After seven hours on an overnight bus ride from Panama City and a two hour bus ride from David winding through Panama’s cloud forest, the driver pulls over on the side of the road and points to us, the two foreigners on the bus, to get off. We are left standing in the dust next to a sign that reads, “You have found the lost paradise” and our 20 minute hike to the mysterious Lost and Found Eco Lodge begins.
As far as introductions go, the Lost and Found lodge garners almost a whole page write up in Lonely Planet’s Central America on a Shoestring Guidebook calling the hostel, “a utopian take on jungle living”. If that isn’t enough to peak your interest, hopefully the photos below will.
Built and owned by a couple of Canadians, they sought to create a simple but majestic retreat in the jungle for those looking to experience the cloud forest away from the tourist trails. With their enticing offer of book two nights and stay the third night for free, it’s worth penciling in some time to explore this hidden gem.
One of the most famous aspects of the hostel is their self-guided treasure hunt which takes you around the hostel property and hiking into the surrounding forest. Guests are given a map and directed to where the first clue lies – in the center of their self-made maze.
Each clue takes you further into the jungle where you will pass lookouts and swimming holes including Pink Panther, Kicking Mule and the main river which you’ll be required to cross in order to complete the treasure hunt. The water is cold but refreshing after the hike and a great way to cool off from the afternoon sun. Once you’ve completed the treasure hunt and deciphered the final clue, a liquid prize awaits you in the hostel bar.
The hostel offers a complete kitchen with supplies available for purchase so you don’t have to lug up all your groceries for your stay. The local staff members also cook a communal dinner nightly which you can also sign up for.
If you’ve exhausted yourself with a day of hiking, there are numerous other tours and activities you can join including tours to local coffee farms, horseback riding, hot springs, petroglyphs and more. Of course you can always sit back with a good book and enjoy the stunning view as well.
No jungle lodge experience would be complete with spotting some wildlife. Luckily you won’t have to go far as the lodge has a local kinkajou on site named Rocky. Captured as an infant by locals, Rocky was adopted by the lodge once they were no longer able to care for him. As he was raised domestically he is not able to be released to the wild. Guests can visit Rocky nightly as he sleeps during the day and only comes out to play after dusk.
Wild animals pay the lodge a visit daily as well with white faced monkeys swooping in to search for food scraps daily. One unlucky guest saw an entire bunch of bananas left out in the kitchen carried off from a swift footed monkey.
With over 40% of Panama covered in forest, the Lost and Found Eco Lodge offers a unique perspective on jungle living and a great way to explore more of this fantastic country. Know of other unique jungle lodges in Central America? Share with our followers below!