One of our favorite pastimes since opening the Panama resort at Isla Palenque: watching each newly-arrived family or couple pause on the stone steps leading to their room and gaze up at the monkeys stirring in the trees over the Villa Estate in a memorable first meeting.
While we cannot guarantee that your vacation on Isla Palenque will afford glimpses of our rarer residents (such as three-toed sloths, agoutis, nine-banded armadillos and margays), you can be sure of a few key sightings, no matter how brief your stay:
Coastal frangipani trees, in bloom much of the year…
Howler monkeys regarding you from the treetops with curiosity…
Green iguanas ditching the beach for the jungle with a flicker of their 5-foot tails…
These “iconic species” of Isla Palenque are favorite subject matter for photographers amateur and professional, guest and employee alike.
Until you can enact your escape, enjoy the following slideshow featuring some of our favorite shots of Isla Palenque’s iconic species:
Beyond the Big 3 – Biodiversity on Isla Palenque
For close to five years we have been cultivating our knowledge of Isla Palenque’s native species through exploration, photo documentation, and study, often with guidance from visiting biologists and environmental experts. Working to capture a good photo, making a definitive ID and digging in to learn more about a particular species invariably reveals fascinating new facets of the interconnected world on Isla Palenque.
For example, termite nests are a common sight in our 220-acre nature preserve. Mounds of dark brown dirt cling to many of our old-growth trees, prompting some guests on island hiking excursions to ask our guides whether these are beehives. (FYI — we know of one or two beehives on the island and our guides take care to avoid them when leading island hikes.)
Not-so-commonly-seen are the anteaters for whom these termites are a delicacy. A lucky few members of the island team have spotted the Northern Tamandua anteater along our trails, and a guest of our soft opening very nearly ran into one while keeping up her Ironman training with a morning jog down the main road.
These are the moments we live and work for on Isla Palenque: opportunities to cap all the evidence of exotic creatures (such as tracks, bones, and food sources) with actual wildlife encounters. They’re always memorable occasions, even if we don’t manage to snap a photo.
Spending significant periods of time on Isla Palenque yields rich insights into its ecological patterns and the behaviors of its more elusive resident species. From our tiny insectivorous bats to the giant humpback whales that summer in the Gulf of Chiriqui, we note the astounding variations in size and morphology, the unique contributions of different species to the overall health of the region, and we discover powerful metaphors for our sustainable development goals. Like the bugs, birds, reptiles, amphibians and mammals who perform vital ecological functions (though these creatures might go entirely unnoticed in the absence of concerted efforts to observe them) we believe our small resort can contribute to positive tourism in Panama and pave a path for other developers to follow suit in respecting this country’s wilderness.
To learn more about biodiversity conservation on Isla Palenque, view the International Union for the Conservation of Nature report citing our resort as exemplary in siting and design that manages impacts on biodiversity and achieves an overall positive contribution.