View Full Version : Thru Hiking the Isthmus of Panama

07-07-2011, 13:08
Hello fellow hangers,

This is just a quick note to let you folks know that I'm about to start a thru hike of the country of Panama. It's not a long distance, just about 800 Km (500 miles), so it's peanuts compared to other cross-country trails in the world. What makes it special is that it hasn't been tried before, in Panama or in any other Central American country --at least not in contemporary times. The plan is to hike from border to border, and touch both the Caribbean and Pacific coasts, the landscape will vary from pristine cloud forest mountains, small indigenous villages, pasture lands, traverse lowland tropical jungles, beautiful beaches, and inevitably I'll have to cross the Panama Canal at some point.

Friends and fellow hikers will come and join me on some sections. Needless to say, I'll be camping in one of my cozy jungle hammocks, and I plan to do a review on those, as they apply to tropical hiking and camping.

I am priviledged to count on a great support team from the TransPanama Foundation www.transpanama.org/en/envivo, in Panama and overseas. They will track the expedition via satellite and post the journey real time online. They will also retrieve trail notes, video footage, and pictures I'll be sending from the trail, then broadcast them weekly on a blog: http://teamtranspanama.blogspot.com/

The reason for doing this is obviously a personal motivation thing, but this is much more than a one time hike. The plan is to map the route of a long distance trail through Panama so that in the future local and international hikers can come and enjoy this country's natural heritage. The project also aims to help remote and impoverished communities to derive economic benefits from low-impact tourism, namely trekking.

So, please check us out and wish us luck.

Un abrazo,


07-07-2011, 13:11
Oh man! Awesome trip! I wish you the best. I will be following your updates. Good luck and Happy Hanging!!

07-07-2011, 13:18
:thumbup: Sounds like a great trip Rick, Hope it's a safe fun hike. Can't wait to see some pictures from the trail. :D

07-07-2011, 15:32
Wow, wish I could join you. Panama is one place I was hoping to see while I'm down here.

07-07-2011, 15:36
Very envious! I wish you the best of luck. To me, people who create trails or protect national parks are really "saving the world". It would be incredible to be a part of that!

07-07-2011, 15:50
Wow! Very cool. Safe trip.

07-07-2011, 17:26
Sounds like an incredible experience!!
Thanks for sharing it with us!

Rain Man
07-07-2011, 17:29
Please be cautious near the Colombian border. NOT a safe area at all.

And, if you hike through the small town of Anton, you can say Hola to my daughter's host family, from her year as a high school exchange student there! She has been back to visit, she had such a good time there.

Have a great hike!

Rain Man


07-08-2011, 20:49
Sounds like a fun trip. I spent 2 weeks in Panama in 1999 with the Guard and had a blast. I would love to go back again.

Good luck and post the pics


07-09-2011, 10:06
Wow! This is really cool. I will definitely follow along.

09-01-2011, 12:34
Thank you folks from your support. I'm now in the town of Santa Fe, about 120 miles from the Costa Rican border. I'm trying to recover from a case of hemorrhoids, so that gives me time to catch up with friends and family.

I have yet to run the tropical hammocking review, but it'll get done, no worries. Also, the girl uploading my videos on the web is a bit behind schedule. But the photos are pretty up-to-date.

To answer some of your remarks:

I missed the town of Anton, because I chose a much wilder route north of it, we had to do a little bushwhacking no doubt, and there were sections were the only possible navigation was by river so we either rented dugouts, or built balsa rafts. I just finished that section last week.

Regarding the Colombian border, I picked the spot for the beginning of the hike very carefully, so as not to run into "irregulars". We started the hike in the middle of the cloud forest, on Mt Nique, where there is no human influence at all, not even trails. We only knew it was the border based on our maps and gps devices. Also, I decide to begin the hike from Colombia to Costa Rica and not the other way around, so as to do the most risky part first and get it over with, before the media caught sight of us.

Well, thanks again for your kind words of support. Hope to be back with you all later.

Un abrazo,


09-08-2011, 16:53
Be safe in your journeys!

Looking forward to your updates.

10-18-2011, 08:04
beautiful pics!

have machete...will travel? ;)

well done

Rain Man
10-18-2011, 09:30
Thanks for the update!

Rain Man


10-23-2011, 19:55
I spent two years in Panama courtesy of the US army it is an incredibly beautiful country with great biodiversity, it should be memorable to say te least travel safe and have a great time.

01-23-2012, 15:08
Wow fantastic I was in Panama Last february on a mission trip, I pray for your safety have a Great time.I'll try to read your reports.

02-05-2012, 09:11
I have been looking at your blog.
Sensational. What a journey. Truly pioneering stuff. Most envious in the nicest way.
A few questions if you don't mind.
Firstly, what gear did you carry?
Apart from your HH Hyperlite, and a convenient machete, you had a fascinating looking cooking set up. What was it, please?
How did you go for resupply?
Did you buy/source locally, have supply drops or what?
How did you go health wise? Did you have any problems and how did you overcome them?
Again a fantastic journey that you can be truly proud of.
Not many people in this day and age can claim to have virtually single-handedly blazed a long-distance trail such as this. A true adventure.
My only misgiving about your blog is that I don't speak Spanish and find it hard to follow what you are doing.
That said, still a fascinating period in your life.

01-27-2013, 01:48
Great trip ricktreks I loved the pictures.