Travel Destinations in El Valle De Anton

El Valle de Anton is a picturesque non-active volcanic valley filled with natural beauty, lush greenery, waterfalls, and beautiful homes and gardens.  It is a residential and week-end get-away area for many of the affluent Panama City businessmen, and for some years has been a favorite spot for expatriates to settle.  Check out these nine suggested destinations and plan to spend the night in El Valle de Anton to fully enjoy the beauty of the area.

El Valle de Anton  is a two to two and a half hour drive from Panama City and is a nice day trip to get away from the city. If you spend two days there, you will more than be re-paid for your time and effort.  I was fortunate to make acquaintance with an expatriate from Arraijan (near Panama City) who helped me arrange for a taxi driver to spend the day with us for a set fee. We actually paid less than if we had rented a car for the day and had the benefit of a “native” guide.

I have listed the El Valle sites in the order that I chose to see them.  This is my own priority order and you might want to change the order for your visit.

1.    El Macho Waterfall:  Due to its closeness to the center of El Valle, this waterfall is probably the most visited. It is only a short walk from the road to the falls (with incredible foliage en-route), and the adventuresome can also choose to take a canopy zip line ride ( a short one or a longer one over the falls – based on your daring and budget).

2    El Nispero Zoo and Plant Nursery: This zoo does not compare with the large zoos that we are accustomed to in the United States, but is worth visiting. Allow 1-2 hours to leisurely follow the landscaped trails through the property.      See various monkeys, birds, alligators, ostriches, and some animals such as the golden frog which are unique to the country. The golden frog is nearing extinction and is not presently found in its natural habitat.  The landscaping is easier to photograph than the animals and birds since most are behind screen mesh enclosures.

3.      Hot Water Springs (Pozos Termales): This facility includes several small pools in which bathers can sit and dangle their feet. The water is actually warm, not hot, but still unique to this previously active volcanic valley. You can cover your face with a mud mask or bathe in therapeutic mud.  The sun’s reflection off the mineral filled stream makes for some unusual colors in photos of the water.

4.     El Valle Market Place:  The big market day here is Sunday. The market at El Valle is famous countrywide. It is here that the dozens of indigenous Indian communities from the surrounding mountains come to sell their wares each weekend. Tribes such as the Ngöbe Buglé, Embera, Kuna and Wounaan bring their wares to the delight of the locals and tourists alike.

The normal market items such as fruits, vegetables, flowers, and handicrafts are in abundance on market days. For those anticipating a visit on Saturday or Sunday, it is open from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM.    The popular”molas” (they look like highly colorful quilt squares) made by the Kuna Indians can also be bought here. I was there on a Tuesday, but still found the market fairly active.

5.    Golden Frogs (Ranas Doradas):  These frogs, endemic to Panama, are fast becoming extinct. They are subject to a fungus which kills them easily. They are no longer seen in the wild, and even in the El Nispero Zoo, they are housed in a protected building and have to be viewed through the building’s glass windows.

6.    Square Trees (Arboles Cuadrados):  These trees appear to be almost square at the bottom and become round as the trunk moves upward. I have not seen the “square trees” yet myself. The natives swear that they are square. Most people that I have talked to say that there is a certain flatness to them but they are not square. However, if you want to check them out yourself, you can find them in a wooded area behind the Hotel Campestre. From the right side of the hotel follow the trail and signs to the thicket where they are located. Let me know what you think! Are they really square?

7.    Petroglyphs:  These petroglyphs are unique but not overly impressive. But, for anyone interested in the aboriginal cultural artifacts of this country, the one large vertical rock with the inscriptions is worth seeing. The views of the valley on the walk to the petroglyphs are worth the visit.

8.    Sleeping Indian Girl: (India Dormida):   This mountain appears to be a sleeping maiden when seen in silhouette. The story goes that Flor del Aire (Air Flower), the daughter of the Indian Chief Urraca fell in love with one of the Spanish conquistadors. Her lover, Yaravi, in despair, committed suicide in front of her and the town.   She decided that she could not further betray her people and wandered through the mountains until she died looking up toward the sky. Her silhouette in the mountain stands as a memorial of true love to her lover and her people.

9.    Museum:  For a small town, the museum contains an amazing amount of historical information and artifacts. There are Pre-Columbian artifacts, a collection of petroglyphs, religious art, primitive art, and a geological history of the valley.

Enjoy your visit to El Valle de Anton and check out some of my personal photographs taken in El Valle on my site listed below.
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