Panama is a beautiful country with a lot of amazing things to do, especially for people looking to get off the beaten track. Panama is famous for the iconic Panama Canal, geisha coffee, and the gorgeous San Blan Islands but Panama also has incredible biodiversity and beautiful nature that includes among other things, a lot of spectacular waterfalls. In this post, we’ll cover some of the most beautiful waterfalls in Panama, tell you how to get there, what to bring with you, and much more!
What to bring when exploring waterfalls in Panama?
Getting to most waterfalls in Panama includes trekking before reaching the falls. Therefore, you should bring everything you might when going trekking. You know, things like moisture-wicking clothing, collapsible travel water bottles, comfortable and water-proof shoes, trekking poles, a good backpack for trekking, sunscreen, insect repellent, navigation tools, a first-aid kit, etc…
Also, before you set off on your Panama adventure, note that some of these treks might require longer, strenuous walks in a tropical rainforest which might require a certain degree of stamina. And even if you’re physically fit, give your body some time to adjust before starting to explore the beautiful rainforests of Panama.
The Lost Waterfalls
The Lost Waterfalls Trail is one of the most popular jungle trails in Panama. The route stretches through the dense jungle along muddy paths and along the way, you can see a lot of beautiful wildflowers and amazing vistas that leave most visitors in awe. At the end of the trek, you can find three equally spectacular cascading waterfalls. The falls are over 100 feet tall and supposedly, the water falling from them has medicinal properties and is often used by locals with medical problems.
The whole area is actually a private nature reserve and in it, you can also see some wild animals, most notably monkeys and quetzals. The entrance fee is $7.
How to get to The Lost Waterfalls?
When in Boquete, get on the public bus known as ‘Colectivo’ (they’re not very frequent but they usually pass on the main road). The ticket costs $3 in one direction. The bus will drop you near the Bajo Mono area. From here, you have to keep walking until seeing a small suspension bridge with a blue wooden sign pointing to the waterfalls. 10 minutes down the road, you’ll notice the entrance cabin where you pay to enter the reserve. Alternatively, you can also take a cab, it will cost more ($8-$10 one way) but it will drop you closer to the reserve entrance.
The Pipeline Trail is another great trail near the small mountain town of Boquete. The trek follows the riverbed of Caldera River and culminates with the massive, slow-descending waterfalls that mark the end of this picturesque trail. Along the trail, you’ll also see some of the oldest trees in Panama (including a tree that’s older than a millennium) as well as a lot of birds and small jungle animals.
How to get to The Pipeline Trail?
Similar to The Lost Waterfalls Trail, the only way you can get there by public transport is the ‘Colectivo’ bus and just like the other trail, the bus will leave you a few miles away from the trail. You should get off in the Bajo Mono area. This trail also entails an entrance fee of $3.
Located near the town of Caldera, the Joguata Waterfall is one of the best waterfalls for cliff jumping in Panama. The word Joguata means ‘flat stone’ in the Indigenous Ngöbe-Buglé language and once you get there you’ll see why. If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, you’ll be happy to hear that at Joguata, you’ll find cliffs up to 9 meters high from where you can jump into the pool while freefalling next to the scenic waterfall.
How to get to Joguata?
The waterfall is located in the lush forests of southeastern Boquete not far from the town of Caldera. Joguata is not marked on the map and is located in a relatively unfrequented region, that’s why it’s probably best to hire a driver for the day or join a group tour.
San Ramón Waterfall
Nestled on the right side of the Caldera River near the town of Los Naranjos, San Ramon is one of the most popular waterfalls in the Chiriqui province and there are many reasons for that. The waterfall is 50 meters tall, the surroundings are beautiful, and the falls are accessible to everyone because you can reach them by car. Yes, that’s right, The San Ramon Waterfalls lie near the main road and you can get to them without hiking in the jungle.
How to get to San Ramon?
The waterfall lies 9 kilometers away from the town of Boquete where you can get a local bus or a taxi that will take you right next to the waterfall.
