|To and From the Lodge||Required Documents|
|Departure from Panama City||Info We Require|
|Transfer Fee||Baggage Limitations|
|Forms of Payment/Deposits||Packing List|
|Cancellation Policy||Fishing Tackle|
|Credit Card Payments|
HOW TO BOOK A TRIP
If you would like to book a trip to TROPIC STAR LODGE®, call us at 1-800-682-3424 (International 001-407-843-0125); fax us your request at 1-407-839-3637; write to us at 635 N. Rio Grande Ave., Orlando, FL 32805; or e-mail us at Tropic Star Lodge®. Our reservations office is open Monday through Friday 9:00 A.M. till 5:00 P.M. There is also a Calender with availabilities on the web if you would like to check before calling.
REQUIRED BOOKING INFORMATION
To enter your reservation into our records, we will need the following information from you:
GETTING TO AND FROM THE LODGE
In order to connect with our scheduled charter flight, which departs Panama City each Saturday for TROPIC STAR LODGE®, you must arrive in Panama City, Republic of Panama, the Friday before the flight. We recommend that you stay in the Sheraton, Our Host Hotel or Bristol Hotel.
Several major US carriers service Panama City from major US markets. Continental, Delta Air Lines, and American Airlines. The flight on Delta operates from Atlanta, GA.; Continental operates flights from Houston, TX; Newark, NJ; and American Airlines has several daily flights out of Miami, FL.
Copa Airlines, the national airline of Panama, operates direct flights to Panama City, from several US points of origin: Orlando, FL; Miami, FL; Los Angeles, CA. Copa Airlines was recently purchased by Continental Airlines. Copa Airlines has purchased 10 new B737's and they now have a code-sharing agreement with Continental Airlines.
At the end of your trip to TROPIC STAR LODGE®, you will be transported from the Lodge, via a ten minute boat trip to the Pinas airstrip. From there you will board a charter flight to Panama City. Should you have a problem with a delayed flight, and our main reservation office is closed, you can contact Bonnie on her cell 407-267-6231 or our Panama City Office at (011)507-232-0084 or (011)507-232-0143. If there is no answer call (011)-507-6678-3500. If you are in Panama omit 011-507, when dialing.
DEPARTURE FROM PANAMA CITY
You should be able to make an afternoon flight from Panama City back to the USA, or elsewhere, provided your flight is 6:00pm or later. We recommend you stay overnight and go out the next day. Again, we recommend the Sheraton, Our Host Hotel, Bristol Hotel, Or Holiday Inn - Canal
There are many new things to see in and around Panama City, fishing for peacock bass, enjoying the Spa, aerial canopy tour, guided rainforest tours, and other exciting activities at the Gamboa Rainforest Resort, golfing at Coronado, and the always-popular tour of the Panama Canal. We can assist you in making arrangements to enjoy these and other exciting activities while you are in Panama.
BOOKING FLIGHTS AND HOTELS
The staff in our reservation office in Orlando, Florida will assist you with booking your hotel in Panama City, at our special rates and upgraded rooms. You may make your flights direct with your own agent, the airlines, or contact Cathy @ Adventure Travel at 800-327-8967.
THE CHARGES SENT TO YOU ON YOUR INVOICE WILL INCLUDE:
Room/s, meals, wine with dinner, appetizers, soft drinks, (fishing tackle, boat, captain, and mate -- fishing guests only), and basic gratuity for the land based staff at the Lodge.
TRANSFER FEE The Transfer Fee of $500.00 per person payable to TROPIC EXPRESS is not included in the RATE and must be added to the package price. This will be billed separately. The Transfer Fee includes round trip airfare from Panama City to the Lodge, meet-and-greet and up to four transfers between the airport and hotel in Panama City. This is a bulk-rate, non-commissionable package. If you choose to charter in or out at a different time, date, or do not use any portion of the package, no credit will be given for unused portions. Form of payment must be by Visa or Master Card only.
The Transfer Fee does not cover "special charters" in our out of the lodge. Should you wish to travel on dates or times other than the regularly scheduled airline flights. If you need a special charter please contact us for pricing and reservations.
The Ground Transfer portion of this package includes four transfers in Panama City (int'l. airport - hotel - domestic airport on arrival and domestic airport - hotel - int'l. airport on departure). This transfer service is available when staying at the Sheraton, Our Host Hotel or Bristol Hotel.
FORMS OF PAYMENT (for reservations)
Acceptable forms of payment to PINAS BAY RESORTS® - TROPIC STAR LODGE® at our reservation office in Orlando, Florida are: personal check, money order, cashier's check drawn on a U.S.A. Bank, and credit card (Mastercard, Visa or American Express).
We recommend that if you plan to use your VISA or MASTER CARD for payment of your Deposit or Balance, that you call your bank and alert them that you are authorizing a large dollar amount charge to PINAS BAY RESORTS®. Sometimes credit card companies will decline a charge when it is over a set dollar limit and being run by a foreign bank, this has the effect of rejecting the charge, regardless of the amount of available credit on the card. In the event that this happens, you may be charged an administration fee.
