Offers a Pacific Riviera full of hotels and activities, as well as traditional towns
Region visited for its historical identity, typical pre-Columbian heritage and for being the land of many battles that gave way to the republican era. Cocle is located in the geodesic center of the country, so it is easy to enjoy a contrasting ecosystem between mountainous, wooded areas, temperate climate, dry and rainy season with proximity to the Pacific beaches.
It is one of the most touristic spots nationwide, and is only two and a half hours from Panama City.
How to get there?
It is only 184 km away on the Panamerican Highway from Panama City. In general, Panamanians and residents prefer to travel by car on weekends, as it is a relatively short journey.
If you are a foreigner and need to opt for a collective transport, you have to take a bus at Albrook Terminal. You can choose to take a bus to El Valle de Anton, Penonome, Aguadulce or Cope, the most popular and strategic routes for sightseeing.
The fastest way to travel to Cocle is by air (30 minutes). Book a private flight departing from Marcos A. Gelabert Airport in Albrook, to Scarlet Martinez Airport in Rio Hato.
This province has great attractions to have fun or relax in nature. If you pass through Cocle, you will want to go hiking, ascent to hills or mountains. For this reason, easy access routes have been created so that you can go and conquest the peak.
Omar Torrijos Herrera National Park
Originally known by the name of El Cope, it comprises some 25,275 hectares. It received this name in honor of General Omar Torrijos Herrera, who died in a plane crash at Cerro Marta. To get there, you must enter through La Candelaria, coming from the Inter-American Highway (kilometer 167) untill you get to the community of El Cope (28 km route).
This park has an environmental monitoring and Control Office, a Park Ranger house and Visitor Center. It is recommended to go with a certified tour guide into the park. Among its most well-known routes are:
-Cerro Marta Trail
It is highly requested by those who want to find the remains of the plane where General Omar Torrijos died in the plane accident. You must take the Candelaria road to Cope, where you will find a sign indicating the entrance on the right hand side. You can cross the Marta and Tigrero rivers, in the latter there is a waterfall. The round trip is 6 hours.
-La Rana Dorada Trail (Golden Frog Trail)
Its length is 2 km and it takes about an hour. You will be able to appreciate the streams, and watch birds in the middle of a cloud forest. Consider yourself lucky if you can spot a golden frog, as they are difficult to spot. This route is well signposted and has an auxiliary path.
-Peace Corps Trail
It is the longest (3.7 km), lasting two and a half hours. This circuit begins right in front of the National Park, it is very narrow throughout 2 km, until it joins the Path of La Rana Dorada.
-Los Helechos Trail
This route is self-guided and has a length of 800 meters, with an approximate duration of about 45 minutes. It has eight interpretive stations with information on flora and fauna, and two for rest.
Contact the Omar Torrijos National Park Administration staff for any guidance, call (507) 997-7538.
History and culture
Due to its valuable contribution at the national level, Cocle is a benchmark in terms of archeology, the history of our ancestors and the remains of pre-Columbian art. It has also been the home of great personalities of society.
El Caño Archaeological Park
Its museum is a colonial-style house, founded in 1979. On the outside there are excavations of a necropolis built around the year 700. It has two archaeological zones: where there are ceremonial basaltic columns and the sector with mortuary mounds.
Since 2008, it has been guarded by the El Caño Foundation, who have been intervening in the area of the necropolis, a reserve with the burial of high-status ancestors. In 2019, they reopened the completely renovated museum, with a permanent exhibition with the artifacts found by this guild.
Inaugurated in 1981, this space is a set of four interior-style houses, on Calle San Antonio, Penonome. It has four rooms: Casa Familia Tejeira XX century, Room for Temporary Exhibitions, Room of Archeology and the Room of Conquest and Colonization, Religious Art, Colonial and Ethnography.
-Salt and Sugar Museum
Recently named as the Stella Sierra Museum, in homage to a poet from Aguadulce. On its second floor there are permanent displays on history, indigenous people and traditional lifestyle, which revolves around the extraction of salt and sugar production.
-Manuel Maria Aguilera House of Culture Museum
Established since 1997 in what was the residence of the landowner Aguilera, you can see in its ten rooms, photos of people from Anton, typical clothing, pre-Columbian ceramics, religious art, antiques, and the Livestock Room, the main one because it is dedicated to the owner of home.
-Pintao Hat Museum
The first of its kind is in the city of La Pintada. In the museum there are various models of these hats, representations of the artisans lifestyle, there are artifacts where this picturesque typical object is made.
Things to Do
• Visit the La Loma del Calvario viewpoint in the Omar Torrijos Herrera National Park (El Cope). You will be able to see the Atlantic and Pacific oceans at 920 meters high.
• Prepare for bird watching when you visit the forested region of El Cope. There are about 350 species of birds to appreciate.
• Go to Los Helechos Trail in the Omar Torrijos National Park. Tree ferns are the true living fossils.
• Contact the Omar Torrijos National Park Administration staff for any guidance, call (507) 997-7538.
• Remember to stop by the Stella Sierra Museum (Museum of Salt and Sugar) located on Ave. Rodolfo Chiari, Aguadulce. Hours: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm Monday – Friday, closed – Saturday and Sunday. Tel. (507) 997-4280.
• Walk the Sombrero Pintao Path, it starts in the Old Town of Penonome, passes through towns La Pintada, Heifer El Águila until you reach the last point which is Membrillo. More information write to firstname.lastname@example.org