Posted by: luisabaldwin | April 18, 2010


Shangri-La in Panama

Well, I can finally show you the pictures of that house-sitting job we did in Altos de Maria last September.  This was such a cool house!

The owner was a very private person and out of respect for her privacy, we didn’t reveal anything that would disclose the location of her house.  Scroll back to “The Frog’s Pachanga Band and Noodling” entry on the site for more information on Altos de Maria.  Now the owner has the property up for sale and has moved to Panama City.  She would probably be happy to get the exposure on the worldwide web.  If anybody falls in love with the place and wants to look into buying it, please contact Rina Steenkamp in Altos de Maria for details.

Rina Steenkamp e-mail:

The outdoor kitchen

In the mean time, we wanted you to see this very special place that we enjoyed.  It was a unique house, the likes of which I haven’t seen anywhere else in Panama.

The "Buhio" living room & pathway to master suite

The house was so creative, very artistic, and unusual.  It just rambled on and on. The gardens were beautifully landscaped and the lot was a huge affair, dropping down to the river, which, by the way, had a way of roaring during the storms.  We were told that we were visiting Altos during a heat wave but, after three weeks, we just had to conclude that the weather was just too hot for us being the weather wimps that we are. We, consequently, were unable to commit to future house-sitting for her. And I will say this, we were very grateful for that pristine pool to dunk into during the day. The dynamic weather was very exciting to watch with storms rolling in and engulfing all the surrounding mountains with mysterious mists, interspersed with sunny spells.  Altos de Maria is a one half hour’s drive from Playa Coronado where you would do all your errands.  There is a little country store but you would travel to Coronado for just about everything.  Since there is no real town center to speak of, most residents combine their Coronado errands with a nice meal out or a trip to the beach.  Neighbors become important in this setting and in the area where we were there was no lacking in this department.  A wonderful extended South African family had settled there with their kids.  Evenings, when we all got out to walk the dogs were always fun and interesting.  Everybody would get together and bring out their special evening cocktail concoctions and since the daughter in law of this great family was a chef with an Altos de Maria catering business, well, what can I say – it was great company, good food, and specialty drinks.  Oh, and by the way, this family is also busy building really well constructed unique homes in the neighborhood.  I don’t know if they have any for sale at the moment but if any of you are interested you can contact Rina at the above e-mail address.  We view our stay in Altos de Maria as one of the highlights of our adventure. We really felt like we were in another world – well, we were!  Enjoy the pictures.

The wading and swimming pool

The outdoor shower and two more bedrooms

The outdoor shower and two more bedrooms

Inside the "Buhio" living room

The "Buhio" living room

The house is walled in with colorful walls & landscaping

Off of the master suite, a hot tub under the stars

Beautifully bamboo-lined Buhio interior

The front area

Flowers in the back yard

Photography by:
Luisa Baldwin
© All rights reserved


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