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panama travel and tourism

Cerro Gaital

cerro gaital, el valle de anton, panama

Just north of El Valle de Anton and forming part of the volcano's rim is Cerro Gaital, a vibrant cloud forest offering outstanding views and terrific birding opportunities.

From the park entrance, your hike begins with a mild uphill climb on a flat, grassy substrate. After a short walk, you'll turn left at the sign and proceed to the trail's starting point. Known as "Sendero Convento," the trail forms is a simple loop that measures 1.5 miles (2.48 km) in length. It is mostly uphill and very well maintained, with three not-so-comfortable resting areas along the way, off to the left. After reaching its end, you'll need to continue a bit further before reaching the lookout area—el mirador. Once there, you'll find a relatively stable wooden platform on which to stand, offering terrific views of El Valle and the Pacific Ocean—weather permitting. You can return on the same trail or complete the loop by descending on the remaining section. The trail sign reads "2 hours," but most will reach the lookout in less than 45 minutes.

Cerro Gaital is often shrouded in clouds, and during certain months of the year, you should expect heavy winds and rain, so it might be a good idea to take a windbreaker, rain gear, or sweater with you. Moreover, the weather is very unpredictable and can change quickly, so don't be fooled by how things look from town. There are no stores nearby so bring whatever you need.

Getting to Cerro Gaital

Google Map - Cerro Gaital Trail

Cerro Gaital is further along the same road that passes "El Macho" waterfall. There are public buses—look for small mini-buses that read "La Mesa"—that can drop you off very close to the park entrance; it's just a few minutes from the bus stop. The more adventurous can walk from town or the waterfall, but it is a very long hike, and there are no stores after leaving town, so bring all you need. To complicate matters, the roads are unmarked, as they wind through poultry farms and private residences, making it easy to get lost. If you decide to walk, you will need to reach the "Alemi Toledo" poultry farm; there is a bus stop on the corner. Turn right, and walk along the gravel road until you reach the park entrance.

cerro gaital, el valle de anton, panama

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