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Roadmap to paradise: Getting to the new hot spot for green travel in Panama

Roadmap to paradise: Getting to the new hot spot for green travel in Panama (Forimmediaterelease.net) BOQUETE, Panama - Rancho de Caldera ( www.ranchodecaldera.com ) is an extraordinary new eco-resort on a hilly green pasture in the mountains of Boquete, Chiriqui, Panama. Despite the fact that the Green Globe certified nature lodge is off the grid (using a combination of hydro-electric power and wind and solar power), its luxurious, fully-equipped, comfortable, and beautiful, terraced, bungalow rooms boast air-conditioning and ceiling fans, wireless Internet, iPod docking stations, satellite TV, and kitchenettes.

And extremely comfortable, huge beds. So comfortable, in fact, some guests claim they haven't been able to sleep as well in years. Rooms also feature 20' glass walls, allowing guests to enjoy some spectacular sunrises from the comfort of their comfortable bed. What a way to start the day.

Bungalow rooms/suites also offer large, covered porches where guests can relax in lounge chairs and sip their morning coffee - brewed fresh from local beans (supplied free of charge) in an automatic coffee maker in the kitchenette. The terraces are great for bird and cloud watching and afternoon siestas.

And for the budget minded, there are two comfortable smaller rooms in the main building overlooking the property.

Besides luxurious accommodations, guests can enjoy an infinity-edge pool with great views of the surrounding mountains - and even book a beautiful conference room with audio/video equipment for family reunions, workshops, or other group functions. And there is lots to do on and off the resort site as well - from horseback riding to white water rafting to hot springs visits.

Madre Tierra is the Ranchos acclaimed gourmet restaurant, where you can watch Chef Craig as he prepares creative, ethnic food daily, from home- or locally-grown ingredients, whenever possible. In line with its wellness and sustainability theme, Madre Tierra offers a variety of outstanding, healthy drinks including lime/basil fizz and passionfruit Julius. Chef Craig, who loves to share his culinary creativity and nutritional insights with guests, may even share one of his delicious recipes with you.

Around the property, guests can walk among tropical flowers and plants, visit the orchard and vegetable garden, a duck pond, and four organic greenhouses made from Bamboo grown on the land.

The small, private, and secluded new resort has already attracted a growing loyal following among nature lovers and gourmets from around the world, including among families with teenagers.

Shares guest Maryann: “My husband and I came with our 14-year-old and 12-year-old sons. The boys especially loved the hiking, horseback riding, infinity edge pool, and photo opportunities.

"Through conversations at dinner with the owner and the chef, our boys learned about alternative energy, sustainable agriculture, sustainable building practices, and other valuable information for their futures. These people care about preserving Panama's natural resources.

"What an experience to eat gourmet dinners by Craig the chef who specializes in sustainable agriculture. Each meal was so much fun, like one pleasant adventure after another. The restaurant has a rooftop garden where Craig got the marigolds for the marigold iced tea he made for us. Each dish was presented beautifully.

"Our 14-year-old's advice 'You definitely would want to come to Rancho de Caldera.'

"Our 12-year-old's advice, 'You will want to try the chef's food as many meals as you can.'"

Getting to Rancho de Caldera:

DIRECTIONS AND LOCAL AIRPORT INFORMATION

The closest airport to Rancho de Caldera is David, Panama, (a short 45-minute drive away). To fly to David, you must go in and out of the local airport in Panama City, located in Albrook, which is about 40 minutes from Tocumen, the international airport. You can book your domestic flights online with either Air Panama at www.flyairpanama.com or Aeroperlas at www.tacaregional.com/aeroperlas/ .

Both are similar and their schedules are almost identical - all their flights go in and out of Panama City and David within 1/2 hour of each other, 3 times a day, (2 times/day on Sundays and holidays), and their fares are also identical, currently around US$100 each way. Their prop planes seat around 50 people each. Note that their luggage allowance is limited to 35 pounds/person and extra weight is charged at more than 60 cents a pound.

Alternatively, there are US$16 bus fares, and the buses take six to seven hours. They're pretty nice buses but are still buses. While booking your vacation at Rancho de Caldera, you can ask them to recommend a reliable, friendly, and English speaking driver who can transport you between airports in Panama City and do sightseeing as well.