Deposits are due (14) days after booking in our Orlando reservation office. Deposits are 50% of the weekly rate times the number of guests. RESERVATIONS ARE NOT CONFIRMED until your deposit is received. If no deposit is received and/or posted 14 days after you have been invoiced, your reservation is subject to cancellation and the space can be sold to customers requesting space. We will then wait list you for that week as a courtesy, should space become available.
The final payment (the balance on your invoice) is due in our Orlando office (120) days before the departure date of your trip. If payments are not received by the designated time, TROPIC STAR LODGE® reserves the right to sell the space in question with forfeiture of all monies previously paid.
Payments made on your trip are refundable for cancellations received, in writing, at least (121) days prior to your arrival date at TROPIC STAR LODGE®, less an $1000.00 per person cancellation fee, ($500.00 of which may be applied toward a future trip during the next consecutive fishing season). If you cancel your trip, for whatever reason, (120) days, or less, prior to your arrival date at TROPIC STAR LODGE®, all payments made on your trip will be non-refundable. Travel Insurance is strongly recommended to protect your investment.
CREDIT CARD PAYMENTS – IMPORTANT NOTICE
When making a payment with your credit card, please call your bank and advise them of the amount your credit card will be charged in the Republic of Panama. We have had many rejections due to credit card companies being “overly cautious”.
Please inquire with your bank if there will be a foreign transaction fee charged to your credit card. TSL takes no responsibility for any fees you may incur as a result of the use of your credit card.
Is recommended in the event of a family emergency, an act of God, or any other unforeseen situation that would require you to cancel your trip. If you are booking your trip through a travel agency, ask them about travel insurance. There are many companies that offer travel insurance, and most of them require the policy to be purchased at the time of making the initial trip deposit. Clients that have already paid their deposit or final payment can still purchase trip insurance.
For travel insurance, clients residing in the USA, Canada, and Puerto Rico can call Insure My Trip, which represents 19 different insurance companies, please speak with:
1-800-487-4722, extension 230.
Her direct line is 401-773-9230.
The office hours are Mon–Fri, 7 am to 3 pm, EST.
Nancie is familiar with the Lodge and will recommend the best policy for you, taking into consideration any medical issues you may have. Clients living outside the USA, Canada and Puerto Rico must contact a travel insurance company in their own country.
UNITED STATES CITIZENS
Required Documents for United States citizens, A Valid passport is required to enter the Republic of Panama and the expiration date must be valid 6 months prior to Arrival.
You will need to purchase a Panamanian Tourist Card. Either your airline will sell you a Panamanian tourist card before departing the United States or you will be asked to purchase the card when arriving in Panama. Or you will be asked to purchase the card ($5.00 each) when arriving in Panama.
GUESTS VISITING PANAMA FROM OTHER COUNTRIES:
Must check with officials in their respective homelands as to what documents are required to enter the Republic of Panama.
If you arriving from a country other than the US, please check on a new Yellow Fever Vaccination requirement. http://www.cdc.gov/travel/destinationPanama.aspx
GOVERNMENT CONTACT INFORMATION
Be advised that required documentation is subject to revision; what was acceptable last month or last year may not be acceptable on the dates you are traveling.
Please check the Panamanian Embassy website http://www.embassyofpanama.org/cms/immigration3.php. It is your responsibility to check with your airline, your travel agency and about any changes that may have been made by the Government of Panama that would require any additional information or documents.
PANAMA CUSTOMS INFORMATION (IMPORTANT)
Local Panamanian Customs Regulations are very similar to US Customs Regulations that make it illegal to import fresh produce, fruits and meats in the country.
Please be aware all arriving foreign or local nationals must declare all monies, valuables or negotioable instruments( includes checks and travelers checks) that exceed the sum of $10,000.00 on their person or lugguge.
If you fail to omit or follow the law you will forfeit the monies, valuables or negotiable instruments that you failed to declare and worse yet you will face criminal prosecution, which if convicted is sanctioned with a:
NEW IN 2010 - MANDATORY MINIMUM TWO YEAR PRISON SENTENCE WITH A MAXIMUM SENTINCE OF UP TO FOUR YEARS IN PRISON.
INFORMATION WE REQUIREYou will be sent a release form and a form requesting your date of birth, weight, passport number and expiration date, and arrival and departure flight information. Please fill these in and send them back to us as soon as possible. We must have this information in order to satisfy domestic (Panamanian) airline requirements, and to enable us to meet you upon your arrival at the international airport and arrange your transfers in Panama City. Return to top of page
If you are arriving on a private jet into Panama City, we will need to have the following information: point of origin of the flight, tail number of the aircraft, and estimated time of arrival in Panama City at Tocumen International Airport.
