Frequently Asked Questions
Below are the most commonly asked questions by our clients. If you happen to have any other questions, please feel free to send us a message and we’re happy to answer them.
The frequently asked questions are also available for download.
Standard rate includes private, shared or bunk accommodation, your fully rigged Hobie kayak, food and beverage during your stay at Los Buzos including unlimited national beers, and transport to and from our pick up location in Panama City (Hotel Milan) and Los Buzos.
This package is for those who wish to bring a spouse and/or child, or those who want to fish hard then enjoy more of a Resort atmosphere afterwards. In cooperation with Hotel Playa Cambutal, the original luxury property on our beaches we can now offer this full service, beach front option with a fantastic beach front pool and beach bar. Anglers are picked up by shuttle for the 1 mile shuttle to the lodge in time for the early continental breakfast, rigging, and launch. Non-Anglers have a more leisurely continental breakfast at the hotel later as well as lunch from the hotel provided menu. All dinners are together – some nights at the lodge and others at the resort, as has always been our custom. The unlimited beer option is only available at the lodge, all beer and alcoholic beverages at the Resort bar are cash or room charge.
Our lodge capacity is tied to our number of beds so the only way to get a private room is to book both beds in a two bunk room. A discount of 30% off of the second person fee will be applied to a single person renting the second bunk to get a private room – resulting in a price of $2975 to get a 2 bunk room alone. In some cases to accommodate this request it is required to use the original lodge rooms across the street.
We have bunk rooms with two, four and 6 bunks all with adjacent common bath facilities. Some bunk rooms have a double bed below with a twin above, the others are twin over twin. The overflow facility across the street (original lodge) has some twin side by side with private bathrooms. We strive to keep groups/people travelling together in rooms together. Room assignments are based on the order in which reservations are received so if you have specific requests its best to book early.
Breakfast and bag lunches are put out in the main lodge approximately 2 hours before launch time each day (generally around 5:00 am). The continental breakfast generally consists of cereals, granola bars, fresh cut local fruit (mango, papaya, pineapple seasonally), toast, jam, fresh brewed coffee, and sometimes fresh pastries when available. Lunches are put in the cooler at the same time and location for anglers to pack their dry bag for the day. Lunches consist of Peanut Butter & Jelly, Ham/Turkey and Cheese, or Fresh Tuna Salad Sandwiches with chips or other individually wrapped snacks. Afternoon snacks are served when the fishermen come in consisting of fresh guacamole, salsas, bean or cheese dips, served with chips and plenty of cold beer, tea or water. Dinner is served family style each night as a group including the guides. It generally consists of fresh fish and seafood specialties caught that day or the day before prepared in a variety of ways including sashimi, smoked, grilled, baked and fried along with local vegetables such as chayote, zucchini, broccoli, cabbage, and asparagus and starches consisting of rice, beans, yucca, and llame. Seafood nights are broken up with Pizza night at a local Resort on Tuesday where all the locals turn out, Chicken or Pork Chops and the national dish of Panama, San Cocho – a rich brothy chicken soup/stew served over rice (if you see these too often it brings your fishing skill into question). Some nights feature homemade desserts, most often our own creation Panalimon pie, or homemade ice cream.
Absolutely, we keep several cases of our great national beers Panama and Soberana in the lodge coolers at all times. Also Iced tea is available and our deep water well produces some of the best water you will ever drink. Our new on-site Store stocks Liquor, Soft Drinks, and Mixers for sale by the bottle along with our supply of recommended fishing tackle, gifts, and a variety of convenience items. Feel free to make a special request in advance. We don’t stock bottled water as our deep well water is amazing. In general, Panama does not require drinking bottled water as the water quality here is very high – exceeding the US in worldwide water quality rankings. All alcoholic beverages at the beach bars under the Resort Option are cash or room charge only. Beer cannot be taken from the lodge to the Resort Pool.
Depending on the group size we will make the trip from the city to Los Buzos by SUV, van, or mid-sized bus. Although 6 hours long, we make every effort to turn this trip into a mini tour of Panama. We will pass the stunning and very surprising modern Panama City beachfront condo towers, Casco Viejo the old town on the UNESCO World Heritage List that Captain Morgan raided three times and cross the Panama Canal just above the major entry port. After that we pass the tourist resort area of Playa Blanca and enter the Azuero Peninsula; home to the best of Panama’s boutique resorts, fishing, retirement villages and more. Drinks, including beer are available during the ride and a couple of stops will be made along the way for lunch and breaks. We generally arrive just before one of our stunning sunsets and in time for dinner and rigging for the next day. When there are guests staying at the Gatun Lake house a stop at this facility is included to pick up those guests.
