Panama

Bodhi Hostel- Enlightenment in the midst of El Valle De Anton

May 15, 2015
Street view
Check in and the view from reception

Check in and the view from reception

Under the sacred Bodhi Tree, Buddha achieved enlightenment. The goal of Bodhi Hostel is the same,  where travelers from all over the world can meet, discover and enjoy life together in El Valle de Anton.
Bikes for rent, great staff, and amazing passion in art

Bikes for rent, great staff, and amazing passion in art

A lovely coincidence!

A lovely coincidence!

After buying a ticket to Medellin, Colombia for a Monday afternoon we weren’t sure what we wanted to do over the weekend but we sure didn’t want to stay in Panama City again. On a whim and a brief recommendation we caught a bus to El Valle de Anton. I was excited to see different birds and not be in the urban heat of Panama City in search of air conditioning. 2.5 hours later we found ourselves in front of Bodhi Hostel which had a huge van and a 76 year old Canadian who was apparently living in it. We walked in and immediately but unexpectedly spotted our German friend we met hiking one of the volcano’s in Nicaragua. We tried meeting in the city but were unable to do so because of our completely different journeys. We also saw a Dutch couple we’d spent time with in San Blas. We were welcomed to our surprise by a young Asian looking man who was Chinese-Canadian and the owner of the hostel. Immediately, not even 5 minutes in, we had huge smiles, received hugs, and said hellos and goodbyes. Teresa our German friend chilled with us for the next hour as we tried to grasp the fact that Pepper, our French bulldog had gone missing in Washington. This weekend we both, at one point or another cried because our poor baby was missing. How were we able to smile through some of this time? We checked into Bodhi Hostel.

Street view

Street view

When we rolled up  to reception the staff were super helpful, spoke English but preferred to welcome you in Spanish. They gave an orientation of the main activities, the town layout, and good eats around the area. We quickly came to the decision of doing a sunset hike a couple hours later with Marieatta and Jos the Dutch couple we’d spent time with at San Blas. While on the hike they kept their heads up helping and getting interested in finding birds. As we swapped stories, laughs and beautiful views we found out what Jos did, to sum it up in one line, he teaches people how to have longer orgasms. Naturally we were engaged in a deep and interesting conversation about orgasms, sex, religion and other things. Shit! We missed the big sign and a small trail to the viewpoint. Apparently this is what happens when you’re so engaged in a ‘very profound’ conversation. We missed sunset, but turned around half hour after we passed our trail, still decided to summit up and hike back down into town in the dark thinking of silly stories and our dinner (menu del dia).
View from sunset, though we were late

View from sunset, though we were late

The next day were still blasting out pictures on social media even more as Pepper was still missing. We needed to get out of our heads and our worries and decided to bike down to the hot springs for a mud facial and a dip in the water. We chilled with a Kiwi couple traveling who also happened to be our neighbors at Bodhi. Upon entering we were told to choose from one of two types of mud, the darker one being for more sensitive skin. Waiting for our faces to dry we got to know this couple better swapping San Blas and other stories. We left shortly after them, rolled up coincidentally at the same restaurant they were at, connected to the wifi and saw a notification from my brother saying Pepper’s been found! What a relief. And with that we could enjoy the rest of our trip worry free 🙂

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Later in the day we asked the reception to call their neighbor, Ursula, to see if her adopted sloths were awake. SLOTHS! You gotta understand these strange creatures are always high on hibiscus juice and sleep 20 hours a day. It’s a small window of time to be able to interact with them. We had an enjoyable and highly interactive time with Sammie, Dahabie, and Sharkie holding, playing, and feeding them while Ursula gave us an education on sloths. Read and watch the video about it here.
Sammie and Dahabie hanging out in the garden

Sammie and Dahabie hanging out in the garden

After the sloth haven we cooked dinner for our host Allan and our other friends. Allan had a 10k run in the city the next day and had to leave at around 9 pm to head to the city. But when he heard that he was in the presence of a one eye guy, a miracle worker, a plant whisperer, and a sex guru (with the ability to teach how to have a longer orgasm) he got stuck. We swapped travel stories, inquired about the art of the O, and heard Allan’s story about his vision for Bodhi.
More art done from other visitors

More art done from other visitors

 Welcome to Bodhi Hostel, where everything is designed with passion and nature in mind. Most of the furniture and decoration are handmade with recycled products or renewable resources. Through traveling we hope you to learn more about our world, about yourself, about people and cultures. Bodhi is named after the very tree under which Buddha achieved enlightenment. In creating an open and sociable atmosphere, we want you to make new friends, and leave feeling a little enlightened yourselves.
– Bodhi Hostel Bible
The Fantastic Five

The Fantastic Five

The next day we shot over to the artisans market a few minutes walk from Bodhi. The problem with long term travel is that you can’t just buy tons of souvenirs no matter how enticing it  is. The market had its shares of consumer temptation. We left El Valle with a couple of presents, good news about our dog, and new friendships.
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Panamanian hats

When we got into the city we ended up getting picked up by Allan who had invited us to dinner, not sure if we crashed a date but the guy is so nice he put the invite out. If you’re ever in Panama visit the town of El Valle de Anton and stay at Bodhi. Great people, new friends, and earthquake proof beds. This has been one of the best places we’ve visited but after our stay we’re convinced we’ll be back in El Valle!
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For booking or inquiries check em out on Facebook and on their official website.

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