The bus from Bocas del Toro to David roared up mountain roads until we finally arrived at our stop. What seemed to be the middle of nowhere, the path into the mountain would take us to the Lost and Found, a unique jungle lodge set on the side of a mountain in the cloud forest of the Chiriquí province. I lugged my monstrosity of a backpack up the trail that had encouraging signs along the way giving me hope that we would soon reach our sanctuary on the hill. The lodge slowly came into view. With triple bunk high dorms, a full use kitchen complete with a vegetable shelf and pantry in case you need more provisions and it’s own bar with a light machine. Not too bad for being out in ‘the middle of nowhere’. The Lost and Found is also home to an adorable honey bear named Rocky, make sure to give him some love. The cool climate was a huge change from being in Bocas, bringing out the tights and poncho in the evenings, although as soon as you go into the valley the heat is back, as we found on our trip to the Los Posoz de Caldera hot springs, located next to Rio Caldera. The 3 natural pools were teeming with geo-thermal energy and minerals. Not too crowded and so nourishing, and the river close by was a welcome relief from the heat coming at you at all angles. As they too claim, Lost and Found is the perfect base to venture off into the jungle on hikes in search of amazing viewpoints, beautiful wildlife and river sanctuaries. The lodge’s “Treasure Hunt” sent us off for a day of riddle-breaking and running around prehistoric looking tree roots, across rivers and down jungle trails feeling like Indiana Jones. The satisfaction of solving riddles and finding the clues hidden in the wilderness were just lovely side aspects to an awesome hike through the enchanted forest. The bar featured great drink prices and games, including giant jenga, so when you’re not on a night hike or enjoying the mountain breeze you can hang in the ambience, listen to some tunes and kick it with some cool people.
At night when cicadas, music and happy voices are all you hear, you almost forget you’re on the side of a mountain, until you feel the wind, hear the rustling trees and feel oh so lucky to have wound up in the Lost and Found.
Going from David or from Bocas, just tell the bus driver to let you off at the Lost and Found. It sounds sketchy, but they will know what it is, there’s only one road. Email ahead to confirm a reservation!
What other ‘hidden gems’ have you been to? Any eco-lodges in the forest I should know about?