La India Dormida Hike, also known as “The Sleeping Indian” hike, is a must-do activity for anyone visiting Panama. This unique hike offers a challenging yet rewarding experience with breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and surrounding mountains. The trailhead is located near the small town of El Valle, which is known for its beautiful natural setting, hot springs, and waterfalls.
LA INDIA DORMIDA HIKE
The hike itself is relatively challenging, with steep inclines and rocky terrain, but the stunning vistas at the top make it all worth it. At the summit, you will be able to see the iconic “Sleeping Indian” formation, a mountain that looks like a woman laying on her back. Along the way, you’ll also encounter a diverse array of flora and fauna, making it a perfect destination for nature enthusiasts. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or just looking for a new adventure, the La India Dormida hike is a must-do activity that should not be missed!
HOW TO GET TO LA INDIA DORMIDA HIKE
La India Dormida hike is a loop trail although I guess you can do an out and back to the top of you prefer. That means there are two entrances. However, as you hike up in the dark, it really doesn’t matter how each route looks as you won’t see anything. Therefore it might be best to take the easiest route to the summit. By starting the route at Piedra Pintada, which is on Google Maps below when you zoom in, you hike quickly up to the best viewpoint. This is the head of the Indian.
The beauty of starting at this point is that you get to the summit early and first and then once you wait for the sun to rise while this viewpoint the trail will slowly be illuminated. Now you can enjoy the whole trail along the edge of the crater in sunlight to take full advantage of the epic views.
To reach Piedra Pintada, which is the trailhead entrance, from the town takes about 10-15 minutes from the central point. There is a little archway and depending on whether someone is manning the station or not you may have to pay an entrance fee of $3. We didn’t and I haven’t paid an entrance fee yet in Anton Valley, although it is low season.
MY EXPERIENCE ON THE LA INDIA DORMIDA HIKE
At 4:30 am, we grabbed a coffee and made our way out of Bodhi Hostel in a group of five. It took us about fifteen minutes to reach the Piedra Pintada trailhead. Leaving behind the streetlights and steady ground, we flicked on our torches and phone lights as we began the trek up to the summit.
This early part of the trail is actually quite beautiful. There are lots of little waterfalls, wooden bridges, and river crossings. You won’t see any of them in the dark. What you will get is incredibly sweaty as the humidity under the canopy and the intense incline will have you sweating bullets.
It took us the best part of 45 minutes or so at a steady pace to reach the top or the head of the Indian, which is the key viewpoint. Make sure to check the night before for the official sunrise time. I would then leave myself a minimum of 1 hour from when you leave your accommodation but if you want to guarantee you witness the sunrise for all your effort 1.5 hours is perfect.
We arrived at the summit at the end of the blue hour, which is the hour before the sun rises when the sky is a rich blue. The summit was windy but not cold. One big tip is to take a spare t-shirt for the top or as I did, keep a jacket in your bag and then remove the shirt and replace it with the jacket. This allowed me to take off my wet shirt that was dripping in sweat and getting cold in the wind. Minor creature comforts but not hard to plan ahead!
Unfortunately for us, the clouds seemed to want to ruin the show although above the clouds the sky was clear. We hung out at the top of the mountain, which was slowly coming to light. Slowly the sun managed to break its way above the top of the clouds and then she burst through. In what is the rainy season, we were counting our blessings to have a dry, clear morning and now the sun was coming through with beautiful light for us!
Now that the mountains were fully lit, we continued our journey along the cliff-edge path. The views of the crater were amazing and we couldn’t believe how good the weather was or our hike. The glass glowed in the sunshine and we found a few great vantage points to take in the Anton Valley Crater.
Slowly the path leads you down and down until you emerge back into the streets of Anton Valley and it once again only takes 15-20 minutes to return from the exit of the trail. You could do it in reverse, but as I mentioned you would be along the cliffs in the dark although you would enjoy the waterfalls in daylight. My suggestion is to do it in the order I did and if you are so interested in the Piedra Pintada waterfalls to revisit them during the day from the Piedra Pintada entrance, which will take you just 10 minutes.
THE LEGEND OF THE SLEEPING INDIAN
Legend has it that Luba, known as ‘Airflower’, was the youngest daughter of heralded Chief Urraca. Urraca was the leader of one of the many Guaymi Tribes in Anton Crater.
Luba was a rebellious girl and despite her tribes fighting with the Spanish for years she fell in love with a Spanish official who lived in the town. Yaravi was a brave warrior from the tribe who loved Luba but she didn’t love him back. Yaravi couldn’t handle this and took his own life, throwing himself off of a mountain while Luba stared in a perplexed fashion.
Luba didn’t want to betray her town and in a desperate panic of crying and mourning, she loses herself in the bushes and dies.
This is the legend of the Sleeping Indian.
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 LA INDIA DORMIDA 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!
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!
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
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