Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Overstaying Our Welcome in El Valle de Antón, Panama

El Valle de Antón, sometimes called El Valle, was our higher elevation escape over the past month while we kicked around Panama. We ended up driving up to El Valle 3 times. Luckily, it is only 16 miles off the highway, so the actual distance wasn't an issue. The drive is slow, twisty, and steep in parts, but the delicious climate was worth it - around 70F in the evening and maybe 65F at night.

A: Playa Venao and B: El Valle de Anton (we drove this 180-mile stretch 3 times).

El Valle is also an escape for the rich Panamanians who are lucky enough to have one of the mansions in the valley. We spent countless days exploring the valley roads that climb out of the valley. Some of the roads were unbikeably steep. We tried though...

The police station is right off the main, and only, road through town. They allowed us to camp/park on their property next to the soccer field. We thought it was a community/school soccer field, but later found out it was part of the police property. Santana, the night-cop, checked in on us a couple of mornings to ask if our sleep had been tranquilo. How nice!

Good morning El Valle

El Valle is only a couple of hours from Panama City, and therefore, it's a strategic place to camp before driving to the big hot city. We thought we would stay a few nights in El Valle and then head to Panama City to complete our shipping process. After our first stay in El Valle, we drove towards Panama City, only to learn that our ship was delayed (we will explain the shipping thing in an upcoming blog post). After a big shopping diversion in the mall near Coronado, we turned around and followed our tracks back to El Valle.

The silver lining of our false start to Panama City was that we discovered our favorite store EVER! For those of you from the northwest, think GI Joe's with groceries. It's called" El Machetazo" -- The Machete Man! It has good prices and pretty much ANYTHING you could need - home appliances, clothing, musical instruments, food, sporting goods, furniture, electronics, auto parts, the list goes on. We splurged on a couple of gifts for ourselves - a spear gun and a pressure cooker. Assuming we are now on the FBI watch list for these purchases...

Fantastic views with a storm on the way

Finding shelter from a torrential downpour


Anonymous said...

I am definitely curious about your Darien Gap experience. We are waffling between traversing Central America or just shipping straight to Cartegena from the US. We have a Sunrader (similar to your Tiger in size), and I'm nervous about shipping RORO. We'll see. I'd love to know the details about your Darien Gap experience and if you think Central America is worth the hassle if we are not surfers and have been to the region before.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I meant to comment on your Darien Gap post instead of this one. ;)

Heather and Scott said...

Hi Rameyontheroad,
I wouldn't be too nervous about shipping RoRo. You can put up a bomber blockade between the cab and living quarters. You might also want to put up some crossbars on the windows in the back too. I'll send you a longer email - we have lots of opinions and shipping info! If you've already visited the region, aren't a surfer, and don't necessarily like hot weather, I would definitely skip driving through Central America. Email us at

Unknown said...

Hi! Great adventures! And great photos! I'm in charge of Social Media for Panama Vacations, a travel group based out of Panama City, and I would love to share that great cycling photo with the crazy sign. Do you mind if I post it on Facebook and G+? Anything you'd like to link it back to? A caption? Check us out at