Hiking India Dormida in El Valle de Anton
The story behind India Dormida
When 35 million years ago the volcano erupted collapsing where the town of El Valle de Anton in Panama is now situated, one of the mountains around the crater, nowadays known as India Dormida, was formed.
Most probably the first people living in the area were the Guaymies native tribe with cacique Urraca in charge. His daughter Luba was often called Flor del aire for her beauty. She was a very modest but rebellious girl, and also the one who became famous now as India Dormida.
Luba fell in love with a Spanish soldier who came to the village. She was dating a very brave native warrior Yaravi who, when heard of Luba’s love to the soldier, committed suicide in front of Luba’s eyes jumping from a mountain.
When the young girl realized she did not want to betray her own tribe being in a relationship with the Spanish soldier she loved, which meant she could not be with any of the two guys any more, she decided to climb the mountain and kill herself hanging from a tree branch.
With time, the nature made the very same mountain look like a Dormant Indian Girl (Sleeping Indian) – the mountain in a shape of a girl’s body with her face, arms and legs.
Hiking India Dormida
It is not recommended to hike the 1,000 m a.s.l. high mount on your own, you should or call the famous El Chakal local guide to go with you, or once you get to the entrance of the trek, there’s usually local boys who can guide you there.
I chose the second, and found Victor, a 14-year-old shy guy who walked me through the forest up to India Dormida. After paying the entrance fee, we started hiking India Dormida.
It was school holidays so Victor was free to hike with me, but usually he goes hiking India Dormida 2 or 3 times a week anyway even during the school classes – Friday to Sunday they have the most tourists here which are the days when he tends to go.
I was super tired on that morning, it was around 9 am and didn’t get good sleep the night before, and Victor seemed to have so much energy that at times I felt like he was running, and not hiking. After a while when I could not catch my breath I asked him to go slowly to take photos on the way too.
La Piedra Pintada petroglyphs
Many different petroglyphs can be found all across Panama country but la Piedra Pintada in El Valle de Anton is the most accessible one. Dating back to 300 AC, the abstract petroglyphs show the map of the territory, some animals in the area and might have served for ritual or religious purposes too.
Victor took a branch and started running around the petroglyphs telling me all he knew about it – he learned it by memory as if he was reciting poetry or something. So cute! 😀
Just a few minutes after we stopped at the Chorro El Escondido – Hidden Waterfall where you could eventually even take a swim. I wish I brought my bikini as it was getting too hot! I was glad I wore my hiking shoes though as I almost stepped on disgusting huge worms. Blew!
A few minutes afterwards we hiked to the Chorro de los Enamorados – Lovers’ Waterfall and it felt kind of weird to be there on my own. I mean, well, with someone half of my age 😀
Another waterfall on the way was one with a funny name Chorro el Sapo which translates to Frog’s Waterfall located just a few metres from the Piedra del Sapo, another petroglyph, much smaller than Piedra Pintada and with more figurative and geometrical signs.
Then the hardest part of the hike started … All the way up, very steep at some parts, sometimes with made steps and a very unexpected shower from waterfall coming from up there in between the branches.
But the butterflies, old trees with strong roots, green scenery and occasional views of the valley were filling me with energy.
There was a cool place with small caves too. Would be super interesting to play hide and seek over there 😀
I was so glad I brought water with my chia seeds in EQUA BPA-free bottle as chia slowly release energy and as soon as I took the first sip, I could feel it. Another thing that helped me to go all the way up was seeing some locals hiking with us too and then at Piedra del Sapo turning right instead of left. The locals have to walk all this almost every single day, even with all the food and other goods as they live up there!
I should not complain hiking India Dormida just once.
What warmed my heart a bit was a group of locals cleaning up the mountain and picking up rubbish, as garbage everywhere around is a huge problem in Panama and the locals usually do not care at all.
Let me tell you, no matter how difficult each hike is, and no matter how many sweat drops are all around my body, it is always worth it … and so was hiking India Dormida.
The strong wind on top of the mountain with stunning views of El Valle de Anton, Cariguana and Gaital mounts, made me feel powerful!
The only disadvantage is that you cannot really stay long on top of India Dormida when it’s so unpleasantly windy (and you have a proof of how windy it was when you look at my hair on the photos.)
We chilled out only for a few minutes, took some pics, Victor played a couple of local songs and we head off back down the same way. When the wind is weaker, you can take a different way down which was unfortunately not possible on that day.
I only realized how fast we hiked India Dormida when I checked the time once I got back down to the town. We managed to hike there and back with the chill out time on top of the mountain in less than 2 hours and the hike usually takes around 4 hours in total 😀
*** It took me 3 hours to write this post.