Los Capitanes Hotel, El Valle
Monday, December 13 2004 @ 01:18 PM UTC
Contributed by: Don Winner
We just spent the weekend at the Los Capitanes hotel in El Valle. What a wonderful place...
We decided to launch out of Panama City on Saturday afternoon on an impromptu excursion to the interior. We really didn't have a plan, and our route took us to check out the beaches at Chame, Gorgona, Coronado, and Barcelo. We decided to spend the night in El Valle and catch the Sunday morning artisan's market.
Many thanks to Charly Garcia. I called him up on the cell and asked for a recommendation for a hotel and a phone number. He recommended the Los Capitanes hotel and we called to make a reservation. Lucky for us, they had space. We pulled in just after dark and got settled in.
Like I said, we loved the place. The grounds are visually stunning. The rooms are spacious and comfortable, the landscaping is beautiful, and the staff is friendly and attentive.
If you live in Panama City, every now and then you just simply need to get away from the heat, noise, traffic, and motion. Los Capitanes is tucked up against the side of the rim of an ancient volcano in El Valle. (For more details on El Valle, please see this article written by Charly Garcia, who owns a house there and retires to El Valle on the weekends.
After we got settled into our room he headed for the restaurant for dinner. Both the owner and menu are German, and we learned that Los Capitanes is the gathering place for the German expatriate community in El Valle. Everything we ate was wonderful and the service was very good.
After dinner we took a walk to enjoy the mountain breezes and clear night skys and stars. Bring a jacket because it gets chilly at night (we went packed for the beach and were a little "lite" in the warm clothing department.)
We headed back to the hotel and found the owner Manfred with some guests in the hotel bar. We socialized for a little while, then got a bottle wine and headed for our room. We spent the rest of the evening just hanging out and talking on the patio in front of our room, drinking wine, listening to music, and talking, enjoying the evening breezes and the sound of the gurgling brook that runs next to the property.
In the morning we got up and headed to the restaurant for breakfast (which is included in the $55 per night price) and found people picking fresh oranges from the tree that grows right next to the restaurant! One guy was up in the tree, picking oranges and tossing them down to the girl on the ground with the wheelbarrow (the photo doesn't do the scene justice...) Talk about fresh squeezed orange juice!
As expected, breakfast was perfect (and the orange juice couldn't be beat.) We paid, packed up, said our goodbyes, and headed for the market in town to shop for "stuff." Later we headed up to see the "El Macho" waterfall. We would have done the Canopy Tour but didn't have the right shoes on for adventure travel (see and upcoming article on that...) Maybe next time.
If you haven't been to El Valle, you should make a trip up there, it's certainly worth it. And, Charly was right. Los Capitanes is a fantastic place to stay while you're there. If you go, tell Manfred I said "hi." and thanks.