Coclé belongs to the central provinces, which also include Veraguas, Los Santos and Herrera. They are concidered to be the cultural heartland of Panama, because the isolation from Panama City during the colonial period lead to the strengh of their hispanic traditions. Just like in the other central provinces tourism starts to develop here, as you can see for example in Playa Blanca. More and more hotels are being built here and foreigenrs create their second or retirement home.

Around the capital Penonomé you will find some interesting things to see, such as archeological museums showing skeletons and ancient tools from the pre-Columbian period. Also nearby lies the town of La Pintada, which is famous for the sombrero pintado hats, an important element of  the "Montuno" (Panama's national costume for men).

Anton Valley

Definetly worth a visit! Anton valley is the world's only inhabited volcanic crater! So if you always wanted to find out how it is to live in a volcano, this is the place to go. You find an espectacular biological diversity there, countless species of flowers and trees, mammals and reptiles, due to the rich volcanic soil and year-round spring-like climate. There are several nice hostels that ensure you a pleasant stay and more than 30 bars and restaurants that offer national and international food.

While the volcano has been dormant for around five million years, mineralized volcanic hot springs are a sign for that the volcano remains active below the surface. Red hot magma is coming up thousands of kilometers till it meats with the subterreanian river underneath the valley. The magma mixes with the cold water and the result are the hot springs with warm mineralized water! They provide a rare natural product called volcanic healing clay, which is really good to treat skin problems.

Another attraction of the valley are the several waterfalls. I will just mention two of them, the Maidens Falls (Chorros de las Mozas) which is the waterfall with the greatest volume of water, It is great for diving and swimming against the current. Another one is the Lovers Fall (Chorro de los Enamorados) which is nice to hang out for a swim.

If you are looking for a real outdoor adventure, participate in one of the tours given around the valley. Rent byciles, horses, do tree or rock climbing, wet rappeling or go hiking or on a canopy adventure. You see, the oportunities are many!

Wet rappeling
 If you prefer a more quiet day, you can visit the orchid center, which was created to protect several species of orchids, or visit the Art and History Museum of El Valle. There you will learn everything about the volcan and the foundation of the town. There are aswell 28 beaches close to the valley!

During you stay you might notice a mountain range that looks a person laying down on its back. You are looking at The sleeping Indian Girl (la india dormida), a name the locals gave to the range after an old legend they have. It takes place during the colonial period, when the youngest daughter of the leader of an Indian tribe fell in love with one of the Spanish officials that occupied her town. Since this love was forbidden she finally announced it to her people, not wanting to betray them any longer. Crying desperately she lost herself among the bushes, layed down on a sheet and died.

Thus, the hills and the valleys decided to cover her and form her figure to remember her always!