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

tripadvisor

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)

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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.

tripadvisor

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
tripadvisor

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.
https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g635545-d1978054-Reviews-El_Nispero_Zoo_and_Botanical_Garden-El_Valle_de_Anton_Cocle_Province.html

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.
https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g635545-d6224389-Reviews-El_Valle_Panama_Hot_Springs-El_Valle_de_Anton_Cocle_Province.html

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
https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g635545-d3140531-Reviews-Casa_Mariposa-El_Valle_de_Anton_Cocle_Province.html

Gamboa Rainforest Resort (Jurassic Park minus dinosaurs)

Gamboa is located off the Gatun Lake where you can see thousands of tons of freight being moved, above sea level, through the recently (2015) expanded Panama canal.

Took the Bus from Albrook Mall Station

Vending Snacks while waiting

$1 can coke

$.40 crackers

$.60 Doritos

Bus from Albrook to Gamboa

$1.50 for bus ticket

…Additional 1 dollars paid to bus drivers for seemingly no reason other than white boy tax haha I gladly handed it over, still a great deal.

I stayed at the Gamboa Rainforest Resort. A prestigious Hotel located in the heart of the jungle. There is nothing quite like it anywhere around it, which makes the view from your “River-View” room absolutely immersive.

This is not your typical “BackPacker Spot” as prices are inflated however not completely unreasonable especially if you keep reading and learn how to enjoy the Rainforest Resort on a budget.

First thing’s first. The Gamboa Rainforest Resort is located in a rather remote part of Gamboa. You will not be able to easily find restaurants, convenience stores and the like. Sure, you can take a bus or taxi to a place somewhat nearby, however, I recommend bringing a majority of your food and especially your drinks with you.

There are 2 ways to get food while at the resort either you can choose the all-inclusive breakfast lunch and dinner buffet (including drinks) for 80 bucks. The other option is to form the Monkey Bar which is open late but seemingly shuts down completely after 2am. I will take this moment to compliment the chef on a fine Angus burger by America standards, keep in mind it comes at a premium of $14 so savor your bites.

There is a 3rd option for the last minute backpacker, you will find the most affordable drinks and snacks in the gift shop, visible from the monkey bar.

Cokes, water, and Gatorade will be a dollar cheaper here than at the bar.

Couple prices I can remember off the top of my head

Total paid for three-night stay with promotion: $328

Monkey bar prices

Pizza $9 (pretty awful)

Angus burger $14

Lesser burger $9

Coke $3

Bottled Water $3

Gift shop

Coke $2

Gatorade $2

Water $2

Crackers $.50

Doritos (small bag) $1.00

Granola bars $.75

Tours

Safari night tour $0

They offer a boat trip down canal where you will see monkeys and caimans, tour of rainforest animal sanctuary featuring a sloth, and tours of dart frogs, butterflies, and native flowers…You can get the entire trip for $90. However, they do have options to break up the packages for the selective.

If it’s nature you are looking for, you will not need a tour to find it. There is plenty of interesting wildlife readily available such as Agouti (jungle rat haha) and Capybara. When you are walking through a rainforest you will find life everywhere you look. We saw 3 different types of monkeys, toucans, Carmen, dart frogs, tamarins, amazing amphibians, insane insects and cool reptiles (thought I was going to use something starting with an “r” right?).

 

 

 

Overall I really enjoyed my time at this resort and will include a link to more amazing drone footage I was able to capture while here.

Gamboa Rainforest Resort Website

Trip Advisor Reviews

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

 

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