CERRO TRINIDAD HIKE IN EL CACAO, CAPIRO
Cerro Trinidad is a steep hike through the jungle to an epic viewpoint out over Capiro. It isn’t very popular and subsequently, the trail is quite rough and very steep in some parts. A guide is highly suggested and hikers not in good physical condition may decide to give this hike a miss due to the incline. The story of how we made it to the top and ended up sleeping in a tent inside the neighbor’s house the night before is a lucky tale.
Photos by myself @jerryfit
We caught the bus from El Valle de Anton and planned to meet our friend on the way. Our friend had the 4×4, which is recommended to reach the trailhead. Unfortunately, he had car troubles while we were on our way to meet him. An old couple sitting next to us on the bus overheard us discussing our options now without a ride or 4×4. He said he had a friend who lived at the base of Cerro Trinidad. He showed us some photos of his friend’s backyard and Cerro Trinidad was right there.
We got off the bus with the old couple and he called his friend. He called his mate and within half an hour we were in the back seat of a random pickup truck on our way to a strangers house in Cacao, Capiro. It was not something they did normally. In fact, we were the first tourists they had ever picked up and hosted. I have put the contact details of our host family and guides at the bottom of this blog post if you need them.
OUR HOST FAMILY IN CACAO
We arrived at their house. It was very basic. Several concrete rooms made up the house, which was adorned with some old couches, chairs and a television. Out the back were a traditional fire-oven and a drop toilet. Ducks, chickens, and dogs roamed around as I played some ball games with the young kids.
The family was incredibly hospitable making us coffee, lunch and tending to our needs. One of the sons took us on a tour of Capiro in the pickup truck. The mountainous region is exactly stunning with lots of different treks, steep roads, rivers, and lush green coverage. We ended up staying the night with the family. Jerry and I set up the tent inside another house, which was halfway through its construction. It provided us with rain cover and a wind block, which was handy.
HIKING CERRO TRINITY
We woke up at 2:30 in the morning ready to get cracking on the hike with our local guides who were friends of our hosts.. We had been told it could take about two hours so we thought we would give ourselves 2.5 hours to make sure we caught the sunrise. Our host mom woke up at 2:30 to make us coffee. So far there had been no mention of any payment and they were hosting us. Of course, we were going to pay them for their hospitality but at this stage, they were hosting us out of generosity. It is truly remarkable and a testament to their hospitality and character.
It turned out that the hike only took us an hour and fifteen minutes. We went at a steady pace without breaks but definitely, no more than two hours is necessary for most. Keep that in mind when timing your run. The trail up the mountain was rugged. Often we clambered over tree roots an then entire fallen trees. We climbed up rock walls and ducked under vines. It was a hot, sweaty effort up the constant incline. However, it was short and sweet. Much shorter than we thought.
When we reached the summit, where the famous stone bible and huge boulder are located, it was only 5 am. We had over an hour to wait for the sun to rise. We found a spot on the rocks and tried to sleep in the cold wind. As 6 am rolled around we were inside a cloud with no sign of any sun. We waited. We waited some more and several hours later we were still waiting for the wall of white to leave. In a bout of stubbornness and commitment to the cause, we ended up waiting until 11 am for the fog to finally give us the view we had worked for!
The mountains at the summit are quite unique as they are huge exposed rocks, similar to Turega hike in El Valle de Anton. The views in all directions were beautiful and you can tell there are some great hikes in this area! We were so stoked we could finally see more than a few yards. Our patience had paid off!
There are several peaks and our guides had been to one of them and placed a white flag. Therefore, it is possible to hike the second peak but our guide suggested it wasn’t a good idea. Almost always trust your guide. Unless he underestimates you. We were all dead by midday anyway so we decided to head down for a 1 pm breakfast rather than exploring other, dangerous peaks that our guide was advising against.
We headed back down the trail although our guides took us on a much steeper route. It was a bit of challenge and I am happy to admit, I did slip multiple times! It took us an hour to trek back down.
When we returned our host mum had cooked us tortillas, eggs and some other things I can’t remember because I ate so quickly! The hunger was real! We had a bucket shower and refreshed before our journey back to El Valle de Anton.
HOST FEE AND GUIDE FEE
Our host family never asked for anything and enjoyed hanging out with us. The kids especially loved having some weird strangers to play with. Jerry is a local guide and he determined that $20 per person would be a good amount for the guide, host, and food for the time we were in Cacao, Capiro. There were three of us so that was $60 total. Although the family is not in the tourism business, we asked them if they wanted me to put their contact details on the blog to repeat their hosting and guiding experience. Who knows maybe in a year they will be running ‘Trinidad Tours”! If you do want to stay with our host family so you can hit a sunrise mission and also contact them to arrange a guide (I suggest a guide for this trail), I have left their contact details below.
Host Family & Guide: Nelson Herrera: +507 6468 6360
ADVENTURE BAG FROM CERRO TRINIDAD IN CAPIRO, PANAMA
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!
Our guide really loved the Adventure Bag. He started collecting the trash with us and volunteered to carry it all the way back down. The flow-on effect is just happening on the daily at the moment!