“The Book” in Minca says this should take 5 hours walking and it’s true, unless you don’t realize some parts of the trail are signposted in two opposing directions and find yourself remembering the cougar talk from the West Coast Trail while jungle bushwacking. The wardens tell you to look up as you pass flowing water and never to crouch before check if there is a cat in a tree above you, and, of course, preferably don’t hike alone.
Thinking of this while lost in the jungle isn’t particularly helpful, especially considering the new factoid I’d learned from Survivorman: pumas are the 3rd largest cat and have extra springy legs, allowing them to jump up to 25m. Not that I’m a puma’s #1 choice, but as I kept thinking of what else I might stumble into out there, the puma might be my first choice.
That helped me firm up my decision to turn around and go back, despite what the signs said. Lucky for me I tried the other direction, was rewarded until I got lost again, stumbling into a cocoa field. No worries, backtracking worked again and eventually I made it to Paso del Mango in time for a stroll around local sights – a mini “Cuidad Perdida” archaeological site, numerous waterfalls you can swim under and a cacao farm complete with a chocolate facial. Pumas to facials – it was a weird day.