Boquete, Panama is home to dozens of incredible hiking trails. Since the town is nestled high in the mountains in a dense tropical rainforest, hiking is one of the top things to do in Boquete, Panama.
You really can’t go wrong with any of the trails in this area, but The Lost Waterfalls Trail is by far the most popular (and in my opinion) the most stunning hike in Boquete, Panama. On this trail you will walk through a lush jungle to discover not one, but three epic and breathtakingly beautiful waterfalls.
We spent just over a week in Boquete Panama on a recent family trip. As nature lovers, we spent as much time outdoors and on the trails as possible. And The Lost Waterfalls Trail ended up being my favorite of the trails we visited.
If you’re planning a trip to Boquete, Panama, and interested in hiking The Lost Waterfalls Trail yourself — here’s everything you need to know about hiking it.
Quick facts about The Lost Waterfalls Trail
- Distance: 2.1 miles or 3.37 kilometers
- Elevation gain: 847 feet or 258 meters
- Cost of entry: $10 USD per person as of 2023 cash only
- Difficulty level: Moderate (lots of stairs, muddy conditions, and climbing with ropes in some areas)
- Trail type: Out and back
- Time to complete: 1 1/2 hours to 2 1/2 hours
- Trailhead location: Google Map pin
How to get to The Lost Waterfalls Trail
The Lost Waterfalls Trail is located about 20 to 25 minutes drive north of the city in the area of Bajo Mono.
We highly recommend renting a car to get around in Boquete. A lot of the top activities are a 20 to 30-minute drive from the town. It’s much easier to drive your own vehicle than navigate public transportation in rural areas. We also feel having your own car gives you more comfort and freedom.
We rented our car in David, the second largest city in Panama and where the international airport closest to Boquete is located. The Lost Waterfalls Trail in Boquete, Panama can be easily found on Google Maps. Here is the exact pin for the trailhead if you are driving your own vehicle.
If you don’t have your own car, you can still easily get to the trailhead using local transportation. Taxis are superabundant and fairly cheap in Boquete. Expect to pay around $8 to $10 one-way depending on the time of day, demand, and how good you are at haggling to get there by taxi.
You can also take a collectivo or public bus to the nearest bus stop in Bajo Mono. A collectivo should cost around $3 to $5 depending on where you got on the bus in Boquete.
The collectivo will not take you to the trailhead starting point. You will have to walk a bit up the street (which is up a steep hill). If you prefer to be dropped off directly, take a taxi.
If you take a taxi, plan to have them pick you up at a set time (get their WhatsApp # to confirm). Taxis don’t come directly to the trailhead very often and this road is super remote. Not pre-arranging this could leave you stranded with a long walk home when you are done hiking.
The drive out to Bajo Mono is absolutely breathtaking. You’ll pass a basalt climbing wall, Sam Ramon waterfall, dozens of coffee fincas, rivers, and thick jungle. Follow Google Map directions to get there, or follow the blue signs for “San Ramon waterfall”.
The Lost Waterfalls Trail is just a 5-minute drive further up the narrow windy mountain road and across a suspension bridge (drive across the suspension bridge). There was a small area for parking near the entrance of the trailhead on the side of the road. Boquete, Panama is an incredibly safe area but it’s always a good idea (and reminder) to take any valuables with you.
Looking for more awesome activities to do in Panama? Check out some of the recommended tours below.
What to bring on the Lost Waterfalls Trail hike
The Lost Waterfalls Trail in Boquete, Panama is located in the highlands and jungle of Panama. Rain in this area is common during the rainy season (June to November). Showers frequently come and go with little to no warning. It’s a good idea to have a light rain jacket with you in case it starts to rain on the hike.
The path was super muddy in several areas. Make sure you have comfortable hiking shoes that can withstand mud and water. Dennis loves his Altra hiking shoes while Liz wore her Allbirds sneakers (they are washable)! You could also wear Chacos for this adventure and be super comfortable.
