El Valle, Panama

Check out my video filled with wildlife found in El Valle

Facts about El Valle, Anton Valley
El Valle de Anton is a town in central Panama. It’s in the crater of an extinct volcano, surrounded by mountains and cloud forest. To the north, Cerro Gaital National Park protects 3 hills: Cerro Gaital, Cerro Pajita, and Cerro Caracoral. Its trails have ocean views and the park is home to hundreds of species of native birds, including the red-legged honeycreeper, the bay-headed tanager, and the blue-crowned motmot.

You can get there from Panama City for about 12 bucks altogether.

Best Hostel
What makes El Valle so cool is the deep mountainous rainforest vibe. The sounds at night are amazing. I stayed at the Bodhi Hostel which I would recommend. It has a very nice Asian/buddha vibe with unique handmade from local material furniture. It is clean and the staff is very polite. Included with your stay: free breakfast, high-speed internet WiFi, lockers, bikes for rent, communal kitchen, bbq area, Shisha/Hookah lounge and bar with affordable beer.

The guy at the front desk pulled out a printed map with all the POIs emphasized. He spoke about each one giving brief details in a timely fashion. He made it clear if wanted to learn more I could always ask. You will find cool people from all over the world here as it is the most popular hostel in El Valle.

Prices are reasonable a $12usd for dorm and $28usd for private room

Prices vary by season

bodhi hostels


If you prefer sloths over people then keep reading.

Want to Pet a Sloth? Zip Line the Jungle? Test your manhood on an awesome ATV tour? If not there is a very nice Butterfly Haven you can walk through…. Haha all jokes aside I did it all (Estoy hombre y mi gusto mariposa)

The ATV trip is the top of my list (unfortunately its also the most expensive)


Taharaa ATV Tours
#1 of 20 things to do in El Valle de Anton
Price: $160 per ATV (tell him Tyler from Trek with Tech sent you, can’t promise it will do much but we spent a lot of time together so its worth it)
If you want to throw someone on back add $25
Only 2 people per ATV, this is not your mama’s ATV ride by the way….with that said my Mama did it. However, she has spent a fair amount of time on the back of dirt bikes so she had a bit of experience. I don’t mean to scare anyone away I think anyone can do it, the machines are new, and four-wheel drive. The rain can make the final climb difficult though.


Butterfly Haven
#2 of 20 things to do in El Valle de Anton
I was somewhat dragged here but very glad I went. Butterflies are mother natures living flowers and you really see that here. The tour guide was extremely polite and knew English fairly well. He made sure to show us at least 25 different species of

El Nispero Zoo and Botanical Garden
#6 of 20 things to do in El Valle de Anton
Not the most extravagant zoo but a zoo in the rainforest nonetheless. A tourist pays roughly 12 bucks to enter. However, as usual, my memory is foggy.

El Valle Panama Hot Springs
#9 of 20 things to do in El Valle de Anton
Did not do personally, however, my sister did and she said she had a good experience so I felt it was worth mentioning as she rarely steers me wrong. The water may not be steam hot but warm.

Canopy Adventure
#20 of 20 things to do in El Valle de Anton
Not quite sure why this is so low on the trip advisor list. Maybe that south park episode about zipping had a impact. It was enjoyable but as you can imagine the highs are brief and a little too topical. It was interesting never the less. Cost was

Casa Mariposa (Sloth Hotel)
#3 of 15 B&Bs / Inns in El Valle de Anton
Where do I begin? First of all, thank god this place exists. The property is stunning. The creek running through it is a haven for frogs that lull you to sleep

How to get to San Blas, Panama

San Blas, Panama

If you haven’t already make sure to check out this video I made during my time on San Blas

The trip to San Blas is advertised everywhere for a premium. These All-inclusive packages may sound amazing but I’ve always been a skeptic. I was determined to find the cheapest way to get to San Blas. So I did what we all do. I googled “San Blas on a budget” the first non-advertised hit was an article by Seven Continent Sasha who is a world explorer from down under. In her article, Sasha mentions the Franklin family that she was unable to stay with. Taking her advice I was lucky enough to reserve the Franklin family (thanks to her awesome article). I also decided to stay at hostel mamallena (also mentioned her article) which the tour company knew instantly allowing everything run smoothly. Great hostel by the way.

Tourism in San Blas is still fragile and on small scale, this makes the islands a beautiful place for you to explore. It has one of the best-preserved coral reefs in the world where you are allowed to snorkel. One of the main spots for tourist to try out snorkeling is Dog Island also known as Isla Perro. This island is famous because there is a shipwreck in front of the island reachable by snorkeling and swimming. On the Dog Island, you will also find a very nice beach.

Much of the information below was taken directly from the email received after booking with Lam Tours (contact info at bottom of page)

Panama City hostel to San Blas

Pick Up in the Morning: The pick-up time is between 5-5:40 AM

Land transportation from Panama – Port Barsukun – Panama.

Takes roughly 3-3.5 hours

Boat transportation from Port Barsukun – Cabanas Franklin (Tubasenika Island) – Port Barsukun.

Takes roughly 30-40 minutes

What to do when you get to San Blas

Aside from snorkeling around the island and eating coconuts off the ground, you can get to know thy neighbors. Visit many other islands for $5-$10 bucks. So you don’t have to worry about getting marooned on an island you don’t like (unlikely but nice to have options). You can stay with more than one family so you if you find one you like during your tours, speak to the family you are with to arrange the transition. The community profits directly from tourism so they do not mind sharing tourists with a fellow native.

