Valle de Anton is a superb get-away for everyone that wants to escape the hustle and heat of everyday life in Panama City. Popular among Panamanians and expats alike, the valley is a mere 2 hour drive from the city. The picturesque town of el Valle is nestled in the crater of a former volcano and the surrounding landscape is filled with lush rainforest, bright flowers, several waterfalls and hot thermal springs. Valle de Anton is also one of the best spots in the country to encounter the little golden frogs (Rana Dorada) that Panama is famous for. Another main attractions of the valley is its weekly Sunday market, which, held in the market hall on the main road, offers a colorful variety of tropical fruit and vegetables and a extensive selection of handicraft such as hammocks, wooden paintings, molas, baskets and so on. I would recommend to anyone to venture down the Panamericana for a day or two on a weekend to embrace the genuine Panamanian country life of Valle de Anton. Being surrounded by the high rising outskirts of the volcanic craters, the valley is a hiker’s paradise. From the town center, numerous trails lead through up the mountains and through the picturesque environment. It is advisable though to consider taking a local tour guide as some paths are a bit tricky to follow and one can get lost easily (we actually ended up wandering through some farmers back yards after we missed our turn).

How to get there
If you are using public transport, mini buses leave Albrook terminal regularly. Just make sure to catch the last bus when returning to Panama City, as it leaves Valle de Anton usually around 4 in the afternoon. The lucky ones with car only follow the Panamericana Highway for 1,5 hours and take the El Valle exit.

Where to stay
There are several places for accommodation all over town, ranging from budget up to top end.
La Casa de Juan is the best low budget option. The host Juan offers guided walks and a warm welcome!
Hotel Campestre is nested right on the bottom of scenic mountains and offers immediate access to several hiking trails. The rustic old building has cosy double rooms.
The Canopy Lodge is the place to choose for a rather luxurious close to nature experience. Located right in the jungle, with casually elegant interior and a restaurant that guests have been raving about!

Where to eat
Don Pepes’ menu holds a great selection of typical Panamanian cuisine for only a couple of bucks. Make sure to try one of their natural fruits shakes.
Pinocchio’s is locally famous for its Pizza’s and the lemon pie.
Rincon Vallero has a great selection of seafood and an atmospheric outside seating area.