Panama: hiking a rainforest

Our first trip outside Lima this year was Panama. When we arrived in Panama City we were greeted by light showers and beautiful green mountains. Even from the airport we could tell this place was a lot different from Lima. Stepping outside, the warm air hit us like a thick steamy wall. We found a cab and made it all the way to our hotel near downtown Panama City.

Number one on my list was seeing the rainforest and spotting some wildlife! So on our first full day we went to Parque Centro Metropolitano, a preserved rainforest just 15 minutes from the city’s center. It was pretty empty for a Saturday morning, but then again, we were in a party city.

packing Cliff

packing Cliff

Tall mango trees stood unassumingly in the parking lot and the whole area screamed rainforest (or maybe that was the monkeys). Right away we started seeing big bright butterflies dashing from flower to flower.

butterflies, lizards and flowers

butterflies, lizards and flowers

We chose a fairly easy hike but even so, 10 minutes into our tromp on the path, we were all dripping sweat. The humidity was so high that I felt like I could almost see the air in front of me. We heard monkeys on several occasions but never got a glimpse of one. The plants were amazing, though! So much variety and so much green!

rainforest plants

rainforest plants

palms and moss

palms and moss

birds and moss

birds and moss

We passed by a large pond with tons of red slider turtles swimming about and a few good sized fish too.

our sweet girl!

our sweet girl!

checking out a hollow tree

checking out a hollow tree

The flowers were gorgeous! So bright and big. We also saw a banana or plantain tree, not sure which.

plantain or banana?

plantain or banana?

At one point I spotted a very long line of leaf-cutter ants crossing the path. It was so cool to see them up close! In fact, I got so distracted showing the ants to Olivia and taking pictures, that we didn’t see their trail moving towards our feet. We got a couple bites from these huge ants, but nothing too terrible.

leaf-cutter ants

leaf-cutter ants

As the light started shining through the rainforest, we started noticing these large spiders in enormous webs, spun just off the side of the trail. Once we saw the first one, we realized they were everywhere – a very good reason to stay on the path!

spider

spider

big scary spider

big scary spider

Poor Cliff fell asleep half way through. Bet not many people can say they slept in a rainforest!

sleeping in the rainforest

sleeping in the rainforest

Livi ran out of energy near the end of the hike, so I ended up packing her out.  We are definitely learning it’s necessary to take it slower and be flexible when traveling with two toddlers.  It’s a lot harder traveling with them at these ages than when they were infants, that’s for sure!  But we all enjoyed the hike and seeing so much of Panama’s famous wildlife!

first hike in a rainforest

first hike in a rainforest

Right before we finished the hike we saw these little mammals crossing our path… They were like a funny cross between a mouse, a deer and a rabbit. I think they were capybara, or some similar animal.

capybara

capybara

It was a fun adventure! We sure were sweaty by the end!

hot and sweaty

hot and sweaty

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