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Abundance of Beaches, Nature and Traditions

At beaches, forest parks or traditional towns you will have an unforgettable experience Thanks to its proximity to Panama City, the diversity of its landscape and the abundance of activities, such as hiking, visits to waterfalls

At beaches, forest parks or traditional towns you will have an unforgettable experience

Thanks to its proximity to Panama City, the diversity of its landscape and the abundance of activities, such as hiking, visits to waterfalls and beach activities, Cocle is one of the most visited provinces in Panama. Here you can organize a “day trip” or experience a whole weekend of unforgettable activities.

——Pacific Riviera—-

At over an hour’s drive away, the Cocle coast offers each visitor beautiful white and dark sand beaches such as Santa Clara, San Carlos, Farallon and Rio Hato. This tropical paradise, very popular among local and foreign tourists, allows you to enjoy a weekend full of fun in all-inclusive hotels, boutique hotels or in a beach cabin. Here there are activities for all tastes, from sunbathing accompanied by a refreshing drink, horseback riding, jet skiing, kayaking, or beach sports such as volleyball and beach soccer, among others.

—Forest Parks—

Ecotourism is one of the activities that has been most promoted in recent years in Cocle, and with a good reason why, it has national parks of great importance for nature conservation. 

  • Cerro Gaital Natural Monument

This protected area is located immediately north of the picturesque town of El Valle de Anton, about 120 km. from Panama City.

The Cerro Gaital Natural Monument is one of the most interesting sites in Panama since the slope of its hills used to be part of the walls of the crater of an ancient volcano in El Valle de Anton. With 1,185 meters above sea level, it has all of a typical humid forest, hosting a great variety of flora. Here the orchids of bright colors and unique beauty stand out from the rest. If you are an experienced hiker, you can follow the path that some consider the most difficult in Panama, the Cerro Gaital trail. This intense hike weaves through dense jungle, where you’ll encounter steep vertical rock climbs before reaching the top, where you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views of the entire surrounding region.

Another site of great interest within this natural monument is the convent located at the back of El Gaital in the La Mesa sector. On these trails you will have the opportunity to interact with nature in all its splendor.

An activity that will bring you even closer to nature is bird watching along the trails, or from the natural viewpoints that this important protected area has, especially in La Mesa.

The easiest way to get to Cerro Gaital is from El Valle de Anton. In the visitor center or the hotel where you are staying, they will give you the needed guidance to arrive and enjoy this wonder of nature.

  • Omar Torrijos National Park

At Parque General de Division Omar Torrijos Herrera, the biological diversity is countless. You can find a variety of flora and fauna ecosystems adapted to different habitats. The vegetation is dominated by exuberant tree ferns, palms, huge trees such as the guayacan and jacaranda, mosses, orchids, bromeliads, heliconias, anthuriums and countless endemic plants of the place.

This park has elevated areas such as the Peña Blanca hill with 1,314 meters above sea level, Tigrero hill with 1,300 meters above sea level and Marta hill with 1,046 meters of altitude. In this area you will find the headwaters of Grande, Nombre de Dios and Belencillo rivers in the Pacific sector and the Belen, San Juan and Guabal rivers on the Caribbean slope. The average temperature ranges between 25° C in the lowest parts and 20° C in the highest points.

Among the species of mammals in danger of extinction that are still in the park you can find jaguars (Panthera onca), pumas (Puma concolor), ocelot (Leopardus pardalis), margay (Leopardus weidii) and the Congo margay (Puma jagouaroundi). There are also stable populations of tapir (Tapírus bairdii), peccary (Tayassu tajacu), wild pig (Tayassu pecari) and white-tailed deer (Odoicoleus vírginíanus). In relation to the mires fauna, the elusive and rare orange-bellied trogon (Trogon aurantiiventris), the umbrella cotinga (Cephalopterus glabricollis), the snow-capped hummingbird (Microhera alboronata) and the rare strong-billed woodcreeper (Xíphocolaptes promeropírhynchus) stand out, among others.

