Billionaire conservationist developing luxury Panama lodge

Islas Secas Reserve & Lodge is expected to open in January 2019.
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This report has been updated.

Louis Bacon, the billionaire conservationist behind destinations like New Mexico's Taos Ski Valley, Trinchera Ranch in Colorado and Tordrillo Mountain Lodge in Alaska, is taking his passion for sustainable tourism south with development of a private marine sanctuary and lodge off Panama's Pacific coast.

Bacon's Belvedere Property Management recently unveiled its almost complete Islas Secas Reserve & Lodge, which is expected to raise the bar on sustainable, off-the-grid luxury in the region by offering small groups of guests a variety of activities across 14 private islands in the Bay of Chiriqui.

Although nearly complete, the resort is not expected to open until January 2019. It will have four casita sites with plunge pools and decks overlooking the Pacific and the islands of the archipelago. The casitas are different sizes, ranging from one to four bedrooms, and can accommodate 18 guests total, making the resort ideal for a small-group buyout. Plans call for the addition in late 2019 of a boutique spa and a four-bedroom villa residence with a private pool.

But the main focus of the resort, the developers say, is on experiencing the Bay of Chiriqui, which is known for its diverse marine ecosystem. Activities, most of which are included, along with food and beverages, in the nightly rate of  $1,000 per person, include private marine safaris for whale, dolphin, turtle and seal watching; snorkeling; scuba diving, fishing -- even things as simple as a picnic on a private beach.

With a concierge to help guests develop their personalized daily itineraries, the company said the resort's "primary goal is to preserve the archipelago's surrounding beauty and to offer guests the perfect springboard for exploring Panama's unspoiled nature."

The resort will also feature a "sophisticated sea-to-table" restaurant as well as a "Hemingway-style" lounge and bar.

Bacon is a media-shy hedge-fund manager known for his dedication to conservation and for locking the acreage of many of his vast land holdings in conservation trusts to prohibit development. In 2011, the descendants of Taos Ski Valley founder Ernie Blake family agreed to sell the resort to Bacon, in part because of his dedication to preservation. Bacon has made a number of improvements at the ski area, while holding to his promise to maintain the resort's character.

Update: This report was updated on Feb. 5 to include a revised name of the property. It is Islas Secas Reserve and Lodge.

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