A trip perfect for families, Anton Valley

(Sept 2017)

Anton Valley is located in Coclé province around 120k from the Panamanian capital, in the crater of an inactive volcano. Warm water rafts remain underneath the mountain that once were a lake, and that today allow us to enjoy some activities. Besides it has a cooler weather, something you are graceful after the hot Panama City, and it is usually quiet; so we leave Panama and around two hours later we arrived to our B&B (but there are cheaper and more expensive options too).

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Before we dig into it, we would like to say that although the title of this post says “perfect for families”, we were going alone, but as the pregnancy is well advanced we did more of the easy activities (that you can do with either kids or adults) than we would normally do (may be you are more interested in other activities that we didn’t get the chance to do). As we arrived on a Thursday, there was no movement in the village and we ended up having dinner at Sabores del Perú, as it was the only open restaurant and we did have a good experience. After one night sleep in silence and cool, we started Friday with our batteries recharged.

Sometimes your body takes charge more than you would like to, and I was tired on Friday, still we did what we had planned (but in a slower pace). We started just wandering around the village, there is not much to see, but we wanted to walk. Thank God we had a car and we put some remedy to all that walking! We had planned to go to the Square Tree Forest, a small route around 40 minutes that starts at Campestre Hotel. To be fair, the trees don’t have a perfect square shape but they are straighter than than usual. Apparently the inner rings in the trunk of the trees are also square shaped. Anyways, the walk is easy to make, fun to watch, light and different (perfect for kids, elderly and of course, pregnant women like me!) Some trees do look more square shaped than others. We also enjoyed plenty of animals along the way, most of them small reptiles and butterflies. A short stop to eat before continuing our morning route. A friend recommended El Camino del Inka (also Peruvian) and to order the daily menu, it is based on rice, salad and either chicken or fish, it is a generous portion at a very good price.

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What to do after lunch? Some of the activities we had thought about doing closed between 3:30 and 4:30pm so we decided to go to the Thermal Waters where, after a brief explanation, we put our mud masks on, and we enjoyed a relaxing feet bath, Nacho had the opportunity to enjoyed the mineral water pool too (but it is not recommended for pregnant women). The experience was, above all, relaxing, as everything is outdoors. You can go to a spa or take the spa to the forest! For dinner we decided to go to what we had planned the night before L’Italiano, a famous place due to its pizzas, but we couldn’t taste them (they were fixing the oven) so we chose the fresh pasta that Roberto (the Italian chef) prepared for us.

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Our last day in the Valley we were full of energy so we headed to Chorro Macho, a 70 metre tall waterfall, and we took a walk of around 40 minutes before getting to the natural pool (that was cold) but there are a few other activities you can do if you want something beyond wandering around. The walk was beautiful thanks to its leafy sights, everything is green and you can hear the water falling all around you. Once again we found lizards and butterflies

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One last stop before heading for lunch, we had our doubts between the Orchids Centre and the Butterfly Heaven but chose the second one. And it was the right decision. They showed and explain to us the different phases of the butterfly’s life cycle (we saw eggs, caterpillars, cocoons, and butterflies), we got to ask plenty of question and once our curiosity was satisfied, we were surrounded by these beautiful insects. Just then, butterflies born that same day were introduced to the garden, and they rested in our clothes before flying for the first time.

To end our trip in the Valley we headed to La Casa de Lourdes located in the edge of the village in a beautiful estate. This time the food was highly elaborated and every bite you melted.

Costo:

3 day car rental: $102 or 85€

B&B accommodation: $90 or 75€ per night

Entrance fee to the Square Tree Forest: $3 or 2’5€ per person

Thermal Waters entrance fee: $3 or 2’5€ per person

Entrance fee to  Chorro Macho: $5 or 4€ per person

Entrance fee to Butterfly Heaven: $5 or €4 per person

Dinner at Sabores del Perú: $22 or 18€ for two

Lunch at El Camino del Inka: $4’65 or 3’8€ per person

Dinner at L’italiano: $42 or 35€ for two (with one desert)

Lunch at La Casa de Lourdes: $60 or 50€ for two (with one glass of wine and a desert)

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