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:
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.
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.
I went on the most BEAUTIFUL 4×4 drive with Cele and Rafael on the 3rd up on a little known route towards Cerro Tute along a place called Cerro Redondo. We had 180 degree views of the mountains, of Santa Fe National Park, of the town of Santa Fe, of the beautiful Santa Maria River that traverses the valley.
So the thing is this, I was wrong. OK. I’m going to go ahead and say it- I was wrong. I’ve always been underwhelmed about Cerro Tute as a destination in the area. It’s written up in all of the guide books (by people who only visit the area overnight – I argue), as somewhere to visit. (Why spend 5 hours hiking up an unforested hill, when the rainforest of Santa Fe
We took a 4×4 road off the main road of Santa Fe to Cerro Redondo (between Montanuela and the Community of Tute Abajo). The dirt road was in good condition, and while we definitely needed 4×4, it was easily passible. The road connected to the road to Cerro Tute, and we looped back down to Santa Fe. Total time: 1.5 hrs.
I would love to come up with a tour that goes along this route – sunset horseback ride anyone? While I still maintain that the normal route to Cerro Tute is not that great (not what you should do if you only have a couple days in the area) – this route is. And is a great short alternative.
I’ve always been intrigued by Cerro Mariposa. It’s one of the two mountains that make up the western arm of Santa Fe National Park; it’s mentioned by birders and scientists, as a refuge for species, but it’s not that popular with tourists because it’s hard to access. Unlike Cerro Tute, where you have farms and a 4×4 road to the top, Cerro Mariposa is a six hour round trip hike on a footpath some of the year (and with a machete the rest of the year) in mud and rainforest to reach the peak – and a guide is a must.
We recently had a group of more adventurous guests make it up there, and I’ve asked Edgar, the guide, to guest write a post:
Just the Facts
Location: Western Arm, Santa Fe National Park
Type of Vegetation: Rainforest
Hike Duration: 6hrs Round Trip
Ascending Cerro Mariposa
It was 7AM, March 15, 2016 when the group of explorers, Josepus, Oliver and Edgar (me, the guide), prepared to set off on the hike to Cerro Mariposa, located in Santa Fe National Park, at an altitude of 1,424m. We spent 20 minutes driving from Coffee Mountain Inn to where we began the hike in Alto de Piedra. We began our hike accompanied by the songs of diverse bird species. And we weren’t alone. 100 meters from where we began, we spotted Jaguar and Ocelot tracks and soon came across a Trogon (Trogon aurantiiventris) very close to the trail. 600 meters later we found one of the Jaguar monitoring stations that use trigger cameras to capture night life with a motion sensor (take a look at other work of AMIPARQUE (Amigos del Parque Nacional Santa Fe)). I showed them some previous fotos that had been taken by the cameras. We could also hear Keel-billed Toucans and a Great curassow (Crax rubra).
In the midst of the forest, we saw many different plants with flowers like the newly recognized species of Calathea (Calathea galdameciana), endemic to the area and discovered by scholarship student through Smithsonian Tropical Reseach Institute (STRI). Orchids, bromiliads, mosses, ferns, athurium and philodendrons were plentiful.
After walking for three hours, we ascended from the rainforest to the dwarf rainforest of the ridgeline.
We reached the peak. At first it was cloudy, but then we hit a break in the clouds after a few minutes. The ridgeline of El Tute extended before us, the town of Santa Fe far below, and the rainforest of the National Park on the hills below us.
We rested, taking in the beautiful views offered to us, with the clouds in our face, the constant wind, cool temperatures before descending again. Halfway through the decent we were surprised to spot a rare lizard (Anadia Vittata), hard to spot because of the camouflage in dry leaves.
We arrived at the end, in perfect health, happy and thrilled with the adventure.