|Looking forward to your visit !
Sambu Hause Bed & Breakfast Darien Panama
Sambu Hause Bed & Breakfast
L Michael Harrington
011 507 6 766 5102, Panama Cell
Lawrence Michael Harrington (62 years old), now 65.. with my boy Ryan Michael Harrington
(4 years old) now 7 on the Panama Canal ! Ryan is owner of SambuHause along with his
cousin Mabel, daughter of Maria. He and I have a lot of fun !
Whoa !....Ryan is now 7 years old...and Michael turns 65 this year ! Time flies in my jungle !
Father's Day, 2008
The 5000 year old petroglyph symbol. Well in advance of Edvard Munch's work, The Scream !
I just posted to Lonely Planet Thorn Tree Forum and sent it to the company as part of a longer essay on Panama. If you want to post any of this information on your
website, go ahead.
Thanks again for all. It was nice to relive it while writing.
The Darien—Sambu to Pavarando: First, I would like to say that despite what LP Panama 2007 states, there are other places in the Darien that can be accessed
without ANCON Expeditions. Finding a flight from Panama City direct to Sambu was very easy, and it did not require such outrageous “private boat” fees to get south
from La Palma as read in the LP guide. Once in Sambu, I would contact Michael Harrington from Sambu Hause. We emailed Michael a few days before our flight
arrived in Sambu and he met us at the airport.
For our entire time in the Darien , Michael helped us more than anyone else has reached out to us before while traveling. If you are going to be in the Darien , he’s
the person I suggest you talk to. He has a great passion for the region and has been living there for about 15 years. He truly wants people to come down to see this
unique frontier of nature and its people. Michael loves to show people around and teach them about the area and has been essential in brining more affordable
tourism to the area.
Going to the Darien does cost a little more, but even I who always travel cheaply, was more than happy to pay the extra fees to explore the Embera Comarca. It’s
such a far-removed place seldom seen by foreigners and Panamanians alike. This place is far off the beaten track and the only transportation in and out is by air or
boat up river. Goods and services are far and few between, depending when the next boat arrives.
The people of the Darien , of whom get the worst reputation for the Darien region, were the kindest people I met in Panama . Everyone was very nice and I felt
completely safe in the Darien —more than Panama City , more than David, and more than Bocas del Toro, by far. Whatever information to the contrary may exist and
be real closer to the border, but not where you’ll be going. It’s common sense to know the environments to which you’ll be going and the Darien is spotted with
extremely safe places and people. Don’t let any suggested danger lead you to believe otherwise. Once again, it was easily the safest place I felt in Panama .
If you do have a little more money to spend, I suggest Michael Harrington at Sambu Hause. We spent most of our time in town with Michael sitting on his deck,
drinking beers, eating some wonderful home-cooked food, and talking about Darien life. The comfort and hospitality is unmatched. Michael and his staff’s first priority
was making sure that we were comfortable, tended to, and having a good time. His place may be more expensive, but the comfort of staying in a house with a deck,
cold beers, food cooking all the time, movies and comfortable rooms is a nice perk. After returning from our up-river trip into the jungle, Sambu Hause offered just the
comfort I needed to heal my body for a day or two. If you have the funds, I highly recommend it. If not, Michael will help you find a place within your budget elsewhere
in Sambu, while still offering his hospitality and services, relaxing on the deck or working to set up a trip up or down river.
Since you have to know the right people in an area like the Darien to travel into the Comarca, Michael also organized our trip from Sambu upriver to Pavarando—the
farthest community upstream. The trip upriver was great, exploring into a region seen only by very few people. We stayed in Pavarando for two nights and hiked into
the jungle to see an ancient petroglyph. To read more about our journey and see photos, click on the following blog created by Michael: PETROGLYPH (http:
//sambuhause.blogspot.com/ ) To put it shortly, I’ve been on some difficult hikes in the jungle before, but this one was on a different level. You need large rubber
boots to protect from poisonous snakes, difficult terrain, and jungle growth that can do some harm. Regardless of the boots, you’re going to get soaked on this hike—
as you cross a fast-moving jungle river up to your waist or chest repeatedly as you make your way up river to the petroglyph. It was the burliest hike I’ve ever been on,
but well worth it. It will be an adventure I’ll never forget.
Pavarando itself was cool and I highly recommend exploring up the Sambu River . However, the people there were less interactive with foreigners. The artwork the
Embera women produce is simply amazing, and remarkably cheap. However, in my opinion, the best village to experience real Embera culture was Villa Crecia. This
village is located closest to Sambu, not far up river. Despite this, I would say that it is also the most authentic, and the people by far the friendliest. There is also a
very nice remote village called Churoco, where Michael works with the locals to help improve tourism opportunities. All in all, the trip up river was expensive for a thrifty
traveler, but it’s the only way one can enter the Comarca and use their guides. Traveling independently upriver is impossible and not allowed. They have very strict
access rules with registration and fees, not to mention paying the guides, gas, and food. The cheapest option for exploring the Sambu River is to speak with Michael
from Sambu Hause. There are two other people who set up river trips, but they are more high-end.
After going up river and hiking far back into the jungle, returning downriver to Sambu a beaten man, I was glad to be back at the comforts of Sambu Hause, relaxing
on the deck outside, having some cold beers and watching the world go by and healing my worn body.
The Darien is not for everyone. It’s one of the last wild frontiers, teeming with wildlife, thick jungle, and small Embera villages along the banks of the river. If you are
someone who likes adventure and traveling to remote corners of the world, rich with culture and physical beauty, I highly recommend the Sambu River region for a safe
and unforgettable experience.
A trip report from a guest at SambuHause and adventurer
of the Darien Jungle.
My friend Reid,
NOTE: Air Panama has been a real problem for
getting into and out of Sambu. Their website is
not maintained. Calling them can be frustrating as
well. The regional airport at AllBrook is where the
ticket counter is located. Best of luck, I'm sorry.