WHAT IS THE BEST TIME OF THE YEAR TO VISIT CORAL LODGE?
For both diving and most water sports we recommend July through October, even though it is part of the rainy season. During these months the winds are lighter and visibility is generally good. Our dive sites are not affected by rain run off. If you are looking for less rain and more sun then January through April are best although the winds can be quite strong.
WHAT IS THE WEATHER LIKE?
The following are general guidelines based on our experience and are by no means a guarantee of what conditions will be like during your stay. On Panama’s Caribbean coastline expect warm weather with highs in the 80’s and 90’s and lows 70’s. It rarely rains from the middle of December to the end of April. This is the summer/dry season (“verano”) with excellent sunny weather most of the time. It is also when winds are strongest. The strong winds keep the bugs away but can sometimes make boat navigation rougher than normal. The diving is generally good but more challenging because of the winds and can sometimes affect visibility. If you are coming to Coral Lodge just for scuba diving we recommend May to November. This is known as the rainy/green season (“invierno”). The "green season" is probably the best time to be in Panama for a real tropical rain forest experience. Outdoor activities do not stop and you don't get cold. The general pattern is for rain 4 - 5 times a week, normally for a few hours in the afternoon and/or at night. The days are evenly distributed between sunny, partly cloudy and overcast. It can just mist or give you 8 inches an hour. A real tropical rain storm is something everyone should experience. Part of June, July and August are usually a semi-dry season (“veranillo”). This is a great time of the year. It rains some but is also sunny and the conditions for diving are generally excellent. Panama has never experienced a hurricane in recorded history. In the past 6 years we have experienced only 2 tropical storms of significance, one of which was quite severe and made boat navigation impossible.
WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO GET TO THE LODGE?
We recommend a mid-morning departure from Panama City by air conditioned, luxury bus for the 2.5 hour ride to Miramar, on the Caribbean coast. The ride is scenic and the transportation is comfortable. There is a short rest stop along the way. Upon arriving in Miramar, you are met by our boat which takes you the 30 minute trip to Coral Lodge. On your departure, we suggest a late morning departure aboard our boat bound for Miramar. The luxury bus will be waiting to take you back to Panama City.
IS THE LODGE ACTUALLY ON AN ISLAND IN SAN BLAS?
No, the lodge is located on the mainland right next to the boarder of the San Blas reserve (Kuna Yala). Because of Kuna traditions, no hotel like Coral Lodge exist in the archipelago. Our location has a number of advantages over the island because we can offer more activities and amenities and the diving is actually better. We do offer a number of island tours.
CAN YOU ARRAGE OUR TRANSFERS FROM PANAMA CITY?
Even better, we can help you book City hotels, canal and city tours, airport transfers, island tours and your return transfer. Transfers to and from the lodge and Panama City are included in the packages.
I THOUGHT DIVING IN SAN BLAS WAS NOT ALLOWED, HOW IS IT YOU CAN OFFER DIVING THERE?
Diving isn’t allowed in San Blas. We dive the reef structure that is part of the archipelago but just outside of the boundary. Actually our dive locations are better than what you would find in San Blas since the reefs near the islands have been over fished for many years.
CAN WE SWIM AND SNORKEL FROM OUR BUNGALOW’S SUNDECK?
Yes it is possible to swim and snorkel (not jump or dive) off the sundecks of the water villas. The water is plenty deep and over head but there are some spots with coral which is why jumping off the decks is not allowed.
CAN WE DO DIVING AND OTHER ACTIVITIES WITHOUT A PACKAGE?
Yes, you can book any tour or activity offered by the lodge on arrival. The cost for diving starts at $75, depending on the location.
WHAT SHOULD I PACK?
Knowing what to pack is always difficult. Guests are encouraged to bring only lightweight, casual clothing, sunscreen, insect repellant, a bathing suit, sturdy shoes and/or hiking boots and a good pair of water shoes. Coral Lodge is very tropical so you will get wet and sweaty. More T-shirts and shorts are always a good idea. Dress code: informal to barefoot elegance. Shirts are only requested in the formal indoor Bohio Restaurant. It can be cool in the evenings so a light-weight long sleeve shirt is a good idea. Keep in mind that the airplanes that service San Blas are small and there is a 25 lb. (12 kg.) limit on checked baggage per person and a 6 lb. (2.5 kg.) limit on carry on bags. The charge for excess weight is minimal but there is no guarantee they will have the weight capacity to accept it.
WHAT AIRLINES FLY TO THIS DESTINATION?
There are two airlines that service the San Blas area.
Air Panama (Turismo Aereo) and AeroPerlas Regional which is owned by TACA airlines. They are both reliable and safe.
WHAT TIME IS CHECK-IN AND CHECK-OUT?
CHECK-IN TIME is : 2:00 PM CHECK-OUT TIME is: 11:00 AM
CAN YOU BOOK SAILING IN THE SAN BLAS ISLANDS?
Yes, we represent a number of yacht operators. The cost per day is approximately US $1,350 including meals, crew, etc. depending on the number of guests and days. In high season the minimum number of days is 4.
CAN WE ARRIVE BY YACHT?
Yes, our location offers several ideal locations for anchorage.
WHAT ABOUT BUGS?
The Western Caribbean coast of Central America is famous for sand flies or “no seeums”. Our location has a lower level of infestation and normally, with a little wind, there is little to no problem with either mosquitoes or sand flies. We have 7 commercial mosquito magnets which also attract and kill sand flies (“chitras” in local idiom) and we also fumigate on a regular basis. If the wind dies down completely then you will have to use a repellent but the best defense it to keep in a breezy area or near a fan. The bungalows are air-conditioned and can be closed to keep bugs out.
WHAT HOTELS DO YOU RECOMMEND IN PANAMA CITY?
Our recommendations for lodging in Panama City would be:
- The Canal House, Up scale, boutique hotel located in Casco Viejo.
- The Hotel Bristol, Up scale and centrally located.
- The Country Inn & Suites. Although a brand name hotel, it has a great location in Amador, right on the canal.
- The Deville Hotel, small quaint and central.
HOW DOES THE LODGE HELP PROTECT THE ENVIORNMENT?
Every aspect of the lodge has been designed to protect the environment. The toilets discharge into a state of the art 3 stage system for treating waste water which includes hi-rate bio media, aeration and catalytic oxidation with ozone and UV radiation all of which are environmentally safe. We use ozone instead of detergents in the laundry and ozone (RO) instead of chlorine to purify the drinking water and the swimming pool. You will notice a number of smaller measures during your stay. Read more… Sustainable by Design
DO YOU OFFER TOURS ON HORSE BACK?
Yes, this tour would involve a small boat ride to a near by beach and a 2 hour ride into the nearby hills to cool mountain stream with a great swim hole for a picnic lunch before returning.
WHAT TYPE OF IMMUNIZATIONS, IF ANY, DO I NEED BEFORE COMING TO PANAMA?
Panama is a relatively safe country and in general you do not need to be any more concerned about your health than you would traveling to most developed nations of the world. No immunizations are required for travel to Panama. Recommended immunizations include typhoid, yellow fever, hepatitis A and hepatitis B. All travelers should be up-to-date on tetanus-diphtheria, measles-mumps-rubella, polio, and chicken pox immunizations. The best prevention is use of insect repellent and wearing light colored clothing with long pants and long sleeves in the morning and evening.
WHAT IS YOUR POLICY REGARDING CHILDREN?
WHAT ARE YOUR PAYMENT POLICIES FOR MAKING RESERVATIONS?