Let’s talk about El Valle, Panama. When you think about retiring in Panama, relocating to Panama for work, or just visiting Panama, you most likely imagine a tropical paradise. You’re not wrong. That’s most of Panama in a nutshell. There are, however, a few exceptions, and they’ll totally change your view on the diversity of Panama’s landscapes, culture, and climate. El Valle, Panama is special. It’s a small mountain town tucked right into the middle of the country that will remind you of a different time. It’s got small-town charm, and the type of place where you can walk and bike and be greeted by your neighbors. It’s where locals and expats share a common love for nature, community, and serenity. It’s as authentic as it gets, and is only getting better over time.
What to do in El Valle, Panama
El Valle almost looks like a town out of a fairy tale. It’s tucked away up a long winding road that seems to go straight up (at times) into the mountains of central Panama. The main draw to El Valle, as far as activities go, is nature. There are many amazing hikes, bike-friendly roads and paths, and natural wonders to gaze upon in the El Valle hills. The most popular activities tend to be spending time at the El Chorro Macho waterfall, hiking La India Dormida mountain, checking out rare butterflies at Butterfly Haven, taking an ATV tour through the trails, or getting a birds-eye view of the flora and fauna on a canopy tour.
If outdoor adventure isn’t your thing, or if you’re feeling a bit tired from all the exploring, El Valle is also great for taking it easy at one of the many cute cafes or local restaurants. You can have a fantastic outdoor experience from one of the many patios in town, or do some shopping for local artisan crafts and food at the market. El Valle has a very pleasant climate, with temps hovering around 65-70 degrees Fahrenheit, or about 18-21 degrees Celsius. Bring a sweater too, as those temps can dip a bit lower at night.
A popular expat retirement community
Not only is El Valle a popular place to visit and explore nature, it’s also become highly popular with expats, especially retirees. The slow, peaceful pace of life in El Valle is one of the biggest draws, as well as a low cost of living, and fantastic community to share the experience with and support you. El Valle has great properties for both renting and buying, and if you’re not ready for the full remote mountain experience, boasts many walkable conveniences right in town. Shopping for food and household goods is easy/accessible, and you’ll find many local events and get togethers that mix both local culture, and fellow expats.
Getting to El Valle can take some time if you’re coming from the city, so if you need to be back and forth between the two places, it may not be the most convenient place to live. That being said, the road that leads to El Valle is just off the Panamerican highway, and has been refurbished and repainted in recent years to make transportation more convenient, and safer.