This is an example of our preferred hotel, though availability is not guaranteed. If a given hotel is not available for your tour date, we will reserve you a room at a hotel of similar appeal and quality in the same area.
There are not a lot of places left in the world where culture and tradition are preserved. And where the sounds of the ocean and feel of the sand in between your toes take you to a place that can only be described as heaven on earth. That place is Dolphin Lodge Panama located in the vicinity of San Blas and in the Caribbean side of Panama.
Why San Blas Panama?
* Experience the breathtaking beauty of the San Blas islands which include 400 remote tropical islands in the world?s 2nd-largest barrier reef.
* Be witness to the tradition and culture of the native Kuna people.
* Partake in eco-tourism and cultural tourism set in the Caribbean islands.
* Enjoy delicious fresh seafood.
* Fun family vacation at an affordable price.
Why is Dolphin Lodge special?
* Uaguinega in the Kuna language means dolphin house and it is called so because it is not uncommon to get a visit from dolphins in certain seasons.
* Rooms are spacious, relaxing and comfortable.
* Cabins have running water and large bathrooms.
* Kid-friendly and budget-friendly.
* Stay at an eco-resort that uses solar panels to generate electricity because Dophin Lodge cares about the environment.
* Satellite Internet access available.
The Dolphin Lodge Experience
It?s not hard to understand that the lodges are decorated in a Kuna motif with the same San Blas colors worn by the local ladies. The accommodations all feature an open air architecture, cold water tropical showers, flushing commodes, and two full or queen sized beds. Sustainable tropical hardwood floors and two comfortable wicker arm chairs are cocooned by walls of local cane and palm leaves.
Each ?Deserted Island Condo? has a deck, and two strung hammocks that kiss the Caribbean shore in a comfortable but unpretentious setting. Internet access is available in the Kuna coffee shop next to the alfresco dining room, where you?ll dine San Blas style for all your complementary meals.
When the sound of the conch shell calls, you?ll know breakfast, lunch or dinner is ready. You can expect some of the freshest seafood of your life cooked over wood fires in the centuries old style of the buccaneers, but little else. If you are looking for a burger or some pizza, you?ll have to wait till you get back to a civilization. But after all, you?re here to experience another world, another culture and another way of living. Lots of fruit for breakfast, but don?t be surprised if the fromage course is ?American?, and the the breakfast meat looks suspiciously like a hot dog. Remember everything has to be schlepped in from the mainland in those little dug out canoes and you came here to eat and live like a San Blas Kuna!
You can walk or lounge on the beach, start a pick up volleyball, soccer or baseball game, do a little snorkeling or just play in the water with the kids. When evening rolls around don?t forget to participate or even construct the nightly bonfire for that truly primitive San Blas feeling. Lead your children in a personally choreographed native dance and perhaps tell some stories from the Pirates of the Caribbean. Now this is much better then summer camp!
San Blas Excursions
Like your meals, several San Blas tours are also included in the room price. On each of these many explorations you?ll be ferried, guided, and offered souvenirs by Kuna artisans. The Kuna will graciously welcome you into their homes and villages and provide you with a little cultural discourse when visiting the local burial site. You may even meet a medicine man, who might give you an exam and perform a shamanistic procedure, if it?s necessary ? what a memory! You can even let your children exercise their ?but everyone?s got one? quest and get a tattoo at the Dolphin Lodge. But don?t fret this form of Panamanian body modification, using dye from the local jagua/genipa plant, fades away in a few days as your skin naturally exfoliates. For some true cultural immersion you might even think about indulging in an adult fantasy and offer your own arms, legs or forehead up as canvas.
Complementary tours, usually two a day, are available to the communities of Achutupu, Mamitupu and Ailigandi. These walking tours exemplify the daily activities of the San Blas Kuna through hands on participation and cultural interaction. Ailigandi is the site of the local Kuna congress hall, sometimes populated by several of the 49 fedora wearing congressional representatives or 250 community delegates. But be forewarned you?ll need permission to visit there, even when congress is not in session, otherwise you can expect a cold reception.
You can also participate in a jungle river tour, visits to near by beaches or bird watching forays all included in the basic room rate. Be painfully aware that you should ask before you begin taking Kuna portrait photos, and it?s customary to pay about a dollar a shot for the sessions. As to spending money be advised that there are no ATMs or credit card terminals, so small denomination currency is highly advised. If you want to make a splash with the locals ask your bank, about month before your trip, for a supply of two dollar bills or Sacajawea dollars. If you want to see the local?s faces light and smile use this currency, when it?s applicable. There are several other tours available just ask the friendly San Blas staff for suggestions.
The Eco-Resort Details
The Lodges Vision: After a sense of balance was restored in 1992 the economic climate for the San Blas Kuna looked extremely bleak. Ignoring the naysayers the De La Ossa-Tajadas family began fulfilling their vision of an eco-cultural lodge. Using native dug outs they started transporting load after load of foundation to the island location. Eventually the intimate campus was raised and leveled so that construction could begin. It was a day of community celebration when the first two San Blas styled structures were finally completed. Today the success of the enterprise has brought the number of solar powered accommodations to 13.
A Marriage of Old and New Technologies: All units are constructed using centuries old San Blas raised pier construction, renewable materials and Kuna techniques. The wall joists use a wild cane locally known as cana brava which has recently drawn considerable attention as a bio fuel source. This same cane has been used for centuries as arrow shafts, harpoons, fish traps, baskets, mats and hats. The walls of these San Blas condos are crafted of woven palm fronds called penca that are changed on a seasonal or as needed basis. On demand showers and toilets along with roof mounted solar panels transport the bahio into the third millennium.
The San Blas Dolphin Lodge and The Community: Dolphin Lodge is perched on the charming little grassy island of Uaguitupo 100 meters from the larger island of Achutupu. Just a fifty minute flight and a three minute canoe ride from Panama City this small island is so close to Achutupu you can easily make out people on the shore. The island is located in the Caribbean in Kuna lands about 75 sea miles from Colombia.
The San Blas Dolphin Lodge contributes to the community through a conventional bed tax and has been instrumental in supporting improvements to the local air strip.