Kayakers and non-anglers alike are welcome to enjoy unlimited access to our stand-up paddleboards (SUPS), Single and Tandem paddle kayaks in the bay, Hiking on our adjacent 400-acre mountain/jungle Rancho Los Buzos with its waterfall, miles of nearly uninhabited beaches, and surfing (board rentals and lessons extra), and of course our large selection of shaded hammocks and reading lounges. Also available at additional cost are the massage center, Horseback Riding on Rancho Los Buzos trails and beaches, Surfing Lessons and Surf Board rentals.
Absolutely, anyone is welcome to bring their own gear and tackle. We also offer two rental options, our basic “rod only” package where you bring your reels but avoid cumbersome rod tubes, and our deluxe full gear package. If you forget something, or want to try some of our set ups we have all terminal tackle for sale at competitive prices on site. We stock a full line of jigs, poppers, hooks, leaders, and rigging tackle in our center at US prices. Managing partner Adam Fisk is happy to consult with you in advance of your trip to help you know exactly what you need to bring. We highly recommend that you take advantage of his knowledge of our fishery – most who don’t, arrive severely under sized for some of our aggressive species.
We run mother ship trips ($150 per angler) each day to a variety of different locations 6 to 10 miles away. Most anglers do at least one of these each week. They consist of two kayaks loaded onto the panga and a run to a remote area where the kayakers are put in the water with the boat remaining in support, with a cooler, catching bait and spotting for the kayak anglers.
The kayak group rate can be converted to panga only fishing by adding $150 per person (minimum 2 persons) each day of panga fishing. This rate includes the use of rental tackle and some basic lures and bait rigs. Using this formula you can also mix and match kayak and panga trips. There is also the option to “ride along” fish on mother ship trips for only $150. You will go with a pair of kayakers and fish from the panga, but the panga stays with the kayakers and remains in support of them. This is only available for single anglers and is based on available capacity on scheduled mother ship trips.
Panama City Panama, Tocumen Airport (IATA: PTY), known as the Hub of the Americas with direct flights to all regions of the US and many in Europe and abroad. We highly recommend Copa Airlines from Panama when they serve your region. Your will find their non- code shared flights much more like the old days of the US Carriers.
Trips run from Saturday noon departure in the city to the following Friday 7:00 pm estimated arrival back in the city, for a total of 6 nights in Los Buzos. Due to customs clearance, airport transfers and ticketing it is almost impossible to have Saturday arrival and Friday Departure flights. It is highly recommended to fly in Friday and fly out Saturday to avoid any chance of missing our shuttle or your return flights. If you try a same day connection, please discuss with us in advance, so we can confirm its feasibility and your options should you miss the shuttle.
We are happy to say we are now open year round aside from a few holiday closings. April through mid-January are our all-around fishing months where the conditions and fish are almost always cooperative. Mid-January through March we fish from our Lake Gatun Lodge to better avoid the strong North winds. Inquire about our new Lake offerings during this season at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other expenses outside our fee that should be budgeted include rooms, meals, and entertainment for any nights in Panama City. We have a special rate at Hotel Milan of $45 for a single room with double bed, or $74 for a King Suite with wet bar and dining area that is great for couples or multi day stays. Milan holds reservations for us without prepayment so you just need to let us know what you want when you reserve and you pay upon arrival. There are many great restaurants and bars within walking distance and also some other nice hotels. We do caution about booking other Hotels too far removed from our pick up site as they may require you to leave early to reach our pick up location – traffic can be brutal in the city. Also budget two ground transfers from the Airport for around $60 total. Finally for those who ask our tipping recommendations we recommend a range of 10% to 20% of the trip total to be divided between guides, support staff, boat captains, and mates. You can add the tips in advance if you wish to do so by credit card.
If you land one of the trophy fish, which we are sure to put you on, you are very likely to end up in one of Robert’s video features. Not only does Robert schedule “Field Days” here for two weeks each, three times per year, but all of our guides film constantly and try their best to capture action year round for every guest. We also encourage guests to bring their own Go Pros and share their footage and we will assist in mounting their cameras. All this footage goes into the same database used for our marketing videos, done seasonally by Robert as well as his features on Yak Fish TV. Your role is to land the fish of your lifetime and sit for an interview about your experience while here, and we will surely do our best to make you an internet sensation!
