epic hikes in Panama
Epic hikes in Panama!
If you´re visiting Panama as a nature lover and hiking enthusiast, make sure to not miss out on the incredible hikes this country has to offer!
Hike through magical cloud forests, over grassy hills with incredible views or make your way to some incredible hidden waterfalls.
Also check out other helpful blog posts for your upcoming trip, such as Panama´s hidden gems.
1. Cerro La Silla, El Valle de Anton
Starting out with a real hidden gem in El Valle de Anton and one of the best hikes in Panama. And the best part, it´s absolutely free and you don´t need a guide to do it.
Compared to the more popular “La India Dormida” trail in El Valle, Cerro La Silla is hardly visited and you can have it all to yourself, especially if you head there early. It´s a very easy and short trail with only slight incline, but with the most amazing views over grassy hills.
I suggest doing this hike for sunrise, it´s magical!
If you have a decent car, you can drive all the way up to the first antennas and park there, then head by foot along the dirt road that gets bumpier with every meter. But you can also walk from the town center, which will add another 30 minutes or so each way.
After a few hundred meters, you take a turn to the right and follow the path to the next antennas.
From there you just follow the trail over the grassy hills and enjoy the view!
- Difficulty: easy, only the last few meter to the cross on the hill are steep
- Distance: around 4 km (2.5 miles) roundtrip from the parking at the first antennas
- Duration: 2 hours round trip with stops along the way.
- Google Maps location: https://maps.app.goo.gl/FvpV2a2T3zQRLngd6
- Cost: free
2. Lost waterfalls trail, Boquete
This amazing hiking trail in Boquete leads you to a total of 3 beautiful waterfalls.
The trail and waterfalls are located on private property, so you have to pay in order to use the trails. The cost is 10 USD per person to enter. (this price is when I visited in 2023, might increase in the future)
The hike is pretty steep and also gets pretty muddy in parts.
If you arrive by car, you can park at the closest road and then walk about 15 minutes to the entrance. There are also small, local busses running every now and then.
The waterfalls are all very different from each other and very unique. The first one can only be viewed from a platform and not directly accessed. Waterfall number 2 and 3 can be accessed as well and have a lovely pool. On hot days, you could also have a plunge there.
A lot of people skip the 3rd waterfall, but it was my favorite and I highly recommend making the effort to get there.
This last part mostly is quite muddy and you have to hold onto some ropes and climb over steep rocks to get up. But, if you´re in a somewhat fit condition, you can easily do it.
- Difficulty: intermediate, mostly uphill and muddy in parts
- Distance: around 3.5 km (2 miles)
- Duration: 2-3 hours round trip
- Google Maps location: https://maps.app.goo.gl/7rr4Z9f9PLBHCLzR9
- Cost: 10 USD per person (at the time of writing this in 2023)
3. Cerro Cara Iguana
Another great and easy trail in El Valle de Anton.
Easy, if you drive up to the trailhead. If you walk from town instead, it´s gets at least intermediate, as the start of the trail is pretty high up a steep road.
Once at the trailhead though, the hike is very easy and short. Towards the end you will enjoy the most amazing views over El Valle de Anton.
There are a couple of parts where the trail splits, you can take any direction pretty much and just wander around the grassy hills and enjoy the views.
This hike wasn´t busy at all and I didn´t meet anybody along the way when I visited on a random afternoon.
Recommend going either for sunrise or sunset!
- Difficulty: easy, if you start at trailhead up the mountain / intermediate, if you start from town
- Distance: around 2 km (1.3 miles), if you start from the trailhead or almost 8 km (5 miles), if you start from town
- Duration: 1 hour round trip, if you start from trailhead or 3 hours, if you start from town
- Google Maps location: https://maps.app.goo.gl/Zg2XRDwy643JM6wR8
- Cost: free
4. Pipeline Trail, Boquete
A lovely trail through a lush cloud forest in Boquete. The special thing about this trail: you have high chances to see the national bird of Guatemala, the Quetzal. It´s a majestic creature and you should definitely try to see one during your visit to Boquete.
The trail is navigating along pipelines, which is how it got it´s name.
Another plus of this trail is that there`s a waterfall at the very end of it. Most people don´t know of don´t find it. Once you reach the small stream and the path is leading into it, cross it and continue the small path until you can´t see a path anymore, just follow the stream (you can do it without getting wet (at least in dry season). At the very end of it, there´s a very high waterfall (with not a lot of water when I visited), definitely worth the extra 15 minutes ish.
Along the trail, try to look up in the trees as much as you can, to spot the beautiful Quetzal. I was lucky enough to watch a male and female together for 15+ minutes. Gorgeous creatues.
This trail is generally easy and a bit longer. Mostly uphill but with only a little incline. It´s located on private property and you have to pay for the entrance.
Definitely add this hike in Panama to your bucketlist!
- Difficulty: easy, slightly uphill
- Distance: around 7 km (4.3 miles) round trip
- Duration: 2-3 hours
- Google Maps location: https://maps.app.goo.gl/h77nqMieTXG44JrY6
- Cost: 5 USD per person (at the time of writing this in 2023)
5. Other great hikes in Panama
- La India Dormida, El Valle de Anton
- Cascada Cabello de Angel, Chiriqui
- Volcan Baru
- Sendero Piedra de Lino, Boquete
- Cerro Tute, Santa Fé
- Sendero El Pianista, Boquete (read reviews about not easy to navigate and not safest, if going by yourself. Do some additional research!)
- Metropolitan Natural Park, Panama City
- Cerro Ancón, Panama City
Motivated yet to go hiking in Panama? I hope you are!
Make sure to check out more Panama blog posts to help plan your trip: