There is no shortage of outdoor activities in Panama. From water sports and fishing along both Pacific and Caribbean coasts, to hiking and zip-lining in the Chiriqui highlands, to golf and horseback riding just about anywhere in this recreation-friendly country. And now, thanks to a young man named Cesar Augusto Melendez Castillo, rock climbing has been added to the ever-growing list of things to do in Panama.
As a child in his native town of Boquete, Cesar would often climbed small rock formations with his father. This was a hobby that he enjoyed, but his career aspirations took him to Panama City.
There Cesar attended college and worked as a computer engineer.
When he was sent to Boquete on an assignment, Cesar came face-to-face with his childhood passion. A chance meeting with Gary Henning, a Canadian professional rock climber, completely changed the course of Cesar’s life.
From his new-found mentor, the soon-to-be former computer engineer learned about techniques and equipment used by professionals. In the last 11 years, Cesar has become Panama’s first professional rock climber, participating in numerous international competitions. His skill has also earned him three international sponsorships.
When in Panama, Cesar is always on the look-out for new climbing routes to develop. He also finds time to teach climbing techniques to beginners, and leads individuals on rock climbing tours.
Cesar will teach anyone who wishes to learn, including his three-year-old daughter and a 63-year-old blind woman.
Developing the sport of rock climbing in Panama for future generations is Cesar’s ultimate goal. With his passion for climbing, his ability to learn as well as teach, and his confident and encouraging personality, he is a positive role model for those future generations.
You can learn more about Cesar, climbing safety, equipment and techniques on his website. A first-hand account of rock climbing with Cesar can be found here!
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