Amidst a myriad of amazing waterfalls and trails, Nuca Del Toro, is a basic trail without much of an epic viewpoint. However, if you give the trail a chance it can be a fun afternoon activity with a change of scenery from the Panamanian Jungle. Huge pine trees surround you on top of the hill with snippets of the mountain range visible depending on what giant boulder you can clamber onto.
It’s always an adventure in Panama and this short but fun hike was no different.
HOW TO GET TO NUCA DEL TORO
From my accommodation, Hostal La Qhia, I walked down to the bus terminal. Here I waited for the bus that goes to Santa Fe Alto. There is also Guabal and Santiago bus. You just need to wait in the town center with all the locals and if you get nervous that the bus hasn’t come for a while just mention to someone you are going to Alto and they will tell you to take a seat it will be coming soon.
The bus to Santa Fe Alto takes about 20 minutes and costs $1. I told the driver I wanted to be dropped at Nuca Del Toro. She nodded and I had to hope she would drop me in the right spot. Ronaldo, from Hostal La Qhia, had told me to head up a path on the left and then find a football field. From there the trail led up the hill.
The lady dropped me off the bus and told me to head up that path. She had dropped me directly at the trailhead. It took no more than 10 minutes to walk up to the football field and then I wandered towards the hill. There didn’t seem to be a clear trail but I found one in the left corner of the field and decided to go with it.
NUCA DEL TORO HIKE
The trail led to the top of the hill, where I found two crosses. I think this may be a burial site at the top of the hill. Trekking to the top took less than ten minutes again. I had prepared for a couple of hours of hiking but it turned out to be a hill, not a mountain. The environment was much different from the other hikes. Pine trees and a forest vibe were par for this hike.
At the top there as no real viewpoint, which is a bit disappointing. Not because you have hiked for hours but because the bus journey and the effort to get here is quite a lot for being stuck in the middle of some grass. I decided to power on and found my way onto some huge boulders. Here I had a decent view of the mountains beyond Nuca Del Toro.
There was a rock platform in the middle of the pine trees, which turned out to be my favorite part of the entire hike. I hung out here for a while in the middle of this little forest, on the hill all by myself taking it all in. The drone had a little run from this rock also.
I finally headed home but once at the bottom of the hill, I had to wait almost an hour for the bus back to Santa Fe. It was just a bit too far to walk at 8 miles so I sat it out and finally got back. I spent more time waiting for the bus back than actually time hiking up and down the hill but hey that’s how it goes.
If you only have a couple of days in Santa Fe I recommend some of the other hikes and waterfalls in the area but if you are into your second week in Santa Fe like myself, then it is a fun little adventure!