird species. We could not have been more please with our bird guide, Eliecer Rodriguez Madrid, who patiently listened and then called over 150 different birds during our four birding tours. Our guide managed to locate several birds on our birding list including the Tody and Rufous Motmot and several Antshikes, Eliecer was very patient with me as I worked to capture pictures of many of the birds. Our nightly review of our bird tours were a helpful reminder of just how many different bird species we had encountered.

Our accommodations were clean and the food is prepared daily with a unique Panamanian flavor. Overall a wonderful stay in a very beautiful part of the interior of Panama. Raúl Arias de Para, owner of the Canopy chain of hotels, should be commended for his vision in providing a fantastic birding experience in Panama.

  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank mhuehnergard
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 April 2013

We wanted to balance our trip to Panama between the city and being out in nature. This lodge was fabulous for giving us the nature piece while also providing the comforts of home. Beautiful grounds, very accommodating staff, fantastic food and great birding right on the property make this a great choice. Each morning we woke up to a wonderful mix of beautiful birds greeting us for breakfast outside under the patio. Each room sits along the creek that runs through the property which adds to the level of tranquility. If you like zip lining, Canopy Adventure is a short walk away! Once you arrive at Canopy Lodge you will not have to worry about another detail.

Room Tip: Double rooms have balconies with sitting areas outside
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  • Stayed: February 2013, travelled with friends
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Thank woodpeckerllc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Canopy Lodge

Address: Cerro Gaital Natural Monument, El Valle de Anton 0832-2701 WTC, Panama
Region: Panama > Cocle Province > El Valle de Anton
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 16 Speciality Lodging in El Valle de Anton
Price Range: £181 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 12
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Full service lodge specializing in nature activities, particularly birding and nature-watching. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Canopy Hotel El Valle De Anton

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