Cerro Tute - Santa Fé

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Woman admires the view of the distant Cerro Tute.



DISTANCE - 10 km


DIFFICULTY - difficult

START POINT - Cafe Dorado

Cerro Tute - Santa Fé the hardest hike of our Central America trip, which brought us to our limits, but was worth all the effort. With a total of 1,000 meters of altitude in about 2 hours, this adventure really had it all. At first glance it doesn't sound too bad, but you can't ignore the high temperatures and humidity. Add to that the sectional climbs, where you feel like you're moving one meter forward and one meter up.

We started early in the morning from the center of Santa Fé in the direction of Cerro Tute. Before we started, the staff at the hostel advised us to take a walking stick with us. Not because of the hike itself, but because of the dogs. At some houses along the way, the animals are supposed to react quite aggressively to hikers. Even if one would have to react in case of emergency naturally situation-dependently, one would have at least something in the hand. No sooner said than done and so we looked for a suitable stick for each of the upcoming hurdles on the first meters.

To reach the starting point of the hike, you have to follow the main road from the center of the village back in a southerly direction. You will come to a crossroads. A road branches off to the right, a few meters further on a road leads to the left, past the "Cafe Dorado" and opposite this is a narrow dirt road that leads between houses. Follow this path, because this is the start of the tour! The path is partly muddy at the beginning and smaller streams must be overcome. Here, however, there are steps to cross, which is why you can make it with a little balance dry over the water. 

Afterwards it goes uphill! The whole time! There are several steep climbs that follow each other directly and inevitably drive the pulse up. We had to take several breaks to catch our breath, especially at the beginning. The 1,000 meter elevation gain in just under 2 hours says it all about this hike. You just have to follow the path until you come to the fork 1, here are a few houses with a paved road. Follow this road to the right and continue uphill! After some time you will reach the second fork, here just continue straight ahead.

At the beginning of the tour you always have Cerro Tute in front of you. Towards the end of the hike, the path winds its way up the mountain flank to the left and at fork 3 you have to turn right. Already here you have a breathtaking panorama, which alone was worth all the effort. You will also be able to clearly see the three peaks of Cerro Tute from here on. The first meters coming from Santa Fé you can only imagine them. It goes further uphill!

The last part of the tour demanded the last reserves of strength from us, whereby the higher we climbed, the fewer breaks we needed. At the summit, a small jungle then awaits you, which must be crossed and then still the stony rock must be conquered. This we finally reached exhausted but happy and enjoyed the view there. However, unfortunately, unexpectedly the weather changed and the wind whipped the raindrops mercilessly in our faces. Due to the weather it was also not possible to start my drone and so we had to be content with cell phone photos, our camera had given up the ghost in Costa Rica. Despite all adversity, we had a great time on the summit, where, as on almost all elevations that we had conquered in Panama, a rainbow showed! 

In principle, the other two peaks of Cerro Tute could also be climbed. We were on the rearmost of the three. To do this, we would have to cross the small virgin forests that have formed between the stone massifs and then climb the rocks. Because of the weather and the exhaustion that was already spreading in us, we left it at that and went on the way downhill. This was almost as exhausting as the way there and Lui was shortly before the finish literally at the end.

Exhausted woman leaning on walking stick in the middle of rainforest.

Happy and knocked out, we reached the gates of the city again. It was just about 12:00. With a hearty and well-deserved meal, we strengthened ourselves to then marvel at a parade in the village. The hike to Cerro Tute counts as a highlight in Panama for us, despite or perhaps because of the effort, and the whole day was still open for more adventures. How about cooling off in the Rio Bermejo?

PS: Fortunately, we needed the cane only as a walking aid, or as seen in the last picture as a support.

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