There has always been something alluring about volcanos, even the ones that are extinct. The intense energy of the depths of the earth exploded long ago, thousands of years in fact, followed by flooding making this region a crater lake. In a tropical area, this became an ideal location for the native Central American Indians to live. Even more time passes and the lake is slowly drained, leaving now, the most amazing, fertile soil that could give birth to some of the richest vegetation in all of Panama.
El Valle has been a relatively unknown secret oasis for the Panama city dwellers as it is only about two hours outside the hectic and heated life of the city. In more recent years, it has attracted people from all over the world because of its quiet and somewhat mysteriously beautiful tone.
The drive up from the Pan American Highway into a more rarified atmosphere, you will find it cooler first of all, and then the vistas will capture your attention. Surrounded by mountains, and filled to overflowing with lush vegetation the feeling that flows in is one of relief and wonderment. This is one of the largest volcanic craters in the world, and certainly one the most beautiful. In this expanse of about 5 kilometers in diameter, there is much to explore.
If you are a nature enthusiast, you will be drawn to the hiking trails, or the bird watching or perhaps going to El Nispero Zoo to see the near extinct yellow frog and exotic tropical birds up close. Or you might try the Zipline for a rainforest canopy ride in order to get the bird’s eye view of the fauna, flora and mountain vistas. If you go early enough, you may be gifted with the cloud forests as well, they are truly magical.
There are legends about the Sleeping Indian Woman everywhere. At first, I thought it was some ancient cave painting or something. It wasn’t until I changed my perspective, always a good idea in all ways, that I saw the outline of a woman’s body in the ridge of the mountain. Her repose is on her back, gazing at the heavens, perhaps being prayerful, reminding us of greater things.
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