Panamainfo’s Blog

Las Nubes is An Attractive Mountain Residential Project in El Valle

One of the best things about looking for a retirement home or vacation home in Panama is that there are several projects where you can live in the mountains but be just half an hour away from beaches and golf courses of the Pacific Coast area.  Las Nubes is one such project- a really beautiful mountain residential project just outside the little town of El Valle. It has several unique attractions- to start its set in the beautiful rolling hills withfresh mountain surroundings. The model homes are attractively designed in an architecture that blends perfectly into the natural surroundings. The area has a year round Spring-like climate. Las Nubes is just minutes from El Valle, a picturesque, established town with gourmet restaurants, spas, a very friendly populace, plenty of stores and services, and a growing community of very interesting foreigners. The location in El Valle also means residents are close to just about everything one could need: 2 hours from Panama City, half an hour from a beautiful beaches, 40 minutes from a beautiful golf course and the new San Fernando Clinic. ( I know one American resident in El Valle ,a retiree who goes surfing 2-3 times a week on the nearby beaches.) A number of developments are being planned for the El Valle area. but Las Nubes is the most advanced and arguably in the most beautiful and convenient location- Worth exploring! To start check it out at:

Our Rafting Trip with John Miller’s Boquete Outdoor Adventures: 80 Rapids in 4 Hours

My family from California recently visited from California and one of the places I took them was of course Boquete. We decided to go river rafting with the John Miller’s Boquete Outdoor Adventures, an outdoor adventure tour operator specializing in custom adventure travel vacations including river and ocean kayaking and rafting. John is a well known American river runner, who fell in love with Panama when he started running river trips in Boquete for 10 years. The 8 of usage 10 to 59, rafted the Gariche River where in 4 hours we went through an incredible 80 rapids. It was non- stop fun. The rapids were just big enough to thrill but not scare. At several points our rafts we got stuck on rocks and the highly skilled team had to get out of their kayaks and manually unstick us. John runs a world class operation- his crew are attentive and well trained, his rafting equipment first rate. We felt relaxed and happy in their in expert hands.The river scenery was beautiful with lush vegetation all around this being Panama’s green season. We all agreed this was one of the best afternoons our life and we are a well traveled family So I ask you- for family fun what does Disney World have on rafting in Chiriqui?

MyTrip to Cocle: Cerro La Vieja Hotel & Private Reserve and founder Alfonso Jaen, Ecotourism Pioneer

I just spent a weekend visiting Cerro La Vieja Hotel (CLV) in a private nature reserve in the mountains of Cocle province hosted by owner Alfonso Jaen and his fine family. Alfonso Jaen along with Carlos Alfaro of Los Quetzales in Chiriqui and Raul Arias de Para of Canopy Tower and Canopy Lodge is a ecotourism pioneer.

From Panama City it took me just 2.5 hours by car to get there and the roads were good (Unlike 5 years ago when I first visited.). CLV is half an hour from the city of Penonome on the Panamerican highway.

For me the ideal “relaxation vacation” is somewhere where I can be completely surrounded by nature and totally “away from it all”. CLV fits the bill perfectly. Cerro La Vieja has the most beautiful mountain views in Panama, what Frommers Guide calls “drop-dead views”. These are panoramic mountain views of strangely shaped mountains that make for a kind of enchanted scene. I enjoyed these views from the hammock on the private terrace of my cabin and also from the common dining room. What could be better at meal time 3 times a day than to enjoy up close views a spectacular mountain right close.

The hotel grounds and the whole reserve are covered by beautiful flowers and trees- Alfonso has been reforesting for many years and it shows- the birds are back big time.

In addition to these mountain views, the reserve also has one of Panama’s most beautiful and accessible waterfalls. Alfonso is finishing up a new more upscale cabin overlooking the fall and planning several more. On our first trip our family enjoyed swimming in the pool at the base of the fall.

Another attraction of CLV is the local campesino population. Alfonso has a close relationship with the local campesinos and the mutual respect and affection is obvious. As we drove around in his large SUV truck he picked up and dropped off people who needed ride along the way and chatted with the various workers employed at the hotel and his organic farm. Alfonso is also a pioneer in organic farming in Panama.

One activity of the new America tour group staying at CLV is that they will visit the home of a typical campesino family and share a typical meal prepared by the family. This is what is called now “authentic’ tourism and it is increasingly popular. Panama could excel in authentic tourism. These Americans see another way of life and get an appreciation for the campesinos life and first hand education about disparities between the US and campesino life in the developing world.

Many talk about sustainable eco and ethnotourism which means preserving both nature and authentic local culture. Alfonso Jaen embodies it. He loves and preserves both nature and the local people and their culture. Because of this and many years of patient work, his efforts to create sustainable ecotourism are now taking off and rightly so.