Today I'd Panama

If only, if only. If only I had the money and the time, I'd love to visit Coral Lodge in San Blas Islands, Panama.

The aqua lodge and dive habitat combine adventure tours with spa treatments, two of my favorite things.

From the email the media folks there sent me:

Coral Lodge is a secluded, entirely sustainable eco-resort that features a charming string of palapa casitas -- ideally situated over the water to maximize the soothing Caribbean breeze and stunning ocean and beach views against a virgin rainforest. Enjoy swimming and snorkeling right off the private sundeck of your bungalow, exploring the amazing coral garden thriving below, or venture just two miles from the resort to the San Blas Archipelago, an island region that's home to fascinating Kuna people and one of the ten best preserved reef areas in the world.

From your spacious, elegantly appointed, air-conditioned over-the-water bungalow, with amenities including a jacuzzi bath and private sundeck with hammock, a world of nature and cultural adventure awaits. Some of the guided excursions offered by Coral Lodge include:


Take a scenic boat ride to the charming San Blas community of Isla Porvenir and meet the self-governing native American Kunas, who take great pride in their lovingly protected environment and way of life that centers around "Gran Madre Tierra" (Mother Earth). Learn of the Kunas' rich, ancient heritage with beautiful dance ceremonies, exquisite handmade garments and crafts, and traditional cuisine. The tour includes a stop at Pelican Island, where guests can snorkel, relax on the beach and enjoy lunch.


Hike into the tropical rainforest next to the resort to observe the abundant primate, bird and plant species in their natural habitat. During the dry season, venture to a nearby river with incredible lush tropical jungle foliage.


Enjoy kayaking though the mangrove and coral bays, flats, inlets and canals next to the resort or join the divers on the outer reefs with a clear bottom kayak.

-- Post Dive and Boat Trip Deep Tissue Massage: Delivers an intensive, firm pressure to specific tender points, designed to release deeply held patterns of tension, stress and fatigue as well as smoothing the newly utilized muscles to allow good blood flow and fast recovery.

After your spa treatment, paddle your kayak at the terrace of our over-the-water Kayuco restaurant and bar and delve into a variety of fresh seafood dishes. Later in the evenings enjoy cocktails and "bocas and piqueos" while enthralled by the magical sunsets. The resort's other restaurant, Casona Bohio (a Kuna village meeting house), includes the reception, handicraft store, a reading lounge and our main restaurant where you can enjoy romantic candle light with rattan and linen dining after sunset surrounded by tiki lanterns and Caribbean music. Compare dive and excursion experiences with other guests while you enjoy a delicious diversity of local Kuna, Caribbean, Asian and Latin menu selections.

Rates for an all-inclusive stay (accommodations, meals, beverages, one tour or spa treatment daily, taxes and service charge) start at $322 a night, based on double occupancy.

For more information about Coral Lodge, or to make a reservation, visit the or call 1-888-499-2497.

--Amy Bertrand for The St. Louis Post-Dispatch