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NJFamilyAdventures
Ontario, Canada

Worth well over 5 stars: Perfectly relaxing and restorative family vacation

5.0 of 5 bubblesReviewed 4 Apr 2024
Our family of four (2 parents, 2 young adults) enjoyed our 4-night stay at Isla Palenque, and it far exceeded our high expectations. From our first introduction at the David airport to our last goodbye, Isla Palenque showed itself to be an exceptional place.

*Lodging: The private casitas are luxuriously simple. Comfortable bed, smooth sheets, amazing outdoor bathrooms that combine open-air showers with privacy. Wi-Fi was super fast, enabling both video calls and streaming. Air conditioning kept us cool and bug-free. The casita can sleep four, but we found it more comfortable to split up into two casitas.
*Dining: The menus change daily, with a few consistent dishes (ceviche) that fluctuate depending on the catch of the day. The fruit and vegetables are excellent. We were so lucky to visit at the beginning of mango season.
*Drinks: So many delicious cocktails and mocktails. The watermelon caipirinha and smoked gin-and-tonic were two favorites. Fresh passion fruit juice was a staple.
*Setting: The pool is lovely and refreshing. The beaches are wide and clean, and we loved seeing the little ghost crabs and hermit crabs scurrying across the sand. The ocean is warm and calm.
*Activities: Frances led amazing nature walks, showing us the local birds, dolphins, and night creatures. Expert guides introduced us to the howler monkeys, which later scampered in the treetops near the pool. Cooking class and rum tasting were also great. Some of us enjoyed in-room massages too.
*Service: The staff are so friendly and welcoming, and very helpful. They made us all feel relaxed and comfortable. Thank you to everyone at Isla Palenque.
Date of stay: March 2024
Room Tip: There's no cell service at the casitas, but it is no problem. The Wi-Fi is strong and reliable in...
Trip type: Travelled with family
5.0 of 5 bubblesValue
5.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
5.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
5.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
5.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
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This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Guest Service, Revenue Management at Isla Palenque Resort, responded to this review
Responded 17 Apr 2024
Thank you for choosing Isla Palenque for your family adventure and your "well over 5 Stars" review. We appreciate all the great comments and hope that it will inspire others to visit our island. Greetings from all of us. Please come back soon.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
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        Reviewed 31 March 2024

        Our family recently returned from a 4 night stay and we highly recommend it if you want a bespoke experience away from crowds. There were times when we felt as if we were the only guests on the island, not to mention the two private beaches we enjoyed. The casitas, just steps from the beach, were comfortable, cool, and immaculately kept. We loved seeing and hearing the monkeys, and all the crabs on the beach during our nightly walks.

        The people who work here are truly amazing. They are not only great at what they do, but they are so kind. The service made this trip one we will never forget.

        Benny and Daniela at the concierge desk were incredibly accommodating about suggesting and planning activities perfect for us. Our family did the Isla Secas tour (worth it!), kayaking, paddle boarding, fishing, hiking and a cooking class. We enjoyed multiple excursions with Manuel who was incredibly knowledgeable and made each one fun for our teens and us.

        The restaurant staff including Guillermo, Carlos and Benny were the best! They were the first to greet us in the morning with coffees, and the last ones we saw each night after leisurely dinners. Meals were beautifully prepared and delicious. We appreciated the changing menu including Panamanian dishes as well as more familiar food -even our pickiest eater was happy. The kids enjoyed the delicious ice cream every night. Benny is a true mixologist and we had the most delicious, natural, cocktails made with homemade shrubs and infused liquors. His take on a Mai Tai became the favorite cocktail of the trip. He was always so nice about making unique mocktails for the kids as well.

        Thank you to everyone at Isla Palenque for an unforgettable trip!

        Room tip: Bring sunscreen, bug spray, casual lightweight clothes, tevas, flip flops.
        Date of stay: March 2024
        • Trip type: Travelled with family
          • Value
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        Thank M4283CCerics
        This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
        Guest Service, Revenue Management at Isla Palenque Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 1 April 2024

        Thank you for choosing Isla Palenque for your family vacation. And thanks for mentioning so many of us in your review. This means a lot. Please come back soon or also take a look at our sister hotels of the Cayuga Collection in Costa Rica and Nicaragua.

        Report response as inappropriate
        This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
        Reviewed 26 March 2024

        Our experience at Isla Palenque was flawless! Imagine an island with 7 casitas and 7 beautiful beaches. Food simply terrific. Bungalow and outdoor spaces charming and well equipped with A/C in the bungalow itself. Complete privacy. Service-wise they couldn't do enough. Everyone knew and called us by name. Private excursions were always available and on our timetable. And dining three times daily at a table in the sand next to the beach with constantly changing menus with sensational choices...wonderful. In the evening there was amazing stargazing without any light pollution from nearby villages or resorts. Enthusiastically recommend and will return again next year. Isla Palenque is simply THE BEST BAREFOOT LUXURY EXPERIENCE EVER!!!!

