Welcome to Akwadup Lodge, an eco-resort owned and operated by a Kuna family. It is located on a private island in the Caribbean ocean off the coast of Panama, only a 5 minute boat ride from the village of Achutupu which is one of the most untouched indigenous community in the native lands of Kuna Yala Comarca. The lodge rests on a beautiful stretch of beach, with ocean breezes to welcome each day. Escape to Akwadup Lodge, a special place far away from the city and the stresses of everyday life.
Your resort hosts belong to the Kuna indigenous people and are the owners of this palm fringed eco-tourist lodge on the islands of Kuna Yala, also known as the San Blas Islands. Akwadup Lodge is nestled into the small coral reefs close to the island of Achutupu, which has one of centers of the traditional Kuna culture where little has changed over the centuries. Guided tours will take you to watch the native women making their world renowned molas; or opt to take a trip up river into the rainforest. Other choices include snorkeling, swimming, or just relaxing in a palm shaded hammock.
Guests to the eco-resort are accommodated in seven cabanas which sit over the ocean, each traditional in style but with modern comforts. The cabanas are equipped with two double beds, each with screens, as well as a large sitting area and balcony with views of the Caribbean and the lush rainforest on the horizon. The modern fully equipped bathroom has a tiled floor and spacious fully tiled shower enclosure. Roof fans are available to assist the ocean breezes in cooling the cabana. All lighting is powered by solar panels.
From the private balcony, enjoy the 180 degree view to the majestic verdant rainforest across the water. Marvel at each sunset's vividly colored canvas and the night's starry canopy. Below the deck, schools of tiny minnows swarm and feed on the ocean plankton.
Facilities of the Eco-Resort
Akwadup Lodge is set on a large coral reef, crowned by coconut palms and surrounded by the warm waters of the Caribbean. The island is uninhabited.
The free-standing, conical-shaped comedor (dining room) is set on grassy landscaped ground. Views to the horizon's rainforest mountains greet the eye from each window. The comedor's striking high wood framed roof helps to ensure good ventilation, supplemented as needed by suspended fans. Fresh ocean breezes enter via the screened windows.
The modern, ergonomically and hygienically designed kitchen is the source of the chefs specialties such as lobster, shrimp and fish, freshly caught in season. Chicken and vegetarian dishes are also served.
The bohios (sunshelters) on the island provide pleasant shaded areas for relaxation and to enjoy a cooling drink. The sand beach rises from the coral reef with stunning views to the Caribbean. Inland, enjoy identifying the many types of coral to be found on your walks around the island. For those looking for peace and tranquility, a place to relax surrounded by natural beauty, Akwadup Lodge Eco-Resort provides the perfect opportunity.
Tours and Activities from Akwadup LodgeBeaches and Snorkeling on the San Blas Islands
Enjoy swimming and snorkeling in the warm Caribbean ocean. Explore the fascinating and colorful underwater world of coral and marine life. Guests can swim in front of their cabanas or at a nearby golden sand beach or from many of the nearby private uninhabited islands. A favorite island is the island of Cainora, where white sand and coconut palm shade is perfect for children as well as adults. The snorkeling off-shore is rated as the best ever by guests.
Up River Exploration
For nature lovers this boat ride is an unforgettable voyage into a tropical world of beauty and mystery. From the river banks, luxuriant growth arches over the river as you embark on your winding journey. Mango, breadfruit and palm trees towering above from the dense rainforest casts mirrored patterns in your path. In the midst of a tranquil moment, sudden flashes of color dart through the trees. This is the home of peccary, monkey, tucan and many other species of Kuna Yalaâ€™s exotic animal and bird life. Take your field glasses! Below the river surface, crab, fish and other forms of water life go their separate ways.
Take a hike to the spectacular Cascada and cool off in its refreshing crystal clear waters. Learn about the surrounding tropical cornucopia of natureÂ´s gifts, its plants and healing herbs used by the Kuna medicine man to cure ailments.
Arts and Crafts of Kuna Yala
The artistic women on the island of Achutupu, adjacent to the resort, are well known for the exceptional quality of their world renowned molas. Guests visit this community usually on their first morning to witness the inhabitantsâ€™ traditional daily life and to see how the molas are made. The womensâ€™ talents are not limited to the mola as additionally their creativity finds expression in the originality of bird and fish-bone necklaces and bracelets. It is also obvious in the colorful daily dress which distinguishes the Kuna woman which features the mola blouse. Scarves in intricate patterns as well as beaded leg and arm bracelets are additional expressions of their beautiful craft.
Both men and women in Achutupu display their prowess in the weaving of "hats" palm-straw and baskets. Traditional Kuna music and dance performances are also presented at the Lodge.
Kuna Culture Panama
The Kuna are one of only a few indigenous peoples in the world to have successfully preserved their traditional, centuries old culture. This is reflected in a virtually autonomous form of government and in formal observances and rituals. The leaders of their local communities, the sahilas, also compose regional assemblies and the Congreso General. They establish community rules and have the responsibility to see they are observed. In socialistic style, both men and women are obliged to perform duties of a communal nature or pay a fine. Achutupuâ€™s airport was built in this way, as was the recent dock extension. Women brush and clean the earthen streets.
There are number of public celebrations throughout the year. Among the most prominent are the elaborate rituals which mark the rites of passage for females, from birth to puberty. All of the community takes part, the fiestas last for several days and much chicha fuerte, a fermented corn brew, is consumed. These are the only times that liquor can be consumed. It is forbidden to bring in alcohol from the outside.
Kuna religious beliefs are based on the teachings of their ancient prophet, Ibeorgum who stressed the need for each individual to contribute to the wellbeing of the whole. The chapman, medicine man, is another revered authority in Kuna society. His power is unquestioned by those who seek his potions to cure sickness, to banish the cause of their fears or to ensure a happy marriage. In Kuna belief, natural objects are endowed with spirits, good or evil; they avoid certain places in the rainforest said to be inhabited by marauding ghosts.
As the Lodge is in the heart of traditional Kuna culture, guests have the opportunity for a truly authentic cultural experience.
A visit to Achutupuâ€™s historic cemetery gives guests a unique insight into Kuna views of life and death. It is up-river in an undulating, elevated mainland location at the edge of the rainforest (burial is impossible on the low lying coral reef occupied by Achutupuâ€™s community). The funeral corteges arrive here by canoe, and then wind their way through dense growth until, finally, scattered palm roofs come into view between the trees, the open shelters over the graves.
In the Kuna burial ritual the deceased is interred in a hammock suspended between two upright poles in a previously prepared excavation. The self- supported protective covering becomes a flat platform upon which are placed floral decorations and personal items in homage to the loved one. Here is a babyâ€™s toy, there a sports trophy, over there a favorite cup. A plate of food on a side shelf is for the traveler, now on his way to a final destination. A flag mounted outside a particular tomb denotes that it houses the remains of a respected community leader. You will leave the green tranquility of this hallowed setting with many images to store in your memory.
If you are in need of a place to relax, free of pressure from the outside world, then Akwadup has the answer. What is better than to lie in a hammock among the palms, reading a favorite book or taking time to savor a cooling drink in the shade of the thatch-roofed bohio.
At sunset take your steps to the shoreline to admire the skyâ€™s brilliantly colored panorama. After dinner, look up from an inviting hammock and star gaze, as there is no â€˜light pollutionâ€™ here and under a clear night sky the shining firmament can be seen in all its glory.
Everything was amazing! The planning with Adventure Life went smoothly. The actual trip was fantastic! One of the best trips I have experienced. The cruise staff members were knowledgeable and attentive. I will be writing more about this on the blog!