El Valle de Antón is a sleepy mountain village nested in the valley of an extinct volcano, only two hours away from Panama City. With a fresh micro-climate, it is a natural sanctuary made up of waterfalls, hiking trails, horseback-riding routes, butterfly farms, hot springs, and handicraft markets. Here are the 10 top things to see and do in El Valle de Antón, brought to you by Culture Trip.
View La India Dormida
La India Dormida (The Sleeping Indian) is a mountain range located along the edge of El Valle’s volcano crater, which resembles the figure of a sleeping indigenous woman. One of the most famous and challenging hikes of the area, it offers an astonishing view of the valley once you reach the summit.
Hike to El Macho Waterfall
El Macho Waterfall is the largest waterfall within El Valle de Antón. You can view it after crossing a high suspension rope bridge in the forest. Though swimming in the lake is not allowed, the view is worth the detour.
Visit the Butterfly Farm
El Mariposario is a butterfly farm where visitors can immerse themselves amid hundreds of extraordinary tropical butterflies. A guided tour explains the evolution of a butterfly’s life through all its stages.
Go on the Golden Frog Hike
The golden frog is a species of frog that is endemic to Panama. Once in El Valle, pass by the Golden Frog Inn and ask to be shown the entry to the Golden Frog Hike. The walk is an easier one and offers panoramic views over the village.
Stay at the Boutique Hotel & Spa Los Mandarinos
Los Mandarinos is a historic boutique hotel with a spa that is dedicated to providing a combination of wellness and adventure to its guests. Ask the hotel staff and they will help you choose the right activities, whether you are looking to descend the zipline, climb mountains, spot wildlife or bathe in jungle waterfalls.
Relax in the hot springs
The hot springs (or pozos termales) are rich in minerals that benefit your body. They provide an alternative remedy to fatigue and all sorts of aches. Bathing in thermal water is a fun experience for both adults and kids who typically have a blast exfoliating their skin with natural mud.
Discover the Orchids Center
The Orchids Center gathers over 150 species of beautiful local orchids that are unique to Panama. The center has an onsite hostel (the Orquidea Hostel) that provides affordable accommodation in an enchanting setting.
Shop at El Valle Market
El Valle hosts a very popular market located right at the heart of town. While vendors focus on selling fruit and vegetables during the week, they take out artisanal crafts and handmade objects at weekends. Sundays are particularly festive, indeed the best days to visit the market.
Learn about medicinal plants with Frank Gruber
Frank Gruber is a herbalist specialising in medicinal plants. He has spent over 30 years studying and collecting local plants and organises private tours in El Valle to teach about natural remedies.
Drink a beer at Crater’s Edge Brewery
Crater’s Edge Brewery is a microbrewery founded by Michael, an expat with 20 year’s brewery experience. Michael brews beer in his garage and welcomes visitors into his property to taste his Golden & Red Frog Ale.