Romelio & Quiqui
This is where waterfall chasing in Panama becomes very interesting. Romelio and Quiqui (or Kiki) are two waterfalls that lie off the beaten track and are not very easy to reach. The two waterfalls are near the town of Chiriqui and lie on the same trekking route. You might have difficulties reaching the falls and that’s why it might be a good idea to hire a guide for this one but if you’re adventurous enough, by all means, do try to complete this trek on your own. If you plan to visit, just don’t go during the rainy months because the trail gets very muddy and slippery
How to get there?
The nearest bigger town to these falls is Chiriqui, located roughly 60 kilometers west of the waterfalls. From here, you can get a bus or hire a driver to take you to the mountain village of Cerro Banco that lies right next to the trail (roughly one mile away).
Choclon is the name of the beautiful twin falls that lie off the edge of a small but scenic gorge near the town of Dolega. The falls are surrounded by lush vines that create a nice shade around the amphitheater-like structure that shapes the pool beneath the falls. This gives the water a nice, blue shade, perfect for taking amazing photos. It’s one of those places where anyone’s photos can look like they were taken by a professional photographer.
How to get there?
The easiest way to get there is by taking a local bus from Dolega. The nearest bigger town is Chiriqui. You can also take an inter-city bus from Chiriqui to Dolega and switch to a local bus that will take you a couple of kilometers away from the trekking route.
However, since this waterfall lies off the beaten track, I recommend you hire a driver or rent a car.
Cabello de Angel
Cabello de Angel is one of the biggest and mightiest waterfalls in Panama. It’s located near the border of the Chiriqui and Ngabe Bugle Comarca provinces and is a part of the Forestal de Fortuna Reserve. The waterfall consists of two water flows that converge into one powerful stream that rockets into the beautiful azure pool below. When you’re wandering around the forest leading to the waterfall, you might also come across some of the many howler monkeys that inhabit the area.
How to get to Cabello de Angel?
The nearest inhabited place is Punta Peña, a small town located on the main road which stretches all the way to the forest where you can start your exploring. From here, you can take a local bus or a cab to get to the falls. The forest entry is located roughly 15 minutes away from the town and once you get there you have another 30-40 minutes of walking to get to the falls. Alternatively, you can also visit from Chiriqui but keep in mind that Chiriqui is 80 km away and it would take more than an hour to get there (one-way).
Cascada Del Trueno
The name of this waterfall translates to ‘Thunder Waterfalls’ and I have to say, it lives up to its name. The huge volumes of water that flow into the waterfall can be heard across the jungle. This is one of Panama’s most majestic and loudest waterfalls (therefore, the name) and the flow of the water is so powerful that it sprays up to 20 meters away from the basin.
The route leading to the falls is often muddy and slippery but not very long; it shouldn’t take you more than 30 minutes to reach the falls.
How to get to Cascada Del Trueno?
This waterfall is located near the village of Cordillera and the Volcan Baru National Park which is not very frequented and therefore, not very easy to find transportation. The nearest town (that I know of) from where you can get a bus is David which is roughly 40 km away.
Speaking of waterfalls in Panama, one place that doesn’t get mentioned often (and it really should) is the Sindigo Waterfall. In my opinion, this is one of the best places for cliff jumping. The entire area looks scenic, the water has the most beautiful shade of blue and there’s even a rope swing that adds a nice Tarzan-like vibe to the whole place.
Sindigo Waterfall also has one of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve seen in Panama. Once the sun starts setting, little rays of sunshine break through the canopy, giving the whole area a spectacular orange color that will make you feel like you’re in a wonderland.
How to get to Sindigo?
The waterfall is located in the Gualaca region but getting there can be troublesome because the waterfall is actually not marked on the map. Therefore, unfortunately, we can’t give you an exact route but if you get to Gualaca, it won’t be hard to find a local driver that will take you there. Alternatively, you can also join this awesome group tour, I personally tried it and I warmly recommend it.
