Chiriqui, Comarca Ngabe-Bugle, NgobeCerro Papayo is a beautiful indigenous community in the mountains of Chiriqui in western Panama. Thanks to a newly paved road (completed in 2010), what was once an isolated area is now easily accessible  The evenings offer a cool breeze and amazing sunsets over the peaks of the Central Cordillera Mountains. This area is a hiker’s dream – from easy 30 minute hikes to multi-day mountain-hopping challenges. Come and be part of life in an authentic indigenous village; learn about local agriculture while working with a local farmer for the day (or just a few minutes if it becomes more than you bargained for). Learn a little of the local Ngabe language or just play soccer with the kids, enjoy the views, and generally relax.

Chiriqui, Comarca Ngabe-Bugle, Ngobe

One of the foot bridges crossing Rio Tabasara

Activities

Day Trips:

Cerro Papayo to Rio Tabasara – visit various indigenous families en route to the river for a relaxed day of fishing and swimming. One way hike time is approximately 1 hour. Guide for the day – $10. Horse with guide for the day – $15.
Cerro Papayo to Quebrada Arena – visit a beautiful swimming hole, pass several indigenous communities and enjoy some of the most breath taking mountain peak views that you have ever seen. One way hike time is approximately 2 hours. Guide for the day – $10. Horse with guide for the day – $15.

Chiriqui, Comarca Ngabe-Bugle, Ngobe

Swimming hole at Quebrada Arenas

Cerro Papayo to Cerro Banco – this is a more strenuous hike, with views of both oceans on a clear day. The views are simply outrageous and the challenge of it all will be a trip highlight for sure. One-way hike time is approximately 5 hours. Guide for the day – $15. Horse with guide for the day – $25.

Contact Felix Salinas (phone: 6494-1929) to arrange guided trips and horses.

Chiriqui, Comarca Ngabe Bugle, Ngobe

Local kids under a garden seedling box

Artisan Goods

You can buy a variety of hand bags, bracelets, shirts, and dresses made with traditional techniques. If you are staying for a few days you can order something special and see it made by locals.

Lodging Options

You can enjoy a home stay with a local Ngabe family for $15 with all meals and coffee included. If you want to camp and eat your own food (you can buy food in the village), it will only cost you $5 to pitch your tent and use the latrine, water, and showering facilities. Sorry, no electricity but you can pay $1 to charge your phone or $2.50 to charge your laptop on a solar panel at the local cooperative.

Dining Options

Meals will be eaten with families for $2. Most meals will consist of rice, yucca root, otoe, and maybe a chicken (killed and prepared in your honor).

Chiriqui, Comarca Ngabe-Bugle, Ngobe, PanamaHow to Get There

From Santiago, take a bus heading west to Vigui (this bus ride costs $3.10). Get off at Vigui and take a pick up truck (chiva) that goes to Llano Nopo (this truck ride will cost $3.00 from Vigui to Cerro Papayo). Tell the driver that you want to get off at Cerro Papayo at the school (“quiero bajarme en Cerro Papayo por la escuela”). Go to Felix’s house (right across the street from the school).

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Cerro Papayo

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Cerro Papayo 8.383333, -81.600000 Cerro Papayo is a beautiful indigenous community in the mountains of Chiriqui in western Panama. Thanks to a newly paved road (completed in 2010), what was once an isolated area is now easily accessible  The evenings offer a cool breeze and amazing sunsets over the peaks of the Central Cordillera Mountains. This area is a hiker\'s dream - from easy 30 minute hikes to multi-day mountain-hopping challenges. Come and be part of life in an authentic indigenous village; learn about local agriculture while working with a local farmer for the day (or just a few minutes if it becomes more than you bargained for). Learn a little of the local Ngabe language or just play soccer with the kids, enjoy the views, and generally relax.

Community Contacts

Felix Salinas can be reached at 6494-1929.
Samuel Miranda can be reached at 6884-9799.