Saturday, September 1, 2012

Parque Natural Metropolitano, Panama City

White throated Gecko

Parque Natural Metropolitano 

I did three trips to the Parque Natural Metropolitano.  The first trip was with family and just to learn how to get to and from the place and how much a taxi would cost.  We paid $4.00 for the cab there and only $2.50 for the cab back.  The driver who took us back was tired and forgot the charge us the “gringo rate” so that is how we learned what the normal rate is. 
 On the second trip I went alone and made the mistake of asking the driver how much, he wanted over $4.00 but I talked him down to $4 and still knew I had been ripped off so I did not tip him.  On the way back I hailed a cab and did not ask for the price.  When I got out of the cab at my hotel I gave the driver $3.00 and he was quite pleased.  Now I will blog my third trip to the park as it was the most recent and is still in my memory.
The park has many interpretive signs and most of them are about bryophytes.  The signs are in English and Spanish and include microscopic pictures of moss and liverwort leaf cells!

I woke up at about 6:30 am and told my travelling companion that I was going to the park.  I was too early to get the free breakfast in our hotel (Dose Mares) so I went to the 24 hour place two doors down.  I had cafĂ© con leche and ensalada frutas for breakfast.  Since I ate at the bar the service was fast and good.  I noted that the coffee and the fruit salad were larger than what our hotel served.  The cost for breakfast was $2.50.  I left $3.00 on the counter for the waitress.

Next I went up to Peru Avenue and hailed a cab.  The cab took me right to the park and I gave the driver $2.50 and he was pleased with that as the normal rate for a single passenger is $2.00 for this trip.  I went into the park office and paid the $2.00 park entrance fee and $1.00 for a bottle of water and then started my walk.  I first took the loop trail that goes right back to the office.  I did not see much on this trail this time.  Last time I saw a white throated gecko on this trail. 

Next I headed up the main trail to the turtle pond and was surprised to see an alligator in the pond.   I think a park staff had been feeding it.  After taking several photos of the alligator I headed up to the lookout.  At the look out my purse fell apart so I put all my stuff in my camera bag and carried my camera loose.  The temperature was cooler than my last hike in the park and I did not feel too hot so I hung out at the lookout for about ½ hour.  Suddenly my lasagna that I ate at Isla flamenco decided it had to come out and it had to come out real fast.  So I did what I had to do.   After a bit a gato solo came out and I got a few pictures of it.  At some point I saw a toucan as well but could not get a picture. 

I headed back down the garbage truck road and stopped near the guard station to take pictures of ant hills.  The three guards were all quite friendly and we exchange a friendly Buenos as I passed by.  I then went back to the office.  My GPS said I went 4.5 miles, just like the last time I hiked there, but I’m not sure I believe it because last time I went on every trail included the trail across the street.  I skipped the trail across the street this time because there is no much there and it does not feel as secure with traffic on both sides and no guards to watch the entrance.

I milled around in the gift shop for a few minutes because it was nice and cool in there and then I headed out to the street to hail a taxi.  The first taxi to stop for me was a white tourist cab.  I knew better than to ride the tourist cabs, they are expensive.  I turned the cab down and immediately hailed a broken down old yellow cab right in front of the white cab.  The yellow cab already had a passenger in the back and the driver surprised me by speaking good English.  The driver told me he would stop at the Albrook terminal first and then take me to my hotel and I agreed.  I don’t mind the side trips. 

I talked with the driver a bit and set it up for him to give us a ride back to the airport the next day.  When I got out I paid him $2.50 and he thanked me several times.  He was a good driver and we waited 15 minutes for him to take us to the airport the next day before we decided to go with the semi official hotel taxi instead for $8.00 more.

4.5 miles with 200 feet elevation gain times two for two trips out there.


Near Gatun locks on a different trip

On the pacific beach near Panama city

Not at the park

at Omar Park in the city


1 comment:

Chickenofthewoods said...

Great stuff, Shawna! Thanks for sharing with us. I like the "spike" motif, I believe it must be common in the tropics. Super jealous of your trip, and yes, learn Spanish... escape while you can! LOL.