El Valle de Anton (Anton Valley) is located in the flat wide caldera of the 3.75 mile wide inactive El Valle volcano. Because of its elevation 1968 ft above sea level, it is cooler than the Panamanian lowlands.

Natural attractions near El Valle include the Chorro El Macho waterfall, Las Mozas waterfall, the “square” trees, and a group of small thermal pools (which consist of three cement pools of mineralized water that varies in color depending on the specific minerals present at a given moment).

The area around the town is also known for being one of the last habitats of the critically endangered Panamanian golden frog. Much of the forests around the town are protected.

Road Trips

Early Thursday while Karen was sleeping, I drove 10 miles down the coast to a town named Rio Hato in search of a fish market stocked by the hard work of about 30 local fishermen. We intend to shop locally to support the cottage industries that make this part of Panama so enchanting. I purchased large prawns and 2 nice-sized fish (red snapper and sea bass). After the fish were filleted we had enough fish for 4 very hearty meals. I’m happy!

Later Thursday morning, we had time to kill while Ellie cleaned our apartment. To fill that time, we ran a few errands in Coronado, went to lunch and decided to venture out for a 30-minute drive up to the mountain town of El Valle de Anton.

The road was narrow and unforgiving with major potholes, steep climbs and narrow shoulders. In many instances, the road had no shoulders and steep drops of hundreds of feet. As we ascended the mountains our ears popped due to the air pressure change. We felt the temperature cool. The air smelled different and fragrant. Can there be so many shades of green? Along the way we passed through small villages and quaint roadside stands.

We drove through the tiny town of El Valle and stopped at an outdoor market. While there, we sipped on coconuts, looked at local crafts and talked to the artisans. Karen, of course, made a couple of purchases from the artisans and I purchased cookies (low carb fail). We were caught up in the moment and enjoying the day. Only now have we realized that neither of us took many pictures of the booths and art. I included the few pictures we did take below. We will definitely return for hiking, biking and the many natural beauties in the El Valle area.

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