El Valle and Boquete

Enjoy the cooler temps in these mountain towns, with lots of activities!

El Valle

El Valle is one of the more popular weekend destinations for people in the city, as it’s less than a 2 hour drive (with minimal traffic).

Glass Wing Butterfly

Butterfly Haven
This is one of my favorite spots to visit in El Valle. It’s close to the market, and it’s an easy add-on stop to your itinerary. Along with glass wing butterflies and blue morphos, there are hummingbirds too! It’s a fun, interactive experience for everyone.
More info here.
Amount of time to allot: 30 min-1 hour
Price: Adults $5, Children 1-12 $1.50, Children under 1 are free


Hiking El Chorro Macho (Waterfall)
A fun, short hike to a waterfall, and it’s close to the town center- great to do if you have a free morning! There are signs for the trail, and it’s pretty well established so you shouldn’t get lost.
Amount of time to allot: 2 hours


Hiking La India Dormida
This is arguably the most popular hike in El Valle, and for good reason. The view at the top is beautiful! Named “The Sleeping Indian Woman” for the profile view of the mountain, this hike is a little longer and a little more difficult than others in the area. The beginning of the path is paved, and then changes to dirt after you pass the houses. Shortly after, there is a path to the left and up (you’ll see a tree with a rope hanging down as a marker)- take that path and basically follow it until you’re at the top! The rule on this hike is “siempre izquierda” or “always stay left.” Easy.
Amount of time to allot: 3 hours

At the top of la India Dormida (you can see the trail behind me). If Quincy and I could do it, so can you!

View from the driveway at Casa Di Pietra

Where to Stay
Casa di Pietra! It’s a family owned and operated Bed & Breakfast… Luis and Alfredo are incredible hosts, and a lot of fun to chat with in the wine bar! It’s close to the market/town center, yet just far enough away that it’s quiet and very peaceful.
Rates: Avg $90/night, includes breakfast
More info here or on Airbnb

Boquete

Located between David and Bocas del Toro, Boquete has some great hiking, great coffee, and great (seasonal) strawberries and cream! It’s a cute town, especially for a quick vacation from the city (though it is about a 7 hour drive and will be much, much longer during long/holiday weekends).

Hiking the Lost Waterfalls (1,2 & 3)
It’s a well established trail, and there is an outbuilding where you sign in/out, and pay your entrance fee. The waterfalls are beautiful (my photos do NOT do it justice); I highly recommend this hike!
Amount of time to allot: 2-3 hours
Price: $7 per adult


Los Cangilones de Gualaca
I thought this was really cool! It’s similar to Los Cajones (also in Panama, just closer to the city), found here. It was a great way to cool off and spend the afternoon in the water. It’s about an hour drive from Boquete. There is an entrance fee here, though I can’t remember how much it is… so just have a little cash on hand when you go!


What Else to Do


Hiking Volcán Barú: We did not have time to do this ~16 mile hike, but have heard great things about it from our friends! At the top on a clear day, you can see both the Caribbean and Pacific. There’s a camping area about 30 min from the Summit, so you could easily hike up one day, stay overnight, and head to the summit for sunrise before heading back to Boquete. More info here. I know that you can also hike from Boquete to Volcan, but I don’t have the best info for that, so I cannot recommend anything at this time!

Coffee Tours and Tastings: We didn’t do any of the scheduled tours (we did a tour in Nicaragua prior to our time in Panama, and we didn’t want to spend our morning hearing similar information); instead, we just popped in to taste and buy some beans to take back to the city. Nomadic Matt has a lot more detailed information here, but the main coffee plantations/tours are:
Finca Dos Jefes; Classic 2.5 hour tour for $30pp, Tasting 2.5 hour tour for $35pp
Finca Casanga; 2-3 hour tour for $35 per adult, $10 per teen, young children are free
Cafe Ruiz

Strawberries and Cream
If you see a stand on the side of the road for strawberries with cream, stop and get some. It’s a great fresh treat, and something that the area is known for!