Things to do in Tierras Altas de Chiriqui, Panama

Tierras Altas de Chiriqui, is a great place to visit during your visit to Panama. It is known amongst locals for its fertile lands that provide nourishment to the crops and pastures that feel the country and its cloud forest, home to thousands of rare plant and animal species.  To help people looking for the things to do in Tierras Altas de Chiriquí (which includes Cerro Punta, Volcán and Bambito) we provide this guide with all the trails, activities, restaurants and landmarks available. We are also filling visiting the places that dont have much information available to find out more details about then which we share in special posts and videos.

Hiking Trails


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  • PILA (Parque Internacional La Amistad) – Las Nubes, Cerro Punta
  • PILA (Parque Internacional La Amistad) – Guadalupe, Cerro Punta
  • Parque Nacional Volcan Barú, Estación de Volcán – Paso Ancho, Bambito
  • Parque Nacional Volcan Barú, Climb to the Volcano – Paso Ancho, Bambito
  • Parque Nacional Volcan Barú, Sendero Los Quetzales – Bajo Mono, Cerro Punta
  • Cerro Punta, Climb to the hill – Las Nubes, Cerro Punta
  • Hotel Bambito, Climb to the viewpoint – Bambito
  • Finca Ceriana – Walking trails
  • Volcan Eco Tours, Walking trail – Volcán
  • El Trueno Waterfall – Cuesta de Piedra
  • Finca Jansson – Lagunas de Volcan (Volcan’s lakes), Volcán
  • Las Fresas trail – Guadalupe, Cerro Punta

The Tierras Altas de Chiriqui region has a great selection of hiking trails that are not used by visitors. It is also home to some of the most biodiverse regions in the word with its cloud forests, home to thousands of rare plant and animal species. Therefore, going hiking, is one of the best things to do in Tierras Altas de Chiriqui. In the following list we'll show you all the trails available and we are constantly adding new articles with videos about these trails.

We recommend to begin the trails early  in the morning because it tends to rain in the afternoons. Some may require a guide, check the description in the articles.

Swimming Places


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  • Cangilones de Macho de Monte – Cuesta de Piedra
  • Pozos Termales de Volcán (thermal wells) – Volcán
  • Mountain River Lake Cabins
  • Charquita del Changualito
  • La Fuente – Volcán
  • Las Monjas Waterfall

The higher the altitude, the colder the water gets. The water in these places can reach 14 Celsius (57,2 Fahrenheit), so don't expect to swim everywhere. You should be careful with the flash floods. Do not go to rivers in rainy season, even if it looks like there's no rain where you are, in the top of the mountains it could be a different story ...

Attractions 


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The Tierras Altas District has the most fertile soils of the country and the kindest weather for the plants, that's why it's known among the panamanians for being the source of lots of the farm products we consume. For that reason most of its tourist attractions, specially in the internal tourism, is focused in the agriculture and cattle raising. 
This conditions next to the love of the residents for the plants is reflected in a tradition for keeping beautiful gardensi in their houses and in greenhouses of amazing plants like the orchids of Finca Dracula.

This list will show you the main attractions of the zone.

Many of the tourist attractions of Tierras Altas have schedules and variable opening days. We'd recommend to call to make sure that they are open the day you want to visit it.

  • Volcan Canopy Park

    Ziplining – Volcán More info here

  • Haras Cerro Punta

    Racing horses – Guadalupe, Cerro Punta More info here

  • Finca Dracula

    Botanical Garden and Orchid Collection, Guadalupe, Cerro Punta More info here

  • Sitio Barriles

    Archeological Site with lots of pre-Columbian History – Volcán More info here

  • Anef

    Agricultural tour – Cerro Punta Pueblo, Cerro Punta

  • Finca Janson

    Coffee tour and coffeeshop – Volcán More info here

  • Finca Guardia

    Pony, buffalo and donkeys hatchery – Volcán

  • Finca Ceriana

    Geisha Coffee Tour More info here

  • Hotel Bambito

    Trout Farm and Fishing – Bambito

  • Hotel Casa Grande

    Tubing and Ziplining – Bambito

  • Museo de Volcán

    Memorabilia e historia de la zona – Volcán

  • Sloth bear rescue

  • Cerro Punta SA

    Vegetables, strawberries and flowers growing – Cerro Punta More info here

  • Guadalupe Town

    Walk through the town and explore its houses full of flowers and gardens – Cerro Punta

