PANAMA
 
 
Jul 21, 2017

 

La Playita Cove near Pedasi, Azuela Peninsula

La Playita Cove near Pedasi on the Azuelo Peninsula

Nature walks further afield from Panama City

Panama is a stunning place for the nature lover, with many great opportunities for spotting creatures in their natural habitat. Here are some trails from various areas around the country, from the valley of Anton in the heart, to the tip of the Azuela peninsula and, finally, to Boquete in the cool West Highland region.

El ValleCrossing the Rope Bridge, El Valle.jpg

The valley of Anton, normally referred to simply as ‘El Valle’ – ‘The Valley’ – has a cool, wet climate completely different from the sweltering heat of Panama City.  In fact, both the climate and the scenery remind me of Spring in the Central Highlands of Scotland, where I am from originally. On the outskirts of town there is super-interesting jungle walk for the (slightly) intrepid. The walk involves a little rope bridge, so may be too exciting for some. We did this as a family with our three young children and had a fantastic time. The walk passes a quite spectacular waterfall, El Macho, before ending at a jungle pool – warning – my son rashly jumped in without testing the water (before I could shout ‘NOO’) and badly scraped his shin. So be careful if you are intending to do this. It is a short walk over some bumpy paths which can get pretty slippery in the rainy season.

Land Crab at Eco Venao near PedasiEco Venao, near Pedasi

About thirty minutes’ drive past Pedasi lies Eco Venao, an eco resort where the owners are letting the land revert back to forest, and have a troop of Howler Monkeys to show for it. This walk is actually on the enormous grounds of the resort. If you are here early in the morning or at twilight you may see, or at least hear, the Howlers. The noise is quite uncanny – more like a hellish scream from beyond than a howl. But the creatures themselves are adorable and curious about humans, just as curious about us as we are about them. You may hear a scuttling at your feet on this walk, you may look down at your feet and see a flash of bright orange, you may think you are seeing things. The flashes of bright orange are large land crabs with shiny dark blue bodies and orange legs. They scuttle across the paths in front of you and hide in their little burrows until the coast is clear.

 

La Playita, near Pedasi

Scarlet Macaw,La Playita, Pedasi

La Playita, or ‘Little beach’, an idyllic, sheltered cove, about 15 minutes’ drive past Pedasi, is a great place for a beach walk, as well as being simply a great beach to spend the day. Walk along the cove to the right, scattering Fiddler Crabs left and right as you go. At the far end of the beach, there are many rocks with some excellent rock pools to investigate, full of (you guessed it) more crabs, as well as shrimps and fish. The tide comes in very quickly here, however, so be very careful not to get cut off from dry lan
You can order simple food from the little kitchen and eat under the cover of the bohio, a large covered outdoor seating area very common here in Panama. Some semi-tame animals can be seen around the bohio, including Iguanas, Macaws and Howler Monkeys which come down from the trees to be fed fruit.

Lying on the beach watching four Macaws fly out from the tops of the palm trees was just magical – even though I found out later the Macaws were semi-tame, the sight of them flying overhead was dream-like.

La Playita, or ‘Little beach’, an idyllic, sheltered cove, about 15 minutes’ drive past Pedasi, is a great place for a beach walk, as well as being simply a great beach to spend the day. Walk along the cove to the right, scattering Fiddler Crabs left and right as you go. At the far end of the beach, there are many rocks with some excellent rock pools to investigate, full of (you guessed it) more crabs, as well as shrimps and fish. The tide comes in very quickly here, however, so be very careful not to get cut off from dry land.You can order simple food from the little kitchen and eat under the cover of the bohio, a large covered outdoor seating area very common here in Panama. Some semi-tame animals can be seen around the bohio, including Iguanas, Macaws and Howler Monkeys which come down from the trees to be fed fruit.Lying on the beach watching four Macaws fly out from the tops of the palm trees was just magical – even though I found out later the Macaws were semi-tame, the sight of them flying overhead was dream-like.

 

Transparent Butterfly, Trail of the Quetzal, BoqueteBoquete  - Trail of the Quetzal

La Playita, or ‘Little beach’, an idyllic, sheltered cove, about 15 minutes’ drive past Pedasi, is a great place for a beach walk, as well as being simply a great beach to spend the day. Walk along the cove to the right, scattering Fiddler Crabs left and right as you go. At the far end of the beach, there are many rocks with some excellent rock pools to investigate, full of (you guessed it) more crabs, as well as shrimps and fish. The tide comes in very quickly here, however, so be very careful not to get cut off from dry lan
You can order simple food from the little kitchen and eat under the cover of the bohio, a large covered outdoor seating area very common here in Panama. Some semi-tame animals can be seen around the bohio, including Iguanas, Macaws and Howler Monkeys which come down from the trees to be fed fruit.
Lying on the beach watching four Macaws fly out from the tops of the palm trees was just magical – even though I found out later the Macaws were semi-tame, the sight of them flying overhead was dream-like.

The climate in Boquete, in the West Highlands of Panama, is milder and more damp than most of the country. This is where (delicious) Panamanian coffee is grown and you can walk around the major coffee bean plantations, watching the hummingbirds feed on hibiscus, the national flower of Panama. 

We walked a part of the Trail of the Quetzal along the fast-flowing river alongside trees, creepers and gigantic boulders. It really was incredibly lush and green here, even compared to the rest of this verdant country. The glass-winged butterflies we saw here were unlike anything we have seen anywhere else. As you can guess from the name, this is a great place to see the rare ‘Resplendent Quetzal’, a large green bird with a spectacular long tail. We weren’t lucky enough to see one, but maybe you will be. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photographs and text, Jane Ellis

*Except photo of Orange-clawed Land Crab by Martin Ellis

 


Jane is an expat living in Panama and a Freelance Writer.  Follow her adventures at panamajama.com

mondoexplorer

Nice place to stay

Hostal Café Limon is a 4-bedroom boutique hotel and café, elegantly situated in the small town of Limón de Pedasí, Panamá, also known as the crossroads to many of the nicest beaches on the Azuero Península, such as Playa Venao, Playa Los Destiladeros, Punta Mala, Puerto and Playa Escondido, and the beautiful beaches just outside of Pedasí.

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