Get Around: Altos de Campana National Park
Visitors will be stunned by the green rolling hills and the lush tropical rain forests, filled with wildlife. The park offers breathtaking views beyond the Pacific Ocean and preserves an unknown serenity. The average temperature hovers around 24º C and is very refreshing due to elevations up to 850 meters. Altos de Campana National Park invites you every time to explore, relax and discover.
‘Altos de Campana National Park has somehow remained a well-kept secret, even for some Panamanians’
The area is also known as Campana Heights National Park or Parque Nacional Altos De Campana. It is situated at Chame Bay on the Pacific Coast and is the oldest National Park of Panama. Altos the Campana was once a part of the El Valle de Anton Volcano. You can still find the rugged ridges of volcanic cliffs and ancient scattered lava rocks. The National Park holds two river basins which contribute to the Panama Canal and help to provide drinking water for the capital. The park is environmentally conserved, which ensures it will stay just as pristine as decades ago.
Altos de Campana National Park is the perfect place for avid bird-watchers and anyone interested in the outdoors. One can enjoy an abundance of flora, like bromeliads, various trees and orchids. The park is also a breeding ground for numerous birds, like the orange-bellied trogon and the endangered violet-bellied hummingbird.
Over 39 different species of mammals call this park their home. You can spot animals like Geoffroy’s tamarin, sloths, raccoons and opossums. Also to be found are many reptiles and amphibians. One is the Golden Frog, an extremely rare type.
At the entrance of the park you will have to pay a small fee to enter. Here you can buy maps with all the trails and ask for more information. There is one main trail that runs trough the park. Some shorter hikes derive from it, going further into the tropical rain forest.
Most walks are easy, well marked and not too strenuous, making it possible to admire the stunning surroundings. The trails can be steep though at some sections and you will have to stay cautious, especially during wet seasons. At some parts hand rails will assist the hikers. For the best lookouts follow the trail ‘Sendero La Cruz’. On a clear day you might even see the beach resorts of Chame.
Another highlight of the park is the ‘Mirador’, a raised platform with spectacular views. More hotspots are a waterfall of 45 meters tall, several caves and rock-formations and a canyon with a river to swim in.
The park is only a twenty minutes’ drive from the town of Coronado and over an hour from Panama City. Driving up by yourself will allow you to capture the many beautiful vistas and to breath in the cool air. After the Inter-American Highway, you have to follow the newly paved route to Capira or Chicá. The entrance is about 6 km after Capira, at the beginning of the well-known ‘Loma de Campana’. If you travel by public transport, you can take any bus that is heading for Capira or Chicá.