Coclé: Just Living the Dream
This privileged area offers the best microclimate in Panamá since it is located in a Dry Arch, which is why sunny days can be enjoyed during most of the year, making this destination ideal for outdoor activities. The ocean, mountains, and other scenic features make this a unique place.
Accessible and scenic, the Coclé Province lies just southwest of Panama City.
Within 90-minutes of the capital on the Interamerican Highway, you’ll enter a region of wide Pacific beaches, charming colonial towns, pre-Columbian sites, and mountainous rainforests thick with orchids and wildlife.
Although technically part of Panama Province, Altos de Campana National Park is a perfect natural addition to any visit to interior Coclé.
Established in 1966, Altos de Campana was Panama’s first national park.
Cocle is primarily an agricultural area, but the coastal area is a tourist mecca with several megadevelopments.
The Royal Decameron Beach Resort, Playa Blanca Resort, and Wyndham Grand Playa Blanca, all in Farallon, attract thousands of visitors each year. The JW Marriott Panama Golf and Beach Resort in Rio Hato and Sheraton Bijao Beach Resort in Santa Clara are full service resorts on the beach. The beaches in this area are some of the best along the entire Pacific coast.
Cocle provides much of Panama’s produce and is most famous for the production of sugarcane, rice, cattle, shrimp, and a variety of citrus fruits.
The provincial capital, Penonomé, is fast becoming a major commercial center with the influx of new residents to the surrounding area.
A government sponsored Seafood Market, a new hotel and additional retail outlets reflect recent investments in Cocle. The rural area around Penonome is generating interest
from land investors, who are purchasing large lots to either develop or subdivide.
Noted for its cool, refreshing climate, a very popular destination within Cocle, for both nationals and foreigners, is El Valle de Antón, a beautiful and exotic valley located in the crater of an extinct volcano.
El Valle is the only place in the country where you can find square trees, and the Nispero Zoo is one of the best places to see the famous golden frogs. The valley is also popular for hiking, rappelling, bird watching, horseback riding and cycling.
For years, the Sunday Market has been attracting visitors looking for great deals on local handicrafts and produce. Cocle artisans are known for their hand-woven hats and their pottery, featuring colorful bird, animal and human designs.
Visitors can hike forest trails, explore lava fields, and enjoy mountaintop views of the Pacific.
More than 250 types of birds have been identified here, including several trogon species.
El Valle de Antón—known locally as El Valle—is one of the region’s most popular weekend getaways.
The town itself, roughly two hours from Panamá City, is found in the 16-mile wide crater of a long-extinct volcano.
At the weekly Sunday market, local farmers and members of the indigenous Ngöbe-Buglé community sell handicrafts including: soapstone figures, straw hats, handmade textiles and vivid flowers.
El Valle’s small museum showcases impressive examples of pre-Columbian pottery and petroglyphs.
Provincial capital: Penonomé
Area: 4,927 km² / 3,060 mile²
Population: 233,708 inhabitants (2010)
Industry: Agriculture (Sugarcane, Coffee, Corn, Rice, Cattle, Shrimp, Salt), Tourism
Distance from Panama City to Penonome: 92 miles / 148 km
Main areas of development: El Valle de Anton, Santa Clara, Farallon, Playa Blanca
Airport: The Scarlett Martinelli International Airport in Rio Hato receiving mainly charter flights.