Everyone is looking for the next luxury travel experience. A way to excite the senses and feel a sense of satisfaction. The problem is, often such experiences don't leave a lasting impression and can instead leave us feeling incomplete and disconnected from the environment around us.
At Sweet Bocas, the definition of a luxury travel experience takes on a new meaning. Here, luxury is about opening the senses wide, becoming an active member of the community, and fully connecting to where you are and the impact you are having in the world.
Sweet Bocas is a tiny islet in an archipelago known as Bocas del Toro, named after the immense waves that were crashing against the shore when it was first discovered in 1502, in the Westernmost part of Panama. The island has been home to native tribes and freed slaves for centuries. Today, however, thanks to the work of the island’s owner, Annick Belanger, it is now a surfing paradise and one of the world's most sustainable, luxury private island resorts.
The eco-friendly paradise is designed with a commitment to protect the environment and the local culture. It’s home to the largest freshwater private lake in the region, several virgin beaches, a thriving jungle, and a fully functioning permaculture farm. Our CEO here at EliteLyfe, Niko Contardi, personally stayed on the island to find out exactly why everyone from Oscar-winning producers, fashion icons, American tech entrepreneurs, and philanthropists keep coming back to experience the Sweet Bocas way of life.
Sweet Bocas has a long list of activities and amenities designed to have a low impact on the environment and a high impact on your mind and body. Whether you're looking to unwind in the spa surrounded by the ocean or fly high through the trees and walk amidst the canopies, there is something for everyone at Sweet Bocas.
A day at the private island resort may begin with checking the weather and then hitting the fully-equipped gym, taking a yoga class, or going for a run along jungle trails and through art installations. You then may call upon the estate’s 30ft yacht and her captain to explore the island’s reefs that are teeming with wildlife. Or you may go in search of surf with guidance from world champion pro surfer Terry Simms. The island is home to some of the world’s best surfing and swells, suitable for both beginners and pros.
If surfing isn't your thing, maybe ATV jungle tours, boat fishing, learning about permaculture, and tracking dolphins and exotic species with wildlife experts are. There are several complementary activities and amenities included in your stay at Sweet Bocas:
One Personal surfing guides (any additional guides depending on the number of surfers in the group is extra).
One daily yoga class
Use of all motorboats (fuel and captain included)
The whole range of amenities and activities at Sweet Bocas is dazzling. To name the most compelling:
Surfing & lessons by a professional surfer
Kayaking, paddleboarding, wakeboarding, sub wings, tubing
Our CEO recommends visiting the tree canopy excursion in The National Marine Park, one of the most beautiful national parks in the world. The exhilarating excursion consists of seven tree-based island ziplines, thirteen elevated platforms, and various suspended challenges that are appropriate for all ages.
ATV jungle expedition
Mountain biking & hiking
Swimming with Bottle-nose dolphins
Canoe trip to meet sloths
Bat cave tours
Zip-lining among trees
Night fishing expedition
Exotic fruit harvest
Mangrove and manatee exploration
Local community visits & indigenous tribe experience
Yoga, meditation & spa
After a morning of exploring the six-hectare private island resort and trying out some of its activities, it’s time to connect with the island in a different way: through its food.
The approach to food by the head chef and permaculture manager at Sweet Bocas, Wilmo Ordoñez, is not just preparation, but cultivation, fishing, education, and sustainability. Wilmo has worked in several top restaurants including Gustu in Bolivia and Maito in Panama. Sweet Bocas is Wilmo's laboratory for exploring his creativity and producing incredible cuisine based on the farm-to-table experience.
Everything served at Sweet Bocas is inspired by local cuisine and prepared using ingredients from the permaculture farm. The owner of the island used to own five-star restaurants in Montreal, so you can expect nothing less than world-class, exquisite, hand-selected cuisine and beverages. At Sweet Bocas, you will experience seven to eight-course meals in unbeatable surroundings, while also learning about where they come from and playing a part in continuing to promote more socially responsible farming.
The complimentary catering services at Sweet Bocas include:
Three meals daily prepared by a private chef
Non-alcoholic beverages as well as basic alcoholic beverages
The main highlights of the Sweet Bocas dining options and culinary experience include:
Organic, permaculture farm and greenhouses
An abundance of fresh local fruit, vegetables, and fish
A large floating dining pergola with seating for twenty guests
Casbah kitchen and dining facilities for up to seventy guests
Private import house wines and domestic beers
There are a wide variety of environments and accommodations on the private island resort, ranging from a floating pontoon that sits on a freshwater lake to a garden pergola that serves thirty guests. The star of the show, however, is undoubtedly the main property that has been recognized as one of the most spectacular overwater homes in the world.
The three-story, seven-bedroom property is constructed entirely out of Panamanian teak and is built atop over 100 cement stilts. Surrounded by water on all sides, it is ideal for taking a quick snorkel or swim in the morning. The property comprises many homely touches and all of its en-suite bedrooms are luxuriously and beautifully decorated.
There is an additional guest house with four king bedrooms and two bathrooms as well as two lakefront suites. In total, the accommodation at Sweet Bocas sleeps up to 26 guests.
The accommodation and social areas at Sweet Bocas include:
Main seven-bed overwater villa
An additional 4 bedroom guest house
Two lakefront suites
The staff at Sweet Bocas is incredibly dedicated to ensuring your stay is as fulfilling and enjoyable as possible. The team includes specialists and experts from all over the world, including the US, Canada, Europe, South America, and local indigenous people of the Ngöbe-Buglé tribe:
Hostesses / mixologist / butler
Maid service and laundry
Deck and terrace with an infinity-edge swimming pool
Secluded reception facility and floating pontoon for dinners and events
Various indoor and outdoor lounge areas
Sweet Bocas is a destination for the truly modern traveler. At the private island resort, the luxury lifestyle isn't separated from sustainability and taking care of the environment. The two go hand in hand—proving it is possible to combine utmost comfort and style with social impact and environmentally-friendly practices.
Guests at Sweet Bocas take an active role in supporting sustainability and giving back to the community. For instance, Give & Surf is a locally embedded organization that provides education and community development to local indigenous tribes and welcomes volunteers to surf while they give back.
Such partnerships enable Sweet Bocas to hire local people and teach them about permaculture, hospitality, and sustainability, so they can take the knowledge back to their communities. By simply being a guest at Sweet Bocas, you become part of the fabric of the environment and leave a positive mark by supporting local farming practices and traditional cultural practices.
This active engagement with the island allows you to not only cultivate a deep connection to the natural world, but also to experience memorable and authentic moments that simply could not happen on your typical luxury travel vacation.
Sweet Bocas private island resort is now available to rent through EliteLyfe, exclusively for parties of up to 26 guests. Contact our team to find out more and book your stay.