LA SILAMPA WATERFALL IN THE MOUNTAINS OF CALOBRE, VERAGUAS
A rocky path carves it’s way through the rolling hills of Calobre. For an hour of steep trekking, curious hikers can only imagine what paradise may be found at the end of their journey. The trail finally ends, and what is found is truly an oasis, a crystal clear oasis. Flowing down for a river through the mountains, a waterfall cascades into the azure blue water, which then flows into several small lagoons before finally free-falling into another waterfall to disappear into the river below. This my friends is a mountain paradise.
Silampa is one of my favorite places in Panama and its the perfect location for an all-day hangout with a packed lunch and good company. The trek is only an hour one-way, which makes it the perfect weekender.
In Calobre, we found a parking spot near the signed entrance to La Silampa. There are actually several trails that lead to the same spot and we seemed to take a less trafficked one. However, we shared it with a herd of curious cows. Once you park at the La Silampa sign by the side of the road, you can begin the trail towards the La Silampa Paradise.
Unlike the rainforests and jungles I had been exploring in Panama, the landscape at La Silampa was entirely different. The rolling hills and backdrop felt like New Zealand. Layers upon layers of mountains created the most epic vistas I have come across so far in Panama. I let the boys trundle ahead of me as I shot them throughout the trek with my 70-200 f4 lens on my Sony A7ii. I love the compression you get out of a telephoto lens in situations like this with epic mountain backdrops.
I really did enjoy this hike. It was short but mightily sweet with a new view around every corner and at the summit of every hill. It can get quite steep in parts both up and down. With crumbly rocks as the trail, there is no need to rush this hike. Take it slowly, mind your footing and stop to take in the views frequently.
If you keep your eyes open, there are also a number of waterfalls to the side of the trail as you make the journey in. They weren’t just your arrive waterfalls either. You had three-tiered beauties just waiting to be explored.
In a bizarre arrangement, there was a local man charging 50 cents to continue on the trail and then at the final entrance, another man charged us $1. We think there must be some sort of land rights agreement. Either way $1.50 is definitely a small price to pay to visit this epic spot.
After our one-hour journey in, we finally reached the waterfall. We were at La Silampa. I couldn’t believe it, the water was insanely blue. It was like the Blue Lagoon on Nusa Lembongan or the water at Kawasan Falls in the Philippines. It seemed so out of place to have such tropical water in the middle of the mountains.
A beautiful little waterfall flowed into the blue pool and then it trickled down into some other smaller pools. If you continue down the hill, there is actually a much bigger waterfall that flows from the pools into the canyon below. From the drone, it was a sight to behold! One of the most amazing natural formations I’ve ever seen.
The water was as fresh as it comes and I may have drunk a little while swimming. My favorite part about this paradise pool was, of course, the cliff jumping. There are a number of spots to jump from if you are up for it. I tested them all and my favorite was the one on the far side of the pool from the trail. A few backflips later and it was time to just chill in the sun, practice some Spanish and revel in this magical oasis in the middle of the mountains in Panama.
It was mid-afternoon and the thunder and lightning, that seems to come daily, began to roar. We packed up and headed off back up the trail. The trek back is a bit arduous as you will likely be lower on energy and it involves some solid uphill trekking. It isn’t too crazy and kids could definitely handle it if you plan to bring the whole family.
The trek back took about an hour also and we stopped regularly to take in the epic mountains. It is one of the most magical spots in Panama and I hope you get the chance to visit the oasis in the mountains that is La Silampa.
After La Silampa, we made a quick stop at La Yeguada, a nearby waterfall. In Panama, it seems that there is always a nearby waterfall. It was pouring with rain but we decided to make a quick dash across the raging river to check out this aggressive waterfall. It was really smashing into the pool below and a show of pure force by mother nature. I loved the pine trees in this area, which reminded me of some of the parks in Hawaii and America.
Definitely stop past La Yeguada on your way back from La Silampa if you still have some energy left in you. Remember to pack out all of your trash and make sure we leave La Silampa better than when we found it so that generations to come can enjoy it just as we do today.