Austin Hess 2020-10-15 12:20:09
Created in 1984, Cerro Hoya National Park with 32,557 hectares contains some of the last remaining primary forests on the Azuero Peninsula. Until a few years ago, the park had very limited access and was only explored by the most intrepid travelers. However, improvements to the road network along the eastern coast of Azuero have made this fantastic park much more accessible.
The park is named after the highest mountain in the peninsula, Cerro Hoya, which measures about 1,559 meters high. There are two more peaks in the park, Cerro Moya, which reaches 1,534 meters, and Cerro de Soya, which measures 1,478 meters. Together, these mountains make up the Three Hills. The mountains are of volcanic origin and some of the oldest rocks in Panama can be found in this place. At the highest points of the park, there is a pre-montane tropical forest, while tropical humid forests dominate low-lying coastal areas. Several rivers, including Tonosi, Portobelo and Pavo, cross the park and form spectacular waterfalls and natural pools.
The park itself protects a wide variety of plants, animals, and birds. In fact, more than 95 species of birds have been identified in this area, including the endangered red macaw and the green macaw. Another notable bird is the Azuero parakeet or Pirrhura Eisenmann, a subspecies of the painted parakeet that is endemic to the area. It is believed that there are only about 2,000 birds of this species and birders are excited about the possibility of watching them. Other species of birds found in the park are the king vulture, osprey, trogons, toucans, and mangrove black hawks.
Mammals include jaguars, white-tailed deer, ocelots, and five species of monkeys, as well as a variety of insects, reptiles, and amphibians. It is only recommended to visit Cerro Hoya National Park with a professional local guide since the access is limited, with unpaved and unsignalized roads. In addition, the park facilities are very basic, there is no forest ranger station and trails are mostly irregular. When you arrive early in the morning you will have a better opportunity to observe the rich wildlife of this amazing secret spot in the Azuero Peninsula.