Almost 2000m above sea level in a bowl-shaped valley surrounded by densely forested mountains, CERRO PUNTA is the highest village in Panama. In the eighty or so years since it was settled, the town’s fertile soil has produced some eighty percent of all the vegetables consumed in Panama – there are little patches of cultivated land everywhere you look – although this agricultural boom has not done the surrounding forests any good. The town’s altitude gives it a crisp atmosphere, and the taste of the food and the smell of the orchids seem all the better for it.
Everything in tiny Cerro Punta is spread out along the main road from David and a side road leading towards Parque Internacional La Amistad. The scenery, together with the fresh mountain air, makes Cerro Punta a perfect base for hiking – the pristine cloudforests of the national parks of Amistad and Volcán Barú are both within easy reach and two of the best places in Central America to catch a glimpse of the elusive quetzal, early in the morning in the dry season (Jan–April).