Tag Archives: El Valle de Anton

Loma el Pastoreo / The Grazing Hill

Jan 30 – Jim had one more hike on his list, so we set off this morning in another direction to find Loma el Pastoreo / the Grazing Hill.

Wall art!
A calf tied to a roadside fence – maybe she’d like to come grazing on the hill.

We walked down a road that was not a main road. On either side were large private homes behind stone walls and iron gates. So peaceful and so pretty.

More high-stepping horses!
These horses looked sad
The yellow frog is the national animal of Panama. It is an endangered species, so this is probably the only one we will see.
Yes! If we ever get a palatial retreat, we will name it Villa Amnesia.

We finally reached the trailhead, if you can call it that. It looked more like a dry stream bed, full of sticks and rocks. Jim said, Up! So up we went.

I’m coming as fast as I can!

After a steep, but mercifully short scrabble, we reached the vista. We could see in all directions. It was so windy!

Happy Jim!

Our time in El Valle is drawing to a close. We had dinner at the Colombian restaurant, with excellent patacones (fried plantain chips as big as your hand), and one more evening walk down the main road. El Valle has been a magical place for us, and we’re going to miss it.

A Walk Around El Valle

Jan 26 – Happy birthday to our Lexi, 12 years old today! Baba and Grandad love you forever.

Who knew that sitting on a bus could make you so tired? Maybe it’s the higher elevation? Or maybe we’re just slowing down to vacation pace. We decided to take it easy today and see what there was to see in town.

We were drinking our morning coffee in bed (Jim, the best husband ever, brings me coffee in bed every morning, no matter where we are), when it got suddenly quiet. On this beautiful, sunny morning, the electricity went out! I wonder how often we should expect this? And how long will it last?

Our two burner stove works on propane, and there’s only cold water in the tap anyway, so there was really no impact. Jim made us a yummy breakfast that we ate in our outdoor dining room. I washed the dishes, heating up a pot of hot water for the final rinse. We know how to do this!

El Valle is a tourist town. It’s located inside the crater of an ancient volcano, with green peaks and ridges surrounding it in every direction. Less than 10 years ago, the streets were unpaved and the offerings few, but the perfect climate (high of 80, low of 65 consistently every day) and the lure of nearby mountain hiking made this a destination town.

Now the main street is paved and lit, with sidewalks and a bike path. Italian restaurants (pizza and pasta) proliferate, although there are eateries of many kinds: Chinese, Peruvian, Colombian, Thai, and Creole. There are several well-stocked supermarkets, and a variety of things to do and see.

The most famous mountain is La India Dormida, the Sleeping Indian. Can you see her below, her head on the right with green hair flowing?

La India Dormida
The benches and planters along the main street have been prettily hand-painted
Maybe we should get tattoos?
The local church
Lovely stained glass
My favorite statue: “Aieee John – that water is cold!”
A high-stepping horse! Lexi said it’s a Friesian, often used for dressage.
When’s the last time you saw a seesaw at a playground? Jim and I told each other tales of injuring our younger siblings on them, back in the day.
Wall art!

As we walked, we kept looking in shops to see if the electricity had returned, but no bueno. The supermercados had generators to keep the cold food cases cold, which was a good thing.

Jim made supper a little early, because we weren’t sure how we would see our way around the apartment once the sun went down. Then, hallelujah! The electricity was back and we ran inside to recharge all our devices and take a warm shower. It doesn’t take much to make us happy these days!

El Valle de Antón

Jan 25 – This morning we packed our bags, had one more breakfast that couldn’t be beat, and Ubered over to the Gran Terminal Nacional de Transporte, otherwise known as the bus terminal at the Albrook Mall.

The terminal was huge, and we were passed from one tout to the next until we reached the booth selling tickets to El Valle de Antón. Tickets cost $4.50 each, for a three hour ride.

We were directed onto a bus, and sat there for about half an hour until there were sufficient customers for us to leave. The bus was not a shiny new one like the city buses, nor was it as large, but it did have air conditioning. It also played loud mariachi music.

We saw some of the old, colorful “chicken buses” at the bus terminal, but none were in use.

As soon as we left the terminal, the bus stopped on what seemed like every corner until it was full. The music changed from mariachi to Spanish rap. Each bus has a driver and a guy who opens the door, yells out the destination and hops off to collect money as passengers get on and off. It took us a long time to get out of the city, in bumper to bumper traffic, with road construction all around. Now, this feels more like Central America!

After an hour or so, the traffic thinned and we started to make good time. After another hour, the driver turned off the air con and we started to climb. We’re going to the mountains!

We made it to El Valle!

At the third hour, we arrived in El Valle. The driver stopped the bus right at our place, and we hopped off.

Los Aramos, owned by a former ambassador, is full of European furniture and artwork, and has been made into apartments of various sizes. We have a bedroom, a bath and a full kitchen, so Jim will be able to cook for us. The multiple dining and living rooms are outdoors, and shared.

An outdoor dining area
A living room, including hammocks and a big TV
Another dining room!
I wanted to capture the exterior of our house, but it is literally covered in foliage. You can see a bit of the red roof.
The reception area
Loads of blooms here!

We will be here for a week enjoying the cooler weather and taking in the sights and the hiking trails. Stay tuned!