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Nispero Zoo at El Valle Panama

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Heading west across the Bridge of the Americas, beyond Arraijan and La Chorrera, the Interamericana begins to steadily angle its way toward the Pacific coast. Soon, you'll come to San Carlos, and just after that, Las Uvas. Turn right, and you'll begin a trek to a most wonderful place--El Valle de Anton. Or simply, El Valle.

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El Valle is not really a valley. It's a crater. Eons ago an active volcano in this region exploded. Over time, the remaining crater filled with rain water and became a lake. Cracks opened and the water drained, creating a lush, fertile, natural bowl. Indigenous tribes moved in and are here to this day.

If you haven't heard of square trees before, you will in El Valle. There are square trees--kind of. The lower part of the trunk is somewhat square, but then they begin to get more round as they grow higher. All the same, they're pretty interesting.

A great place to stop and walk around is the Nispero. Zoo. Nispero's is a private zoo and garden that is definitely worth seeing. Also, ask a local about Painted Rock. Typically for one dollar a young guide will lead you to one of the larger slabs of rock that is engraved with ancient carvings.

For more information please visit: El Valle de Anton.