All of our seasons have benefits. The January weeks book up the fastest because they are the gap between the rainy season and windy season where it is still green, cooler and the bite still versatile – but usually little or no wind. April and May when the rains start back up often has significant billfish population and is the season when we landed our first Pacific Sails by kayak. The rainy season from June Through December generally produce the hottest tuna bites and are the only season when the migratory wahoo come through. July through September also brings the Humpback whale migration just offshore of the lodge which can be breathtaking. Of course, our resident trophy rooster and cubera population is here year-round.
For those who want to travel light, you can come with a book bag (taking advantage of discount carriers) and get everything you need here. Our kayak comes equipped with a kage gaff, Garmin Striker 4 Fish-finder/GPS, NRS drybag, milk crate with 3 mounted rod holders, and 3 Railblaza starports. We do require that you bring your own handheld marine radio to communicate with the guides offshore to ensure your safety. Beyond those items our Rental Gear Package includes an Accurate Fury FX-500 filled with 65# Diamond braid and a 60# Momoi High-Catch mono top shot on a 6”6’ XXHeavy Star Jigging Rod (for big game and live-baiting), a Shimano 8000 Bait-runner or Penn Spinfisher 6500 loaded with 65# Diamond braid on a 6’6” XXHeavy Star Jigging Rod for casting poppers and jigging, and a Penn Spinfisher 4500 or Diawa BG 4000 on a 7’6” Wright & McGill rod for catching bait and casting at smaller tunas and roosterfish. Our terminal tackle center stocks poppers, diving plugs, and other hardbaits from Yo-Zuri, knife jigs of many sizes, GT ice cream products, cedar plugs, Diamond fluorocarbon leader, Eagle Claw hooks and swivels all in sizes recommended and proven in our fishery. All of these are sold at US retail prices.
There is no minimum group size at Los Buzos. The group rate is based upon four or more in a group – but singles, twos or threes have the option of using set dates throughout the year where we aggregate groups (we take the risk of group size so you can book immediately) or by booking a “small group” of three or less and paying a transportation surcharge for the small group transportation increase or using the public Express bus system to Las Tablas ($9) where we will pick you up. Transportation surcharge quoted upon request once group size and date is known.
We are happy to host spouses and children who enjoy fishing or the other activities such as horseback riding, hiking, beachcombing, surfing, and paddle boarding that we have available here. The Resort Package provides an excellent option for non anglers to have a fantastic vacation of their own without fishing. The lodge itself remains first and foremost a fishing lodge. Service while the fishermen are offshore is predominantly self-service as our days start early and end late. We have helpers to coordinate horseback rides, hikes, surfing etc who often join in on the fun as well. But for those seeking pool side service in a tourist resort atmosphere you want to ask about our Resort Package. When anglers are at the lodge during the day we treat you like family – you know where the fridge is, the beach is in front of you, and the hammock is by your room.
Allowing adequate time for customs clearance, airport transfer, ticketing, and arrival times it is very difficult to do same day arrivals and departures. A successful same day itinerary would require an arrival time of 8:00 am or earlier on Saturday and a departure time of 10:00 PM or later the following Friday. We transport by group and can’t hold a group for someone who is late arriving or make everyone leave unreasonably early to make a departure. With typical airline delays and the nature of a cross country trip it is best not to have a same day connection. Private transport for a late arrival would be very expensive, as would a missed flight upon return.
We have had excellent results with Seniors into their 70’s on our trips. If you are fit enough to ride a bike along flat roads and comfortable in the water, you will generally do well. In our short training session in front of the lodge we will have you get out of the kayak and back into it from the water without using the bottom – that is the basic required skill.
Deposits to reserve a spot are 50% of the trip. The balance is billed about 30 days prior to your trip. At that time we suggest you include any other activities or extras you want want to reserve. All payments on site are cash or credit card (subject to internet availability).
Our main targeted species year round are Yellow Fin Tuna, Rooster Fish, many types of Snappers including giant Cuberas, Groupers, Bluefin Trevally, African Pompano, Sierra Mackeral (bigger and much better eating than their Atlantic cousins) and Almaco Jacks. Wahoo are here seasonally in migrations from July through December, Black Marlin and Pacific Sails migrate back and forth through near shore depending on currents, especially in the late spring, and we catch the occasional Mahi, Snook, and White Sea Bass . We also have huge Jacks of several varieties, Bonito, and Skipjack Tuna in large numbers.
With the addition of our new managing partner Adam Fisk we are excited about our new land based opportunities. With the nature of the near shore deep water and rugged coast almost all of our species have the ability to be taken from the shore, in particular Roosterfish. Adam is very experienced in land based fishing.
