The Lands of Cubitá

Cubitá is the name the Pre-Columbian indigenous people used for the major river in the area as well as for a village close to the area of today’s city La Villa de Los Santos. On this excursion you will discover the most important sites around La Villa de Los Santos from Pre-Columbian, Colonial and Republican times: explore mysterious petroglyphs hidden along the shore of La Villa River; climb a hill which holds the Necropolis of Cerro Juan Diaz, an indigenous burial site currently studied by the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute for its valuable historical content; and visit the colonial style house where La Villa de Los Santos declared its independence from Spain in 1821.

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Tour details

Azuero history tour: The Lands of Cubitá

The petroglyps at Sitio Los Olivos are symbolic designs carved in a rock formation on the shores of La Villa River which in pre-Columbian times was known as Cubitá River. It is impossible to date the origin of the petroglyphs with accuracy or even to know their exact purpose, even though it is assumed the rock carvings were either used for astrology, ceremonial sites, as border stones or to indicate water sources. The carvings at Los Olivos are geometrically shaped and especially the form of a spiral is frequently used.

Cerro Juan Díaz is a hill overlooking La Villa River and was used by the local indigenous population as a settlement and burial site from approximately 200 b.C. until 1600 a.C. Archeologists assume that the famous Cacique Paris with all his treasure was buried in this place, even though no hard evidence has been found so far. Cerro Juan Díaz overlooks the lowlands where the indigenous settlement of Santa Cruz de Cubitá was founded in 1558.

La Villa de Los Santos was founded in 1569 during the Spanish colonial times, when settlers originating from Natá, Paritá, Santa Cruz de Cubitá, Mensabé and Guararé decided to build a new settlement on the shores of Cubitá River. However, the people of Natá were against the foundation of this new city and sent a small army to Los Santos to destroy the village. The conflict between the two towns had to be settled by the Spanish Crown which decided that Los Santos was to be founded but not with the title of “Ciudad” (City), but rather with the less important title of “Villa” (village) – hence today’s name La Villa de Los Santos. The citizens of Los Santos have ever since been quite rebellious, and on November 10, 1821, Panama’s independence movement from Spain initiated in La Villa de Los Santos and then moved forward from here through the entire country to culminate in Panama’s declaration of independence from Spain on November 28 of the same year.

About this Azuero history tour
Tour DatesDaily at 8:00 AM
DurationApprox 4 hrs
BringSneakers or hiking shoes, comfortable clothes, long pants, hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, camera.
IncludesTransportation from/to Chitré, bilingual tour guide, entrance fees, water, snack.
Important NotePrice is valid for groups of minimum 4 persons from/to Chitré. Contact us for rates for smaller groups, different pick-up points (Pedasi, etc.) and our monthly specials.