Panama Day 7. Panama City: A Morning Hike in Metropolitan Natural Park

Panama Day 7. Panama City: A Morning Hike in Metropolitan Natural Park

Panama Day Seven Panama City Metropolitan Park - (37 of 50)
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I awoke early Sunday morning on my recent visit to Panama . I was staying at the  Marriot Panama Hotel near the Albrook Mall.  I chose this hotel since in was within walking distance of  the Metropolitan Natural Park.  This almost 600 acre park  has the largest rainforest in a city in Central America. .  After a cup of coffee, I left the hotel and began my walk  along the streets of modern Panama City. 

There was little traffic on Sunday morning.   It was  mild and humid with temperatures in the mid 70’s under partly cloudy skies. I followed the highway that would take me past the vast Albrook Mall, the largest in Central and South America.

There is a large bus  terminal across from the Mall. On Saturday the street between the two were congested with motor vehicles and pedestrians. Not Sunday morning. Not yet anyway. The street was empty except for vendors setting up stands along the bus terminal.

There were dozens of them. I had to see what they were selling. No one spoke English so I couldn’t ask but it appeared  they were selling some sort of lottery tickets.

I walked past the Mall, the Casino and a large Cinema,

and then walked  along Avenida  Ascanio Villalaz.

There was little traffic on the street, and there were some wooded fields here and I saw a few birds, this pale vented pigeon perched in  a treetop,

a clay-colored thrush

and a few  thick-billed seed finch. This is a male,

and this the female.

I came to an intersection and followed

the Avenida Juan Pablo II to the entrance and Visitor Center to the Metropolitan Natural Park.

I walked through the gardens and onto the gravel trail that led into the rainforest. There were a lot of other folks enjoying the beauty of the park ,  including a lot of families with young children. It was nice to see this. Teaching children about the beauty of nature is our best hope to protecting what is left of  the natural wilderness on our planet.

I walked past the pond where we saw so many turtles on our hike the previous Friday but they weren’t around  when I walked past.

Near the pond I saw one of the many Central American agouti I would see on my five mile hike. This large rodent is common in the rainforest of Panama.

The sun filtered through the thick canopy of tropical trees.

There are over 250 different species of trees in the Metropolitan Natural Park and I could only one I was familiar with from my many visits to South Florida the gumbo-limbo tree. I love these reddish brown trees.

It was hot and humid and I was surprised there were no mosquitoes  in the park. There were insect and I saw many birds feeding on them including this female bird  summer tanager.

this female dusky ant bird.

I am not sure of these two identifications, but I believe this is a bay breasted warbler,

and this a blackpoll warbler.

I continued my hike past the old military building and passed the crash site of a WWII aircraft.

I reached the point were we turned around on our hike on Friday. I continued on, climbing a steep ridge up to the Cerro Cedro overlook.

It was  a strenuous hike in the heat and humidity but I wasn’t alone,

there were dozens of folks, young, old and in between hiking up top the  overlook

I saw a few more birds, including this cocoa woodcreeper,

and this beautiful crimson crested woodpecker. Unfortunately it was remained partially hidden in the trees.

I also saw these mushrooms growing on a log along the trail, it look like the turkey tail fungus I know from my home in Northeastern Pennsylvania,

and these pods which I  believe I have seen in South Florida,  I think if is a species of wild tamarind.

After a steep climb the trail leveled off  for a bit, and then made another  steep climb to the overlook. I was a long upward hike but the views were worth it.

The modern skyline of Panama City  contrasted the lush green trees of the rainforest.

And looking to the  west and north one could see the Pacific Ocean and the Causeway I had walked the previous afternoon. You could see the large cargo ships lined up waiting to enter the Panama Canal.

I wasn’t the only one enjoying the view. There were dozens of people also lined up along the  overview waiting to see the spectacular scenery below. Music played and people talked and laughed. It was a wonderful place to spend a Sunday morning and a lot of residents of Panama City took the long steep walk to enjoy it.

After taking in the views I began my hike back. The trail looped around the hilltop ridge as it made a steep climb back to the main trail.

Along the way I followed a pair of beautiful  red throated ant tanagers, this is the male,

and this female. They flew from tree to trees as I walked down the trail.

I also saw this rufous tailed hummingbird

visiting some bird-of – paradise flowers.  Here is a link to a photo gallery on my blog webpage with some more photos of the  birds I saw on my hike. Panama Day 7 Panama City Metropolitan Natural Park birds. October 22 2023

It was a lot easier walking down the hilltop, but it was still very hot and humid. I walked  down to the main trail, past the pond, which now had some turtles swimming in it’s waters,

and back to the flower gardens ,  Visitor Center, and entrance. I was hot, thirsty and hungry so I didn’t stop to take any more photos.

I walked back to the main avenue and past a local  Sunday morning baseball game,

 and then  approached the large Mall and bus station.  It was no longer deserted.   The streets were crowded with people,  most going into the Mall  on a Sunday morning.

I walked through the bud terminal. Like the Mall it was modern , with many small shops.

I finished my five mile hike around 10:30 just as the breakfast buffet was ending. I sat down and enjoyed a nice meal. I returned to my room  but I didn’t have a lot of time to shower and edit photos. I had arranged for a  tour of the Panama Canal at 1:00 p.m. This was the main reason for my visit, and another item from my bucket list that I started in grade school will be checked off the list. Here is a link to a gallery on my blog website with more photos from my five mile hike. Panama Day 7 Panama City Metropolitan Natural Park . October 22 2023

“The richness I achieve comes from Nature, the source of my inspiration.” – Claude Monet

“I like to take walks in the park by myself, where no one can bother me and I can think.” – Magic Johnson