Jaguar Waterfall and Kalu Yala

jaguar waterfall

I was recently invited to visit Kalu Yala and the Jaguar Waterfall, and of course I said yes.

The day began by looking for all the participants of this adventure.

Our first stop was at Kalu Yala Basecamp in San Miguel, where the car was left, the idea was to take the transport (a 4 × 4 car) that would take us to Kalu Yala.

But it has a schedule and we lost it, so we had to hike over 2 hours, at noon, with few trees on the road and backpacks.

Since we were going to sleep, we brought clothes, water, snacks and of course, cameras.

We could go a little further in the car, but in the Basecamp there is a parking area and it is a safe place, now if we continued in the car, we would have to leave it in the middle of the road and without security.

Kalu Yala Basecamp.
Entrance to Kalu Yala Basecamp.

I decided to start the hike while they were getting ready, since I know that they would quickly pass me, hahaha.

Then I found out that they interned to move my car, but it is manual and they did not know what to do, they even tried to push it, they wanted to put it in a shady place, in the end.

After the car was turned off several times, they managed to move it, as I would have loved have seen them hahaha.

road to Kalu Yala
We hiked there for 2 hours.

Kalu Yala

Once we arrive, we have lunch and repeat, I clarify, the food there is vegetarian, so, if you eat beef, chicken, pork, you can do like my friend Jackson who brought several pieces of fried chicken.

Already with a full stomach, they explained the place a little and took us to our camping area

The Hostal Bodhi has a camping area, where the tents with inflatable mattresses are rented, they are already set up and they are under roof.

They are like some bohios and in each one there can be between 8 and 4 tents, it depends on their size.

Social area in Kalu Yala
Social area in Kalu Yala.

We ate and settled, it is time to start getting to know the place, so being around 4:00 pm, we went to the river, it is the Pacora River, but at a point much higher than what we can know.

We hiked no more than 10 minutes, and most of all because we had to cross it twice to reach a point where a natural pool is formed and from the rocks or the platform you can dive.

Some boys from Kalu Yala took us and the little trip was joined by a boy from Germany, another from Canada and a girl from the Philippines.

Me, for trying to find a good point and not having patience so that, my companions who went to the front were accommodated, pass through a city of ants, so you can imagine hahaha.

On the way to the river
On the way to the river, to a natural pool near the hostel.

While some jumped into the water, others climbed the rock, others took photos and others enjoyed the madness of the rest.

Pacora river
We are almost there, in the background, the red roof, it is where the natural pool is.

Before we run out of natural light, we return to bathe and put on dry clothes for dinner, yes, because in the place there is only light in the dining room and in some nearby areas, but neither in the camping area, nor in the bathroom nor being in the dining room, I went to the restroom, and I made a mistake using the cell phone light.

Jerry jumping
Jerry jumps and I take the picture haha.

Since it is all dark and that light does not illuminate much, so I got lost.

I got to a point where I did not know where I was, the road had ended and I did not know what to do.

Fortunately I quickly realized where I was and I went to the tent to find my head lamp (that I used in trip to Bayano Caves), which illuminates a great distance and helped me not to get lost again hahaha.

That day they opened the bar, so we spent a pleasant moment with our new friends, sharing, getting to know a little about other cultures and practicing English.

The men slept like a log, but I don’t know why we (women)couldn’t sleep, I wasn’t even sleepy and I was entertained by every little noise.

Starting the hike to the Jaguar Waterfall.
Starting the hike to the Jaguar Waterfall.  On the right side are the camping tents.

Tour to Jaguar Waterfall

The next day, we got up early, as we had to be ready at 7:30 am to start to hike to the Jaguar Waterfall.

After breakfast, the workers surprised us with some snacks that they prepared for us for the journey.

All ready we start to hike, in which you have to cross the Iguana River 13 times, even in one part you hike about 100 m on the same river.

These are the things that make a guide necessary, I if I return, I get lost, unless everything goes upstream, although I don’t know if there are parts where it is very deep and cannot be crossed.

