Watch this Expat Day Trip to Pozos Termales in El Valle De Anton
A Day trip to visit El Valle’s
Pozos Termales in El Valle De Anton
Life in Panama, especially living in Playa Coronado has certainly exceeded our expectations. The relaxing vibe of beach life is our cure to the fast paced world and though we initially feared boredom, we now laugh at those silly ideas. Life is just as active and social as you want it to be and we considered it one of the best decisions in moving to Panama from Canada.
I could be perfectly happy and satisfied working in the gardens, chilling in the bohio, hanging with friends, yet there is so much more just outside the entrance of Coronado, up and down the Interamericana highway which runs cross country.
There are plenty of options to lure you from the ocean waves when it’s time to check out something new. Our first adventure is about an hour drive from Coronado off the Interamericana and up the mountain to the town of El Valle. The drive up the mountain is winding and scenic, a lovely start to this mini adventure. Located in the Anton Valley in the crater of an extinct volcano, the town offers many natural wonders and sites.
In amongst the top 10 places to visit in Panama and highly rated attractions, a few for us include Cerro Gaital, a protected area for birdwatching enthusiasts, swim and jump off a waterfall at Chorro Las Mozas, an educational tour of Butterfly Haven, the small but interesting Sepentario Maravillas Tropicales and el Nispero Zoo. The Mercado de El Valle displays fresh fruit and vegetables, plants, traditional crafts and artwork and more and is open daily. Sunday’s are very popular.
To experience everything, a few days would be required. Is it cheaper to live in Panama you ask? There are multiple lodging options, from hostels to boutique hotels, ratings and prices reflect the options. Depending on your budget and requirements, an internet search can provide all the information to book your stay.
For our purposes, we are day tripping from Playa Coronado so we will highlight a popular favorite. Los Pozos Termales, the natural hot spring and mud bath is our focus. Please put aside your preconceived notions and fancy spa expectations, open up and allow yourself to enjoy a local, natural experience.
Free parking is available in the small lot adjacent to the site. Enter through the archway and pay the fee, cross the foot bridge over the water into a lush green space. There are covered spaces with picnic tables, a small playground for the kids. Snap a few photos against the verdant, natural backdrop or a couple of local Panamanian art pieces.
Depending on when you go, you may have a wait. Weekends are very popular and Sunday’s especially can be very busy. The Pozos Termales link from a Google search details busy times daily to help you plan your visit. Weekdays are a nice option and not usually too crowded.
Surrounded by tall trees, a grotto like area hosts the mud bath section. The seating area is made from large rocks, roots and branches. There are change rooms available right next door. We left our belongings outside as we had a direct line of sight from each vantage.
Signage in Spanish details the use of the “mascarilla”. For those of us whose Spanish continues to be a work in progress, I have outlined the process.
Admission price includes enough mud to apply to your face only. If you want or need more, another $4 USD paid to the attendant will give you a sufficient amount to cover your arms, legs, etc. There is usually enough to take home a bit for a future home spa and facial.
There are two types of mud, the white one is for regular skin, the black for sensitive skin. I have tried both, both provide the spa benefits expected but I found the black mud is more difficult to remove.
A mirror is available to help with the application of the mud to your face. If you paid for the extra, apply the additional mud to exposed body skin. Once complete, sit back and relax, soak in the natural surroundings and allow the mud to dry.
To get the maximum benefit from the mud, rub as much of the dried mud off as you can. This exfoliation action removes dead skin cells. One complete, move to the shower area. Shower away the remaining mud from face and body before moving to the mineral pools.
The hot springs boast concentrations of sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, bicarbonate, sulfate, chloride, silica and more. Water temperature in the three pools range from 83 to 100 degrees Celsius, warm not hot.
The main mineral pool can hold quite a few people comfortably. Slide in, find a spot along the wall and submerge to your chin. Soak in the natural spring water, you can swim if there is room, the pool is not too deep. There is two smaller, shallow pools for kids just beside the main pool.
Maximum time in the pools is 45 minutes which is sufficient. There are showers available when you exit the pools. My preference is to skip the shower for two reasons. First, I want to get the full benefits from the minerals so washing it off seems counterproductive. Second, after the extended soak in the thermal pools, I find the cold shower not refreshing but freezing. Might just be me though!
Refreshed and relaxed, gather your stuff and change out of your wet swimsuit.
Though I have applied lotion to my skin daily for years, after the treatment, I can go a few days without and my skin remains soft and hydrated. I have met locals who come to the spa regularly and swear by its healing properties.
While I have no data to back up these claims scientifically, my friends and I leave feeling revitalized and recharged, ready to return to the chill beach life.
A few additional details for your consideration:
Though not experienced, near the mineral pools is a small building which offers massage services which must be booked in advance (Watsapp +507-6461-7279), limited hours available.
Look up “Los Pozos Termales” on Google Maps or Waze for directions to the site.
The site is open 8-4:30 daily. Admission is $4 for adults (Jubilado discount available), $2 for children six to twelve.
No smoking, pets or alcohol.
Bring your bathing suit (dark colors suggested as the mud can potentially stain lighter colors), a towel and change of clothes. No street clothes are allowed in the mineral pools.
This is all about life in Panama while the best in Panama is still to come .. stay tuned.