Goodies From Canajagua

For those of you are not familiar with the Isthmus of Panama in Central America, let me explain that Canajagua is the name of a hill in the Province of Los Santos located roughly in the middle of the country.  This area is known by meteorologists as the dry zone of Panama with scarce precipitation during the year.  In Spanish, this geographical zone in the Azuero Peninsula is known as the “arco seco”—the dry arc.

Canajagua Hill is located in the Province of Los Santos, the cradle of Panamanian folklore. Its maximum height is 830 meters (2,723 feet) which is why it’s known as the “Sentinel of Azuero”. From this high mound you can clearly see the Azuero coastline, from Isla Cañas, Iguana Island, the Rock of La Honda, to the blue waters of the Gulf of Parita.

In the mid-60’s, local authorities built a road to the top of the hill, which was opened to businessmen to promote agricultural projects.  The results were highly detrimental to the area, since large forests were destroyed due to excessive logging.  About 60 percent of the area around Cerro Canajagua was deforested and the land converted to grasslands which have since been used for cattle fincas.

However, local environmentalists and government authorities are currently spreading the word of ecological awareness in an effort to gradually reduce the cattle ranches on the slopes of the hill.  It is expected that  the area will again be covered by forests.   At its peak, you can also find about seventy radio and television antennas, given its strategic position.

Below is a photograph of a restaurant found at Casco Viejo which bears the name “Goodies of Canajagua Restaurant”. I thought it was a good idea to explain the meaning of Canajagua and why it is important to restore its surrounding forests.  We have to take care of our fragile planet.  I’m sure you will agree with me on this issue.

Photograph of a worker's restaurant at Casco Viejo which serves typical Panamanian dishes at very affordable prices. The name Canajagua means a lot to the people of Azuero, specially from the Province of Los Santos. Photo ©Omar Upegui R.

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