El Valle’s sanctuaries

The storybook setting of Los Mandarinos in El Valle.

The storybook setting of Los Mandarinos in El Valle.

Located slightly off-the-beaten-path, at the foothills of an impressive mountain peak around which the morning mists swirl, is Los Mandarinos Boutique Spa & Hotel. Comprising several buildings whose arches and stone-cut walls are straight out of Tuscany, the estate evokes European castles of old.

Of the hotel’s many amenities, such as the full-service spa, the courtyard pool is one of the most popular. In fact, two pools are featured. While one is kept at ambient (cold) temperature, the other is heated, its tepid waters a beacon for lounging travelers.

At Pub O’Pedro’s, an Irish-themed bar, one may enjoy the hotel’s signature cocktail or traditional Irish fare. The hotel’s restaurant is the Spanish-themed, Tasca de Triana run by world-class chef and expert in Spanish cuisine, Raúl Vaquerizo.

Los Mandarinos can be reached by calling 983-6645, writing info@losmandarinos.com or visiting their website,

www.losmandarinos.com.

Crater Valley boasts a beautiful natural setting.

Crater Valley boasts a beautiful natural setting.

Crater Valley Boutique Hotel

If El Valle is Coclé’s natural capital, then Crater Valley is quite possibly its epicenter. The boutique hotel has seen three generations of the Herold family and is presently managed by Kathryn Herold González Revilla, founder of Panama Explorer Tours. The hotel’s recent renovation has not only brought new levels of comfort for its guests, it has also been recognized with TripAdvisor’s “Award of Excellence 2014.”

Each room is unique, but all of them feature memory-foam mattresses, down comforters and pillows and hand-selected towels. Some rooms even have private gardens in the bathrooms. It is among the few places in El Valle that offer wheelchair accessibility.

The property is surrounded by two hectares of garden space. The orchid collection numbers into the hundreds. Crater Valley also offers full spa service, perfect after a day of adventuring.

For more information on the Crater Valley Boutique Hotel, visit Crater-Valley.com, write kherold@cratervalley.com or call 215-2330 or 983-6942.

Los Mandarinos and Crater Valley are true sanctuaries, minutes from the town’s main tourist attractions including the hot springs, the “India Dormida” mountain range, the canopy zip-line tour, the Butterfly House and the El Níspero Zoo and Botanical Garden, just to name a few.

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