Accommodations and Food
La Villa de Los Santos is so close to Chitré that visitors can easily stay in either town. In fact, those who like to party but want to get away from the action when it’s time to sleep should consider staying in Chitré for the big La Villa events, such as the Corpus Christi festival, and staying in La Villa for the big Chitré festivals, such as Carnaval. On festival days, of course, visitors may feel lucky to get a room anywhere.
Hotel La Villa (tel. 966-9321, fax 966-8201, www.hotellavillapanama.com, starts at US$16.50 s, US$20 d) has 38 rooms with air-conditioning and cable TV in a quite pleasant garden setting. There’s also an attractive restaurant attached that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily.
The place is clean, the beds are firm, and this is generally one of the better lodging options in the whole area. The place is decorated with love. The owner is high on folkloric art, particularly tinajas (the earthenware pots this part of the Azuero is famous for). They’re everywhere: in the lobby, hanging from the rafters, used as planters, on the tables, and so on. It’s no surprise to see a poster in the lobby signed by Sheila Lichacz, the local artist internationally famous for her depictions of tinajas.
Price start low for the most basic rooms and can be twice that for the nicer ones. Add a few dollars for weekend visits and take off a few for longer stays. You can probably haggle here. The newer rooms are significantly more pleasant than older ones, which have tired furniture and dreary fake-wood paneling.
The hotel is at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac 700 meters southwest of the main road. To get there from Chitré, look for the signs as you enter La Villa; it’s a right turn off the road.
© William Friar from Moon Panama, 3rd Edition