Hike from Los Ayala to El Monteon (via Punta Raza)

My alarm went off at 6am this past Friday morning. It was very foggy, drizzling, and cool, and I was perfectly content snuggled in my bed. But David and I had made plans to join our friend Helmut on a walk from Los Ayala to El Monteon via Punta Raza, and I was really looking forward to it.

We met (there were ten of us in all) in front of Bungalows El Delfin in Los Ayala promptly at 7:30am. We walked south along the beach and up the steep hill toward Playa del Beso, commonly known as the Kissing Beach. Once we neared the base of the hill, we came upon a rickety makeshift barbed wire gate. Helmut unhooked it, motioned for us to go through and then yelled “close the gate behind you” to those following us (several of these guys meet up and take this walk every week so they have their routine down to a “T”).

Here are a few photos taken early on our walk before my camera battery decided to quit on me.

We walked through the jungle for quite some time before coming to a large clearing. It turned out to be one of the roads within the new Punta Raza development. Someone decided we should veer left (I personally would have chosen to go right as I knew the ocean was in that direction). The terrain went from being a hilly, thick jungle to grassy and flat. We came upon two more small gates, which we had to climb over and/or through. I spotted what looked like an Oriole, a few other birds I couldn’t identify and a Magpie Jay flying gracefully from one tree top to another. There were also several healthy and very large cows along this part of the trail (I must admit, I was not overly comfortable being that close to those big boys without a fence in between us).

A little over an hour into the hike, we came upon an official-looking chain link fence with large double doors that were padlocked shut. Four of us opted to climb over it being careful not to get our clothes caught on the rusty edges. On the other side, and much to my surprise, we discovered a beautifully paved concrete and rock roadway lined with grass, palm trees, tropical plants, and native grasses. About 15 minutes later, the paving and planting abruptly came to a stop and we were once again walking on a dirt road. By this time, the others had caught up with us (earlier on, those six had decided not to climb over the large gate. The alternate gate was also locked, and unfortunately, the barbed wire got the best of a few of them).

After walking along the excavated dirt road for another 15 minutes or so, we arrived at the south end of the development. The guards graciously opened the final gate and let us pass through. Oddly enough, they didn’t seem to mind that we had trespassed onto the property in the first place, and almost acted as if this was a common occurrence. We continued up the hill past the restaurant at Punta Raza (which is now closed) and then up to the peak where you can see the entire agricultural valley of El Monteon below. The view from there is spectacular. According to my watch, it took us exactly 2 hours to get to this point. By now, the sun was out, the fog had completely cleared, and it was starting to warm up. During the next half hour, we made our way down the hill into El Monteon. We stopped for breakfast at a charming little restaurant in the middle of town. When we were finished, the restaurant kindly hailed us a cab, and were back in Los Ayala at 11am.

Somewhere along the way, as I carefully traversed the rocks under my feet, I thought to myself… it’s amazing where your feet can take you if you are willing to go. So, get out there and start exploring this wonderful area… you never know what you might find!

If you are interested in taking this hike, there are two semi-organized groups (which I highly recommend since one could easily get lost along this trail). Meet in front of Bungalows El Delfin, Avenida del Estero #228, Los Ayala on Tuesday and/or Friday just before 7:30am. Wear good hiking/walking shoes, use bug spray, and bring a bottle of water, your camera and some pesos for breakfast.

2012 Update: The new meeting point is at the end of Avenida Manglar in Los Ayala. You will see the gates and guard shack up the hill on the private road. It is fenced with a guard, but walkers are allowed in. View the Los Ayala Map to see the new meeting location.

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1 Review on “Hike from Los Ayala to El Monteon (via Punta Raza)”

  1. :

    We tried this hike today. Were at the gate right at 7:30am but no one else was there so we diceded to go it alone. At the first intersection past the gate we went straight which took us up to a dead end at the top of a hill. We came back down and took the right (south) turn we should have taken the first time. That road was a good one to start but got pretty sketchy later on. We ended up about 45 minutes later in a swampy dead end. We got back to Los Ayala after about 2.5 hours of wrong turns and bushwacking through the jungle. Next time we will try to get to Punta Raza via the trail from the kissing beach

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