Alto de Piedra
The Alto de Piedra hike is one of the most popular things to do in Santa Fe. It’s located in an area that’s fairly frequented, well-marked, and it’s easily approached by car/bus, making it a popular choice for tourists. There are several trails that lead to the waterfalls but none of them is longer than 30 minutes. Along the way, you’ll see several smaller waterfalls that serve as an introduction to the main waterfall (Alto de Piedra). The main waterfall is a beautiful 20-footer that quietly merges with a picturesque azure pool.
How to get to Alto de Piedra?
The main waterfall is located roughly 5 km away from the city of Santa Fe. A local bus or a taxi can drop you as far as 15 minutes away (by walking) from the waterfall. But keep in mind that because the waterfall is more easily approached, there are always more tourists here.
Salto el Subi
When looked at from above, El Salto Subi is without a doubt one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Panama. From a bird’s eye’s view, the area around the waterfall looks like a big hole filled with the shiniest shade of blue completely surrounded by lush forests from all sides. The trek is not very easy and it requires some level of stamina. In total, you would have to walk around 8 kilometers (both ways). The trek starts near the village of El Salto.
How to get to Salto el Subi?
The nearest bigger town to Salto el Subi is Santa Fe. From here, you can get a bus or a taxi to the town of El Salto which is where most visitors start the trek.
El Salto Waterfalls
El salto is a fascinating collection of 22 waterfalls located in near proximity to Santa Fe and it’s an ideal trek for people looking to get off the beaten track. However, these waterfalls are not marked on the map, the trekking routes are not marked, and the area is not very frequented which is why I recommend hiring a local guide. Exploring this area requires knowledge of the local terrain (where can you find places to cross the river, where to find ropes, etc.) Fortunately, this is Panama and such luxury won’t cost you more than $5-6.
How to find the El Salto waterfalls?
You can take a local bus from Santa Fe to either Santa Fe Alto or Santiago. The bus that goes to Santa Fe Alto will leave you closer to the trail but the buses that go to Santiago come more often. But whatever you choose to do, make sure you have a local guide with you.
Loma Grande Falls
Loma Grande is another beautiful waterfall in near proximity to Santa Fe. The falls are a part of Santa Fe National Park and you can find them roughly 2 kilometers away from the park’s ranger station. The trailhead is relatively easy and its start lies on the road that connects Santa Fe with Calovebora. In total, the entire trek covers around 2.5 kilometers, it’s narrow, uneven, and steep but still, it shouldn’t take more than 45-50 minutes to complete it. One thing you have to watch for when trekking to the falls are venomous snakes, most notably Fer-de-lance.
How to get to Loma Grande?
You can get there by hopping on a bus from Santiago to San Jose, San Francisco (not to be confused with the city of San Jose). From here, you continue following the trail leading to the waterfall (it shouldn’t take more than 2 hours).
Located in the middle of an old indigenous farm, Las Golondrinas is one of the bigger waterfalls in Panama. This trek is very easy and you can go for it even if you’re not in very good shape; the trail leading to the falls is around 2 km long, making it one of the shorter walks on this list. The path takes visitors to a wonderland of lush forests, vines, and a few river crossings. Be advised that this land is privately owned and you will have to pay the fee. Some people also enter by ascending the river behind the parking lot without paying the fee but I wouldn’t recommend trying to do this.
How to get to Las Golondrinas?
The trailhead is located on the paved road that leads from Santa Fe to Calovebora. The bus you should take is the Santa Fe – Guabal bus. If you want to go by taxi, that can also be arranged for around $10.
Jaguar Falls is another beautiful waterfall located on an indigenous farm. The start of the trailhead lies at the Santa Fe-Calovebora road and there’s a big board that marks the entrance. The trail is around 5 kilometers long and it goes through the jungle. The falls got its name because around this place, jaguars can usually be spotted during nighttime. But don’t worry; during the day, it’s completely safe to visit.
