124km (77 miles) W of Panama City
Nestled in the crater of the world's second-largest extinct volcano, El Valle de Antón -- popularly known as El Valle -- is a delightful and relaxing destination popular with urbanites escaping the heat and hectic pace of Panama City. It's about 2 hours from the city, and can be easily reached by rental vehicle or by bus. El Valle is ringed by steep, verdant peaks, and its streets are abloom with flowers and lined with stately weekend homes that open onto well-manicured gardens and lawns. Best of all, El Valle enjoys springtime conditions year-round due to its altitude at 762m (2,500 ft.), with temperatures that vary between 68° and 80°F (20°-27°C).
On Sundays, the main street comes alive when vendors come to town to sell handicrafts, vegetables, and ornamental flowers at the town's famous market, but otherwise El Valle moves at a languid pace, offering low-key activities like bird-watching and bike riding through town. Visitors seeking a little more action can hike through rainforest, race through the forest on a zip line at the Canopy Adventure, or horseback-ride high up to a lookout point. American and Canadian retirees are beginning to discover El Valle, but for now it still has a distinctly Panamanian feel.