Earlier this week, David and I went on a group hike with 17 others. Lori, the hike organizer, had taken this trek several times. In an effort to make the hike more accessible to others, she arranged for a clean up crew to clear the trails and mark them with red and yellow plastic tree markers earlier in the season.
We met at the south end of the Los Ayala beach at 7:30am. We hiked up the hill at the south end of Los Ayala and then down towards the small restaurant at Playa Freideras (also known as “Kissing Beach”), where we had to maneuver our way around a chain link fence to access the trail.
Twenty minutes into the hike, we came to a large clearing and a “Y” in the path. Lori directed us to the right following the sign marked “Punta Raza I”. (I was familiar with the trail up to this point, however I normally follow the path to the left which brings you to the south end of Punta Raza).
Shortly thereafter, we came to another “Y”. Lori directed us to the left following the “Playa Coral” sign, and explained that we would circle back to this very point from the path on the right.
Five of us decided to walk at a faster pace ahead of the rest of the group. We made our way over the jungle and through the woods. Much to my surprise, we ended up at the north end of the Punta Raza beach. I must say, this place is stunningly gorgeous with the waves crashing on the volcanic rock jetting out from under the sand.
We proceeded to walk north, but I couldn’t resist taking a photo of the view to the south. For those of you who are not aware, this beach is slated to become a tourist development. The south end is guarded and the majority of the beach is secured by chain link fence. It’s sad, but true.
The path back into the woods was not easily visible; in fact, we walked right past the yellow marker. Luckily, Lori and the rest of the group caught up to us and helped us find our way.
From here, the path changes from jungle with heavy palm tree canopy to wooded forest.
About 1½ hours into the hike, the five of us had made our way back to the “Playa Coral” sign just as Lori said we would.
We then came to the final “Y” on the hike. One direction was clearly marked with two signs that read “Mirador” and “Playa del Toro”; the other was unmarked. We collectively decided to follow the signs even though we had no idea where we would end up.
(Note: You can see the red marker on the tree above the “Playa del Toro” sign.)
The trail was covered with a heavy layer of leaves and palm fronds which made it challenging and a bit slippery at times.
The mirador (view) at the end of this trail was spectacular as you can see from the above photo. We took a few minutes to enjoy it, sipped some water, and then turned around and headed back the same way. We did not follow the trail to “Playa del Toro”, but I will definitely take the time to explore it the next time.
When we got back to the “Y” we headed left and returned to the starting point in Los Ayala.
The entire hike took us 2 hours 45 minutes, but we walked briskly. The others took a leisurely 4½ hours to finish. I would not consider this an easy hike because of the several rocky, slippery and steep spots encountered along the way. If anyone wants to attempt this hike, I recommend that you go with a small group and stay together. A GPS would be helpful, and comfortable walking shoes, water and bug spray are a must.
I have added the starting point to the Los Ayala map and also mapped out the approximate route below for anyone interested.
Here is an outline of the timing of the hike:
- Starting point
- “Punta Raza 1” sign (20 minutes)
- “Playa Coral” sign (45 minutes)
- Punta Raza Beach (55 minutes)
- Return to “Playa Coral” sign (1 hour 20 minutes)
- “Playa del Toro and Mirador” signs (1 hour 35 minutes)
- The point at Mirador (1 hours 45 minutes)
- Return to “Playa del Toro and Mirador” signs (2 hours)
- Return to “Punta Raza I” sign (2 hours 25 minutes)
- Return to the starting point (2 hours 45 minutes)