2017 Certificate of Excellence from Trip Advisor!

Great news came this week, our inn just received Trip Advisor’s Certificate of Excellence Award for 2017!  

What is the Certificate of Excellence?

It is an annual award given to the top 10% of accommodations on Trip Advisor, based on customer satisfaction.  For us, it means that most people who stay with us leave happy and we’re doing a good job.  This is our fourth year in a row we’ve received the award.  I know there are some really amazing little inns and bed and breakfasts in Veraguas, so I am pleasantly surprised by receiving the award.

Here are some of the other hotels, inn and B&B recipients this year in Veraguas:

La Buena Vida in Santa Catalina

Hotel Sol y Mar in Santa Catalina

Hotel Hibuscus Garden right outside of Santa Catalina

Hotel Santa Catalina in Santa Catalina

Mykonos Hotel in Santiago

Also, there are four hostels in Veraguas who received the award:

Deseo Bamboo in Santa Catalina

Hostel Villa Vento Surf in Torio

Hostel Villa Vento Surf in Santa Catalina

Hotel Iguanito in Santa Catalina

 

El Mirador in Santa Fe National Park, Veraguas

El Mirador, Santa Fe National Park

When you watch a two year old all day, even if he is your son, you can go a little crazy.  Earlier this week, Little Boy (my two year old)  and I were off for a local drive up to the continental divide in Santa Fe National Park just to get out of the house for a bit- maybe go for a swim.  Of course, he fell asleep along the way, but I wanted to explore a bit, so we went to El Mirador instead.

What is the Mirador?

The mirador (or viewpoint) is a parking area located immediately after the continental divide on the Caribbean side of Santa Fe National Park.  The unpaved parking area was leveled out with the building of the road, some 4 years ago, leaving a nice place to stop and take pictures.  The views are beautiful, down towards the Calovebora valley, and the Comarca.  You can spot small indigenous villages in the distance, view mountain ranges, and observe the difference in vegetation between the forest of the protected National Park and farming of communities below.  The muddy, leveled out area (car should have 4×4 if you decide to park), is surrounded by the cloud forest.  Here, the effects of heavy winds can be seen near the ridgeline with shorter, windswept trees.

How to get to the Mirador, Santa Fe National Park

On the road towards Guabal, it is located about 1km after the National Park office in Santa Fe National Park, on the right hand side.  There is a short driveway leading to a flat, unpaved parking area.

What to do at the Mirador

I got my trusty rubber boots on and went stomping around the parking area while Little Boy slept.   Since it is unpaved, the area can get really muddy, and it is surrounded by the jungle.

I am continually amazed how something inauspicious (parking area) is loaded with really neat sights. The trees are pretty bare, making it easy to spot some of the orchids in bloom, huge philodendrums and bromeliads…but my favorite…these amazing leaf cutter ants!

Off – trail trekking with dad to Guayabito Falls, Santa Fe National Park.

My dad. Looking over Santa Fe National Park in Piragual

My dad is turning 70 this year.  For the past fifteen years or so he has been into hiking the Sierra Nevadas on solo trips or with a friend or two for a few days.  He looks on google, looks on topo maps and plans a backcountry trip.   Off -trail.

This summer, he came up to help baby-sit Rafael during our high season for a month, and I got to take him out in a totally different landscape in Santa Fe National Park and explore myself some too!  For our new overnight tour, we are targeting families and those who want to have nature and a cultural exchange, spending the night in a remote village with a hike … but where.  We settled on this waterfall that Edgar knew about, and hour’s hike, according to him.  So, of course, I wanted to check it out.

 

Edgar, looking guidelike on the trail.

So, we started hiking at 9.  Evidently the trail was overgrown, so Edgar opened it up again with the machete.  Going was slow and it took us a good 3 hrs to arrive.

But it was a beautiful time, if lengthy…and at the end:

It was an amazing hike, and no, not too hard at all.

Horseback tours, the horse, and little one

Our horseback ride to Bermejo Falls is one of the most popular tours we offer.  Since we leave from the inn, we have the horses here and ready beforehand (hopefully…unless one has wandered off in the pasture and refuses to be caught, which also happens….).  Our son is one, and loves visiting the horses!  Since they are not here every day, it can be a surprise when they are here.  Take a look at the time series – as he spots the horses and then mounts them!  I think most of us have the same feeling as we go out on a horseback adventure-though we may not show it as much: What’s that? Really a Horse! I can get up.  Hey I’m up. Hey this is fun! Now I’m confident!   Cele, my husband, guided this tour, thus the camo pants.

Time step 1: He spots the horse
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