We request that you or your travel agent send us your hotel, personal, and flight information in a timely fashion (no later than with your final payment which is due (61) days before you travel). We send out forms for this purpose with your invoice. If you do not receive them, or they get misplaced, please call us for replacements. We waive responsibility for complications arising from the last minute bookings of hotels, charters, and ground transfers, though we will assist you to the best of our ability.
All guests going to TROPIC STAR LODGE® must fill in, sign, and return a release form to us at our Orlando, Florida reservation office prior to their trip. This form may be faxed or mailed. Release forms will be sent with your initial invoice. If you need more, or have lost the one sent to you, contact us and we will replace it. THIS FORM IS MANDATORY FOR EACH GUEST.
We are pleased to inform you that the domestic airline companies are replacing the current Twin Otters with New Caravans. But, as a result of this change, beginning February 27th, we will no longer be able to guarantee your flight from the lodge to home on the same day.
Please make flight arrangements to stay overnight. If you do plan on flying home the same day, you must arrange the flight for 6:00pm or later.
There are flights in the evening with Copa Airlines to New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Orlando and Washington, DC. (Copa Airlines is a Panamanian Airline affiliated with Continental One Pass program and seats are a bit larger and a free alcoholic drink is offered as part of their service.)
Due to the isolated nature of the Lodge, we have to observe the limitations and regulations listed below. Please use discretion when packing for your trip to TROPIC STAR LODGE®, and remember that we do have a laundry service available twice a week (Tuesday and Thursday).
Each guest is allowed:
Excess pieces of luggage and excess weight will be charged at $1.50 U.S.D. per pound, and will travel stand-by. Note: Coolers are not permitted, and cannot be substituted as luggage (no exceptions). Excess baggage pieces are standby and, therefore, subject to space and weight restrictions. A situation may arise when your excess baggage may not travel with you to the lodge. TROPIC STAR LODGE® will make all diligent efforts to deliver excess baggage in a timely fashion; however, in the event that this occurs, it might be a few days before the excess baggage will be delivered to you.
PACKING LIST TROPIC STAR LODGE® is located in the tropics; we suggest that you pack the following items for maximum comfort. Laundry service is available twice weekly (Tuesday and Thursday). Light weight rain gear (keep in your carry-on luggage)
TRANSPORTATION OF YOUR LUGGAGE (weekly packages only)
A Tropic Star Lodge® Representative will meet you at the International Airport in Panama City upon your arrival on Friday and give you written notification of when your suitcases will need to be in the lobby, and at what time you will be picked up the following day for transport to the Lodge.
We recommend that when preparing to visit T.S.L. you pack a small travel bag to keep with you, in the event we use the SWIFTSHIP to transport luggage that week.
If you do not wish to bring your own tackle, the lodge provides Shimano and Penn International reels and custom rods in the 16 to 50 pound class and two 80 pound class outfits. If you are going to fish with light tackle (anything under 16 pounds), or fly fish, gear for these purposes should be brought. We have on board each boat: spinning rods, baitrods, hand lines, harness, belly gimbals, Moldcraft lures, one set of teasers, Marlin and Sailfish leaders, gaffs and, upon request, a limited supply of plugs. We suggest that all our guests plan on spending some time fishing the rocks. If you would like to try this, you should bring some of your own "lucky" plugs and lures.
A small gratuity is built into the booked rate.
As we are located 100 miles from a bank, once you are here it is difficult to provide this service. So, cash advances are virtually impossible. Below, please find information so you can establish how much you feel you will need. Safes are conveniently located in each room at the lodge.
Gratuities are at your discretion and are based on quality of service received while at the lodge. Typically each guest awards the Restaurant Staff approximately $100.00 - $150.00 per person per week. For your convenience this gratuity can be added to your final bill at the lodge.
The customary gratuities for Fishing Crews and Dock Staff are as follows and should be handled in cash at the end of your stay.
• Captain and Mate: $100.00 per day per boat
• Fishing Director: Albert Battoo, our Director of Fishing is at your discretion
• Dock Assistant is recommended @ 20.00 per person for your stay
INCIDENTAL EXPENSES (at the Lodge)
Incidental charges you incur (e.g. purchases at the gift shop, laundry, bar tabs, and a Panamanian Room Tax of $50.00 per room per week. Excursions up the Jaque river, and other side trips are optional activities during your stay at the lodge; charges for these are not included in the published rates.
FORMS OF PAYMENT (at the Lodge)
Acceptable forms of payment, made at TROPIC STAR LODGE® in Panama are cash in U.S. dollars, traveler's checks, and credit cards (Mastercard, Visa and American Express only with a pre-approved limit, which should be handled with the manager on arrival). Please note that we only maintain a small amount of cash on property; therefore cashing multiple traveler's checks may be a problem. We suggest you bring approximately $500.00 to $800.00 per person in U.S. dollars. For families and couples the amount may be a little less. There are safes in each room for your piece of mind. On Friday evenings the local Indians usually come to the Lodge to sell their handcrafted baskets and other wares. Please bring approximately $100.00 in small bills ones, fives, and tens.