The rain forest that covers most of Cerro Ancón is a remarkably vibrant natural oasis in the midst of the city. The best area to see wildlife is on the road to the Cerro Ancón Summit, which is topped by radio towers and a giant Panamanian flag. The road ascends the hill's western slope from the luxuriant residential neighborhood of Quarry Heights, above Balboa. There is also a trail into the forest behind the offices of ANCON, Panama's biggest environmental group. If
the gate at the end of Quarry Heights is locked, it should take 20-30 minutes to hike to the summit. It is best done early in the morning or late in the afternoon, when you are likely to see animals such as the abundant agoutis (large rodents), keel-billed toucan and Geoffrey's tamarind—Panama's smallest simian. If you have a taxi drop you off at the trailhead (ask the driver to take you to the "Oficinas de ANCON" in Quarry Heights), you can hike down the other side of the hill to Mi Pueblito, where you should be able to flag a cab.
Quarry Heights, 400 meters south of ANCON, ., Panama City, Panama
Jul 17, 2012
The directions were a bit 'off' for this. First of all, there is no trail to the top. No stairway to take just past the B&B. The locals all just looked puzzled when I asked. There is a stairway down to La Pueblita but it's not on the other side of the mountain or anything; it's right near the bottom. Anway, it's a paved road to the top. It passes through a protected area so cars are few (just utility vehicles). It's a very nice walk, though. Best
part: toucans! There are definitely toucans. I saw three. Listen for a very loud squawking and you should be able to locate them. Supposedly there are sloths but they're hard to see. I did see wild sloths out at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute facility on the causeway. Very cool. Anyway, this was worth it. It can be hot (I went in July) so go early in the morning; it's better for the birds anyway. And there are great views of the Canal and the city (especially) from the top. It's an easy climb.