faq

What are my food options while staying at Istmo Bungalows?  

Our property does not have restaurant service, breakfast, or bar (but most units have a full kitchen).  

If you are staying for multiple nights or arriving without a car, we highly recommend you book a unit with a kitchen.  

In all of your units, you will find a couple of menus created by a local neighbor in your room. The food on the menus is an excellent and inexpensive way to taste the local cuisine. Please understand that they are cooking out of their house (not a restaurant), they will need 2-4 hours notice to prepare meals. It is not always guaranteed that they will be available to cook for you.   

Papa Johns also delivers pizzas to our location.   

Las Uvas is 5 minutes away (a 20-minute walk). You will find a gas station convenience store open until 10 pm, a local supermarket, and more local eating options. 

If you are looking for a more upscale meal, we recommend:

  • Pizzeria ArteSana (vegan and gluten-free options) a 10-minute drive from us - on the way toward El Valle, 
  • Camisones an 8-minute drive from us towards Santa Clara Beach, 
  • Boga Bar is a 10-minute drive from us in the Vista Mar development, 
  • And then in Coronado (12-minute drive), there are many restaurants and bigger grocery stores. All of the above can be found on google maps.

How can I get to Istmo without a car? 

If you are coming from Panama City, you will need to go to the Albrook Terminal and get on to a bus either to Anton or Penonomé. These busses leave every 5 to 10 minutes. Tell the bus driver you want to get off at the Las Uvas bus stop.  

If you are arriving from the western side of the country (the "interior"), you can take any bus heading to Panama City. Tell the bus driver you want to get off at the Las Uvas bus stop.  

From Las Uvas, take a taxi to our location. There is an excellent local grocery store with a decent selection in Las Uvas - you can stop there before getting a cab to our place.

The taxi drive from Las Uvas to Istmo is just a 3–5-minute drive and should cost less than $5.

We will send you our exact location via Whatsapp on the morning of your arrival. You can use this to give the taxi driver directions.

Istmo works well for people without cars who are either:

  • Content spending days at the local beach and on the property, 
  • Fine using Spanish-speaking local taxis. When you check-in, please ask us to share the phone numbers of a few local taxis so that you may contact them via Whatsapp.  
  • Fine walking 20 minutes to get to the Interamericana highway. You can catch a bus or taxi to anywhere in Panama. This is also where you can buy food and find some local eating options.  

We recommend you stock your fridge/kitchen with the food you will need for your stay, as we do not have a restaurant service on-site.  

Do you offer transportation from the Airport to Istmo?

We do not offer airport transfers for our Vacation Rental guests.  However, you can either:

  • Rent a car at the airport to arrive here.
  • Take an Uber to our location.
  • Take an Uber to the Albrook Terminal and follow the direction on how to get to Istmo without a car.  

What time are Check-in and Check-out?  

Check-in is after 3 pm on the day of your arrival.   If you would like early check-in, please get in touch with us to see if it is possible.  If your room is available, there is a $10/hour fee for early check-in.  The earliest you can arrive is 10 am.  

Check-out is before noon.  On the day of your check out, we ask that you leave your room before noon, but you are welcome to leave your car in the parking lot and go to the beach.  When you return from the beach, you are welcome to use our outdoor shower to rinse off.  

We only offer to park to guests who are staying with us currently.  

Can I barbecue at Istmo?

For our bungalows that do NOT have a kitchen, we do NOT provide a BBQ grill, nor do we have a shared grill used by guests.  You may bring your small grill and follow the safety guidelines below. Additionally, we ask that you only use the outdoor foot shower for cleaning up. Please do not use the bathroom sink to wash anything other than your hands. 

A small BBQ grill is provided as part of the kitchen supplies for our bungalows with kitchens. Please note, WE DO NOT PROVIDE CHARCOAL OR LIGHTER FLUID. We request that you use them responsibly and only in the designated areas far from vegetation that may catch fire. When finished barbequing, cover and allow coals to burn down and extinguish in the barbeque pit.  You may douse with water from the foot shower if you have any doubts. We can not stress enough using the BBQ grills responsibly, especially in the dry season (December-May). Unsafe burning and barbequing practices, dry environments, and strong tradewinds cause multiple wildfires in Panama every year. 

Is there a place nearby to get covid tests for travel?

Yes.  Few places are close by.

You don't need an appointment to drop in. They email you the results for both antigen and PCR, depending on what you need.  Turn around time is between 1 hour to 24 hours, depending on the test.  

What can I do while I am staying at Istmo?

Most of our vacation rental guests choose us because we are a tranquil option surrounded by nature with a great beach steps away. 

Going to the beach, enjoying time in the hammock, walking the labyrinth, walking the short trail on our property, exploring your yoga practice in our yoga shala (we do not offer classes) are all great ways to spend your time at Istmo. We also have a great massage therapist who visits us.  If you are interested in a massage, please book ahead of time. They are for $60/hour.  

For more activities and places to visit,


Is Istmo Pet Friendly?

We are Dog Friendly. We do NOT accept Cats.  If you have a non-dog pet that will be caged at all times and is trained to stay off beds, please get in touch with us to discuss.   

There is a $10 + 10% ITBMS per dog per night charge.  

If you are arriving with a dog, it would be appreciated if you could let us know before you arrive so that we can pen up our dogs (a Whatsapp to +507 6387-9855 would work the best).  Our dogs are great with humans but become territorial with other dogs.  

Out of respect to other guests, we ask that your dog is leashed while on the property and that you pick up their mess after them.  Dogs are not allowed on the furniture.  

Thank you so much for helping us stay pet-friendly! 

You have a yoga studio on site, do you offer yoga classes?

While staying with us, you are welcome to use our beautiful yoga studio for your personal practice.  We do not offer yoga classes.  

Do you provide sheets, towels and basic soaps?

Yes, we do!

Our pillow-top orthopedic beds are outfitted with luxury linens.  You will find white towels in your bathroom for your use, and we also provide striped towels for the beach.  (Please do not take the solid white towels to the beach).  

We also provide liquid hand soap, body soap, shampoo, and conditioner.  

You will also find cleaning supplies in each unit.  

If you want housekeeping during your stay, please contact us, and we can provide housekeeping service for $20.  

If your unit comes with a kitchen, you will find a small stock of cooking oil, salt, pepper, coffee, tea, and sugar to get you started.

If your unit does not have a kitchen,  your room will have a small fridge and coffee maker.  We provide some tea, coffee, and sugar to get you started.  

Can I drink the water from the sink?

The water from the taps has been locally treated.  The water is OK for brushing teeth, etc., but we do not recommend drinking it.  

In the units with kitchens, we have installed filters under the kitchen sinks.  You can drink the water from the faucet that has the filter - this is indicated on the kitchen sink.   

In the units without kitchens, we provide a jar with drinking water in the fridge to start you off.  We recommend buying bottled water for the rest of your stay.