Camp at Jaguar Falls in Los Tres Brazos

Rate this Adventure Kalu Yala, Panamá, Panama

  • Activities:

    Chillin, Camping, Photography, Swimming, Backpacking, Hiking

  • Skill Level:


  • Season:

    Spring, Summer

  • Trail Type:


  • RT Distance:

    7.4 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    725.1 Feet

Dog Friendly
Cliff Jumping
Swimming Hole

This hike criss crosses over the Iguana River 11 times, ending at a magnificent waterfall and camping spot

The hike to Jaguar Falls is an out of this world experience. You start out at the Kalu Yala base camp, which you can get yourself to by booking here. They are a sustainability institute that hosts visitors in addition to their long term students. The chances of you hopping on this hike with a member of their biology or outdoor recreation programs is high, which means you'll have endless knowledge at your disposal as you wander these trails with students researching every inch of it. 

From their base camp, you go left out of their main gate and follow the road. It is as curvy as can be, but you follow it through five river crossings until the road turns into a trail. Once on the trail, you again continue straight (there are no other trail options once you're on this one, which makes things simple). Just because there is one trail doesn't mean you don't have to pay attention. You are in the middle of the literal jungle here, so pay attention to the trail markers (orange ties on prominent trees) as to not get lost. Again, having a Kalu Yalan come with you is highly suggested. 

At the eighth river crossing, the trail is not exactly across from where you enter the river. You must follow the river a bit before the trail appears again on your left. This exit from the river is just around the bend. Once on trail, again continue straight. Soon things will open up a bit from the jungle and you will enter fields with some hills. You will hit an orange orchard about 10 minutes after the eleventh river crossing. After the last, eleventh, river crossing, you are going to head up a carved out trail of red mud. The walls of this part of the trail can be as much as 6 feet high, but the width only 2 or 2.5 feet. It's highly entertaining, but pay attention to your footing because it's all kinds of slippery. 

Again the jungle will open up a bit and as you rise from a very prominent dip in the trail, you will come across a earthen platform. This is the best camping spot if you have a tent. If you are a hammock camper, continue along the ride another twenty yards. Once you enter the jungle again and the trail turns in a steep downhill, that's your hammock spot. 

Both are good camping spots, but the best of the trail is still ahead. A five minute down climb will take you to Jaguar Falls, a stunning water fall with swimming and cliff jumping. The rocks are extremely slippery, so if you are climbing up to the higher of the ledges to jump off, make sure there are a few of you so you can help each other along the way. 

Ropes have been installed in the last down climb/up hill back to the camping spots and using them is definitely your best bet. There are a lot of jungle vines that look enticing to use as rope, but they don't always hold under weight and a fall down that steep path is in no way fun. 

This spot is one for the ages and you should enjoy it with all of your might. Be aware of the rain situation, as it is not advised to do this hike in the rainy season. With 11 river crossings, you can imagine why you don't want to find yourself unprepared with flash flooding. Get all of the information and guides from the Kalu Yala crew before you head out and you have a once in a lifetime camping experience in front of you. 

Pack List

  • Tent with tarp
  • Sleeping bag
  • Cooking set up
  • Headlamp
  • Food and water
  • Machete
  • First aid kit
  • Bathing suit
  • Towel
  • Change of clothes
  • Sweater
  • Dry socks
  • Water shoes
  • Camera
  • Matches
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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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Carter Clark

Educated in sustainable architecture. Working in photography and digital media. Living in a Panamanian jungle base camp. Wearing down shoes as quickly as I can.

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