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El Otro Lado
Portobelo National Park, Panama
This eco-retreat is in the midst of its own nature reserve, on the shores of Portobelo Bay. Its bold colors reflect the brightness of the croaking poison-dart frogs and toucans that inhabit the lush wilderness around this easygoing sanctuary.
Why We Love It
You can visit the indigenous Embera while staying at El Otro Lado—an exclusive cultural immersion where you’ll learn about their natural medicine and culinary skills.
For an ultra-luxury option, the gorgeous private houses offer larger dimensions, attractive artwork, and sumptuous living areas.
Across the bay from the UNESCO-listed Spanish fortifications of Portobelo town, El Otro Lado is a collection of stylish turquoise and baby blue villas set amid palms and the tangled roots of the surrounding jungle.
Sloths move slowly through the trees overhead and the nighttime chorus is almost as symphonic as the sunrise.
Inside, it’s a riot of Central American style. Vivid artwork and bright throw pillows on the super-king-size beds complement the pastels within (it’s no surprise to discover the hotel has ties to local art galleries). You’ll sleep beneath Egyptian cotton sheets if you can pull yourself away from watching the dancing fireflies on the brightly colored Adirondacks on your private veranda.
WHAT MAKES THIS HOTEL UNIQUE?
There’s a lot about this boho-chic haven that sets it apart, however, the food is some of the best Panamanian cuisine in the country. With the use of locally-sourced, top-quality ingredients, the kitchen puts together dishes like mango ceviche and plantain ravioli with seafood (although carnivores will find cuts like beef tenderloin are available also).
While the restaurant area within the charming gazebo—which also incorporates the lounge area—is as jazzy and enjoyable as the rest of the resort, it is possible to eat elsewhere. Find a remote Caribbean beach for a picnic, have a private barbeque at your casita, and enjoy some finger food alongside a glass of rum punch as you watch the sunset on the bay.
Five ‘retreat view’ villas and five private houses
Infinity pool overlooking Portobelo Bay, restaurant, bar, and lounge area
Spa employing local ingredients in its treatments
Activities include hiking, Caribbean beach trips, mangrove safari, Portobelo cultural visit, cooking class, and water activities.
Planning your experience
Contact our Travel Experts to find out more about El Otro Lado and to start planning your own tailor-made experience to Panama.
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