La Palangana Chapel, on a Colonial Path in Panama City

La Palangana trail

One day reviewing events on Facebook, I saw a group, Guarumo, was going to take a hike to visit the La Palangana Chapel, which is near Alta Plaza Mall.

It caught my attention, because I did not know that this place existed, I had already heard of this group, but I had never been with them,

A colonial chapel near this Mall? Mmm is it true? Well I ventured to go.

La Palangana Chapel is also known as Chapel of Cárdenas Chapel and as it has not been tested for carbon, its date is not known, but due to the type of construction it is known that it dates from the colonial period.

It is believed that instead there was a small community.

Arriving to the Trail

The trip clearly indicated military time and so it was, at 8:30 a.m. They welcomed and talked a little about the place, our meeting point was Centennial Mall and from there we walked.

Starting the Electrical Interconnection trail
Starting the Electrical Interconnection trail.

We crossed the Centenario street (by the bridge, the same one used by cars, there is an area for pedestrians), on the other side we crossed a street as if we were going to the Technological University.

And just after crossing, on our right hand there is a dirt road (electrical interconnection), which if you go by 4 × 4 car, you can very well go through there, and maybe in 4 × 2 car (if it is the middle of summer).

On the way to the La Palangana Chapel, we stopped along the way and made a detour to see other places.

The first thing was the source of the Curundú river, it is right in the fence of the residential that you will see on the right, it passes under the road and continues through the jungle area.

Curundú river
I Took the picture upside down, right behind me the Curundú river starts, on the wall that divides a new residential area.

On the Trail- Colonial Path

We enter on the left side of the trail, practically bordering the river and start the colonial path that goes to the La Palangana Chapel.

You can see because it is cobbled although there are not many stones left, also many have 90º angles, since they were cut by hand to be forming the trail, people hiked along this trail.

Cobbled path of La Palangana Chapel
Cobbled path.

At the end of the section we came across the construction of the new UTP buildings, inside this construction there is a colonial cistern (well), but we did not go there.

Up to here the trail is quite easy.

Tecnologica de Panamá university
If we continue through the buildings, we can reach the Aljibe, but with the construction it is not known how it is.

Then we took to the right, passing through the cyclone fence, the part that falls, here it is not so easy, because we crossed the river.

The trail was much narrower and we went over a fallen tree, and I buried myself like 30 thorns from some tree or branch that I touched.

Returning to La Palangana Trail.
La Palangana trail
La Palangana trail

Once again Mr. Luis Puleio explained the place a little to us, we began to take the mule path (next to the fallen tree).

People passed through here with their things and bags, this trail is also simple, at the end of the section, we return to the original road of the electrical interconnection.

Mule path.
Mule path.

On this same trail we saw remains of colonial bottles, it differs from the others because they are thick and have are made by hand, so its finish is different, there were also some ceramic remains.

If you go to the place and see it, it is advisable to leave them, because they are samples of the history of this place, a place that must still be studied to be classified as a National Historic Monument.

colonial bottles.
Colonial bottles.

After the bridge over the North Motorway, on the right side we return to La Palangana Chapel Trail .

Ancient well

The trail to La Palangana is easy, in it we saw an ancient well, on a flagstone ascent.

On colonial paths there are usually wells for travelers to refill their containers.

The well is not deep, maybe 8 inches.  Near the place, one of the hikers found another remnant of a bottle.

La Palangana Trail, after the bridge over the North Motorway
La Palangana Trail, after the bridge over the North Motorway.
Ancient well at La Palangana Chapel trail
Ancient well.

Then the trail can be a bit confusing, although honestly, it’s only about 80m to go from the well.

After the flagstone, the trail the basin goes to the left and with a slight curve it goes to the right.

La Palangana Chapel
La Palangana Chapel trail.

At La Palangana Chapel

We arrived at La Palangana Chapel, it is very small, it is as if a ruin of Panama Viejo was seen, it is built with stones, clay and masonry.

They told us that the chapel had a silver cross and that it was a victim of the guaqueros (tomb robbers or pre-Hispanic articles).

And due to everything that has happened, the floor has sunk, a man told that there is a photo of the place from the 80’s and the chapel was almost whole.

La Palangana Chapel
La Palangana Chapel.
La Palangana Chapel
You can see the stone and clay used in the construction.

On one side of the Chapel there were some flowers, I think tropical, as if it were a garden, and very close also some purple that hung from a tree.

Flowers near the Chapel.

Mr. Luis took us to the other side, which connects with the crossroads that reaches Portobelo, we only went to a part where the cobbled path is quite clear.

This day I learned that there are many royal roads, all of which were financed by the crown, they are, but to differentiate them they are given different names.


  • Bring water and snacks,
  • Rain cape,
  • Hiking shoes or sneakers and long socks,
  • Long sleeve top,
  • Long pants, no jeans,
  • Repellent,
  • Do not leave garbage,
  • Do not take the archaeological remains of the place.
Vestige of a cobbled path at La Palangana Chapel
Vestige of a cobbled path.


  • There are no gates, it is a free place, so there are no hours.


  • Free entrance, but a guide is recommended.

How to get to La Palangana Trail?

By car: take the Centenario road until you reach Centennial Mall, I recommend that you leave the car on that side.

Cross the street over the bridge and continue as if you were going to the Technological University, take the first dirt road that you see on the right (it is the trail of the electrical interconnection).

If you go only to the chapel, continue, along the trail of land and after the bridge over the north motorway, take the right side.

There is no trail, it is a small hill that is about 3m, you will see a narrow trail, through there you enter.

Continue until you see the stone climb, then, from there it’s about 80m, but the trail can be confusing.

In 4 × 4 car you can get to the bridge over the motorway, but the place is lonely.

En bus, lo puede tomar uno en Contado del Rey (ruta C908), este pasa por Alta Plaza Mall y Centennial Mall.

If you are in another part of the city, you must also take a bus that leaves you at the entrance of Condado del Rey (Tumba Muerto). Continue with the indications mentioned above.

Other places you may like

I marked in red, approximately the route I did, but to see the chapel you can go straight to the bridge over the North Motorway and from there continue along the trail.

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