Directions to Rancho de Caldera:

From the David Airport:

1. As you exit the airport, bear right at the first Y (fire station in front of you), and then turn left out of the airport onto Hacia Aeropuerto.

2. Drive 3.2 km (you will see the prison on your right) and turn left onto Calle F.

3. Drive 1.6 km and you will come to a dead end; turn right onto the Interamericana highway.

4. Drive 2.9 km; before the turn you will pass a Shell station on your right and a Toyota dealer on the left; turn left onto the road just after the Toyota dealer, and just before the Novey Store. This is Hacia Boquete.

5. Drive 25.5 km and turn right at the Caldera turnoff (it is a large, main road); there is a large red cell tower on the right just a couple of hundred feet after the turn so if you pass the cell tower, you have missed the turn. You will pass Los Molinos on the left 1/2 mile before the turn.

6. Drive 9.5 km & turn left onto the asphalt road, between the church & the large soccer /baseball field.

7. Stay on this road for a total of 1.2 km; it has a 90 turn but just stay on the asphalt and about 100 yards before our entrance, the asphalt turns to gravel; keep going and turn left into Rancho de Caldera.

8. Drive 1 km to the parking lot near the top of the hill across from the pool and to the left of the bungalows near the top (do not drive to the house all the way at the top); park and walk by the pool to the office.

From Boquete:

1. Starting at the Cefati Building (the tourist center at the top of the hill on Via Boquete), drive 10.2 km south on Via Boquete, to the Caldera turnoff (just a couple of hundred feet after the large red cell tower).

2. Turn left.

3. Drive 9.5 km & turn left onto the asphalt road, between the church & the large soccer/baseball field.

4. Stay on this road for a total of 1.2 km; it has a 90 turn but just stay on the asphalt and about 100 yards before our entrance, the asphalt turns to gravel; keep going and turn left into Rancho de Caldera.

5. Drive 1 km to the parking lot near the top of the hill; it is across from the pool and to the left of the 3 cabins near the top (do not drive to the house all the way at the top); park and walk by the pool to the office.

From Panama City:

1. As you begin to approach the city of David (approximately 11 km outside of David), you will pass through the town of Chiriqui; watch for the signs for Gualaca. You will see a Delta gas station on the right – the road you want is just before the station; turn right.

2. (We are a total 52.5 km from here) Turn right onto this road and go straight. You will be on this road for about 30 km. After 21 km there is a Y sign for a road going off to the left – do not take this road (it is a smaller road); keep on the main road. Keep going straight, and after a total of 28.2 km, there is another Y in the road – this time bear to the left.

3. A couple of minutes later you will come to the stop sign in Gualaca (Huaquitas gas station in front of you), turn left. You are at 29.8 km.

4. At 30 km there is a curve in the road – keep on the main road – do not take the road to the left; same thing at 30.2 km.

5. At 40 km you begin approaching the dam; be very careful as there are 5 NASTY speed bumps – go over them very slowly. There are 2 before the dam and 3 after it. The first bump is at 40.4 km and the last is at 41.3 km.

6. Continue on this road until it ends (at 47.7 km).

7. At the stop sign, turn right.

8. Drive 2.7 km & turn left onto the asphalt road, between the church & the large soccer/baseball field.

9. Stay on this road for a total of 1.2 km; it has a 90 turn but just stay on the asphalt and about 100 yards before our entrance, the asphalt turns to gravel; keep going and turn left into Rancho de Caldera.

10. Drive 1 km to the parking lot near the top of the hill; it is across from the pool and to the left of the 3 cabins near the top (do not drive to the house all the way at the top); park and walk by the pool to the office.

To book a tropical Panama eco-vacation, for further assistance, or for more information, travelers may contact Rancho de Caldera by telephone or email:

Panama Land Line: +507 720-4225
Panama Cell Phone: +507 6612-2147
Phone from USA: (877) 810-0898 or (216) 220-0192
Follow Rancho de Caldera on Twitter @panamatravels
Email form: http://ranchodecaldera.com/contact.php

Web: www.ranchodecaldera.com

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