Just off the western Pacific shore of Panama lies Isla Palenque, a private island sanctuary with nearly 400 acres of lush jungle and a luxury resort that prides itself on low-impact living. Unlike the traditional beach resort, Isla Palenque promises paradise for wildlife and nature lovers who are invited to explore a relatively undeveloped island — over half of the island has been set aside as a nature reserve. From jungle hikes to kayaking to cooking classes and birdwatching, all activities at the award-winning resort aim to cultivate a greater appreciation of Panamanian biodiversity.

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covered lounge chairs by a pool surrounded by palm trees

Created as part of the Cayuga Collection, a hotel group of sustainable luxury hotels and lodges in Central America, Isla Palenque gives guests of all ages the chance to experience “nature in the raw.” Amble Resorts founder and architect Benjamin Loomis designed the sustainably minded resort and deliberately kept its total development footprint to approximately five percent of the island while capping the guest count to 40 people at a time.

Related: Sleep in sustainable luxury inside this eco-friendly jungle treehouse

bedroom with glass walls

Isla Palenque is also a partner of the community-supported Dock to Dish sustainable fishing program and offers a reforestation program that invites guests to plant a primary rainforest seedling of their choice in an area of secondary growth.

cabanas near a pool and palm trees

To further reduce the resort’s carbon footprint, locally sourced materials and ingredients are used wherever possible, from the wooden furnishings made on-site from naturally felled trees on the island to the locally grown ingredients used at the Las Rocas Bar & Restaurant. The onsite guided activities and excursions on and near the island — there are over 8 miles of hiking trails and seven accessible private beaches — that are included in the daily resort rates also emphasize a minimal environmental footprint.

aerial view of forest and beach in Panama

Guests can stay in one of Isla Palenque’s eight sumptuous Beachfront Casitas — romantic 650-square-foot bungalows that face the island’s largest beach, Playa Palenque — or choose among the Beachfront Villa Estates that include two Ocean Suites, three Jungle Rooms and a single Garden Room scaled with children and teens in mind. Rates at the Isla Palenque vary depending on the season.

+ Isla Palenque

Images via Isla Palenque