The Caminando Panamá Foundation recently joined forces with the TransPanama Foundation, Cultours and Ecotourism Cooperative of the Santa Librada Community in a project that seeks to empower and prepare the community to be able to receive tourists hiking along the historic Camino Real.
This project is funded by the Small Grants Programme of the Global Environment Fund and has three areas of focus:
Objective 1: The Development of the Sustainable Tourism in the Area
Objective 2: The Collaborative Strengthening of the Community Organization
Objective 3: Linking Sustainable Tourism in the Area with the National and International Market
The community of Santa Librada, located in the province of Colon and is inside Chagres National Park. This park is where the great Rio Chagres, the main water source Panama Canal, has its headwaters. Agriculture is the community´s main economic activity, however it has great potential as ecotourism destination by serving as the "gateway" community to the historic Camino Real.
El Camino Real:
Forged by the Indians and later paved with cobblestones by the Spanish in 1500, the Camino Real was used to transport Inca gold and silver and then place it on galleons bound for Spain. Originally this 80 km trail connecting the Atlantic and Pacific crossed the Isthmus of Panama. Today you can still see segments of the original cobblestones as can you explore a historic route that will take you through rural communities and the jungles of Chagres and Portobelo National Park.
National Geographic Traveler recently designated the Camino Real (Kings Road) as one of the best tours in Central and South America.
This project aims to help ensure that the community takes full advantage of this incredible historical and natural resource sustainably.