Tropic Star Lodge® is a veritable paradise cut out of the side of a mountain at the edge of the Darien Jungle on the Pacific coast of Panama. The Lodge is situated 150 miles south of Panama City. It can only be reached by boat or plane, since there are no roads within a hundred miles. A charter plane lands on an airstrip in Pinas Bay. You then take a ten minute boat ride to Tropic Star Lodge.
In 1961, Ray Smith, a Texas oil tycoon, built the Lodge as his "home away from home." In 1963, it was opened as a fishing lodge named Club de Pesca. Soon after Ray Smith built his dream, he caught one of the first IGFA World Record marlin on 12-pound line. "There are going to be all kinds of records set here now that the place is being fished a little harder", he was quoted at the time. His prophecy has come true.
In the ensuing years, more than over 250 World Records and numerous Junior Angler World Records have been set at Panama's internationally known Tropic Star Lodge® - more than any place in the world!
In 1969, shortly after Ray Smith's death, the Club was sold to Edwin Kennedy who renamed it Tropic Star Lodge to correspond with a "sister Lodge" in Canada known as the Arctic Star Lodge. Then in 1976, the Lodge was purchased by Conway D. Kittredge of Orlando, Florida, and is still operated by the Kittredge family. One of his daughters, Terri Kittredge Andrews, and her husband, Mike Andrews, are Chief Executive Officers and Operators of Pinas Bay Resort®.
The original owner's home is known as El Palacio, or the Palace. It is reached by cable car, or for those looking for exercise, there are 122 steps up the mountainside! The Palace has three bedrooms with private baths, and can sleep six. It has a sunken living room and outside terrace, both with a beautiful panoramic view of the Bay and surrounding mountains.
Tropic Star Lodge® was featured on the cover of
Sports Illustrated in April of 1963 in a 18 page
story which has stood the test of time.