Anton del Valle
El Valle de Anton, also called Valle is a small town in Panama's Cocle province. The access road winds up from the Pan American Highway and enters an ancient volcanic crater. The town is set right in the center so the views in all directions are of lush jungle-covered mountains.
This is the view from our hotel right in the center of town. Typically it is several degrees cooler in Valle than it is in Panama City or down on the coast. We found it quite warm but certainly bearable.
This is the center of Valle. There are three groceries in town (the first one you reach coming into town is quite nice, but the other two are central). Most restaurants and hotels are in walking distance although there are a few lodges set right up against the jungle walls.
Our hotel featured hammocks (of course). Even better, a hammock with a nice view. From here we could see all the activity in Valle (there isn't much).
The primary distraction in Valle is hiking. There are many waterfalls in the area; this is El Macho which is one of the more popular. The price to go on the hike is a bit exorbitant considering it's just a short waterfall hike but at least you get a wa...
Panama is well known for its biodiversity and in particular -- frogs. There are a ridiculous number of species and they can be incredibly hard to spot. Like this guy we found almost by accident.
If you want to see the truly rare species like this golden tree frog it's easiest to visit the nature preserve in Valle. It's actually a very nice zoo-type setup featuring all Panamanian animals. We spent almost an entire afternoon here and it was very kid-friendly as well.
There is also a butterfly house in Valle (not shown because it was closed on our visit) and an orchid garden. The orchid garden is small but very impressive and the staff is extremely proficient in the local flora.