on August 11, 2006
Stepping off the bus in Boquete, you'll quickly know if there's vacancies at Sueños Del Río Guesthouse. A timid lady, carrying notebook full of bilingual information describing pictures of the homey set-up she owns, unsuspectingly greets new arrivals in the Central Plaza. Once settling the non-Spanish speakers from the bus, Sueños was the only place left with any availabilities; slightly pricier than many establishments, but certainly worth it!This pleasant guesthouse is located two blocks east of the Central Plaza, heading towards the large yellow suspended bridge. Before crossing, take a left on the unnamed street and Sueños is ahead on the right. Other than the sign hanging out front, the place looks like a pair of well-maintained homes, which they are if travelers are searching for something different.There are four rooms split between the two sides priced at $10 for singles and $15 for two. Each has a comfortable double bed and newly remodeled private bathroom, including showers with hot water. What the small quarters lack in furnishings are excusable with large plush towels, scented soaps, and extra touches from home. With Boquete's crisp mountain air, fans aren't even necessary and guests may want to consider pajamas for snuggling under bedspreads.A small living area on either side includes couch and chairs, television and VCR, dining table and counter, as well as kitchen with refrigerator and stove where guests can prepare meals. A backyard patio, graced with flowers and papayas, overlooks the Río Caldera and fairground gardens, a perfectly tranquil setting, even when returning to find a large Holstein steer had wandered in to enjoy views.Preparing to leave for the weekend, consideration was for returning to Boquete's most popular budget accommodation; Pensión Marilós (507-720-1380). The place has distinction where single rooms with shared-bath start at $6.50. Twice while waiting for the owner, I also noticed younger guests coming in and out with inevitable commotions. Paying minimal extra to remain at Sueños was worth the comforts and privacies of a place guaranteed to feel like "home".Sueños del Río, turquoise-green as seem from the bridge, seems to attract an older, quiet clientele unlike Boquete Hostal next door, which justifies slightly higher prices with elevated deck and laundry service.Sueños only downfall is the lesser of two noise factors. Front rooms face the loading docks and generators in back of Romero Supermercado. Back rooms have incessant roarings of Río Caldera. Closing slated windows slightly fades sound. Light sleepers should consider earplugs for anywhere in Panama. Birds are prompt as 5:00am alarms.The owner's name is Izza, a hard-working single mother living in nearby Caldera. She's usually only around of a morning to clean and check in new arrivals, and works by the honor system, with no hurry to collect before guests leave. Reservations can be made by calling 507-720-2736 or 507-601-7771. If you don't speak Spanish, please send me an IGO message to help with arrangements.
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