Guadalupe, a small town in the west of Panama, is one of the most charming places I have visited in Central America. The beauty of this unassuming mountain town is not obvious at first, but before long, you will start to discover the vivacity and peace that pervade its fertile green hills.
Farming is very much the livelihood of the area. The soil was rich dark brown and the hillsides were covered with farmlands that were unusually well organised for Central America. Fresh produces were plentiful, and cows were huge and well fed. The fresh misty mountain air filled up my lungs as I took strolls along the tranquil country road.
The Guaymí indian locals were very friendly. Men said hello but women were more reserved. Kids said ‘hola’ without hesitation. Not one asked for money or a handout unlike in many places I’d visited in Central America. These were hardworking content people making an honest living off the mother earth.
Hotel Los Quetzales (www.losquetzales.com) had chalet style accommodation on a big ground and welcomed me with a huge fruit salad and bread on my checking in.
You will find a surprising variety of wildflowers along the road leading up to Jardin Botanico Finca Dracula (Dracula Farm Botanic Garden). It’s an enchanted garden with an amazing array of plants including some very precious orchids. A small heaven for botanists. The entry is included for guests of Hotel Los Quetzales or USD5 for foreigners.
For those who appreciate things subtle and down-to-earth, Guadalupe is definitely a hidden gem to explore and relax in.
(This post is based on my travel in 2004)