The Rio Grande Basin of the Coclé region (a province of central Panama on the nation’s southern coast) has become famous in recent years for the discovery of extraordinary remains exhibiting the life and customs of pre-Columbian societies in the Neotropics. The El Caño Archeological Park, located close to Rio Grande, is of particular importance. In 2009, archeologists discovered the tomb of an important Coclé warrior buried with treasures such as breastplates, bracelets, belts, and ear sticks made of gold and copper, stone and bone. The artifacts found were so spectacular that an article in National Geographic Magazine (2012) entitled “The Golden Chiefs of Panama” describe El Caño and its surrounding areas as “Panama Valley of the Kings”. Since that time many more tombs have been identified and continue to be excavated.
Keep your eyes open, butterflies are everywhere!
This butterfly house is a site dedicated to the study, the reproduction and the public exhibition of butterflies, directed by Panamanian biologists and entrepreneurs.
Mariposario Cerro Lavieja only reproduces native local species of the Coclé province and breed them with the help of biologists.
In this huge area of 1200 square meters, besides the flying butterflies, caterpillars or pupae, you will also find a little butterfly exhibition area and some souvenirs to buy and to offer to your loved ones.
(Just to know: A percentage of souvenirs sales go to a Butterfly Conservation Program to help in the protection of butterflies and their ecosystems.)
Located only 30 minutes far away from Penonomé, immersed in a fresh mountains climate for the growth of these fascinating insects’ growth, the Mariposario Cerro Lavieja is the bigger butterfly house of Panama, with approximatively 40 different species.
You will have the chance to see between 500 to 800 butterflies flying, depending on the season.
If you are lucky, you will meet the majestic, famous and amazing Blue Morpho!
For only $5.00 per person and one-hour tour (maximum of 30 people divided in two groups of 15), you will begin your visit by a short introduction to the butterfly life.
You will then entry the Butterfly House area surrounded by luxurious tropical vegetation with giant ferns and colorful heliconia flowers.
In the 8 stops through the Butterfly House, the guide will talk to you about the location, the altitude and rain precipitation of the area. The tour will continue by showing you how butterflies feed, lay their eggs, and reproduce each other.
You will have the unique opportunity to touch butterflies and their caterpillars and feel the butterflies flying or posing on your hands, heads or shoulders!
Don’t forget to bring your camera because you are gonna have so many occasions to take wonderful pictures of orchids, other flowers and butterflies lying on flowers and leaves!
During this visit, you will learn and discover butterflies’ life history and diversity in Panama. Before leaving you will take a look inside the “lab” to see eggs, and touch some big Owl Butterfly caterpillars and pupae, and possibly release new born butterflies into the butterfly house (daily in the morning).
Do not miss this unique and emotional experience!
Contact us at email@example.com
Little getaway in a fresh start Eco Lodge, in Cocle Province.
By Juliette Darmon
From panama, early on the morning, we set out to discover a fresh start Eco Lodge, in Cocle province: Villa Tavidá
After three hours’ drive, we arrived in this little paradise, where the tranquility and calmness overwhelmed us.
At once exiting the car, we were immersed in a relaxing universe, so quiet, pleasant and restful, where the nature is the queen, so far away from the capital.
After an overview of the site, we were discovering the thalassotherapy area, made up of massage rooms, little sport corner, two saltwater Jacuzzis, and a relaxing place in front of a wonderful nature view.
A library area very friendly and decorated with several old objects is likewise ready to be discovered.
You will also have the possibility to take a mud bath, excellent for the skin, and to rinse yourself afterwards in the large and amazing waterfall, located so close. A unique and wonderful experience we don’t have the chance to live everyday!
As I was, you will be pleasantly surprised by the calmness which reigns in this little paradise.
It’s the perfect place to have a break and forget about our stressful daily life. Just close your eyes in front of Mother Nature and let you dream!
Afterwards, I could go down in the rainforest and looking for the Tavidá waterfall. In the middle of nature, we could have a bath and enjoy the current time.
Even if, we were actually already wet because of the waterfall water sprays…!
Tips: Beware of the current!
After this little getaway, we had lunch in the lodge restaurant, adorned with bamboos and plants, where I could taste delicious Panamanian dishes, as well as a cheesecake with its awesome maracuja jam.
I really recommend you to draw up there and even stay one night! Their large rooms with terrace, are still immersed in a relaxing atmosphere. Not to mention the shower… While you shampoo, you will admire the rainforest and its waterfall! And I swear that it’s weight in gold!
Slight advantage: a lodge area is entirely dedicated and equipped for disabled people, with special rooms.
Like me, let yourself surprise by this charming little paradise, and you will feel relive!