We have very limited internet at our location, most of which is required for our operation. We provide a computer on site that you can use for basic communication like text messaging and email. If you use T Mobile, Verizon, or ATT they have international plans you can add temporarily that work in Panama. They have signal about a mile down the road from us so we run frequent communication runs in the evenings, plus there are a couple of nice resort bars down there where you can access wifi and have a drink. We highly recommend connecting with us by Whatsapp before your trip if you have a data plan or even if wifi only. It is the communication of choice in Latin America and works when email and other things will not. It is the best way to ensure you can always reach us if you need help.
Adam Fisk, our managing partner, will be glad to text and email with you to discuss your tackle and help you bring the right gear.
We fish 5 days (Sunday through Thursday). We prefer to have you on the water if you want to be, and we rarely lose full days to weather conditions. There is always a guide ready to go here if you are – and our paddle out fishery is so simple you can try a few hours or do split sessions if you are tired.
Average trips are 6 hours, mid-tide to mid-tide. Panga days tend to run longer since they are not as tide sensitive. We are in constant visual and radio contact – on some days we make the call with the clients and based on the conditions to stretch a day and go into the next tide making it a 9 hour day. We also do some split days (morning and afternoon sessions) with certain high tide times, which will change about 45 minutes a day during your trip. Our high low cycle is about 6 hours here with two per day. We avoid high tide launches and landings except for extremely flat days or emergencies since the mid-tides are much more enjoyable.
Any Saturday to Friday week long slot is available other than some blocked for holidays and tournaments, feel free to inquire. We have set group dates, tournaments and special events such as Field Trips where we try to aggregate singles. Other weeks listed as reservation only are available for groups.
If you are in Panama anyway and have your own transportation, we offer day trips and weekend packages in country. We will be glad to work with you on these, but our groups take priority for our available beds. Short notice trips (within 30 days) will be easier for accommodating odd length trips – we will be reluctant to take long term reservations for a shorter trip but may be open short notice if not booked. Feel free to inquire. We also offer last minute discounts for any available slots in group trips 15 days before the trip so keep those frequent flyer miles handy.
Definitely. If you want to bag one of the Giant-sized Roosters, have a shot at a Billfish, or give the Giant Cuberas a try then live baiting bridle rigged large tunas, jacks, snappers etc is the best way to do it. Our crew will help you develop this skill while here and you can take it back home with you. We fish with live baits that many resorts post on Facebook!
Cotton is NOT King in Panama! We recommend light fishing style clothes, polyester, nylon etc dry fast stuff. Normal kayaking cover up gear for offshore and casual shorts, shirts and flip flops on shore. We won’t send you anywhere you can’t go in shorts and flip flops unless you plan to spend several extra days in the city. We have laundry service available at least once during your stay so pack light. If you plan to hike or horseback ride a pair of lightweight long pants and light boots/hiking shoes are recommended. Also water shoes for reef walks and the beaches, our volcanic dark sand gets hot.
Customs is relatively straight forward here, you will get forms in English from the airlines. Don’t bring things in new boxes as that tends to make them think you are reselling it. If it looks like your regular gear you will be fine, they are used to fishermen. If it looks like you are trying to stock a new Walmart you’ll get an interview. We’ll give you more specific instructions shortly before your trip if you ask.
May through mid-December rainy season, mid-December through April is the dry season. Rainy season is cooler, usually afternoon rains, but some weeks will be really rainy. Fishing tends to be good with rains and much cooler. Usually the rains are short lived and we do not get a lot of lightning or wind storms as compared to Florida, so the rains rarely stop fishing. Winds are usually much less in the rainy season. Dry season is exactly what it says – Dry – meaning it will not rain a drop. Significantly hotter temperature wise, but less humidity. What I like about Panama is it is always cool in the shade. The sun is tough though outside, so be prepared with sun protection. Hurricanes do not come this far south, nor does Panama experience significant earthquakes, or active volcanoes so you do not have to worry about losing your vacation to a natural disaster – on our end anyway.
Panama in general has world class medical care, however we are remote. There is clinic in our village and a rural hospital with good Emergency facilities 17 miles away. Anything significant gets evacuated to the nearest large town 2 hours away, or if it permits to Panama City where the care is second to none, including a Johns Hopkins Medical Center. I have experienced it first hand with a major fracture after a ladder fall that was treated as an emergency in nearby Tonosi (for free) and subsequently taken to Panama City for major Orthopedic Surgery ($4500 paid in full by insurance) and it was one of the best hospital experiences I’ve had anywhere.