  • Flowers Parade

    Vegetables, strawberries and flowers growing – Volcán More info here

Gastronomy


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  • Restaurante Mary – Panamanian – Volcán
  • Cerro La Bruja – Gourmet – Volcán
  • Wandering Sloth – USA – Paso Ancho, Bambito
  • Aqui va la Niña – Hamburgers – Volcán
  • Bistro Coffee – Hamburgers
  • Cuesta de Piedra’s viewpoint – Chicheme and Cafeteria – Cuesta de Piedra
  • Nubia – Strawberries and cream – Guadalupe, Cerro Punta
  • Yadira – Strawberries and cream – Guadalupe, Cerro Punta
  • Mirador de Fresas – Strawberries and cream – Guadalupe, Cerro Punta
  • Finca Janson’s cafeteira – Coffee – Volcán
  • Finca Dracula – Coffee and Strawberries and cream – Guadalupe, Cerro Punta

Having the freshest ingredients close by, allow restaurants and cafeterias to offer delicious food with affordable prices and it's something we recommend you to try out.

Panamanians love  to eat strawberries and cream with a local coffee or a hot chocolate when visiting Tierras Altas de Chiriqui. You can also find the creamy Chiriqui chicheme, strawberry and blackberry ice cream, and huevitos de leche.

Location and District


District

The name "Distrito de Tierras Altas" is relatively new since it was officially recognized in 2017.

This causes confusion on Panamenians because "Tierras Altas" is colloquially used to describe the mountainous region of Chiriquí that includes a Boquete, Cerro Punta and Volcán which is a bit different than the district. When it was constituted, it did not included Boquete, one of the most known towns of the province that is located in the mountains too.

What does the Tierras Altas District cover?

The region covers from Cuesta de Piedra to  Cerro Punta.

Other names:

Panamanians also use the names of some towns located in this district interchangeably to call the entire zone. Mainly they call the area: Volcán, Bambito, and Cerro Punta

The Zones or Towns

The towns that cover the district of Tierras Altas and its names are also a confusion source.

The visitors divide the zones in Cuesta de Piedra, Volcan, Bambito and  Cerro Punta but when  you speak with a local he or she will use the most specific name of the neighborhood or area where something is located. For example they might say Finca Dracula is in Guadalupe, instead of Cerro Punta. So its best to look at the location in Google Maps.

When you are looking for a place to go and stay, all of these zones are very close one to one  another and most of the streets are in good condition so don't worry of the actual location.

Cuesta de Piedra

It's the lowest elevation region in the district (~800 mts), known because of viewpoint (Chicheme), dairies and Macho de Monte (Cangilones).

Its zones: 

  • Las tumbas
  • Bijao

Volcán

It's known for the lakes, the flowers parade, restaurants and hotels.

Its zones:

  • Volcan
  • California
  • Dos Rios
  • Coquito

Bambito

It's famous thanks to the Bambito Hotel, tout farming, the sight to the Chiriquí Viejo River and the vegetable distributors.

Its zones:

  • Paso Ancho
  • Bambito
  • Nueva Suiza

Cerro Punta

Cerro Punta is the highest ekevation zone, with more than 2000 meters above the sea level. It is famous for the panamenians beacause it's the place where most of the vegetables that are consumed in the country come from.

Cerro Punta has beautiful vegetables landscapes, cold weather, strawberry farming, race horses, houses with gardens full of flowers and Finca Dracula (Orchid collection).

The main street in Cerro Punta goes around the area in the form of a circle, going through three of its main zones.

Its zones:

  • Guadalupe
  • Cerro Punta Pueblo
  • Las Nubes
  • Entre Ríos
  • Las Cumbres
  • Alto Pineda
  • La Garita

Cuesta de Piedra

It's the lowest elevation region in the district (~800 mts), known because of "El Mirador" where people stop over on the way up to try the Chichema, the dairy farms and the Macho de Monte (gorges).

Its zones are: Las Tumbas and Bijao

Bambito

It's a famous thanks to the Bambito Hotel, one of the first hotels outside of Panama City, the  tout farms, and the vegetable distributors where people stop to buy cheap goods.

Its zones are Paso Ancho, Bambito, and Nueva Suiza.

Cerro Punta

Cerro Punta is known for being the place where most of the vegetables that are consumed in the country are produced. It has beautiful vegetables landscapes, cold weather, strawberry farming, race horses, gardens full of flowers and Finca Dracula (Botanical Garden).

Its zones are: Guadalupe, Cerro Punta Pueblo, Las Nubes, Entre Ríos, Las Cumbres, Alto Pineda, and La Garita.

Volcán

It's the main town in the district, where you can do groceries, find pharmacies and basic goods. Once a year theres a Flower Parade and it has great dining options.

Its zones are: Volcan, California, Dos Rios, and Coquito.

This post is also available in: Spanish