We can safely say the waterfalls are no longer lost, they can in fact be found along a well-signposted jungle trail! However, it doesn't make it any less wonderful! This is a really nice, short hike, that we would recommend for a morning activity whilst in Boquete. This guide will give you all the information you need to get to and enjoy the lost waterfalls hike, Boquete.
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How to get the Lost Waterfalls hike, Boquete
There are three options to reach the lost waterfalls hike; 1) local bus. 2) taxi, and 3) hitchhike.
1) Local bus
This is always our go-to option and it couldn't have been easier. Head to the collectivo stand on the corner of Calle 1a Sur & Avenue Belisario Porras and simply ask the drivers which bus goes to the lost waterfalls hike. The journey takes about 25 minutes and will drop you at the end of the driveway to the entrance. It should cost $2.50 (they may try their luck & quote more but if you explain you know the price should only be $2.50 they will probably accept this amount). Coming back, the buses should pass by roughly every half hour so all you need to do is flag one down. We actually started walking back towards town (will me dragging my feet as I really didn't want to walk the 3 hours back to town!!) but thankfully about 25 mins along a bus came and we were able to stop it and hop on.
A taxi should cost you between $8-$10 so could be a good option if there are 4 of you, otherwise the bus is cheaper. You may be lucky and find a taxi passes by for the return journey (we saw one whilst walking along the main road) or you could try and arrange for your driver to come back but you would need to agree a time which could be tricky and I'm not sure if they would charge more for this.
Hitchhiking is also a good option if there is no bus or taxi in sight. I heard a few people that did this and whilst we were wandering along the main road between hikes (we did the lost waterfall and pipeline hike in one day) a car voluntarily stopped and asked us where we were going and if we would like a ride.
Is there an entry fee to the Lost waterfalls hike, Boquete?
Yes, there is a $10 per person entry fee. The hike is through private property so the fee goes to the land owner paying for your access and also helps fund the maintenance of the paths; ensuring access remains and providing helpful bannisters and ropes for the steep, slippy sections.
You pay the fee at the small sign-in hut at the entrance to the trail, which is about 1km from the main road where the bus drops you.
Lost waterfalls hike - distance and time needed to complete
The whole hike, from the main road and back is only 3.4km so it's not a long hike. There are some steep, slippy sections and no doubt you will want time to admire the falls so you may want to allow longer than your normal walking pace. If you are feeling very brave (as the water is super cold) you can even take a dip in fall numbers 2 and 3! We didn't swim but did stop for 5-10 minutes at each waterfall and took just under 2 hours to complete the hike.
Map of the Lost Waterfalls Hike
How difficult is the Lost waterfalls hike, Boquete?
It isn't a long hike but the path is very uneven underfoot and quite steep in parts. In fact, the hardest, steepest part is from the main road up to the hut where you pay your entrance fee. If you can make it there okay you don't need to worry about the rest of the hike!
On the steepest, slippiest sections they have installed handrails and ropes to help you which we found particularly useful coming back down on the return journey. It is only a short section between waterfalls 2 & 3 that is like this, the rest of the trail is just uneven underfoot.
An adult with average fitness will be absolutely fine on this hike. Children or less-abled adults may struggle.
We would definitely recommend closed-toe shoes; hiking boots with good grip and ankle support would be the best bet, but you could do it in sports trainers (although be warned they may get muddy). Walking sandals may be okay but do not attempt this hike in flip-flops, you will not get far.
Description of the lost waterfalls hike, Boquete
The hike can be naturally split into four sections; from the main road to the hut where you check-in and pay, up to waterfall one, from waterfall one to two and from waterfall two to three.
From the main road to the entrance hut
This is the hardest part of the hike! No joke! You make your way along a driveway, following signs for the lost waterfalls. After crossing a swing bridge the path climbs steeply uphill. There have made some big steps to help you as I imagine the path would be very slippy, especially in wet season, without them but for someone with little legs I found the steps a killer! Thankfully the path isn't too long and you soon reach the hut.
To waterfall one
The trail enters the trees immediately after the hut and you are immersed in to dense, lush jungle. The walk to waterfall one is surprisingly quick and you will soon see a signpost diverting you off the main path towards it. We had read this waterfall was the most impressive, which I think it probably was, so we chose to continue and save it until last on our return journey.
It doesn't really matter though and whenever you chose to visit waterfall one you will find it down a short flight of large steps.
Waterfall one is the tallest and our favourite. We sat here and had a snack whilst listening to the thundering of the water on the rocks below.
From waterfall one to two
The trail continues uphill through the jungle but nothing too tricky, you just have to watch your footing for the main tree roots and rocks. We hiked in the rainy season and the afternoon before it had thrown it down for hours so I was expecting the trail to be really muddy, however, it wasn't. Many natural rocks, along with strategically placed wooden stepping stones laid by the owner meant you could avoid the boggy patches and provide natural irrigation on the path. As you walk you can hear birds and insects but spotting them is a different matter! As the path is uneven you need to keep an eye on your feet, looking up into the trees whilst walking would not be a good idea!
Waterfall Two can be viewed from the main trail and is stunning, there is a natural pool if you are feeling brave you can swim in here too.
From waterfall two to three
This is the trickiest section, involving a bit of a rocky, muddy scramble up and down. As I've mentioned, they have installed handrails and ropes to help you though and as long as your abled bodied it's actually quite fun. Halfway along this section you can stop and sit on some rocks in the river looking out through the trees onto the rolling hillside. Not a bad view for a pit stop!
I really like waterfall three, standing staring up at the flow of water, getting constantly sprayed was very refreshing.
What to take with you
Sun cream - whilst a lot of the trail is shaded by the trees it is a good idea to apply sun cream.
Insect repellent - in the jungle there be bitey things! We would always recommend a repellent containing deet.
Snacks - If this is the only walk you are embarking on for the day you probably don't need a full-on packed lunch but a piece of fruit or a couple of biscuits could be a good idea,
Cash - The entrance fee and bus can only be paid in cash. You will need approx. $30 per person (more if you want to do the pipeline trail too).
Summary of the waterfall hike, Boquete
We really enjoyed this hike, the jungle is lovely and the waterfalls are stunning. We would definitely recommend putting aside a morning to do this while in Boquete.