Gregory Clark -0001-11-30 00:00:00
During these times of quarantine in Panama the last thing I want is to be locked away in some high rise for days or weeks on end. Of course, maintaining social distance is key and not traveling has been discouraged, but what if you find a tranquil mountain escape where you can enjoy the beauties of nature without putting anyone at risk? As I'm sure you might agree - sign me up!
I had the opportunity to escape up to the nearby cloud forest of Cerro Azul about one hour drive outside of Panama City. This place is a serene landscape with a lake, hiking trails, wildlife, and plush accommodations. Staying at La Semilla Ecolodge, I was able to rip down to the lake only 5 min away where I rented kayaks for $3 per 30 min. Grabbing a kayak and heading into the middle of the lake was so relaxing, with blue skies above and a light breeze the weather in January couldn't have been better especially since I saw that it was pouring rain in the city at the time.
When it came to hiking I was able to depart right off the property down to a pristine river where howler monkeys provided the soundtrack and toucans cut through the skies above. The hike was easy enough, but difficult in altitude changes straight down and straight up, but the natural pools in the river that we found was worth it. It looks like La Semilla is preparing a short loop trail right off the property for those not as adventurous, which will only be about 20-25 min so nice and easy for all others. The river hike took about 50 min each way, but definitely worth it if you have the time and enthusiasm.
This location has become the perfect quarantine escape in the mountains, offering some peace and quiet while allowing some semblance of freedom. If you are looking for the same, while waiting out this next round of quarantine then make your way up the mountain to La Semilla.
Nicer than your average lodge, the rooms are fully equipped with queen and king beds, A/C, flat-screen TVs, and full posh amenities. The gardens surrounding invigorate and revitalize while the jacuzzi helps soothe the muscles and aches you may find yourself with after a hike. The hotel restaurant offers gourmet meals from the common burger to delicious prawns or alfredos. At this point, I've nearly tried everything on the menu and haven't had a complaint yet.
The average quarantine day here consists of waking up at peace, groggily in search of coffee at the restaurant before stretching, and a basic workout on the turfed terrace with a retractable roof. From here, a hike or bit of work is in order before lunch and then perhaps hitting a hammock while the variety of birds come by to say hi. Cocktails on the terrace is always a nice way to turn day into the night before dinner served and then perhaps a dip in the jacuzzi.
If this sounds like something up your alley, then reach out to my new friends at La Semilla to plan your mountain escape in Cerro Azul and maybe for at least a moment forget about the troubles of the world.