Type of trail: In & out or loop Distance: 10.8 km (6.7 m) to Venta de Cruces (21.6 KM round trip) - 4.1km (8.2 miles roundtrip) to Plantation Road Duration: Aprox. 6 hours to Venta de Cruces (Aprox. 12 hours round trip) - 2.5 hours to Plantation Road (5 hours round trip) Elevation Gain: 152 m (498 ft .) Max Height: 182 m (597 ft) Attractions: History, forest, streams, plants and animals Activities: Hiking, birding Use: Low Rating: MODERATE Activity combines some easy stretches with others that require more physical effort. It applies to long walks on uneven ground (river crossings , dense vegetation, large rocks very slippery floor), or short walks on trails with steep slope.
The Camino de Cruces originally began in Panama La Vieja. Due to the development and growth of Panama City are only two continuous portions in good condition . This section, located in Soberania National Park, is the last leg and ends at the trials original destination: the ruins of the town Venta de Cruces. To get to the start of this section you must take Omar Torrijos road to Madden Rd. and at Km 6.3 there is a parking lot to your left. The trailhead is at the back end of the parking lot. Additional Information: http://www.anam.gob.pa/soberania/ Additional Information: http://www.anam.gob.pa/soberania/
The first half of the Camino de Cruces has average signage and the trail is fairly up and down. You have to cross several creeks during the dry season that do not even reach your ankle but during the rainy season can reach the mid-calf area. The trail terrain is uneven and during the rainy season can be slippery in sections due to all the rocks. Once you reach the half way point (Plantation Road) the rest of the way towards Venta de Cruces even out a bit and most of the trail is downhill. At the halfway point (4.1 miles) you come to the intersection with Plantation Road and you have the following options:
- Hike the remaining 6 km (3.7 miles) of Camino de Cruces. This second half of the trail is not well marked and there are sections where, if you do not know where to go you will get lost. The Camino ends at the ruins of the old town of Venta de Cruces at the edge of the Rio Chagres, therefore no terrestrial exit. We suggest you make reservations to have a boat you up.
- Hike out along Plantation Road. That is 6.5 km (3.7miles). We suggest making appropriate logistical arrangements since the Plantation Road trailhead is different from the Camino de Cruces trailhead.
- Hike back out the trail you came in on.
The “Camino Real de Cruces” was built around 1527. This cobble stoned trail linked Old Panama City to the port of Venta de Cruces on the banks of the Rio Chagres. From this port goods (textiles, spices, gold, and silver) from South America were into loaded ships that would sail out the Chagres River, out into the Atlantic, and onward to Spain. In 1671 the pirate Henry Morgan attacked and took Fort San Lorenzo that guarded the entrance to the Chagres River. He then led his band of pirates along the Camino de Cruces and would successfully raid Old Panama City. In 1848, following the California Gold Rush thousands of fortune seekers from New Orleans to New York would arrive by boat to Panama’s Atlantic Coast, venture across the Camino de Cruces, and take sail from Panama City up to San Francisco. This was believed to be safer than traveling by wagon across the United States. So many people used Panama as a way across that the first transcontinental railway was built in the mid -19th century mostly paralleling the Camino de Cruces.
We recommend going with a guide. Robberies have been reported. For safety it is recommended not to go alone and if you leave your car in the parking lock it sure and not leave valuables in sight. Most of the robberies have occurred during the weekends even with guides. Be very careful. Remember the trail ends at a river please plan accordingly to get a across see “local guides” section What to Bring:
- Enough WaterEnough Food
- Shoes with good soles or Hiking boots (do not wear flip-flops)
- Rain jacket (rainy season)
- Repellent (optional)
- Hiking Poles (optional)
- Head lamp (optional)
- Hiking First Aid kit
THE HOURS, FEES, LOCAL GUIDES
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