The Butterfly Haven, El Valle

Tyrone was at home and it was not a Tuesday so we went to El Valle once more.

The day after visiting Miraflores we had a quiet day with Lyn and I attending a Bible Study while Trevor went for a ride in a beach buggy with a friend, Greg and Tyrone ran errands. Trevor enjoyed the bumpy ride even though it was really noisy.

Church MallCoronado Bible Church is on the upper floor

The following day, we drove up to El Valle again with the main intention of visiting the Butterfly Haven which was closed when we visited previously. On our way there it started to rain so, when we arrived in town, we immediately went and had lunch as we had left home late morning. It was a largish Fonda called Zapote’s and we had absolutely delicious, very large pizzas. They were sold as being suitable for 1 person. None of us could finish them so they went home in a ‘doggy’ bag.

It was still raining gently when we had finished lunch so we went to the market once again. We just ambled around and I bought a small purse as a gift and Lyn got more fruit and veges. There was a gentleman whose 2 young sons were lying under his worktable playing video games. He made jewellery and other items out of various metals and wood and Lyn got him to make her a Tree of Life pendant which he did in 15mins. She then realised that she recognised his elder son from church in Coronado. Apparently he has a beautiful singing voice. My photos do not give the market, now open every day, justice but do go to the link as there are beautiful clear photos there. 

By this time the rain had stopped so we went to the Butterfly Haven. There was a lovely garden setting in front of the buildings with some beautiful flowers in bloom. Before entering the butterfly enclosure we were given a brief talk on their development and breeding habits. It was actually very interesting as they were basically the same but with minor differences between species. Panama has over 1500 species of butterfly and at this Haven there are about 250 butterflies from 10 species in a very large enclosure. It is ensured that the number of butterflies does not exceed 250 due to space availability. If the breeding is prolific in a particular year the male butterflies are released into the wild.

Flowers at entOne of the flowers in the garden

Blue Morpho Butterfly with torn wingBlue Morpho

Grecian Shoemaker ButterfliesGrecian Shoemakers

Postman Longwing Butterfly on pink orchidPostman Longwing

Owl butterfly on Lyns bagOwl Butterfly on Lyn's handbag

It was a fun and amazing experience to walk through the enclosure, learning what they ate and allowing them to settle on you if you so wished. We had a guide show us around and explain the various species, their eating habits and their active times. Most love the sun and avoid rain but there are a few that come out most when there is just a slight rain. All over were orchids, some in bloom as well. We finished our tour with a short video on the work of the Haven. It was a most inspiring and beautiful place to visit.

Owl butterfliesOwl Butterflies eating fruit. Note the Orchid flower

Vicky with yellow orchidVicky with a yellow orchid

From there we decided to take a look at the El Nispero Zoo and Botanical Garden which, as previously, took us back up the main road and then up a side road to get there. It was a very large place with some rather uneven ground to walk on. Only parts of it would I consider wheelchair or disability friendly but we were able to get all around and see all of the 94 species of animals and birds. It was quite difficult to get any really good photos due to the double fencing on most cages.

At entrance to the zooAt the entrance to the Zoo and Botanical Garden

They also have a small hospital, with a qualified vet, on the grounds for the animals to be treated as most of the animals have been rescued in various circumstances. For example there are 2 Jaguars which were rescued as new-borns as their mother had been killed. Having been raised by humans they would not survive in the wild. Originally there were 2 Tapirs which had been rescued from the home of the former dictatorial leader, Manuel Noriega. The 2 which are currently in the zoo are the grandchildren of these 2 Tapirs.

Jaguar sleepingA Jaguar sleeping

TapirA Tapir

Sloth eating lettuceA Sloth eating lettuce

This was not originally intended to be a zoo but a resting place for 2 people. It is now both a zoo and a botanical garden. Hence there is an Orchid House and a large grassed area with a Koi pond and a small waterfall. On the adjoining ground were many established trees and walking paths which we, unfortunately, did not follow as they can be steep and slippery especially after the morning rain.

Open areaOpen area for relaxation with shaded walks beyond and fit hikers climb from here to the Waterfall El Valle

Koi in numberSome of the many Koi in the grey coloured water pond

To return home we took another route that also went down to the Inter Americana. There are no roads to provide short cuts to other towns. Each road goes between a town and the highway. Going this different route was even more spectacular and we came to a site called the View Point. To get to it we had to climb a few stairs but the views were well worth it. Up here one could really see the extent of the crater and vaguely imagine the size of the volcanic eruption. At the site was a high white cross with a locked chain around the join of the 2 beams. This symbolised the breaking of the bonds (chains) of our sin.

At the Cross at the view pointLyn and Vicky beside the cross.

Crater and road to the view siteThe crater from the view point

Road to the view sitePart of the road to the view point which is on the left. Some people climb to the top of the hill

Volcano craterA mountainous part of the crater

From there we returned home winding our way down to the highway. The traffic was extremely heavy coming from Panama City both because it was Friday and it was the start of the Carnival or Panama Carnavales about which I shall write in my next blog.

About Me

I was born into the early part of the Baby Boomer generation, the 3rd of what came to be a family of 6 daughters. Although both our parents, who are now deceased, had been raised in rural Natal (now KwaZulu-Natal) and the 2 eldest daughters were born in a country town, the other 4 of us were all born at home in Durban. Read More

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