Cerro Chucantí is such an amazing area that it is hard to believe it was virtually unknown until the early 2000s. Because of its height (at 1,439 meters, Cerro Chucantí is the 9th tallest peak in Panamá) and remoteness, the private reserve offers some of the most spectacular scenery in Panamá: from stunning waterfalls in the lower parts of the reserve to the views of the Pacific Ocean that can be seen from the higher trails.
Although it rests on the border of Panamá’s remote Darién province, and can pose some challenges to access, we have worked hard to keep the reserve as accessible as possible. Along with the monitored trails, there are several field stations in different areas of the reserve that function as a base camp for researchers or people just visiting to enjoy the natural wonders around Cerro Chucantí.
Because the Cerro Chucantí private nature reserve is managed by ADOPTA, visitors are only allowed by reservation. Please Contact Us if you are interested in visiting, and explore this page further to learn more about the reserve.
Wildlife & Environment
The rainforests of Cerro Chucantí maintain populations of endangered wildlife such as the Baird´s Tapir (Tapirus bairdii) and Black Spider Monkey (Ateles fusciceps robustus), as well as vulnerable species such as the Giant Anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla), Great Curassow (Crax rubra) and Puma (Puma concolor).
One of the most diverse groups of animals found around our reserve are the hundreds of tropical bird species. The area around Cerro Chucantí has been designated an Important Bird Area after studies conducted by the Panama Audubon Society revealed a number of high priority birds endemic to the Darién Highlands such as the Beautiful Treerunner, Varied Solitaire, and Violet-throated Toucanet at Chucantí.
Some areas of the Chucantí private reserve were purchased after the forests had already been cleared for use as cattle pastures. We are currently working to allow the natural forest to regenerate, but in the meantime these ecosystems support many common agricultural species found throughout Panama, such as Anis (Crotophaga sp.). For researchers, these areas are useful comparisons to the healthier forests within the reserve. For more casual visitors, these regenerating plots represent an important piece of Cerro Chucantí’s history.
Cerro Chucantí’s lowland forests (below 1,200m) are stereotypically tropical, staying warm and humid all year long. In this highly biodiverse ecosystem, giant trees create a dense, evergreen canopy that shadows the forest floor and a myriad of small rivers provide a year-round water source. Most of the wildlife present in this area represent wide-ranging species typical of Central American forests in general. About 80-100% of the mammals present in Costa Rica, for example, also occur in Panama, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Colombia.
Above 1,200m, the forests of Cerro Chucantí change quickly. At these higher elevations, the temperature is much cooler and visibility is quickly reduced as a semi-permanent fog begins to permeate the vegetation. The tall, dense evergreens of the lowlands are largely replaced by palm trees, while the remaining hardwoods are much smaller and covered in epiphytic ferns, orchids, and bromiliads. Although this area is less biodiverse, cloud forests tend to be very high in endemic species (species only found in a certain area).
Planning A Trip To Chucantí
The Cerro Chucantí Private Nature Reserve is a magical place to visit. Like other wilderness areas, however, the reserve presents a variety of challenges for potential visitors. If you are considering or planning a visit, browse through the information before to help you prepare.