El Valle de Anton –
We get up at 9 and get on our way to the next supermarket. Baked beans, milk, orange juice, cheese and peanut butter complement the offered breakfast of coffee, toast and eggs. You can hear mostly German in the whole hostel.Out of the 10 people (us included) that I have seen, 7 travelled here from Germany. “They are everywhere! “ Following the map that was on the wall of the hostel, we go hiking to the 2 waterfalls of Chorro Las Mosas. The whole area is said to be hikable in about 5h. However, certainly not just on foot, as we realize later. On the way we pass the market and Ena notices a cool poncho. She decides to buy it in the evening or tomorrow morning. We buy some fried yuca for our way though. You can already see the “India Dormida”, a mountain range which resembles a sleeping woman, very clearly from the marketplace.
The way to the falls is kinda long not really exciting. Along the way we discover a smoothie-/tea-/coffee-/and much more-bar, but go past it for now. At the entrance to the waterfall area we pay 1 PAB (1.00 USD) entrance fee and continue our walk on the rocky road next to the creek. There are also 2 places where you can swim here. Going further, the “Hazardous Area” starts to which you get nevertheless a friendly greeting by a sign . El Valle seems to be less frequented by foreigners. There are usually residents from Panama City coming here to relax on weekends. While we go swimming at the basin unter the second waterfall, a highschool senior class joins us being here for a weekend getaway.
Back on the road, we want to continue to the India Dormida. We have a break at the Smothiebar we saw earlier and each have a cinnamon/melon/vanilla/spearmint- and pineapple/ginger/peppermint- smoothie in huge jars. The 2 young owners are actually an architect and a software developer. Both were tired of the stressful life in Panama City. They don’t think the city is actually beatiful, yet the Old Town is sure worth seeing. As we mention San Blas as one of our future destinations, we get the tip to visit Isla Perro. As we are on the road again, we have rather abandoned the idea to continue all the way on foot and every now and then have a look over our shoulders, to look out for a bus we can take to get back.
Unfortunately, no such luck, so we continue to the entrance of the India Dormida (3 PAB (3.00 USD) entrance fee). For the climb you get a drawn map to follow the correct route. Going over some bridges, passing some pre-Columbian drawings on rocks and 2 waterfalls, we eventually come to a viewpoint called “Frog Rock”. Unfortunately, it is by then that we reach a state that it felt like a forced march. We were simply totally exhausted after walking to the waterfalls and returning to the India Dormida. As the path to the summit forks at a certain point, we realize that we are going in the wrong direction. Then, it also begins to rain and the rocks are getting slippery. With the remorse that we should have rented the quads from the hostel for the way to the waterfalls and back, we descend the mountain and take the next pickup-taxi to the hostel. We are in need of a nice shower. We decide to have dinner afterwards, so we just go to the restaurant next door. Good idea. Delicious, plentiful and reasonably priced. Fresh made pineapple juice, huge pork filets and “yuca fries”. Afterwards, we buy supplies for tomorrow and a bottle of white wine for a relaxing evening at the pool. We ask Rob whether you actually need to do all this bus-hopping we heard about to Santa Catalina. Unfortunately, there is no better way. The best option is to take the 4:40 colectivo on the opposite side of the road and wait on the Interamericana for the next bus to Santiago. Then you have to look for buses going your way. Probably no wine today… But going to bed early. And unfortunately, no poncho purchase for Ena.