Must see attractions in Coclé Province

  • Sights in El Valle

    Butterfly Haven

    One of El Valle's top attractions allows you to walk among up to 250 butterflies as they flutter by in a screened 'flight house.' Learn more about these ephemeral creatures, which live for just a couple of weeks maximum, through a 15-minute video, life-cycle exhibits and a rearing lab, where you'll see lepidoptera in various stages of development. The enthusiastic owner from the USA will gladly show you around the enclosure, pointing out fabulous specimens such as the stunning giant blue morpho and the owl butterfly, whose wings mimic the bird's eyes. Multilingual info sheets are available.

  • Sights in El Valle

    Chorro El Macho

    The most famous waterfall in the El Valle region is 35m-high Chorro El Macho, one of four cascades located about 2km north of town; it's a 15-minute walk from the road and the entrance to the Canopy Adventure tour. Below the falls you’ll find a natural swimming pool (US$2.50) surrounded by rainforest. There is also a series of short hiking trails that wend their way into the surrounding jungle. This towering waterfall is quite forceful and makes for some excellent photographs. El Valle’s famed canopy tour offers an unforgettable aerial view of Chorro El Macho.

  • Sights in El Valle

    Zoológico El Níspero

    About 1km north of Av Central, this zoo set in the forest is home to everything from tapirs and capuchin monkeys to jaguars and more than 50 species of bird. It is also the best place to see Panama’s endangered ranas doradas (golden frogs); the strikingly colored toads are housed in the Panama Amphibian Rescue & Conservation Project Center, which is located here as well. As the frogs are extremely sensitive to human intrusion and climate change, their numbers continue to diminish; it's thus very unlikely you will see them in the wild.

  • Sights in El Valle

    Panama Amphibian Rescue & Conservation Project Center

    This conservation center was created in 2007 with the support of Houston Zoo to help save amphibians from a deadly virus threatening their numbers around the world. Run by a dedicated team of conservationists, the center exhibits native Panamanian species, in particular the golden frog. The research area is private and devoted to quarantine, treatment and captive breeding efforts. It is located in the grounds of Zoológico El Níspero; entry is included in the zoo admission price. The center features educational exhibits and houses some 40 species.

  • Sights in El Valle

    Aprovaca

    For the largest selection of orquídeas (orchids) in the region, visit this idyllic, not-for-profit garden east of the center, run by the local association of orchid producers. Volunteers work to maintain the lovely flowers inside the greenhouse and the grounds, and they welcome visitors to show off the more than 100 species of orchids cultivated here. Orchids are temperamental bloomers; check out the display room near the entrance to see what's flowering at the moment.

  • Sights in El Valle

    La Piedra Pintada

    Located in the northwestern corner of the valley, La Piedra Pintada is a huge boulder adorned with pre-Columbian carvings. Locals sometimes fill in the grooves of the petroglyphs with chalk to make them easier to see. The meaning of the petroglyphs isn’t clear; some think it is an early map of the area. That doesn’t prevent children from giving their interpretation of the petroglyphs for US$2 in Spanish. The stone is about 300m up a trail from the main road. La Piedra Pintada can be reached by a colorful bus with ‘Pintada’ above the windshield. It passes along Av Central every 30 minutes or so from 6am to 6pm (US$0.25 one way).

  • Sights in El Valle

    Square-Trunk Trees

    El Valle’s peculiar árboles cuadrados (square-trunk trees) are located northeast of the Hotel Campestre. After a 30-minute hike through the forest and climbing over two footbridges (including a scary suspension one), you’ll reach a grove of trees that are certainly a lot closer to being square than round. These geometric formations are the source of much local pride; make of them what you will.

  • Sights in El Valle

    Museo Histórico Padre José Noto

    The most interesting exhibits in this small, very central museum divided into seven sections are the ones focusing on petroglyphs and ceramics produced by indigenous peoples who lived in the area hundreds of years ago. There is also some religious art – the museum is run by the Iglesia de San José (Church of St Joseph) next door – as well as historical and geological information on El Valle’s extinct volcano.

  • Sights in El Valle

    Chorro Las Mozas

    The most accessible of the waterfalls around El Valle is Chorro Las Mozas, located about 2km southwest of town; you can reach it on foot from the center in about half an hour. This is the original site where the prehistoric lake breached its banks to form the area's scenic cascades and deep pools. It’s popular with locals enjoying El Valle’s year-round, near-perfect spring weather.

  • Sights in El Valle

    Museo Victoriano Lorenzo

    The exhibits in the three rooms of this small museum east of the center focus on local history and the eponymous mestizo national hero. The most interesting thing on display is the casa de quincha in the garden, a typical Panamanian mud hut with earthen floor and open hearth.