This is a continuation of a previous post related to our time in Chiriqui, Panama.
While down in Gulfo de Chiriqui, on Panama’s Pacific side we happened upon two remote Panama resorts of different flavors, Islas Las Secas, and Pesca Panama. The first was located on a luxury island, the other, a floating fishing lodge. Each had its own charm and unique appeal.
Islas Secas Resort – A Bit of Heaven On Earth
This incredible set of islands and the remote 8-bungalow luxury island resort hanging bluff side was mentioned in our last two posts.
As we understand it, the entire archipelago is owned by a former Wall Street hedge fund trader. Rooms start at $2000 per night, each with its own plunge pool and terrace overlooking the sea.
On our second trip over to the archipelago we took the tender in, at high tide this time, landed on the beach in front of the main dinning area, walking in unannounced not sure what type of reception that we might have.
A Gracious Reception
As we gingerly stepped out of the dinghy, a rather reserved bartender emerged from the main building greeting us ever so politely.
“May I offer you something to drink?”
Well, how could we possibly refuse him.
“Welcome to Las Secas, please, come inside,” as he lead us into a bar that looked like it might have come straight out of an architectural magazine or Bond movie.
Ted had met someone in the owner’s New York office. With the mention of his name, the bar tender called the manager whome we surmised must have told told him to have us make ourselves at home while he came down from somewhere on the hillside. Two glasses of a nice Chardonnay later (served in perfectly polished stemware of course), he appeared soon inviting us to feel free to look around and then join him as his guests for dinner that night. Again, how could we possibly refuse?
Now you are probably thinking that $2000 per night seems like it would be a huge extravagance. You would be right, however the fact that the resort is almost all inclusive adds some relief. In fact, after taking a look around we concluded that the owner could not possibly be making money even at that rate.
The finishes were of the class that might even shame a super yacht, yet somehow comforting and inviting us to touch. There was nothing stuffy about the place.
Stewards discreetly positioned themselves everywhere, ready to attend to any need or reposition a leaf that might have the temerity to be blown out of place. The lighting was just so, adding drama to the already perfect nighttime scene.
The food of course, was excellent. Perfectly served and plated. The manager, breaking rank with the elegant servings that we were all enjoying, opted for a hamburger. We soon learned that the meat was derived from a small herd of cattle that the resort had just imported and kept over on the mainland.
“It is just impossible to be certain that bovines are being properly treated unless you tend to them yourself.”
Naturally the entire resort is self-sustaining. There is a new runway on the bluff up above with solar panels to the side. We understand that the resort will soon be purchasing a plane that can be used to shuttle guests directly from the airport in Panama City. We saw at least two center consoles and a new 50’ sport fisher available for hire. There are dive masters, sail boats, kayaks, and even an in-house naturalist to aid in island exploration and nighttime stargazing.
We cannot say enough good things about this place and the beautiful surroundings. Anyone who can should visit and stay as long as they are able. I cannot wait to return – assuming caviar sales go well this year…
The day after we first arrived in Boca Chica Elizabeth and I headed up river in the tender to enjoy the perfect evening breeze with a bottle of wine. On the way back to Embajador, which was anchored out by the river mouth at that time, we noticed a strange looking barge-like boat floating over to one side of the river. We could not resist focusing binoculars on it.
Soon three well-polished center consoles pulled up alongside delivering a set of anglers who immediately headed for the bar on the front deck. As we headed back out we took several turns around taking note of the unique character of the whole thing and the frivolity by the bar, wishing that we could join in.
A Second Chance
Three days later on return to the river to take refuge from a rather fierce windstorm out at Secas (see our last post), we decided to anchor further back in that same area. Much to our disappointment, the barge was gone. However the next day, as Alex and I returned to Embajador after several hours of river fishing and mangrove exploration, there it was, anchored no more than 100 meters away.
This time we could not resist pulling up along side to ask if we might join them for a beer later that evening. The skipper was happy to accommodate.
A while before sunset the four of us climbed into the tender and approached it from behind. The captain/owner met us at the stern, assisting as we tied up and climbed aboard. We were lead past the galley and crew lounge and then out to the bar area where once again a crowd of about 12 guys gathered, obviously well into their 3rd or 4th cocktails.
These were good old southern boys who greeted us with firm handshakes and slaps on the back. “Hi, I’m Hammer,” one of them drawled as he stepped up hand outstretched, “Is that your boat behind us? “Where y-all from?”
If you can’t have a good time with these guys, you are just wound too tight to be on the water. We enjoyed a great evening with them and won’t soon forget it.
The operation is called, Pesca Panama, a remote floating fishing lodge based on a 65’ +/- barge that the owner purchased some years ago. It has been refurbished stem to stern. Clean as a whistle!
There appeared to be 5 small but comfortable bunk rooms, a pilot house, and most importantly, a bar at the bow. Four good-sized center consoles amply powered with double Yamahas take guests out everyday to fish all of the various species in the area. Surprisingly, the entire operation makes the 35 + mile run out to Coiba for a few days each week, flat bottom and max five knot speed notwithstanding, so that guests can fish the famed Hannibal Bank. (There are fish out there, see our next post!)
As we understand it, the cost runs about $1000 per person per day, which is actually not bad considering that includes food, drink and guided fishing on their tenders.
As always, we thank our sponsors at Black River Caviar. Order some today to make your next evening or adventure extra special. It will be delivered right to your door.