Anton Valley (El Valle de Anton) is a popular weekend getaway for Panamanians and a great place for hiking! This is my complete Anton Valley hiking guide with everything you need to know about exploring this beautiful area of Panama.
From Panama City, there are frequent buses leaving every 30 minutes from the Albrook Terminal. The ride lasts 2.5 hours and it only costs $4.25. If you coming from western Panama, you can get off at San Carlos and catch one of the buses coming from Panama City. You can also catch a minibus from Penonomé, which may or may not save you some time since they don’t leave as frequently to Anton Valley.
La India Dormida (The Sleeping Indian)
This is the most popular hike in the valley because you see a bit of everything. Waterfalls, mountains, forest, valley views. There are two places you can start this hike. The northern entrance first takes you by the Piedra Pintada petroglyphs and waterfalls before the climb up to the stunning viewpoint of the valley. Entrance fee is $3 here although there is not always someone there to collect the fee.
The southern entrance takes you past a farm and forested area before the steady climb up the mountain begins. This is the locals route and the original entrance before the northern one was made the ‘official’ entrance. The trail is not very well marked so if you start here, you will have to turn off the main trail at some point and onto a less traveled path. I would suggest watching my YouTube video of this hike to avoid getting on the wrong trail. The hike should take around 2.5-3 hours to complete assuming you don’t end up on the wrong trail like me.
Cerro Gaital (Very Challenging Hike)
This is the highest point in the Anton Valley at 1185 meters (3888 feet). Start this hike in the morning on a day when clouds aren’t covering the surrounding mountains. You can see this mountain from anywhere in town so it should be pretty easy to judge when is a good day to embark on this trek.
The best way to access this trail is to take a minibus marked La Mesa. You will find it at the center of town in front of the Peking Supermarket. Tell the driver you want to go to Cerro Gaital. The ride should take around 20 minutes and only cost you $1. At the trail-head, it said there was a $5 fee but there was no one there is to collect it. I doubt anyone is there very often because I was the only person who hiked the whole trail that day. I was also never told by any locals or hostel employees there was an entrance fee for Cerro Gaital.
The hike starts off relatively flat in a forested section with plenty of flowers and butterflies to appreciate along the way. Once you arrive at a wooden platform, the path becomes thinner, rockier and very challenging beyond this point. In my opinion, this is the toughest hike in Panama. I only recommend this trail to experienced hikers looking for a challenge. There is a lot of scrambling near the top and a few sections where you must use a rubber rope to pull yourself up or down the rocky sections. The Cerro Gaital hike should take around 4.5-5 hours roundtrip with amazing views of Anton Valley from the summit.
Cerro Cara Iguana (Great Sunset Hike)
The best time to do this hike is on a clear evening where you will be treated with an amazing sunset. It starts at the southern end of town and most of the hike is on a gravel road. Once you arrive at the Cerro Iguana sign, follow the small trail behind it through the forest and meadow to reach the top to view the sunset. It’s important to start this hike at least 90 minutes before sunset. Unfortunately, when I did this hike, it was too cloudy and our group didn’t see the sun go down. However, I still highly recommend this hike because the views from the top are amazing plus it’s FREE.
Los Arboles Cuadrados (Square Trees)
You can access this short trail is in the northeast corner of town next to Hotel Campestre. There is supposedly a $3 entrance fee for this trail. However, when I went looking for an entrance to this trail on my own, I didn’t see anywhere where you had to pay the fee. It’s possible I unknowingly went to a different entrance because when I exited the area I came across a big fence which I had to climb over. When I arrived at the spot, I was disappointed to only see a couple trees marked ‘Arbol Cuadrado’. It was hard to tell if those were actually square trees and if the other trees around it were also square trees. The full hike to the square trees takes 30-40 minutes roundtrip.
El Chorro Macho Waterfalls (Very Short Hike, Very Nice Waterfalls)
It’s approximately a 35-40 minute walk from the market to the starting point for these beautiful waterfalls. The entrance fee is $5 and you are an easy 5-minute walk away from an excellent viewpoint. I talked to a few people who went there either early in the morning or after 5:00 pm and didn’t pay the five dollars. It is well worth visiting if you spending any amount of time in Anton Valley. There is also a zip-lining area around the waterfalls, which seems to be a popular thing to do for visitors in Anton Valley.
**It’s important to note anyone can complete most of these hikes over the course of a weekend trip. Add an extra day if you plan on hiking Cerro Gaital.**
Here are more helpful resources to help plan your trip to Anton Valley, Panama.
Official Website for Anton Valley/El Valle de Anton
Map of Anton Valley
Family Travel Bloggers Globetotting also have good information on hiking in Anton Valley with kids.