While Playa Palenque encompasses the island’s western side, one common trail on the east leads to all kinds of oceanic escapes. From quiet rock-lain shores to secluded pockets of sandy beach, what begins as a nature hike can easily become a spontaneous tropical swim. And while there may be nobody else in sight, you will always have company; the sound of wildlife fills the air with natural music.
Upon setting off for the hike, we were excited to bring our adventure gear: the machetes. Blades in leather-strung sheathes slung over our shoulders, we were ready to pave the way. But dramatization aside, the trail is quite simple. Simply head east at North Beach, or Playa Girón, and continue along the path where you hear ocean.
Shallow inclines and declines take you past tall trees teeming with life, then suddenly dip to reveal pebble-strewn beaches. The trail narrows to let you graze thick leaves, then widens to natural clearings where the sun protrudes through the treetops, mystic beams shining through the shadows.
We passed more open areas, seeing signs that denoted this is where the first villas will be built. Thin string lines around bordering trees showed us just how large these establishments are going to be. We couldn’t help but smile at big red ‘sold’ signs already hanging from some of them. Just a few steps from there took us down to the mystical beach on the eastern end.
Just behind this sandy shore is a lagoon where the path picks back up. Alluring blackbirds hover and flutter from tree to tree while hermit crabs migrate toward the water in large groups. While the lagoon continues further, we walked up a small hill onto a tall grass field. Cleared for crops by the island’s previous owner, this opening unveils an expansive view of the ocean and surrounding isles. More villas to come right here.
We walked for nearly 2-1/2 hours, stopping frequently to watch the hummingbirds and find seashells scattered along the coastal rocks. The trail goes even further but can split off at many points, allowing people to enjoy as long or as short of a hike as they desire. So while the eastern trail parallels coastal beauty, numerous outlets exist to explore the tropical jungle.