Overlooking San Carlos Laguna, the Cerro Picacho hike in San Carlos (West Panama) is one of the best viewpoints in the region.
Getting to Cerro Picacho
The drive from Anton Valle to San Carlos Laguna will take about 30 minutes up some seriously steep hills. When we arrived, we needed to pay $1 to enter the complex although I think this was just for the lake and if you just walk up to the hike and begin the trail you may not have to pay. We were also asked to pay $3 to park the car so we drove back 50 meters and parked outside of their complex for free, which was actually closer to the trailhead.
Cerro Picacho Trail
The trail is, for once, signposted with ‘Sendero Cerro Picacho’. This means ‘Picacho Mountain Trail’, in English and is where the trail will start. It is about 100m back from the lake and you should drive past it and see it on your right side as you drive in. It is right next to the road and one of the easier trailheads to find.
It is a steady incline through the dense forest, which leads you over roots, through muddy paths, and underneath a beautiful canopy. The tropical conditions mean that as per usual you will be sweating, hot, and searching for air when you reach the summit.
There are two viewpoints on Cerro Picacho in San Carlos. The first is a really cool boulder that sticks out of the trail and gives a great vantage point of the lake and the other peak. The other peak is incredibly steep although I have seen a video of someone sitting on top of it. Therefore, I can conclude that it is possible but I don’t know how he got up there. It may have been with ropes or climbing gear. For that reason, I won’t suggest attempting that but someone has done it before.
From the boulder lookout, we could see other hikes like the Cerro La Gaita platform. It is a great spot to check out the other mountains in the area.
After hanging out on the boulder lookout we trekked up to the final viewpoint, which looks out to the other side away from the other peak of Cerro Picacho. From here you can see out to the ocean and over towards Zapote trail. This viewpoint had an epic drop-off and provided a great breeze after the sticky walk up through the canopy.
Hanging out down by the lake after the hike is a great option. You have paid your $1 entry fee after all so why not take it all in?
ADVENTURE BAG FROM CERRO PICACHO SAN CARLOS 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!
CERRO PICACHO HIKE IN SAN CARLOS MAP
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I hope you enjoy my guides and have a great time exploring Panama!