At 8 pm, Edgar our leader rounded up the troops at Hostal La Qhia. We had signed up for the nature trail night adventure but we didn’t quite know what we were in for. Edgar emerged from the lobby with his headtorch on and safari clothes. He looked ready to survive for a week in the jungle. Here we go!
We drove for about 20 minutes up near Alto de Piedra Waterfalls on the way to Guabal. The transport is included in the fee of $25 per person and we rode in the back of the pickup truck in the dark. Jackets and rain pants on we must have looked a sight for any locals who spotted us.
We arrived at a random driveway and began to walk in the dark as we sorted out our flashlights. Before we knew it, Edgar had already spotted a frog. This is how the night would go for me. Finding a few crickets while Edgar found sloths, snakes, frogs and pretty much everything interesting. The guy has incredible eyes and without him, you would have a good time looking at some big bugs but I would be surprised if you saw much more. He has years of experience spotting these creatures.
The night nature trail was not a hike at all. We didn’t ever feel tired as we moved slowly through the jungle. Scanning the leaves, top, and bottom, looking for creatures of interest.
The interesting part is that in Santa Fe there are lots of motion-sensor cameras and Edgar showed us the photos they had captured within the last 2 years. It is pretty shocking. Jaguars, Ocelots, Pumas and lots of other large mammals are out here in the jungle, but they are seldom seen!
We walked for about 1.5 hours total admiring all of the amazing creatures along the way. Let’s just see the bugs are bigger in Panama. If you are interested in this experience I do recommend it. Just drop into Hostal La Qhiaand let them know. Edgar is so stoked on the creatures and you can tell he really loves that part of being involved at the hostel. It was $25 per person and the only paid tour I did in Santa Fe. The rest of the hikes were free!
These were my favorite photos from the night trail in Santa Fe, Veraguas. All of the photos were shot on a Sony A7ii with a 55mm 1.8 prime lens. The lighting is just from our torches. It was pretty hit and miss and I am new to nature photography but I think they turned out pretty cool. Having the prime helped with making sure the shutter speed was fast enough to help with general shakiness. I tried to shoot at least at 1/20, which is generally okay with the built-in stabilization of the Sony A7ii. If the bugs are animals were moving obviously I had to bump up the ISO and sacrifice the picture quality to be able to freeze the animal in the frame rather than have it blurred as it moved. Most of the creatures didn’t move an inch making things slightly easier.