How to get to Jaguar Falls?
The nearest town to the falls is Kalu Yala, a small jungle town in the middle of nowhere. There aren’t many roads that lead there and even the ones that do are in a fairly bad condition. That’s why, if you want to explore Jaguar Falls, you’ll probably have to stay in Kalu Yala for the night before proceeding to the waterfall the next day.
La Silampa is a nice 6 kilometers long trek located near the town of Calobre that culminates with a marvelous waterfall. The trail is rated as moderate and is primarily used for hiking and walking but there are also tour operators that organize horse riding tours. The surrounding terrain is rugged without much flora and fauna and slightly resembles New Zealand. That’s why after reaching the falls, it felt sort of like discovering an oasis in the desert.
Throughout the trail, you’ll encounter several scenic viewpoints from where you can take some nice photos and in the end, you’ll discover the real treasure of this trek- La Silampa Falls.
How to get to La Silampa?
According to the information I got during my last trip, there isn’t a bus that goes from Calobre to La Silampa. A couple of other available options include renting a car, taking a cab, or joining a group tour in Calobre.
Personally, Pozo Azul is one of my favorite waterfalls in Panama. The trek leading to it is relatively easy, well-marked, and is located in one of the more frequented parts of Panama so it’s no surprise that Pozo Azul is one of the most popular places in this part of the country. Pozo Azul is located in the depths of the jungle and consists of a series of parallel water flows that cascade from one level to the next until they finally meet in the end before flowing into the crystal clear azure pools. The area is also great for adrenaline junkies as it offers a lot of rock climbing and cliff jumping.
How to get to Pozo Azul?
The nearest town to Pozo Azul is Minca. From there, you can take a moto-taxi that can take you almost to the end of the trail (this will take no more than 10 minutes) or you can walk from the town which will take you around 40-45 minutes.
Los Valles is one of the highest waterfalls in Panama and a premier destination for cliff jumping enthusiasts. The walk leading to the waterfall is not very scenic but if you can get on some of the hills on the other side of the river, you can get some amazing panoramic photos of the waterfall and the surrounding area. The land surrounding the waterfall is owned by local farmers and landowners and there’s an entrance fee of $1.
How to get to Los Valles?
Since the waterfall lies far away from the main road, at the time of my visit, I couldn’t find any buses or other form of public transport but you can easily get a cab or even better rent a car and drive on your own. Los Valles can be found on Google Maps or most other map apps.
El Chorro Macho
With 35 meters (115 feet), El Chorro Macho is one of the tallest waterfalls in Panama. It’s located in Anton Valley and it features one of the most beautiful natural lagoons I’ve ever seen. According to a local legend, this lagoon is also supposedly enchanted and its water has medicinal properties. The trail leading to the waterfall is easy and can be completed in less than an hour.
How to get to El Chorro Macho?
The trail lies on the main road which means you can get there by bus from most surrounding cities. Panama City is also roughly 2 hours away which means that completing a day trip from the capital to El Chorro Macho is possible if you leave early in the morning.
The trek leading to Tife Waterfall is probably one of the most strenuous treks in Panama and definitely the most difficult trek on this list. To get to Tife, you need to pass over 30 kilometers and more than 2,100 meters of elevation while conquering the difficult terrain of Omar Torrijos National Park. It’s one hell of a journey but the final prize is worth going through it. Located in one of the most pristine parts of the country, Tife is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Panama.
How to get to Tife Waterfall?
You probably shouldn’t worry about this too much because you definitely need a guide. The national park is huge and many parts of it are not well marked, making it very difficult for tourists to find their way around. You shouldn’t have a hard time getting a bus that will take you nearby but because of the rugged terrain, most forms of transportation (except maybe 4x4s) can take you as far as only two kilometers away from the park entrance.
Did you ever visit Panama? How did you like our list of the most beautiful waterfalls in Panama? Did you ever get the chance to visit any of them? Do you think we didn’t mention some other beautiful waterfalls? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment below.