El Valle de AntonMay 23, 2017 in Panama ⋅ ⛅ 31 °C
El Valle finally made me accept Panama the way it was. The landscape was absolutely beautiful and even though I don't think it was a lot different to Boquete I got to take the fancy mansions with their well kept big gardens as part of the country. Panama might be more americanized and expensive than Nicaragua and the other countries up north but it is also part of their history with the Panama Canal that they are much more related to America. You shouldn't compare a country to another one you liked but always try to take it as what it is.
El Valle is a small town set in the crater of an extinguished volcano. It's actually the biggest settlement inside a volcanoe in the world. Being here you see the crater as a chain of mountains surrounding the town. These mountains provide a few nice hikes with amazing views.
When Leila and I arrived to the Bodhi Hostel the girl at the reception did a really nice check in explaining everything regarding the hostel but also giving us some ideas how to explain the surrounding area without trying to sell a tour. I really like it when the do this. The hostel was also really sweet. Lots of little details and even though the dorm for quite a lot of people it didn't feel crowded as everybody had a big locker, enough room and a curtain in front of the bed.
The girl at the reception had told us there was a hike to a lookout point we could still do this afternoon. Supposedly you could see the Pacific from there to the one side and the Crater to the other. She kind of made it sound like it's just a quick hike so we didn't really think a lot about it and just started walking. Once we'd left I saw this big mountain ahead of us and thought "Wait a minute. If we gonna be able to see the pacific coast from the lookout point, it must be the highest mountain around, right?". Leila also didn't expect a hike like this but we pushed each other to just keep on walking and about 1 1/2 hours later we were rewarded with amazing views of the town inside the crater. Unfortunately we couldn't see all the way to the pacific as it was starting to get really cloudy.
After we got back we were super hungry and wanted to grad dinner at this peruvian restaurant Leila had read about. They were supposed to have a daily special for $3,50 including a juice. Everything in town seemed to be located along the main road so we started walking down the road looking for the restaurant. It was supposed to take about 10-15 minutes to get there so we didn't really get suspicious for a while. But when it seemed the town turned more and more into residential areas we checked the map again. Yeah, it's really easy to find something if everything is organized along one road - you just have to walk to the right direction 😅
So we turned around and walked all the way back till we finally found the place not to far from our hostel. When we sat down it started raining pretty bad. We literally just made it there in time.
A lady gave us the menu and we were disappointed to see the cheapest meals were around $10-12. The lady saw our confused looks and added "We also have a daily special which is fried fish fillet with french fries and salad including a juice." "How much is that?" "$3,50." "What? How... whatever, we take it!" ☺
I guess this place makes it's money with a few proper tourist and lots of backpackers.
Two street dogs who were hanging out outside the hostel had followed us all the way here. Obviously the owner of the restaurant didn't want them on his terrace so he send them off but they waited for us next to it and came back the moment we left and followed us back to the hostel. We did like one of the dogs but the other seemed to be a bit overactive and crazy.
The next morning we went on the hike to "La India Dormida". A mountain chain was supposed to look like a sleeping woman. The funny thing was that till the end we didn't figure out if we were actually walking on that sleeping woman or if we were supposed to see it somewhere. So we kept on looking at the surrounding mountains and saw sleeping people everywhere. After we got back down we finally saw the sleeping woman like we had seen her on the pictures. The hike was on top of these mountains forming the outline. But they didn't really look more like a sleeping woman like the other ones we had seen before.
But the hike on the ridge was really nice. I had never done a hike like this but we were literally walking on top of the edge of the mountain chain.
Back down I only took a short break before catching the bus to Panama City.Read more