TOURS: You can make any tour to get to know other islands or the indigenous community, ask for Pali and will help with the cost of the tours that are paid directly on the island. Tours start from $15 per person.


Drink costs I can recall

Balboa beer can 1.50

Coca-Cola can 1.50

Closo Wine – 10/box? (surely not 10 bucks a glass right?)

Total Costs

How much does it cost in total? Below are figures that the Tour Company does not include in your total. Make sure to bring cash with you as It does not seem like they take VISA.

NOT typically INCLUDED:

–  Entrance Fee to San Blas $20.00

–  Port Taxes $2.00

–  Any Types of beverages: Water, sodas, beers, etc. (Your driver will stop at the Grocery Store on the way).


Total Breakdown of one person

a 4×4 trip to and from Guna Yala Port: $60

Boat ride to and from San Blas islands: $30

Entrance Fee/Port Tax: $22

Total including Entrance Fee/Port Tax/RoundTrip Transportation= $112

…Then it’s just a matter of how long you want to stay.

$26 dollars a night for shared cabin (includes 3 meals a day)

+$18 more per night for Private which will most certainly put you directly on the beach with ocean view. 

I recommend you stay for at least 5 days. The hardest part is getting there so soak it up while you can.


My money saving TIP: Keep in mind I booked a shared cabin and received an empty cabin so depending on the time of year couples may not have to pay more for privacy. You can always change your reservation on the island (given its available) so you may be able to get by booking shared and upgrading based on the population of the shared room.

Are you a picky eater? Great, I am too. Youll is happy to hear its mostly edible. The scariest thing was a fried fish (where it looks like it jumped out of the ocean and into a deep frier). They have options for lobster as well for those of you who want to splurge.

What did I eat?

Breakfast: fried egg on Untoasted bread served with tea and coffee

Lunch: fried fish with rice and vegetables served with tea and coffee

Dinner: fish and papa fritas (french fries) served with tea and coffee

Try the cinnamon tea it’s amazing.

How will you know when it’s time to eat?

A man blows a Conch! The island is small enough you will definitely hear it!

Additional info about the Gala/Yala Kuna community

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As you can see, San Blas will remain informal until the Panamanian laws are effective in the region of San Blas, and no one can force them to change their laws because they are independent, the government of Panama may require that they must respect as his first law, the Constitution of Panamá.

Mandatory Documents Requirements: DON’T FORGET YOUR ORIGINAL passport, Migration and Border Police will review all passports before arriving in San Blas and out of San Blas. Must travel with your original passport or cedula Panamanian as will go through a review of migration and border police, will review the entry stamp to our country, and no one can be illegal crossing borders to go to Colombia or arriving from Colombia (ORIGINAL passport – DO NOT ACCEPT COPIES – THERE IS NO EXCEPTION).


Drone footage: Despite the Drone footage you may see on my page. Please be advised Drone footage is strictly prohibited on the Franklin Island. I found out the hard way. The drone footage you see was taken during the brief moments I did not know about this policy. I took down my drone immediately upon learning of violation and implore those who go in the future not to mimic my behavior.

Pictures of indigenous people: There was a moment when a man was paddling his canoe down the river, I grabbed my phone to take the shot and was informed by the boat driver not to. It’s easy to forget about sensitivity and privacy (especially when you grew up in North America) however it’s always a good idea to ask permission before taking shots of people on and around this community.

Starfish: Never bring starfish above water, you can kill it this way.

Contact info to arrange San Blas Trip from Panama City

I recommend using WhatsApp as Judy is very on top of it, she responded quite promptly to my messages starting at 8:30pm. Her English is exceptional and she made Booking this trip a breeze.

Judy E Lam


USA: 1 (704) 469 – 9146

Panama: 507 395 – 7105

WhatsApp: 507 6706 – 2810 | 507 6088 – 9000

E-Mail: info@lamtourspanama.com

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Rincon Point, California


Rincon (Spanish, “angle” or “corner”) is a surf spot located at the Ventura and Santa Barbara County line in Southern California, USA. Also known as the “Queen of the Coast”, Rincon is one of the most famous surf spots in California, known around the world for its well-formed waves and long rides.[1] The book 100 Best Surf Spots in the World rates Rincon at 24.[2] It is best at low tide during the winter months when swells are coming mostly from the west and northwest. There is a gated residential community that occupies most of the Rincon beachfront. However, public access is provided at parking lots on both sides of the gated community, with restrooms and a picnic area in the upper parking lot, Rincon Beach Park.[3]
Rincon Point is home to the Rincon Classic[4] surf championship scheduled for January each year. The championship draws local surf greats and spectators to the beach every year. Though scheduled for January, the event is often delayed until surf conditions merit a contest. The Rincon Classic is open to area residents only.

Rincon is referenced in The Beach Boys classic song from 1962, Surfin’ Safari:

At Huntington and Malibu
They’re shooting the pier
At Rincon they’re walking the nose
We’re going on safari to the islands this year
So if you’re coming get ready to go






Day-in-a-Minute Window Time Lapse Sunset

One of the rare occasions I wake up before the sun rises. Decided to take advantage of it with a sunrise timelapse that turned into all day timelapse.