Contact us http://www.ecocircuitos.com
Paradise Getaway: Tavida Lodge
Going up the road on the edge of the volcanic crater of El Valle de Anton offers spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and the coast line of Panama province. Following the windy steep mountain road surrounded by beautiful nature will eventually take you into the region of Posada La Vieja, with conic peaks rising up from lush forests. The Villa Tavida Lodge is located in the middle of those mountains in a private nature reserve, surrounded by beautiful gardens and a spectacular waterfall. You clearly entered a private little paradise here in this charming boutique hotel surrounded by beautiful gardens and spectacular views. Don’t miss out to try the delicious home-made dishes and organic products made out of a delicious local blueberry!
What to do in El Valle de Antón
At only 120 Km from Panama City and very close from the Pacific beaches in Cocle province is located the quaint town of el Valle. This beautiful town is nestled in the caldera -crater- of the second largest inhabited volcano in the world. This crater with a radius of 6 km was formed about 1.1-1.3 million years ago. Today the crater forms the ground for the small town El Valle de Anton with its 6200 inhabitants.
El Valle, lying 600 m above sea level, owns an all-season mild springtime climate. Year-round average high temperature is 28° C, and the average nighttime minimum is 20° C, with little variation between summer and rainy season. The dry season starts in the middle of December and lasts until the the beginning of May. During the rainy season the town turns greener and nature is at is best. This time is ideal for hiking and longer treks.
WHAT TO DO IN EL VALLE
Local Artisan and Vegetable Market
On Sundays is full of people. Here you can buy tropical fruits, plants, flowers and beautiful orchids. Also you different artisans show their local art and handicrafts. Including: ceramics, bateas (wooden trays), woven baskets, hats, carved and painted totumas (cups made from squash) and trinkets made from acorn.
Bird Watching – El Valle is one of the best places in Panama for birders. More than 339 birds species has been registered.
Butterfly Haven (El Mariposario) – Experience the wonder and tranquility of being immersed in hundreds of living, jewel colored butterflies in a tropical rain forest setting. Hours: Everyday from 9 am to 3:30 pm, closed on Wednesday. Closed October and November
Zip Lining or Canopy Adventure – The Canopy Tour and the “Chorro El Macho” waterfall share the same entrance. Here, from platforms 100 feet in the air, you are given a spectacular insight and view of the cloud forrest´s fauna and flora.
On this tour you soar above the waterfall twice. The tour lasts aprox. one and a half hours and costs around 55 US$ per person. More information can be found here.
Chorro El Macho Waterfall – This waterfall is the largest in the región with a drop of 70m. It is just a 30 minutes walk from the towncenter in the direction of La Mesa. Since the beginning of 2009 it is not posible anymore to see it close-by or take a bath in the natural pool. Open every day from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm
Chorro Las Mosas Waterfalls, along Rio Anton – To reach these rapids it is a1/2 hour walk. From here follow the right side of the river for 30 minutes to reach a natural swimming pool. Here the local youth venture very dangerous jumps into the pond. In the Green Season you hardly can see the path to the pool. It is more or less a climbing at the slippy rockface to reach it. There is danger to slip, fall on the rocks hidden under the water or end up in one of the caves below.
Hiking – A path behind the Hotel Campestre will lead you to the Cloud Forest Reserve of the Cerro Gaital Natural Monument. Here the cloud forrest offers its unique flora and fauna. Serious walkers and birdwatchers will be pleased.
To scale the peak of Cerro Gaital there is another entrance after the village of La Mesa (which is also a great place for bird watching). The village can be reached by car or local buses.
There are two tours from La Mesa: For the large one to the top you should ask the locals for advice, start early in the morning and bring some climbing experiences with you. Up and down it will take about 5-6 hours.
The Sleeping Indian or La India Dormida is a hill chain with the silhouette of a sleeping Indian woman in the west of El Valle. The name has it´s origin in a local legend.
Another interesting tour is to Rio Indio, one hour away from El Valle (by car) in the cloud forrest. You can reach the place with the public pickups that leave in the center of the town a few times a day.
Biking – The valley offers excellent roads with great scenic views and little traffic. Bikes can be rented in many hotels.
Horse Back Riding – Another way to discover the valley is by horse. The spot were you can rent them is near the Hotel Campestre. The fee is $5.00 per hour. A guide can be engaged on request
Orchids Center (Aprovaca Orquídeas) – The nonprofit organisation APROVACA (Asociación de Productores de Orquídeas El Valle y Cabuya) deicates itself to the task of cultivating and conserving endangered local and regional orchids. At the moment 147 different kinds of orchids can be seen. Open every day from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm
Petroglyphs: La Piedra Pintada – This pre-Columbian pertroglyph (more a rock face) couldn´t be decoded yet. Some locals say it has been a map for traders, other say it is a map of caves connecting the mountain range.
Pozos termales (Hot Springs) – There are two cement pools under the jungle canopy. They are filled with hot mineral water (38 degree Centigrade), coming directly out of the volcanic ground from a depth of 1200 m. Another atraction here is the mineral clay you can use for a face mask or a full body cover. There is also a picknick area and a playground.
Open every day from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm