“Anton Valley” and “El Valle de Anton”
What’s in a Name?
You will notice that we sometimes refer to our town as “El Valle” and sometimes as “Anton Valley”. Those already accustomed to living here prefer the former while those wishing to speak pure English prefer the latter. We respect all cultures and languages, and wish to welcome you to our town, no matter which name you prefer. We are striving to provide a complete source of information on The Valley in as many languages as possible. So far, we have posted over 135 pages in both English and Spanish, and we have translated parts of our Web site to German, French, Portuguese and Chinese. (If you can help us with these or other languages, we would love to hear from you!)
The Official Name
The town’s official short name is “El Valle”, and for the last hundred years it has belonged to the District of Anton in the Province of Cocle, Republic of Panama. As long as El Valle remains a Jurisdiction within the District of Anton, it will be known as “El Valle de Antón”, which literally means “The Valley of Anton” or “Anton Valley”. “Anton” refers to Mr. Anton Martin, a pilot that explored the interior of the country in 1615 and nearly drowned in the mouth of what is now called “Río Antón”, or the Anton River.
From Wikipedia: El Valle de Antón, generally called El Valle, or Anton’s Valley in English is a town of 9,000 in the Coclé province of Panama.
Google search statistics indicate that most people search for information on this place using the keywords “El Valle Panama” (which produces 715,000 results). The next most frequent search is “Anton Valley” (giving 4,460,000 results). An image search for either “El Valle Panama” or “Anton Valley” finds thousands of images.
Most of the locals (English and Spanish speakers alike) refer to the town as “El Valle” (Phonetically, “El VÄ-ye“). In Panama it is common practice to mix some English words and some Spanish words in the same sentence. This form of slang is called “Spanglish” in English or “anglisismo” in Spanish. While this practice would be frowned on at once by The Queen England (representing pure English speakers) and by the King of Spain, it is, for the most part, culturally accepted here.
The words “El Valle” are short enough and easy enough for English speakers to learn quickly despite the fact that “valle” contains a letter not found in the English alphabet. The letter “ll” is a single letter in Spanish, and it is pronounced exactly like the consonant “y”.
Will our valley become the most famous valley in the world?
We would like very much for our beloved “El Valle” to become the most famous Valley in the world. But at the moment it is not, and if a searcher in Mexico or Spain queries Google for “El Valle”, they will find a host of other valleys before us. By checking Wikipedia, we found 36 other towns referred to as “El Valle”:
In Spain, at least 7 towns are called “El Valle”:
- El Valle, Andalucía
- El Valle, País Vasco
- El Valle, Castilla y León
- El Valle, Principado de Asturias
- El Valle, Islas Canarias
- El Valle, Castilla-La Mancha
- El Valle, Aragon
In the United States, at least 1 town is called “El Valle”:
- El Valle, New Mexico, US
In Mexico, at least 12 towns are called “El Valle”:
- El Valle de Juárez, Michoacan de Ocampo, México
- El Valle, Tlaxcala, México
- El Valle, Jalisco, México
- El Valle, Durango, México
- El Valle, Sinaloa, México
- El Valle, Chiapas, México
- Chilpancingo, Guerrero, México
- Acapulco de Juárez, Guerrero, México
- Ciudad Obregón, Sonora, México
- Valle Hermoso, Tamaulipas, México
- Jalapa de Enriquez, Veracruz-Llave, México
- Reynosa, Tamaulipas, México
In Costa Rica, at least 1 town is called “El Valle”:
- El Valle, San Jose, Costa Rica
In Colombia, at least 6 towns are called “El Valle”:
- Barranquilla, Atlantico, Colombia
- El Valle, Antioquia, Colombia
- El Valle, Choco, Colombia
- Valle de San José, Santander, Colombia
- Santiago, Putumayo, Colombia
- Valle de San Juan, Tolima, Colombia
In Venezuela, at least 2 towns are called “El Valle”:
- El Valle, Distrito Federal, Venezuela
- El Valle del Espíritu Santo, Nueva Esparta, Venezuela
In Dominicana, at least 2 towns are called “El Valle”:
- El Valle, Samana, Dominicana
- El Valle, Hato Mayor, Dominicana
Therefore, when considering the entire world of travelers, we do not assume that saying “El Valle” is enough, without further clarification.
In Panama we are already Famous!
In Panama, however, the situation is different. Our valley is indeed, by far, the most famous one of these 5 towns called “El Valle”:
- El Valle (Panamá)
- El Valle de San Isidro (San Miguelito)
- El Valle Chiquito (San Carlos)
- El Valle de Hato Viejo (Chiriquí)
- El Valle de la Luna (Chiriqui)
In light of our Valley’s country-wide fame, the words “El Valle” are enough in most circumstances. But there are still some circumstances where those two words are not specific enough. For example, if you search Google for “El Valle Panama”, the map that comes up is of another valley, in the province of Chiriqui. (Our Chamber of Tourism is presently trying to “convince” Google to change this since it is not what most searchers want.) If you zoom in on the map of El Valle (Chiriqui) you will find The Golden Frog Inn, in error.
Imagine the frustration of a tourist driving all the way to the province of Chiriqui trying to find The Golden Frog Inn, which of course is here in our valley, in the province of Cocle. Using the more complete name “El Valle de Anton” instead of “El Valle” or “Anton Valley” instead of “The Valley” avoids this confusion.
We admit that some tourists have accidentally ended up in the town of Anton about 20 miles or 35 km from here (straight line distance). Tourists wishing to arrive to our valley should not board the bus marked “Anton”. Instead they should buy their ticket at the window marked “El Valle de Anton” and board the bus with the same marking. Errors are often made by the ill-informed.
You, dear reader, are properly informed. So we shall see you here shortly, in the town that you may come to know as “The Valley of Eternal Spring”, or perhaps “The Valley of Enchantment” or my favorite, “The Valley of Heaven on Earth”!