Our days seem to be shorter and shorter as we passed the half way point of our adventure. On Tuesday we made the journey to Panama City, Tocumen International Airport to pick up our good friends. On the way we stopped at an outlet mall and checked out the best places for values on everything from home improvements and furniture to appliances, clothing and pharmaceuticals. We retrieved our friends grabbed some dinner and headed back to Coronado. Since they arrived we have had the best time taking them to share some of our favorite adventure places and great places to eat. We have also had ample time at the pool and even got in a few games of cards.
On Thursday we took them for an adventure to Valle de Anton. It was our second visit and we wanted to hit a few of the places we missed the first time and share the wonderful mountain destination with our friends. Our first stop was Hotel Campestre where the world famous square trees grow. We thought, based on our own research, that the square trees were growing near the hotel and we could spend a few minutes to check it out. Once there, we found the path to the square trees and paid the admission of $5 each. We embarked on the path for the short hike which turned out to be too difficult for our friend. The hike was nearly 45 minutes of steep, and often difficult terrain. Our hosts dogs accompanied us with only two of us completing the entire journey to the one square tree. The hike through the jungle was beautiful, however it would be easy for us to consider this stop a tourist trap. We are sharing the pictures of the square tree hike below and hope that all of you will draw your own conclusion. At the end of the hike we had the great treat to see a sloth. It was high up in a tree near the hotel. We couldn’t get a great picture even with a zoom lens.
Following the square tree adventure we took off for the butterfly habitat. All of us enjoyed our visit there. The $5 per person price of admission was considered to be fair. The tour was guided and very informative. We learned that there are over 1500 species of butterfly in Panama with over 1000 in Valle de Anton. Our guide told us that the definition of Panama is abundance of species and the butterflies certainly prove that out. We will spare you the details of life-cycle of the butterfly and all of that, but we did want to share with you some of our pictures.
By the end of the butterfly tour we were ready for lunch. It seems that the fondas and restaurants in Valle de Anton may be geared more to the tourist business. We had a wonderful fonda lunch, but the price was almost double what we have paid for similar food at other fondas.
After a brief discussion, we decided to save the orchid exhibit, zoo and reptile house for another adventure. The girls wanted to return to the mineral springs and mud bath, while the guys wanted to make the hike up to El Macho Falls. We talked about the mud bath in the post from our first visit to El Valle so we will tell a little about the El Macho Falls. The hike was short and beautiful with difficult terrain and suspended bridges. The guy at the gate gave us walking sticks which proved very helpful. This is a hike that most people could do with no problem, and well worth the effort. There is a zip line through the canopy but it wasn’t open when we were there. I imagine that it would be great fun to zip line down from the top of the falls. We hiked up through the jungle and the falls were magnificent. When we returned to the base of the falls there were pools of cool mountain water where we took a quick dip to cool off. From there it was a short hike back up to where we parked. It was only about 5 minutes by car back to where we left the girls at the mineral springs and mud bath. We are sharing pictures of the El Macho Falls hike below. The video is only a few seconds long to give you the sounds of the moment. We were not allowed to film or use video equipment at the pools, but we were the only ones there, so there is a couple of pictures. I imagine that clothing is optional at the pools (we took our dip in swim suits). There is a 3 sided wood screen where people can change.
We picked up the girls at the mineral springs/mud bath and made our way to the market. Jen bought the hat and we browsed through. The treasures and vegetables were nearly the same on Thursday as our original visit on Sunday. You may recall that the market at el Valle de Anton is called the Sunday Market. We were relieved that vegetables would be available every day.
It was time to head home. We had a message from an agent who would be available to show us through one of our top choices for a permanent retirement home. We wanted the opinion of our friends, so we made the stop. Rio Mar Pacific Tower is a beautiful, newly constructed 24 story (48 unit) condo. We looked at a 2 bedroom and a 3 bedroom unit and it is hard to not love this place.
It just may be a little above our comfort zone for price. It does include underground parking, a deposito (storage locker), 3 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, large laundry room (accommodates a full size washer and dryer), and appliances. We will share a couple of other top choices with our friends before they go back to Michigan.
We have been working on this post for 3 days now, and could go on for much longer. We will wrap it up here, though, because we do not want to ramble. Thank-you for following along. Once again, we want to express our gratitude for the kind comments. Please catch up, if you missed anything, by clicking on the archive links. We are pleased to have our blog and any portion shared. There has been time when we have shamelessly borrowed content from others. We consider it an honor when people enjoy our content enough to share.
For now, Buenos Dias,
Greg and Jen