It is always safe to take the tours with a tourist guide from the area,  in trails as Los Helechos being one of the most visited, as well as Sendero Marta, Las Ranas, and Cuerpo de Paz.

How to get there?

From Panama City, it is reached through the Pan-American highway right at the entrance of the Candelaria community, approaching El Cope. From this point the route has an approximate distance of 30 kilometers. Then heading north along a dirt road, until you reach the community of Barrigon. In this community there is a 4 kilometers road (approximately) that goes up to the Calvario hill, inside the park.

—-Valle de Anton—-

This is a beautiful town in the mountains located in the crater of an extinct volcano. A visit to this popular destination is the perfect complement to a trip to the beach. Not only is there plenty to do and see, but you’ll also be able to beat the heat of the lowlands, as the town is 600 meters above sea level. Here you will find beautiful landscapes, streets full of flowers, as well as lush green mountains. You can also enjoy a cool climate as temperatures range between 10 °C and 25 °C, making El Valle de Anton the perfect place for long walks.

As there are many trails to choose from, this destination has all levels, where it is always advisable to go with a local guide. Whether you are a beginner or more experienced in this type of activity, you should start the day at La India Dormida trail, where you can see the sunrise from one of the most popular viewpoints in the area. This beautiful loop hike will take you about 45 minutes from the start to the top, and you’ll be treated to some epic views before heading back along the rim of the crater.

On the outskirts of El Valle de Anton, you can walk up La Gaita hill. This one hour hike will take you to a set of wooden stairs that rise above the trees. There you can enjoy incredible views of all the neighboring mountains, as well as the beautiful San Carlos Lake.

If you are looking for more activities you have to visit Chorro El Macho, a huge waterfall very popular with tourists, and if you are in the mood for a swim you must visit the Thermal Wells, located on the west side of the town. You can also go to El Nispero Zoo to watch the famous Panamanian golden frog, extinct in the wild.

How to get there?

El Valle de Anton is at 120 km. from Panama City, traveling along the Pan-American Highway until reaching Las Uvas. From this point it is approximately 20 minutes to get there by car.

La Pintada 

At only 15 kilometers from Penonome City is La Pintada, a small town famous for being the cradle of the “pintao hat”, although, technically, it is not painted, it has stripes that are created by boiling chisna leaves together with natural reed, acorn or pita fibers. This hat is handcrafted by local artisans; using techniques that have passed from one generation to another. This legendary tradition was declared by UNESCO as an Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

In this town you will find other tourist attractions such as its famous puddles, among which Los Algarrobos stands out, which year after year, during the summer season, receives hundreds of locals and visitors. In addition, in recent years, the already famous Carnavalitos (Carnivals) de La Pintada attract visitors from all over the country and even foreigners.

Another attraction of great historical value are the petroglyphs of La Albina, located just 5 minutes from La Pintada, and which also serves as a route to get to know La Pintada Vieja (Old Pintada Town), where the original nucleus of La Pintada was born. You can also visit the Craft Market, the Public Library, the Government House, restaurants, and much more.

—Things to Do—-

Go on a Pintao Hat Tour, where you will learn how this internationally famous hat that is handmade made at La Pintada. Reservations: +507 6880-7132.

Take a Jet ski tour to Isla Farallon and coastal areas near Santa Clara and Playa Blanca beaches, coast costs $65.00 per person. Book on WhatsApp: +507 6121-5632.

Learn how to go up the Cerro Marta trail – Omar Torrijos National Park. A 13 kilometers adventure (approximately 6 hours) long where you will pass by rivers, waterfalls and a lot of fauna. You can do bird watching, while you climb to the top of the mountain. You are require to be in good physical conditions. Information: (507) 997-9077.

Visit El Valle de Anton Butterfly Heaven, here you will be guided through the entire life process of this species that abounds throughout the country. In the interior area you will be surrounded by hundreds of butterflies, an unforgettable experience. Information: www.butterflyhavenpanama.com/.

Relax watching the beautiful sunsets at any of the beaches on the Pacific Riviera. The sea breeze and the sound of the waves will be your best therapy to relieve stress. The cost is totally free.


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