Hike to the top of Chame Hill

My view from above.
My view from above.

A few days ago, I ran into a group on the internet that was going to make a trip to Chame Hill and without thinking twice I joined them.

Chame Hill is actually one of the volcanic domes of Panama, with about 560 m above sea level. Now I will tell you how my experience was.

First, we met at the Albrook Bus Terminal to take the bus, whatever, the thing is to go through Bejuco and take the highway.

We arrived in Bejuco and started the walk to the trail, yes, we walked to get to the trail, it was 9:50 a.m.

Between what we talked and walked, we did not even notice the time that passed, without realizing it we have already been an hour, more or less, and that we were going quite fast.

Booking.com

We pass through the Hogar Monte Carmelo and Maduro`s Tropical Gardens at Hacienda el Istmeño.

One of the sign on the road that says DO NOT BURN
One of the sign on the road that says DO NOT BURN.

The trail

We started the ascent, it is not necessary for someone to indicate it, you go all flat and suddenly everything is up or at least 95% of the ascent.

I will not deny it, my feet were leaving me in pain, it was taking me a world to go up, I pushed my knees with my hands to be able to go up.


I took many breaks, the group was separating, each one went at their own step, which is not a bad thing. I stayed in the middle (at a distance, because I was almost last).

Guys, I have gone up several hills and always with my photographic equipment, but this I do not know if it was steeper or what, but it was hard for me.

Part of the trail
Part of the trail.

In several times I was alone, I just thought, “I always say, never go alone in a hill or forest, and look at myself” hahaha, but well I was going at my own step, going up little by little.

Until … after 3 hours of hiking, I couldn’t take it anymore and I sat down as much as I could, to rest and eat something, I had lunch with a beautiful view, despite the exhaustion and the exhausting sun, I enjoyed it a lot, plus one good breeze.

From there I saw how some of my companions managed to reach the cross, they arrived little by little, several minutes apart.

The part that I was missing, it seems to me, was the steepest part of the entire route.

I moved to look for some shade, because above the hill, there is no trees and someone had also burned it.

A short distance away I found a tree with a very comfortable stone, and I rested, still with a beautiful panoramic view.

In a little while the companion who was missing arrived (he told me, we have been 9km until here, at the end I hiked 18km) and about 40 minutes later those who managed to go up.

On the way to Chame Hill
On the way to the top, when the vegetation ends.

Back

On the way back, the chivalrous of the mountain helped me, one of the boys helped me with my backpack, I really appreciate it.

It took us an hour 40 minutes to go down, from the point where I arrived.

Then, in the town, on the way to the Pan-Americana Highway, we stopped to buy some frozen natural fruit juice, which, by the way, I saw several stalls.

Why didn’t I get to the top?

First, the hill is an intermediate to advanced level, it requires excellent conditions and second, it is necessary to carry little weight, I had a lot for my cameras, yes, carry several.

I understand that there is another trail that is milder, but that was not the one we took.

Third, by the time I started to go up, I was already hiking more than 5km.

Would I return?

I would definitely go back and finish it.

What would you do differently?

First of all I would leave all my photographic equipment (photos only with the cell phone).

I would start going up earlier, a good time may be at 8:00 a.m. (Taking into account that I live almost 2 hours from Bejuco and I don’t think I can find a bus that leaves my neighborhood earlier, on a weekend, if I am driving with friends, it would be at 6:00 a.m.).

I would take a taxi that would bring me a few kilometers to the bottom of Chame Hill.

Note

There are people that camping at the top, the place has beautiful views towards the beaches.

The part that I'm missing
The part that I’m missing.

Advices

  • Bring at least 2 liters of liquid (water and hydrating drinks),
  • Snack (can be fruits, nuts, chocolate and some sandwich),
  • Sunscreen,
  • Cover as much as possible, long pants (not jeans), long sleeves, cap,
  • Sunglasses,
  • Remember not to leave anything on the hill or on the road,
  • Go in a group, minimum 3 people,
  • No guide needed, I went in March and the trail was perfectly distinguishable,
  • Repellent, in winter.
One of my views on the hike to Chame Hill
One of my views on the hike.

Difficulty

  • Medium-High

Prices

  • Free entrance.
  • $2.50 each way (bus from the Albrook Bus Terminal).
  • $0.10 departure from the Albrook Bus Terminal (with Rapi> Pass card, although someone can pass it and they only give you $ 0.10).

My investment

  • $5.00 bus.
  • $0.10 departure from the Albrook Bus Terminal.
  • $6.00 snack (bread, chocolate, hydrant drink, tuna, nuts).
  • Total: $11.10.
Back of Chame Hill
Back.

How to get to Chame Hill?

The hill is in Chame, Panama Oeste. Take a bus at the Albrook Bus Terminal (avoid going by car, maybe you will not want to drive back), take one that goes through Bejuco and goes on the highway.

Tell the bus driver to drop you off at Bejuco, at the bus stop after the Texato fuel station (you will first go through Capira and Campana).

Cross the pedestrian bridge and hike into the town, it is not signposted, I recommend taking a taxi and take off close to Chame Hill, you will save up to about 5.5km kilometers.

The trail is not marked, but there is no way to get lost. For more details see the map and the next paragraph.

You can go by sedan, as far as the Google Map road reaches and by 4×4 car you will manage to go up a part of the hill, there you must park the car and continue straight, the road narrows, so you will go one after the other.

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Map
Left: furthest point where a taxi can take you, when you get there take a left, Google Maps shows the way to the red sign. Right: photo of the red signal on the map, you must take the trail on the left.

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