When constructing the Panama Canal, engineers needed a place to store their equipment and a place to put some of the extra dirt, and thus became Parque Natural Metropolitano in the Ancon part of Panama City – it’s the only wildlife refuge located inside the city, and you’ll definitely see some birds, amphibians, and reptiles, but don’t count on seeing any monkeys or tamarins (a good thing – this means the monkeys aren’t “trained” to seek out visitors for handouts like they can be in other parks). Take the Caobos Trail to get (a) a great workout (it’s mostly uphill) and (b) a great vista view of Panama City; it makes the uphill climb worth it. Enjoy the great canopy scenery and natural splendor of the La Cienaguita Trail, where you might walk past construction equipment leftover from construction of the canal and, hurrah, you can glimpse the canal from higher parts of the trail. You’ll definitely see parakeets, but keep an eye out for bigger parrots. Don’t miss the ceiba trees (they have thorns) and the various conservation projects around the park. The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute has a great “crane view” option for viewing the top of the park, but that’s only for those unafraid of heights. A park inside a city is always a treasure, but a near-rainforest in a city is a definite treat – make time to visit Parque Metropolitano the next time you’re in Panama!
Filed under: Central America, Latin America | Tagged: Ancon, birds, canal, Caobos Trail, Ciudad de Panama, conservation, crane view, flora, hiking, La Cienaguita, Latin America, monkeys, nature, Panama, Panama Canal, Panama City, parakeets, Parque Natural Metropolianto, parrots, Smithsonian, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, tamarins, trails, views, vista views, wildlife refuge | Leave a Comment »