Cerro Punta

Heading north from Volcán, at the end of the road is Cerro Punta (buses from David via La Concepción and Volcán, two hours, US$2.65). Set in a beautiful valley, it is at the heart of a vegetable- and flower-growing zone, and a region of dairy farms and racehorse stables. It is sometimes called 'Little Switzerland' because of its Alpine-style houses and the influence of Swiss and former-Yugoslav settlers (there is a settlement called
Nueva Suiza
just south of town). The countryside, full of orchids, is beautiful, though economic pressures push the potato fields ever higher up the hillsides, to the cost of the wooded areas, and sadly encourage the extensive use of agro-chemicals. There are many fine walks in the crisp mountain air. Continue through Cerro Punta to follow the main street as it curves to the left.
Haras Cerro Punta
(topiary initials clipped in the hedge) and
Haras Carinthia
(name visible on stable roof) are well-known thoroughbred farms who will usually receive visitors and show them round. Further on is the small bridge at Bajo Grande. The right fork leads to
, where there is a small forest ranger station.

Camino Los Quetzales

Continuing along the main road in Cerro Punta through town is the starting point of the easy six-hour hike, mostly downhill after an initial climb, to Boquete. The track is clear in places and there are a few signs showing the direction and time to Boquete, with the last section following the Río Caldera canyon. It is easier in the dry season (December-April), but can be enjoyed throughout the year. Take food, insect repellent and rain gear. This hike is also recommended for birdwatching; quetzales and many other species may be seen. Take a taxi (4WD) from Cerro Punta to the Respingo ranger station. You can stay overnight here in the rangers' quarters. The Camino Los Quetzales leads to
Bajo Mono
, from which there are irregular local buses to Boquete. The walk can also be done in the opposite direction (uphill). It is possible to set out from and return to Boquete in one (very long) day.

Parque la Amistad

Open since 1991, with two trails, good for birdwatching, including quetzales. Nature buffs should also visit Los Quetzales reserve inside
Parque La Amistad.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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