Parque Internacional La Amistad (PILA)
Parque Internacional La Amistad (PILA) Review
Parque Internacional La Amistad stretches from the peaks above Cerro Punta down to the remote hills of Bocas del Toro Province, comprising more than 200,000 hectares (more than 500,000 acres) of remote wilderness. It protects a succession of forest types that together hold most of the country's endangered animals, including jaguars and tapirs, and some 400 bird species, from the rare umbrella bird to the harpy eagle. The name La Amistad—Spanish for "friendship"—refers to the park's binational (Panama and Costa Rica) status.
Cerro Punta provides the most convenient access to the park entrance and ANAM ranger station at Las Nubes, a 15-minute drive from town up a dirt road, where several trails start. You might see any of more than 150 bird species and mammals such as the coati and olingo. Going with a guide is the easiest way to visit the park. An excellent bird-watching trail is the Sendero el Retonio, a 2-km (1-mi) loop over easy terrain that includes cloud forest and a stand of bamboo. If you have a few hours, hike the Sendero La Cascada, a 4-km (2-mi) trail to a ridge with views of the valley and a spectacular waterfall. To reach the park, drive around the loop to the intersection near Entre Ríos, on the northern end of the valley, and follow the road all the way to the park, veering left after you drive through the gate. The last stretch is fit for 4WD vehicles only.
- Address: Las Nubes, 5 km (3 mi) north of Cerro Punta, Cerro Punta
- Phone: 507/720–3057
- Cost: $5
- Hours: Daily 8–3
- Location: Cerro Punta