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Last update: November, 2009

Nestled in the green mountains of the province of Coclé is El Valle de Antón, a resort town which has become an important jewel in Panama’s ecotourism treasure chest.

The town is located on the site of an extinct volcano —the largest in Panama in pre-historic times. This fact has endowed the area with hot springs and fertile land ideal for flowers and vegetables.

El Valle is 120 kilometers from Panama City, and the journey takes about an hour and a half up the Pan-American Highway, turning right after the town of San Carlos.

Due to its altitude, El Valle enjoys a cool climate year round. This, combined with its proximity to Panama City, has transformed the town into a week-end retreat for many Panamanian city-dwellers. Many wealthy individuals have built beautiful villas and country homes there.

El Valle is also a land of history and legend. Inhabited for hundreds of years by several Native American tribes, the area is famous for some rare petroglyphs which have not yet been deciphered.

The lush vegetation of El Valle harbors great biological diversity, including golden frogs and square trees. The frogs are found only in El Valle and Campana National Park. A good place to see them is at the El Nispero Zoo and Plant Nursery. Also on show there is the “Flower of the Holy Spirit” —the rare orchid which is Panama’s National Flower.

A relaxing way to tour the valley, or the mountains beyond for that matter, is to hire a horse. They are available at the roadside ready saddled, at weekends.

Daring adventurers will also find a lot of action in El Valle with the Canopy Adventure attraction, where visitors are able to imitate Tarzan, flying above the jungle floor through a series of cables, platforms and pulleys. While on this tour, visitors will also fly above the El Macho waterfall, one of the largest in the area and a scenic attraction worth visiting even if you don’t go on the Canopy Tour.

The Panama Explorer Club, offers courses in adventure sports such as rafting, rapelling, mountain biking, kayaking etc. to visitors and to people wishing to train as tourists guides. Tel: (507) 215-2330.

The club has its headquarters at Crater Valley, a resort in idyllic garden surroundings offering comfortable accommodation, eco and cultural tourism.

On the weekends, and especially Sunday, the otherwise quiet and relaxed El Valle becomes a picturesque country shopping center, celebrating its most popular tradition: The Market. In this event, locals and residents of neighboring towns gather to offer an impressive variety of flowers, handicraft, rattan furniture, fruits, vegetables and flowers.

In recent years, a number of fine lodging facilities have opened in town, such as Los Capitanes, a picturesque eco-resort.

El Valle has bed and breakfast accommodation at Park Eden, the lovely home of Mr and Mrs. Lionel Aleman.

Hotel Residencial El Valle offers economical and comfortable rooms close to the market.

The Hotel Campestre, one of the first hotels to open in El Valle, is undergoing a complete renovation but its annexe is still open for reservations.

A boutique hotel of great distinction, Los Mandarinos Boutique Spa and Hotel, is located at the edge of the town flanking the border of a national park. The hotel is designed and decorated in the traditional style of Tuscany and boasts an excellent restaurant “La Casa de Lourdes”.

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Bird Watching section in Focus Panama
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