The trail can take an hour and a half, one way, it will depend on the physical conditions of the group.

Much of the trail was heavily vegetated to Jaguar waterfall
Much of the trail was heavily vegetated.

The trail has parts that are easy, but others not so much, since they are somewhat steep and even in some you have to cross with a rope.

One of my favorite parts of the trail was a small S-shaped dirt canyon, you could only go one by one, but the depth was like a small person, on the way back it made me want to go down it like a slide.

Hiking through the Iguana River to Jaguar waterfall
Hiking through the Iguana River.

At the end of the trail we came face to face with the Jaguar Waterfall, the brave Jackson, Jerry and the Canadian dared to dive, the rest of us just stayed to watch and take photos to them.

We stayed for a long time, until it was time to return.

jaguar waterfall
Jaguar Waterfall.

Ramón`s Pool

I tried to follow those in front and thanks to that, we stopped at a place called Ramón’s Pool, while we waited for the others.

It is a natural pool, ideal to cool off after the hike.

On the way back, the Adventure Bag was carried out, which consists of, after going on a hike or visiting a river or waterfall or beach or another place, a garbage bag is collected from what is found on the way.

it was almost rappel to Jaguar waterfall
In some parts, we had to go down and up with a rope, it was almost rappel.

As soon as we came back, we went to lunch and then to change clothes, almost at the speed of Flash, because the car was already waiting for us.

If we lost it we had to hike back and the first climb could be the worst of the whole way, so we had to run.

What is Kalu Yala?

It is a college (boarding school) at the university level, where one of its purposes is to be self-sustainable, therefore, it has a small farm, solar panel, they recycled and it tries not to waste water.

The water you drink is filtered.

They all speak English and the managers also speak Spanish, the food is vegetarian, although to be honest it is like a menu without meat.

More information of Kalu Yala click here. 

Here I am with Jackson after the Adventure Bag at Jaguar waterfall
Here I am with Jackson after the Adventure Bag.


In the place, there is no cell phone signal (mobile), there is only wifi in some areas.


  • In Kalu Yala vegetarian food is offered, although it seems more like food without meat, I recommend bringing a can of atun or something like that,
  • Bring snacks, in the place there is a mini store, but there is nothing for several kilometers around,
  • Sneakers that can get wet,
  • Jaguar Waterfall, it is necessary to go with a guide, you can contact one in Kalu Yala,
  • For the Jaguar Waterfall, wear hiking clothing or exercise clothing (Dry Fit), not jeans,
  • if you stay there, bring a good lamp,
  • Remember not to dirty the trails or the river.

Where to lodge?

  • Bodhi Hostel (I stayed with them). It is not there anymore.
  • Kalu Yala Tent.
  • Selina.
Kalu Yala map
Map of Kalu Yala.


  • $10.00 x the 3 meals (dinner, breakfast and lunch).
  • $10.00 guide to the waterfall.
  • From $ 15.00 night
  • $10.00 4 × 4 transportation.

How to get to Kalu Yala?

Both places appear on Google Maps, Kalu Yala Basecamp and Kalu Yala.

If you are in the city and take the north motorway or south motorway, when leaving them, take Pan-Americana Highway towards the East of the country.

Then take Jose Agustin Arango Avenue, which is the one on the vehicular bridge at the height from the Xtra of 24 de Diciembre, continue down the street.

When you see the Centro de Materiales de Condado Real  (on the right side), turn your left, the road is almost without deviation.

When you see La Mesa police office take the street on the right, then left and stay on the road.

In the town of San Miguel, you will find a stone street that goes down on the right side, it is a fork.

If you take that way about 70m you will be in Kula Yala Basecamp.

To go to Kalu Yala (only 4 × 4 car), follow the road, at the fork take the street on the left and continue.

Then the road will become dirt and stone, at the end you will have to cross a river (left side of the path).

If it is not deep (by that time), you can cross it by car and after about 30m you will have arrived.

Updated: 2020.

Other places you may like

Map of Kalu Yala
Map of Google, from Albrook to Kalu Yala

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