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  • Writer's pictureJuan Antonio Chavarria


The next day we woke up early, as usual, and were informed that we would have an additional guide because they wanted to improve the original route by using a new one. We met the guide and that day we decided to walk even faster than the previous days. The first 4 km were on flat terrain and it took us about 40 minutes to complete them.

In the community of Navarro del Muñeco, the real adventure began. After climbing 1 km on a path, we came across a jungle that would become my favorite stage of the journey. It was a beautiful pre-mountainous and cloudy forest, but the trail had not been used in a long time and we had to make our way with machetes in some parts. I still remember living up to my bear nickname, removing branches from the path by breaking them with force and adrenaline.

We looked like a pack of wolves taking turns as leaders to be able to rest.

Once we got out of the jungle, we had to go down a lot on a gravel path. Then came what I call the Family of Slopes. It was the hardest day of the entire route for me. We had to climb more than 1400 meters of elevation gain in 25 km, up to Cerro Alto where we would stay at 2100 msnm.

Upon arrival, a beautiful cabin was waiting for us with a fireplace. We put our shoes to dry next to the fire, but careful not to melt the Vulcanized Shoe. Without further ado, we went to sleep.

It was December 31st and that day we had many kilometers to cover. Our official goal was Naples (like the Italian city). We would spend the whole day in the coffee plantations of the Los Santos area, which was common for me because I was born and raised in a coffee town.

Growing up in coffee towns, you learn that there are many slopes to climb and descend under the sun and gravel. Don Marco took us to the beginning and the first part from the Garden was quite easy, with spectacular views. Besides being our first day walking in the Pacific, we went down to San Marcos and continued down, down, and down to the Salado. There we realized one of my mountain laws: everything that goes down must come up. That day, one of the traditions I have on the Camino was born, running to the top of the slope... (I'll tell you more about the traditions later).

Finally, we arrived in Naples and stayed in a cabin for everyone. Some companions went out to celebrate New Year's Eve with the neighbors, but I preferred to sleep to regain energy for the last part of the adventure.

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