Two words. Parque Metropolitano. I'm going to be honest. The only reason I arrived early in Panama City was to hike this trail to the top of the hill and get the city vistas. There is also another hill which is much more popular with tourists called ANCON that has the Panamanian Flag on top. However, this park fascinated me and looked less populated. It was a great introduction for me as the humidity was terrible! I don't know how I got through this trip alive. Central America is a beautiful place but it was also super uncomfortable. I love rain, and Panama didn't disappoint. While we were there, it rained almost everyday and sometimes for hours. This little hike would warm me up for some of the major treks we would take throughout the country. Looking back at it all, this was one of the easier hikes. From downtown Panama City, I took a taxi that cost around 3 bucks. Once I arrived at the beautiful park entrance, I paid 2 dollars to get in. For updated information, click on http://www.parquemetropolitano.org/
This is a great place to visit if you have half a day. It was quiet and nice to be away from the city noises. What's unusual about this park is that you have a rain forest located in the middle of the city!! This is tropical america's only fully fledged wildlife refuge and forest environment within city limits. Here you can see a lot of birds and animals in one of the last patches of the Pacific's seasonally dry forest. I would recommend going early in the morning for best wildlife viewing. I saw a lot of birds in the trees, several turtles and lizards, but I wasn't lucky enough to catch a sloth, white tailed deer, or Geoffrey's tamarin on this visit. However, I did catch them later on in our journeys:) This 655 acre park was established in 1985.
|Revolution Tower captures everyone's attention entering the city. It was created by a Panamanian architect named Pinzon Lozano.|
There are several trails in the park that range from easy to moderate. I met some wonderful visitors along the well marked paths and they made me smile. There's the Sendero La Momótides(0.4 mile), Sendero La Cienaguita, and Camino del Mono Tití. Don't let these Spanish words scare you off....."Sendero" or "Camino" just mean "path" or "trail". Mr. Sweaty, that's me, was super happy to reach the top at Cerro Cedro because there was a wonderful breeze that made me sit down for several minutes. The worst part is knowing that you have to go back down into the humid hell of the city. So I just enjoyed the moment with my new friends on the trail and the incredible vistas
I had a fun morning hiking the trails. The trees in the rain forest have so much personality. Here's my tree pic for the day. This would be the day that I got "my green on" and went crazy shooting pics of green plants all over. Here's a desert traveller's tip. Focus on what's important. Like any amazing place on this planet, including the Sonoran desert, cameras won't catch the feel of vistas as they do with the actual living moment. What am I talking about? People come to the desert and shoot pics because it's a cool place, but when they get their pics developed, everything looks just drab and boring. The same goes with the rain forest. Coming from a dry place that is rocky and brown to a place full of emerald green is quite overwhelming. Be careful wasting shots when there are bigger and better shots just waiting around the corner. I have some incredible pics coming up. Memory cards and batteries are a premium. Purchase a lot of batteries before travelling to another country because the quality of batteries in many places are terrible! I bought an emergency pack that lasted 2 minutes in my camera!! Edit your pics everyday before you go to bed. This warm up hike was just a taste of what was to come. One last thought before I end this post. Nature is beautiful, but by the end of the trip, I realized something for the first time in my life which had never happened before until now.....the rain forest is an amazing place, but I found myself appreciating the desert more. I missed the cactus world and would get excited seeing one in Panama. It made me look forward to going back home and working at El Presidio again. Until tomorrow friends.....