We waited in the cold, curled up behind boulders atop Cerro De La Cruz with the almighty cross the towering above us. It had been an early wake-up call at 2 am and we were now patiently shivering our way towards a beautiful sunrise in the Campana National Park on the Cerro De La Cruz viewpoint hike.
Photos by myself and @jerryfit
SUNRISE HIKE TO CERRO DE LA CRUZ
At 230 am we rose out of bed ready for an adventure. We piled into the car and made our way up into Altos de Campana National Park. In the dark, it was hard to take notice but as we drove down later, we would see how beautiful the roads in where. There is a small place to park next to a homestead where the trail marker is.
Off we went into the darkness with our flashlights and camera gear ready for a sunrise mission. The trail was muddy and uneven, which made the trek down to the viewpoint an interesting one. The tropical conditions within the canopy had me sweating bullets, while I carried my huge pack of camera gear. The vines, roots and constant steps down made the hike quite strenuous despite only being less than 2 miles. It definitely was no walk in the park.
One hour before the sun would rise we had arrived at the huge boulder on which the cross is planted. You probably need to account for one hour maximum of hiking if you are trying to time your run perfectly. However, it is always better to arrive early and wait when it comes to a sunrise. Have the time to prepare your gear, fire up the drones and check out the best spots. Sometimes, like this morning, the sunrise doesn’t last long and you only get a few fleeting moments of nice light.
The rough part about arriving early in the cold at the summit. I brought a spare jacket but I had to take off the sweaty t-shirt that was making me freezing. I suggest bringing dry clothes for the top if you intend to wait before sunrise. With only shorts and one slim jacket, I curled up in the rocks and hid from the wind. I listened to some tunes as I watched the valley below, slowly come to life.
From the viewpoint we could spot the Mangroves and other mountains in Chame. The mangroves of Chame Bay looked beautiful as the sun reflected off the glistening water.
After patiently waiting for an hour, the sun finally started to break its way through and we started to see how beautiful the view was with the sun streaming into the valley and up onto the mountain.
This viewpoint, which is at 905 meters of altitude, was one of my favorite lookouts in Panama. Standing beneath the cross with such an epic drop below us was an insane way to start the day!
On the hike back, we could really enjoy the beautiful trail and Jerry, my local friend managed to spot a sloth. It was an incredible encounter and I was glad I had carried around my 70-200 all morning waiting for a moment like this.
Once at the bottom of the hike we decided to drive around to the base of the mountain and check out the crest across the road. It was a five-minute trek up the hill and we were treated to some more epic views of the rolling hills.
CONTACT JERRY THE LOCAL GUIDE (MY BEST FRIEND IN PANAMA)
If you need a local guide or are looking for tips to travel through Panama I suggest contacting, Jerry, one of my best friends from Panama. He runs group tours to off the beaten path locations like Escudo de Veraguas and Bayano Caves. He is a local, indigenous guide who is incredibly funny, honest and knows Panama by the back of his hand. We explored all of Cocle together and went on some insane adventures and he became like a brother to me. If you have any questions or want help, tours, guides or tips he is your man.
WhatsApp: +507 6153 8924
ADVENTURE BAG FROM CERRO DE LA CRUZ HIKE
This is an adventure bag. It is full of trash. Every time I go on an adventure I collect one adventure bag full of trash. It’s my small way of saying thanks to mother nature for allowing me to enjoy her beautiful creations. If we have time to go on an adventure we have time to collect an adventure bag on the way back out of the trail once we have enjoyed the waterfall, the hike or the beach. Adventure hard!
HOW TO GET TO CERRO DE LA CRUZ IN ALTOS DE CAMPANA NATIONAL PARK
Campana National Park is only 70km away from Panama City. I have added the WikiLoc route for the Cerro De La Cruz Hike, which enables you to follow the exact route of other hikers. The trail is under 2 miles and very clear once you begin.
CERRO DE LA CRUZ IN ALTOS DE CAMPANA NATIONAL PARK MAP