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Cerro La Gaita Hike In Cocle, Panama

Cerro La Gaita Hike In Cocle, Panama

Every mountain in Anton Valley seemed to surround us as we emerged from the jungle to rise above the canopy on a wooden platform. For the last hour, we had trekked up the slipper path and then the stairs that pierced through the dense jungle. We had reached the summit of Cerro La Gaita and the view was glorious! In this guide, I will share everything you need to know about the Cerro La Gaita hike in Panama.

cerro la gaita cocle panama


Hike Distance: The total distance of the Cerro La Gaita hike is 9km

Hike Duration: The hike will take you about 2 hours.

Hike Incline: 609m

cerro la gaita cocle panama


We parked our car at the bottom of the hill and looked up at the challenge ahead of us and even higher at the ominous clouds. The trail began at a steady incline as we all slipped our way up at a slow pace in the funniest of fashions. If you have hiking shoes with grip this is a hike to bring them out because the early part of the trail, will test your balance. It isn’t dangerous but the clay is very slippery. I ran ahead to grab a quick shot at the crew crawling up the hill with an epic mountain backdrop.

cerro la gaita cocle panama

After about fifteen minutes of incline, the calves were burning and finally, we had reached a plateau. It was marked by a barbed wire fence but it was open and there was no need to jump the fence. Once you reach this fence you are halfway… to the halfway point or the start of the stairs. The trail gets muddy from this point on but you only have about 10-15 minutes until your reach the stairs.

cerro la gaita cocle panama

cerro la gaita cocle panama

Another fifteen minutes from the barbed wire fence and we had reached the stairs. Apparently, it is possible to drive to this point from a road on the other side but without a car and a desire to destroy said car I’m fine with the 30-minute walk. I’ll leave that to the professional tour guides and their specialized 4×4 pickups. However, if you are looking to do the trek and think you can only manage the stairs, I’m letting you know it is an option to keep your sneakers clean and just attack the stairs.

The sign at the start of the stairs said 550 meters. Normally a sign at the start of stairs will tell you how many steps so I had no idea how long 550 meters up a staircase would take. It was a beautiful stairway, winding through the dense jungle. At times it was just pure incline and at others it wrapped left and right at a less intense climb. I’m not sure who built the stairway but it is a great idea and I’m surprised it comes at no cost to tourists as this trail was free as of August 2018. I really enjoyed making me through these stairs and spent lots of time in different sections studying all of the vines and getting lost in the moody atmosphere.

cerro la gaita cocle panama

The stairs took me about 25 minutes but we came down in five minutes. I think 15 of the 25 minutes it took on the way up the stairs was due to photos! It definitely is a short and sharp climb to the top.  I was expecting a platform above the jungle but what I found exceeded my expectations.

The stairway wrapped around the side of the mountain and it was a steep final ascent to the summit. At the top, we found an empty platform that looked out over many of the other hikes in the region. We were truly on top of the jungle and the view at Cerro La Gaita was one of my favorites so far in Panama.

I literally looked out from this platform and planned my next week of hikes. In every direction, I saw a new adventure and I’m so glad I came up to Cerro La Gaita on my first day for a great look at all of the possible adventures in the region!

cerro la gaita cocle panama

cerro la gaita cocle panama

cerro la gaita cocle panama

cerro la gaita cocle panama

cerro la gaita cocle panama

cerro la gaita cocle panama

cerro la gaita cocle panama

cerro la gaita cocle panama


To reach Cerro La Gaita, you will actually cross over into Panama Oeste, another province. However, this trail is only a 20-minute drive from Anton Valle town. The trail begins at the fork of the Laguna de San Carlos. Here you take the road to the left, which immediately heads up the hill. I have included some photos in the blog post for visual reference of the trail and also this Wikiloc route, which I can confirm is accurate and does indeed lead to the Cerro La Gaita viewing platform.

Powered by Wikiloc


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!


I hope you enjoy my guides and have a great time exploring Panama!

cerro picacho ola 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


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Wednesday 5th of April 2023

Hi Everybody,

Just to add some more information, we have tried the Wikiloc trail that is mentioned by Jackson but that didn't really work-out because you hike through the jungle and will not end up seeing the reference points that Jackson mentions in the blog. We didn't reach the lookout through that trail but it might be possible, we just turned around before reaching the end.

For our second attempt, we used the following Wikiloc route: Following this route on Wikiloc you will pass all the reference points that Jackson mentions and reach the lookout point through the stairs. Just before the stairs, there is a sign with private property but all the gates were open and we didn't see any security. Should be fine to just hike to the beginning of the stairs and enjoy the view.

Have fun and thanks Jackson for another awesome adventure in Panama.

Bye ✌🏻


Friday 22nd of April 2022

Hi Jackson, thanks a lot for your inspiring hikes in Panama. I guess your blog was one of the reasons why we travelled there already the second time! We tried to reach Cerro La Gaita from the North-West, not as shown in the WikiLoc map from the South-East. That did not work since the start of the stairs is on private property and at the time we came up to this point there was a security guard who told us that we can not pass, since we are not guests of Altos de Maria (we were staying in Valle de Anton). So unfortunately we did not make it to the top on that day. Hope that might help others in their planning & keep on hiking!

Anna O.

Tuesday 22nd of June 2021

Hi Jackson, Great blog and thanks for sharing awesome idea of adventure bag! We have been traveling Central America (Mexico, Costa Rica, now in Panama, back to Costa Rica in a few weeks) in the last few months and working remotely. I have to say that Panama is beautiful but trash is a huge problem here...that is very sad... We would love to hike Cerro de Gaita this upcoming weekend. I reached out to Jerryfit so also hope he can join us as a guide and a fun company. Cheers! Anna

Willow Bascom

Saturday 19th of January 2019

Hi Jackson, Great pictures! I grew up in Panama and remember the views and the wire and branch gates. May i use one of your long shots (no people) for a book? I have drawn Cocle pottery and want to show the beauty of Cocle Province too.

Tom and Martine

Saturday 1st of September 2018

Hi! Many thanks for your story and the direction. We had an amazing hike to the top of Cerro la Gaita!