The Visitor: Volume 9 Number 11, May 23, 2003

"Cielito Sur: A new definition of Bed & Breakfast"

One of the pioneers of the new style of “bed and breakfast” establishments in Panama is Hostal Cielito Sur at Cerro Punta in the Chiriqui highlands.

The original B&B, popular in Europe, was usually a family home with a spare bedroom where a traveller could spend the night and be off the next morning after bacon and eggs. But the new generation of B&Bs, as exemplified by Hostal Cielito Sur is another “kettle of fish” as they would say in England.

At Cielito Sur the original concept is intact. It is the home of hosts Janet and Glenn Lee who serve a magnificent breakfast family style; but no guest will want to speed on his way again if he can help it -- the place is just too beautiful.

Cielito Sur is situated on a six acre plot on the road from Volcan to Cerro Punta. Flowers, coffee, birds, majestic trees and a rushing river create a paradise setting. The inn itself consists of four rooms and a commodious lounge with old-world fireplace and state-of-the art internet facility. You would not have more luxurious surroundings in a five-star hotel.

The four main rooms are named after Panama’s indigenous tribes---the Ngobe-Bugle (also know as Guaymies) of the western provinces, the Embera and Wounan of the Darien, the Kuna of San Blas and the Teribe of Bocas del Toro. The rooms are themed and decorated with artifacts of the different tribes.

A fireplace adds character and comfort to the lounge The property's idyllic garden

Glenn recounts the trouble he had to collect artifacts from the tribes, especially the Teribe who live in remote jungle settlements and this entailed a gruelling safari. He was rewarded, however with a unique collection of spears--- each one different and specially designed, for hunting different types of animal, fish and fowl.

Glenn and Janet are a Panamanian & American couple who worked for the US Federal Government when the Americans occupied the Panama Canal Zone. Rather than be transferred to another country they opted for early retirement and decided to start a small hotel on the property known as Cielito Sur (little southern heaven) which Janet inherited from her parents, who bought it as a weekend retreat in 1950.

Cielito Sur's proud owners, Glenn and Janet Lee Comfort and elegance

Aided by a U.S. program for re-educating and assisting personnel to go into private business, they carefully designed their inn, adding to the original cabin-style house, using beautiful native hardwoods.

As well as comfort and luxury, guests are exposed to an ecological experience. A nature trail winds through the property, and most of the good things provided at the memorable breakfast are grown there. Coffee is picked and roasted daily, hens provide the eggs, and the rich volcanic soil grows blueberries, gooseberries, strawberries and all manner of produce.

Janet’s artistic touch is evident at Cielito Sur. She works with stained glass, and guests are welcome at her workshop on the front lawn which also serves as a handicraft shop for Ngobe-Bugle woven craftwork.

This, then is the new breed of Bed & Breakfast where you will want to stay a little longer.

Cielito Sur Tel/Fax (507) 771-2038, Cel. 602-3008 or 597-0822
Mailing address: Apdo. 327, Volcan, Chiriqui, Rep. Panama or P. O. Box 025207, PTY-4216, Miami, FL, USA