Ancon Hill is a 654-foot hill that overlooks Panama City, Panama, adjacent to the township of Ancón. It was under US jurisdiction as part of the Panama Canal Zone for much of the 20th century and therefore was never developed like most of the surrounding urbanized parts of the city. As a result, it became a kind of an "island" of jungle in an urban area, where wildlife still survives cut off from other jungle areas. It is not uncommon to see sloths, White-nosed Coati, Nine-banded Armadillos, Geoffroy's Tamarins, or deer on Ancon Hill, which now has protected status. Its name is used as an acronym by a Panamanian environmental group, Asociación Nacional para la Conservación de la Naturaleza (ANCON).
The lower slopes contained residences and Gorgas Hospital. Higher up were the residence of the Governor of the Canal Zone and Quarry Heights, where the United States Southern Command was located. Quarry Heights was named for being adjacent to a large rock quarry on one side of the hill, which left a visible cliff face on one side. The hill contains an abandoned underground bunker once manned by the US Southern Command. At the top are two broadcast towers and a small road that reaches them. One-way vehicular traffic is now allowed during daylight hours. Hikers can use the road to reach the summit, and the hill is a popular jogging and hiking trek. Along the path, all manner of vegetation and birds can be seen, including a large number of orchids (which are protected by CITES).
When the pirate Henry Morgan sacked Panama City in 1671, his scouts first climbed Ancon Hill to gain knowledge of the local defenses. Ancon Hill overlooks the site of the new city, constructed after Morgan's destruction of the old one.
The hill became part of the land taken to build the canal and a national symbol in 1906 after Amelia Denis de Icaza wrote her poem about its annexation. Today this hill still boasts a large national flag at its summit.
- Szok, Peter (2012). Wolf tracks : popular art and re-Africanization in twentieth-century Panama. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi. p. 231. ISBN 1617032433.
- Picture of Ancon Hill - showing contrast between the hill and surrounding urban area.
- Cerro Ancon - website dedicated to preserving Ancon Hill. (in Spanish)