Central Panama

Perfect for pottering about.

El Valle

3 million years ago a large volcano destroyed itself in a massive eruption that left a crater 5km across, the second largest in the world.

Nestling inside the crater is El Valle, a tranquil mountain town with a pleasant year-round spring climate: a favourite retreat for wealthy Panamanians being just 2 hours by road from Panama City. It's a good place to relax and explore, and a delight for walkers, with trails leading across flower-strewn mountain slopes, lush cool forests with babbling mountain streams and ancient burial grounds.

Attractions including canopy tours, the 80ft El Chorro El Macho waterfall and Pozos Termales hot springs, where you can soak in thermal waters or take a dip in mineral-rich volcanic mud baths.

Traders from indigenous communities arrive from around the country to set up stall at the vibrant Sunday market, offering traditional handicrafts including the distinctive woven basketry of the Embera people who live in the forests of Darién and the carved woods of the Ngöbe Buglé, from the western provinces of Chiriquí and Bocas del Toro.

You can also find the beautiful hand-stitched 'molas' of the Kuna community.

Santiago and the Azuero Peninsula

The Panamerican Highway leads onwards via the bustling city of Santiago between the mountains of the Central Cordillera and the Azuero Peninsula.

The peninsula is a bastion of country life and folk culture-small farms, cowboys, fiestas, and ladies in ruffled pollera dresses, with a coast that's dotted with surf beaches.

Start planning your trip to Panama

Let us know what kind of trip to Panama you are most interested in, and when you are thinking of travelling. Our travel experts know Panama extremely well, and will be delighted to offer some initial ideas and advice, and to develop a more detailed design for your holiday as your ideas evolve. You can order our special brochure for Costa Rica, Panama & Nicaragua here.

Call us on 020 7281 7788 ( Mon-Fri 9:15-5:45). Or we'd be happy to call you back.


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Holiday designs that visit this region

'Selfdrive Panama'

Panama - Selfdrive touring

With reasonable roads and much to see along the way, a self-drive holiday in western and central Panama makes good sense for the independent-minded traveller.

14 nights from £2475

'Easy Birding in Panama'

Panama - Birdwatching

275-300 species in a week of relatively easy bird watching in two complementary locations

11 nights from £3175

Other parts of Panama