El Valle, Panama

In this Panama Special Report, we bring you the peaceful mountain town of El Valle.

El Valle town and environs are home to a community of about 6,000 full-time residents that expands a bit on weekends and holidays. The community has grown over thousands of years from a collection of tiny villages centered around a local market, which is still a center of activity for the region. Many of Panama’s oldest families own second homes in this cool and healthy mountain spot, making the hour-and-a-half trip out from the capital as often as possible.

$ 14.95

El Valle is known for its flora, hot springs, and climate, which, thanks to the slight elevation, is noticeably more comfortable than that back down at sea level in Panama City. Mineral pools, serviced by an underground river heated by magma from a tiny fracture deep in the subterranean rock, dot the crater floor, making El Valle a go-to place for health tourists who make the short trip to El Valle to recuperate after undergoing medical treatment in Panama City hospitals.

The healing hot springs are open to the public. These 100-degree waters are rich with sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, sulfur, copper, and zinc. They are said to heal and soothe the skin, relieve aching bones and muscles, and generally to promote health and even longevity.