Mountains: Hiking, Rafting, Canopy Zipline, Birding

About a million years ago a huge volcano collapsed and formed one of the biggest craters of the Americas. The charming town El Valle is situated at about 600 m above sea level right in the former crater. Here you can visit the market, hot springs, a small town museum, a zoo, pre-Columbian petroglyphs, trail to waterfalls, do a canopy zipline tour, or go for a walk on a trail in the mountain forest at the crater rim right on the continental divide.
Distance from Panama City: 2 hours driving

Options:

  • Besides hiking, we offer a trekking package of 2-3 days
  • Birding tours (foothill species)
  • El Valle is close to beach resorts at the Pacific. We can include a stay at a resort or a visit to a beach.
  • Rafting (best in rainy season)
  • Visit to El Cope National Park
  • Rental car program

Santa Fe in the province of Veraguas is a small country side town with a pleasant temperature (400 m above sea level) at the feet of the Central Cordillera rising up to 1500 m. It is a great place to relax and visit several rivers with its pools in the rocks and waterfalls. For the more adventurous, excursion in the rainforest or to some mountains are rewarding the effort to get there. We offer also trekking tours of 2-5 days. Bird watchers can find here many foothill species. Santa Fe is about a 2 hour drive north of Santiago at the Pan-American Highway. On its way you can visit the beautiful wood carvings in the baroque church of San Francisco. South of Santiago is the Coiba National Park in the Pacific.

The highlands of western Panamas province Chiriqui offer a pleasant climate and a beautiful panorama. You stay in mountain villages at a height of 1000-2000 m. The mountain and cloud forests fascinate with their exuberant flora and the highland bird species. The archaeological site of the pre-Columbian Barriles culture, an orchid garden with about 2600 species and hot springs are some additional highlights of the region. Easily you spend three or more days in the mountain region where we offer many activities.

Hiking
The mountain climate is perfect for hiking and walking. In the International Park La Amistad (world heritage site) you will be amazed by the cloud forest. In the National Park Volcan Baru we have many hiking options such as the Los Quetzales Trail that connects over a mountain range the two main valleys of the region. You can also hike partially or all the way up to the top of Panama’s highest mountain Volcan Baru with 3475 m above sea level. Sometimes you can even see the two oceans from the top.

Coffee Tour
Learn how and why Panama produces some of the world’s finest and most expensive coffee. Depending on the month you will see in the plantation different stages of the coffee cherries and see how it is being cultivated and harvested. The next steps are the processing to get the dry beans and the roasting. Finally you will participate in the tasting to become an expert in coffee flavors.

River Rafting
A 2 hour drive takes you to the beautiful scenery of the Fonseca River in the indigenous Comarca Ngäbe-Buglé where you see Ngäbe ladies in their long colorful dresses. After the instructions you practice the team paddling and soon you get to the first rapids of class II-III. Depending on your experience the rafts will be guided to the more difficult side of the river or the less agitated parts. On the way is a lunch stop where you can have a swim.

Options:
There are a couple of other rivers for rafting in the province Chiriqui. Unfortunately the rafting of Chiriqui Viejo River has been restricted since the construction of hydroelectric power plants.

Canopy Ziplines
A 45 min. drive takes you up through coffee cultivation area to a mountain forest with a beautiful view to Volcan Baru. After the instructions you walk to the first of 14 platforms. The total length is 3 km and the longest of the 12 lines from tree to tree is 300 m, with a height of maximum of 116 m above the ground. You descend from 1800 to 1600 m above sea level.

Bird Watching
The mountains of Chiriqui offer you a high variety of of bird species (over 430) from the foothills to high elevations. Here you can find many endemic species and specialties of Western Panama. A great reward is a sighting of the Resplendent Quetzal, one of the most beautiful birds in the world.