The taste and culture of Coclé at the Río Hato Market

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The market features quality gifts and souvenirs.

The market features quality gifts and souvenirs.

The Río Hato Market is located just off the Panamerican Highway, 100 meters from the Río Hato airport. It is a great rest stop for travelers wishing to eat, buy handicrafts or pick up the freshest local produce and seafood.

The design of the building resembles that of Panama City’s fish market, located at the entrance to Casco Antiguo. Like its urban counterpart, the Río Hato market is a showcase of the best of the day’s catch. Fishermen display snapper, catfish, corvina, lobster, shrimp and more. Many buyers arrive with coolers

One of Río Hato’s famed restaurants is located on the premises, La Batea, owned and operated by chef Cristóbal Valencia. A self-described “seafood and fusion cuisine” eatery, the restaurant serves dishes influenced by African, Caribbean, South and Central American flavors. Octopus is one of the chef’s top recommendations. Also popular are the steak, lasagna and pork. La Batea is open 12 p.m. – 10 p.m. daily. To learn more and enjoy some great food photos, visit Twitter.com/BateaRestaurant or Facebook.com/LaBateaRestaurante.

Any trip to the Río Hato Market would be incomplete without browsing the many souvenir and plant stalls that line the ample parking lot. Horticulturalists will find a wide range of potted plants. Those seeking that perfect souvenir or gift item also have much to choose from. Handmade curiosities abound, such as varnished decorative gourds, crocheted clothing, soap-stone and wood carvings, paintings from local artists, molas and more.

Perhaps the market’s greatest feature is providing local vendors with direct access to buyers they might not otherwise have, leaving one to feel good about lending support. For its ease of access, relative proximity to the City and variety of quality artisan foods and crafts, the Río Hato Market is poised to bring continued enjoyment to visitors for years to come.

The market is open daily from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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