El Valle de Antón is a unique community, as it is located in the crater of the only inhabited volcano in the world. El Níspero Zoo and Botanical Gardens, El Chorro del Macho (a waterfall with a zipline), volcanic hot springs, square trees, petroglyphs, and the public market are some of the area's attractions. In the summer months or dry season you can also visit El Chorro de Las Mozas, a trio of waterfalls that represents three legendary maidens.
Hikers have plenty of trail options in the surrounding mountains. Among the favorite destinations are The Sleeping Indian, whose silhouette is of a reclining woman, and El Gaital, the highest peak in the area.
An hour and 45 minute drive from Panama City along the Panamerican Highway in the province of Panama, you enter the province of Coclé as soon as you cross over the ring of mountains surrounding El Valle de Antón. The town is named for its site in the valley of the Antón River, which flows from the mountains, down into the capital city of Antón district, and towards the sea.
Heading westward from Panama City, whether over the Bridge of the Americas or the Centennial Bridge, drive about an hour and a half until you hit milemarker 99. Turn right here and ascend northwards into the mountains. After about 30 kilometers you will reach the crater and see the vacation homes and the town of El Valle.
Go to the bus terminal next to Albrook Mall and find the ticket window for El Valle de Antón. (Beware that there is another window that sells tickets for Antón, but those buses do not go to El Valle.) The fare is $3.50 per person. Buses leave every half hour or so and the trip takes about 2 hours, depending on traffic. Nearly the whole trip is on a two-lane highway, with only the last 28km on a road that winds up the mountain and down into the crater. The first bus leaves Panama City around 7:00 a.m. and the last bus headed to Panama City leaves El Valle at 4:00 p.m.
The bus from San Carlos to El Valle runs until 6:00 or 7:00 p.m. For just $1.00 they will transport you from El Valle to the Pan-American Highway, where you can then take a bus to Panama City or any other destination.
Fly from Albrook airport, or wherever your helicopter is parked, and navigate towards the geographic center of the country. Begin to descend when you see a crater that is 6 km wide.
- Zip line at Chorro El Macho
- Shop at crafts market
- Visit museums
- Bird watch
- Sight see
- Visit the snake farm
- Soak in the hot springs
- El Níspero Zoo and Botanical Gardens
- Square trees
- Horseback rides
- Enjoy the spa