Abundant rainfall and numerous streams tumbling down the slopes of Chiriqui’s mountains produce stunning waterfalls to punctuate the sylvan landscape of this Panamanian paradise. Many of these are on private lands near Boquete, but there are also some spectacular falls near Cerro Punta in La Amistad National Park.
Cascada San Ramon
Near Boquete on the Caldera River in western Chiriqui, the San Ramon waterfall tumbles some 50 meters into a clear jungle pool. A bridge over the river offers spectacular views of the waters flowing south towards Boquete. A number of waterfalls cascade, ribbon-like, over the green carpet all around them. Cascada San Ramon makes an excellent picnic venue. It’s cooler up in the Chiriqui highlands than the rest of Panama, perfect for enjoying a relaxed lunch with friends alongside the scenic falls. Don’t forget your camera: you’re sure to find prime photographic opportunities.
The Peña Blanca waterfall, also in the vicinity of Boquete, drops from a height of 30 meters. A hiking trail just outside Bajo Boquete leads to the falls. The Sendero de los Quetzales also harbors a number of waterfalls, easily accessible from the trail winding up the slopes of Volcan Baru through cloud forest vegetation. The hike along the Sendero de los Quetzales is not too strenuous, and you’re rewarded tenfold for your effort by the rare sights and sounds. Peals of birdsong echo through the jungle mist, exotic plants fan out on either side of the trail, and the rainforest trees tower high above. Take a brief rest when you come to the waterfalls, and if you remain still and quiet, you may catch a glimpse of the rare quetzal.
Numerous falls dot the area surrounding the town of Caldera in Panama. You’ll find one waterfall just off the road next to one of the bridges, streaming clear and pure through the lush green foliage. You really can’t miss it. In the Caldera canyon, about a ten-minute walk from the road, another impressive waterfall cascades from a height of 40 meters.
One of the best-known Chiriqui waterfalls is Chorcha, located near Isla Palenque. The falls crash down the side of an 800-meter-high plateau rising abruptly from the lowland surroundings. The climb to the top of the falls requires a 90-minute hike, made easier by a gravel road used for herding cattle. Among the varied bird life you’ll encounter are hawks, eagles and vultures; you’ll see them gliding along the top of the windy plateau. Once you reach the top, you’re greeted by a breathtaking 180-degree view of the surrounding lowlands and the Pacific Ocean. You can also make out Isla Boca Brava and Isla Palenque to the south. It’s a thrilling vantage point; you won’t soon forget the sight of those clear Panamanian waters tumbling over the edge of the precipice below.