The isthmus nation of Panama is mostly known for its ocean-connecting canal but this tropical country is also a haven for a huge variety of plants and animals that live in the rain forests of the steamy lowlands and the misty cloud forests of the highlands. Most of the latter habitat grows in the more mountainous parts of western Panama. One of the most interesting places to experience these beautiful tropical forests is at a place called the “Lost and Found Eco-Hostel”.
Situated along the main highway that connects the Chiriqui and Bocas del Toro provinces, this small hotel is easy to miss unless you can keep an eye out for the yellow and red sign that denotes its entrance. From this point, it’s a steep, uphill walk to the lodge but the views from the main buildings are worth the effort. Various forest birds can be seen in nearby tree tops and there are also scenic views of forested mountains stretching into the drier and browner lowlands when the sun breaks through the clouds.
The hostel generates its own electricity, gets its own water from pristine mountain streams, and is surrounded by primary forests of the Fortuna Forest Reserve. Trails into this reserve are open to guests and make for a good workout as they go up and down the surrounding mountains. When not huffing and puffing on these rather challenging trails, hikers could come across orchids, Emerald Toucanets, and other tropical wildlife. If you don’t see any animals on the trails (tropical wildlife is shy), the owner sometimes puts out fruit on a feeding platform that provides rare views of wild Ringtails and other strange, cloud forest night creatures.
This unique place really is for nature lovers but even the most outdoorsy of folks can tire of the rain. Nevertheless, the owners have a contingency plan in the form of an indoor game and movie room when the rain gets to be a little too much.
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