Hiking in Chiriqui-Walking Stick

Old Mar 24th, 2005, 05:56 AM
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Hiking in Chiriqui-Walking Stick

Our family is planning on hiking in Amistad Nat'l Park, the Quetzales Trail + the Volcan Baru area for a couple of days later this month. For those who have hiked in this area, would they suggest we bring our hiking/walking sticks from home? Given the level of difficulty we are likely to encounter, is it worth the effort? Thanks for any tips.
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Old Mar 24th, 2005, 06:50 AM
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I don't think it is worth the effort. Unless you have a trick knee or some similar problem which the sticks really alleviate, I think they are a nusiance to drag along.
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Old Mar 24th, 2005, 06:51 AM
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Are you staying at Los Quetzales?
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Old Mar 24th, 2005, 09:45 AM
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We just stayed in one of the Los Quetzales chalets a couple of weeks ago. We brought our hiking poles and saw quite a few other people with them. We were personally very glad we had them. We found the trails in La Amistad unmarked, wet, and very slippery in places. I just knew my husband and I were going to go flying down the trail ala Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner. In some places the trail was only about as wide as a large footprint and several inches deep. There seemed to be some clay in the soil also which made for some very slick hiking. We saw the best birds up by chalet 4. There were several mixed flocks that came through. The forest there is so beautiful. It is very dense and green. We didn't go on the actual Sendero de Los Quetzales while in this area as we had done a good bit of hiking on it from the Boquete area just before. The part of the Los Quetzales trail that we were on while in Boquete was pretty easy going. If you are just going to be hiking on that I wouldn't worry about poles. There was a lot of up and down but the road was in good shape other than a couple of bridges that had been washed out during the recent flooding. People were still hiking between the two places with little problem.
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Old Mar 24th, 2005, 09:53 AM
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I would go with Jessie's evaluation over mine, since his (her) experience is much more recent than mine. Jessie, did you like Los Quetzales?
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Old Mar 24th, 2005, 09:54 AM
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OOPS on rereading, I see it is clearly her. Sorry.
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Old Mar 24th, 2005, 04:42 PM
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Thanks Jessie --that's very helpful.
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Old Mar 26th, 2005, 04:59 AM
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We have discussed going back to Los Quetzales but if we do we will definitely request chalet 2,3 or 4. We were in Chalet 1 which is right by the entrance. All of the vehicular traffic from the main lodge goes back and forth all day. All of the chalets are duplexes and we were on the bottom floor. We could hear every word being said upstairs and frequently had shoe dirt filtering down on us through the floor boards. It was also very dark and damp. We kept the fireplace going constantly. The day we left it was pouring and we brought some of our excess food up to our neighbors who where staying for a much longer time. The noise from the rain hitting the roof was almost deafening up there.

You have the option of having the lodge send you dinner or send someone to cook your dinner or cooking all your meals yourself. You will need a cooler as there is no refridgeration in the chalet. There is hot water and a full stove as well as plenty of cooking supplies.

Chalets 2-3 are located further in and require a bit of a hike to get to but well worth it. They are together in the same location. Very beautiful there and many of the trails to hike go through that area. Chalet 4 is a little further up the "road" and there are other educational buildings around there. This is where we saw the most birds. There is also a large geo dome tent that you can stay in right there. It was occupied so we didn't get too nosey.

All in all it is a beautiful area and we are considering going back.
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Old Mar 26th, 2005, 07:59 AM
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Great trip report, Jessie. I am planning on a January trip to Los Quetzales. Did you visit any other spots in Panama?
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Old Mar 26th, 2005, 08:23 AM
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We stuck pretty much to Boquete and Los Quetzales for this trip just to get a small feel for Panama. We stayed at the Coffee Estate Inn for 5 nights before driving over to Los Quetzales. We are seriously considering Cana in Darien for next year. Will probably start asking questions soon on the boards. Don't know if you have seen my other postings but we started and ended our trip this year in Costa Rica.

Any suggestions for other places in Panama? We really liked what we saw of it. Much less crowded than we are used to which was nice.
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Old Mar 26th, 2005, 12:06 PM
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I grew up in Panama and have returned several times in the last few years. It is indeed a delightful place. Sadly I know only the same areas most tourists know. I do recommend the Santa Clara area and El Valle. I have not been in the Darien at all. Andrew, who posts frequently on this board is very well informed.
I am considering a stay at the Coffee Estate Inn. In the past I have always stayed at the Panamonte. What was your opinion of the Coffee Estate Inn?
I will word search your name and read the rest of your report.
Thank you.
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Old Mar 26th, 2005, 12:28 PM
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Jessie... Four of us are planning the same trip you did, staying in cabin #4. Is there any reason to begin a stay in the highlands on the Boquete side (like Coffee Inn Estates) as compared to starting on the Quetzales Lodge side? Did you see any critters other than birds at Quetzales? Is it worth getting a rental car at David to stay at Quetzales or just let them pick us up at David airport?

Thanks for your help.
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Old Mar 28th, 2005, 02:24 PM
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Hi beaker, We are seriously thinking of doing that hike next time we are in that area and would definitely start on the Los Quetzales side and hike to the Boquete area. Reason.....much better showers and food on the Boquete side. I enjoy long hiking trips but like to know that there is a reward at the end .
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Old Mar 29th, 2005, 10:22 PM
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Very informative report, Jessie. We stayed at the lodge last year and hiked to chalet 4--I wondered about the logistics of staying in one of the chalets.

cmcfong: any relation to the Fong family from Colon? My g'parents owned a sundries store there for many years.
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Old Apr 2nd, 2005, 03:34 AM
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Dfong, no we are not related to the Chinese family in Colon. I certainly remember the Chinese family which owned a produce store near Summit Gardens on the Balboa side.
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Old Apr 2nd, 2005, 05:01 PM
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cmcfong: I remember them too. My mom would regularly buy large bags of red ling hi mui from them . . .
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