We waited in the cold, curled up behind boulders atop Cerro De La Cruz with the almighty cross 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.
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 to 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 were. 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 viewer 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 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 freeze. 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!
3 MOST POPULAR TOURS IN PANAMA
These are the three most popular activities for tourists in Panama. Personally, I love the San Blas Islands boat trip!
- San Blas Islands Boat Trip: Explore the tropical paradise of the San Blas Islands, the most beautiful region in Panama. Easily the most amazing activity I did in Panama.
- Taboga Island Catamaran Cruise: Admire Panama from the water on a sightseeing catamaran cruise to Taboga Island. Admire the city skyline, dive from the boat for a swim, relax on a beach in Taboga, and enjoy snacks and an open bar.
- Half-Day City Tour & Panama Canal: Connect with the beautiful and modern Panama City on this shared or private city tour. Stroll the narrow streets of the Old Town and watch ships sail through the Panama Canal
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.
BEST INSURANCE FOR TRAVELERS
Don’t wait for an accident to happen… get insured! My travel insurance is HeyMondo which offers low-cost travel & medical insurance. That’s me on the left with three teeth knocked out after a motorbike crash in Bali!
You can click to read my Full Review of the Best Travel Insurance.
I’ve made several successful claims with HeyMondo and find their customer service very quick and helpful. Click the button below to get a 5% DISCOUNT
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.
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
HAVE YOU CHECKED OUT MY OTHER PANAMA GUIDES
- 70 AWESOME THINGS TO DO IN PANAMA: The ultimate guide to exploring the whole country!
- 26 AMAZING WATERFALLS IN PANAMA: The ultimate guide to waterfall chasing in Panama.
- 6 BEST CLIFF JUMPING SPOTS IN PANAMA: The guide for thrill-seekers and adrenaline hunters.
- 37 AMAZING HIKES IN PANAMA: All of the best hiking trails. Many you’ve never heard of!
- 18 AWESOME THINGS TO DO IN BOQUETE: Hiking, waterfalls, and volcanoes.
- 12 AWESOME THINGS TO DO IN EL VALLE DE ANTON: My favorite place to base in Panama.
- 10 AWESOME THINGS TO DO IN SANTA CATALINA: Surf, hike, swim, kayak, and explore.
I hope you enjoy my guides and have a great time exploring Panama!