        Date of stay: March 2024
        • Trip type: Travelled with family
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        Thank marsha C
        This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
        Guest Service, Revenue Management at Isla Palenque Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 1 April 2024

        How great to hear that you are not only "enthusiastically recommending us" but also returning to stay with us again next year. That says it all. See you soon.

        Report response as inappropriate
        This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
        Reviewed 24 February 2024 via mobile

        This is a truly wonderful escape. Isla Palenque has excellent low key service in an amazing environment with wonderful rooms. We especially loved kayaking around the island with Francis, the cocktails by Carlos, and the truly friendly meal service from both Jorge and Carlos.

        All you need to bring is shorts, bathing suits, shoes optional, and bug spray - we got bites even with spray on (it’s a real tropical island after all!).

        Room tip: February is very hot! Bring bug spray.
        Date of stay: February 2024
        Trip type: Travelled as a couple
        Thank Roving439810
        This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
        Guest Service, Revenue Management at Isla Palenque Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 26 February 2024

        Thanks for your review and the great comments on the service, your meals, and the adventures with our on-site guides. It is a good idea to bring bug spray, especially when going on tours into the forest on the island. But many of our guests also never bother to use it and are fine. Shoes are optional for sure. Please come back soon.

        Report response as inappropriate
        This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
        Reviewed 8 February 2024

        If you are considering a visit to Isla Palenque, stop thinking about it and just book it. You will not regret it.

        My husband and I came for one week to celebrate our 20th anniversary. From the minute we reached the dock, our every want and need was exquisitely catered to. The casitas are fabulous, and the air conditioning kept us very comfortable. We loved the outdoor bathroom - one morning I had monkeys serenading me while I showered.

        It's really the staff where Isla Palenque shines. They go out of their way to ensure you're enjoying your visit. During lunch one day, we asked for our lounge chairs to be moved to the beach - it was done within minutes. Iris provided excellent massages. We did a fun rum tasting class with Michael and his passion for the subject was infectious. We did many activities with Frances including a snorkel trip to Isla Secas, dolphin watching, a monkey walk and a hike into the jungle. He is so knowledgeable about the flora and fauna in the area; every adventure with him was fascinating. I highly recommend the Isla Secas trip. The snorkeling was perfect, and the empty island beach we went to for lunch was one of the prettiest beaches I've ever seen.

        The food was fresh and delicious. Try the Palenque tartar. On our anniversary, they prepared a special private dinner for us in a palapa. The food, including lobsters wrapped in banana leaves, was out of this world. The waitstaff, including Carlos, Guillermo, Jorge, Michael and Carolina were attentive and friendly.

        Benny, the concierge, worked tirelessly to cater to our every whim. Benny and chef Axel even put together a first - an ice cream making class for us. It was so fun and we feasted on our ice cream and sorbet the rest of the week.

        A few (hopefully) helpful tidbits:
        1. You better like the person/people you're traveling with because you won't see many other people.
        2. If you're looking for a party, this place isn't for you.
        3. The only shoes you need are a pair of flip-flops/sandals and a pair of hiking boots - seriously, I way over-packed in the shoe department.
        4. Visit Isla Palenque to be pampered, indulged and well-rested. It is truly a magical place.

        Thank you Isla Palenque for the anniversary trip of my dreams!

        Date of stay: January 2024
        • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
          • Value
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        Thank NorthStar32889334298
        This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
        Guest Service, Revenue Management at Isla Palenque Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 12 February 2024

        What a wonderful review. We love your packing recommendation about shoes. Thank you for spending such a special occasion with us on our island. Greetings from all of us at Isla Palenque.

        Report response as inappropriate
        This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
        Reviewed 14 January 2024

        What a dream! Come here for paradise. The casitas are very comfortable and private. The outside space is absolutely dreamy. You can walk steps to the ocean and yet have complete privacy. I had two of the best massages of my life on the outside deck. The food is beyond fresh and delicious. Expertly cooked and varied. The swimming pool is the perfect temperature, and the ocean is as well. My family had a wonderful time, and we hope to return!

        Date of stay: August 2023
        • Trip type: Travelled with family
          • Value
          • Location
          • Service
        1  Thank TrianaTeresa
        This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
        Guest Service, Revenue Management at Isla Palenque Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 16 January 2024

        Thank you for your "Paradise" Review. We are glad that you and your family had such a wonderful time at Isla Palenque. Please come back soon.

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