The 8-mile Camino de Cruces Trail takes visitors through 4,000 hectares of primarily tropical forest that connects the Metropolitan Natural Park and the Soberania National Park. Freshwater birds can be seen by the ponds located at the start of Chiva Chiva Road. Follow the road and discover a variety of birds, flora and fauna. The Camino de Cruces Trail was originally used in the 16th and 17th centuries by Spanish plunderers to haul gold from Peru by mule across the Isthmus of Panama on its way to Spain. This trail was also used as a path for fortune seekers transiting the isthmus during the 1849-1950 California Gold Rush.
|At your hotel in Panama City at the appropriate time.
|WHAT TO WEAR
Comfortable hiking boots and light leisure clothing, jacket, mosquito repellent and sunscreen. A hat and sunglasses are recommended. Hiking shoes and a small backpack are highly recommended.
Early morning we’ll depart your hotel for a 45-minute drive to Camino de Cruces (Las Cruces Trail). This historic stone trail was built by the Spanish in the early years of the colony to join the Old Panama City, located on the shores of the Pacific Ocean, with Fort San Lorenzo, by the mouth of the mighty Chagres River on the Caribbean Sea. You will hike approximately 8km/5 miles stretch of the trail that has been protected within the Soberania National Park. The mostly flat trail takes you through magnificent rainforests teeming with exotic wildlife and historic landmarks. This road served the Spanish well for more than three centuries. Many treasure trains passed through it as they moved the treasures from Peru and the Pacific to the Atlantic and then on to Spain. Merchandise from Spain and their colonies were transported to Panama, which was the trade center for Central and South America.
During the 1849 Gold Rush in California, the activity on the Las Cruces Trail picked up a large number of 49er’s that used the Panama Route to get to California. Be prepared for uneven, muddy and slippery terrain and to get your shoes wet when crossing little creeks along the way. You may spot green iguanas and three-toed sloths resting on tree branches, white-faced capuchin, mantled howler monkey, keel-billed toucan, among other wildlife. Also, you will admire large specimen of silk cotton trees, cuipo (Cavanillesia platanfolia), nance, jobo, oak (whose spectacular blossoming in April and May heralds the end of the dry season).
IMPORTANT: This trail requires good physical condition and will take you through creeks, and muddy, slippery and uneven rainforest terrain. You may want to bring another set clothes and shoes in your backpack. You will also have to sign a release of responsibility form.