Metropolitan National Park

October 28, 2010 Category: Travel guide

Panama City is probably the only big city in the world that has the jungle coming right up to its city limits! It’s really unique when you see it.

Panama has several national parks. In fact, it has more national parks and protected areas, both in absolute terms as well as percentage wise, than its better known northern neighbor Costa Rica.

If you are staying in the city one of these parks you must visit is the Metropolitan National Park. This is just 10 minutes from Panama City making it one of the only parks in Latin America that lies within an urban area.

It has great views at its “Look Out” points with vistas of the Canal and the city. Not to mention it has five hiking trails to get your heart pumping.The trails range from about an hour to an 1.5 hours, the longest trail with the best views being the Sendero Cienaguita. Although the park is used for research of wildlife this is not the best spot to view mammals however its perfect for birdwatching. Panama itself is popular with birdwatchers and they consider the Metropolitan Park a preferred spot.

Some recent guests also discovered the amazing canopy crane tour that the park offers. The crane has been used since 1990 by the Smithsonian Research Institute for their studies of the national park and the different species that inhabit the area. Now this crane is open to guests as part of a guided tour. You can book this directly through the park for the best rate.

The park also has a library, museum, and of course the gift shop. The hours of the park are from 6am-5pm daily and its $2 per person. They also have a nice website. We recommend going early in the morning when its cooler and you can see more wildlife. All you need is a taxi there, a map of the area, and good hiking shoes and pants.

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