Important hiking safety tip: We were told by a local that jaguars and mountain lions are abundant in the jungles of Chiriqui. In June of 2023, a jaguar attacked and killed a lone hiker (middle-aged man) in the middle of the day. For that reason, you shouldn’t hike alone in the forests here. Rather, it’s best to explore in groups of 2 or more.
This trail is rather popular so your chances of a wildlife encounter as large (or deadly) as a jaguar is minimal.
Of course, you’ll want to bring any photo or video gear with you. Just don’t forget to have a dry bag or other safe storage solution that can withstand water or rain as you’re hiking.
Lastly, don’t forget your reusable water bottle. Even though this is a fairly easy and short hike, you are high in elevation. It’s also really humid here, so you’ll definitely work up a sweat. It’s super important to stay hydrated while you’re out adventuring. We recommend this reusable water bottle which has a built-in water filter.
Don’t forget to add an LMNT hydration pack to your water. This will replenish the electrolytes you’re losing on the hike without adding nasty ingredients or unnecessary sugars.
Get the gear here:
- Packable rain jacket
- Hiking shoes or Allbirds sneakers (washable)
- Dry bag
- Camera equipment
- Reusable water bottle
- LMNT hydration packs
What to expect on The Lost Waterfalls Trail
The Lost Waterfalls Trail is quite popular. You definitely won’t be the only ones on the trail.
It was a bit tough for my Mom (who is in her 60s and doesn’t hike very often) and my five-year-old niece. But both were able to do it despite its rocky, steep, and muddy terrain. Below will walk you through what to expect when hiking the Lost Waterfalls Trail from start to finish.
The trail is super well-marked. There are huge signs off the side of the road with the words “Lost Waterfalls Trail” in both English and Spanish “Los Tres Cascadas”. Park on the side of the highway and walk down the driveway path.
There were a few make-shift huts built out of aluminum near the river a minute or two up the path. Feel free to buy some snacks or water or keep walking past this toward the suspension bridge. We loved the suspension bridge crossing (great photo opp). It is also a great spot to go for a dip down by the river after the hike.
We walked up a long set of stairs and up a few hills for around 10 minutes before we made it to the entrance booth to the hike. Since the Lost Waterfalls Trail is located on private property, you will need to pay $10 to hike here and sign your name into a register. Children (at least my nieces aged 5 and 2) were free. Cash or Yappy (Panama’s version of Venmo) are the only forms of payment accepted.
There is also a boutique bed and breakfast up here if you’re looking for unique cabin accommodations for your stay in Boquete. The cabins were super cute and the air felt so fresh this far up the mountain! Note, there are no public restrooms at the lodge or along the trail (so, plan accordingly).
After leaving the lodge we made our way up more steep stairs until we got to the official Lost Waterfalls Trail. A lot of the blogs we read about this hike before visiting recommended seeing the waterfalls out of order (#2, then #3, and lastly, #1). But we visited each fall in order and felt this was a perfect way to experience the trail.
It took about 20 minutes to hike to waterfall one, which is the largest of the three. There were several sets of stairs with rope to help you from slipping with rain or mud. You cannot access the waterfall from the trail, but there is a viewing platform that allows you to get a fantastic view of this absolutely stunning waterfall.
From there we trekked back up the stairs to get to Waterfall Two. This part of the hike took around 20 to 30 more minutes to reach. The path included several sets of stairs, muddy sections, and uneven rocks but the effort was worth it.
Waterfall Two isn’t as tall as the first, but has an area for swimming. Be warned: the water is freezing no matter when you are visiting!
I planned to take a dip in the water to cool off but could only go in waist-deep. You can get much closer to Waterfall Two, which we enjoyed. My nieces played on the shoreline and we relaxed and basked in the cool mist of the waterfall spraying us.
The journey to waterfall three is a bit trickier than the others. For this reason, my mom and nieces decided to stay back at waterfall two while we ventured on.
The start of the hike to Waterfall Three included several very muddy steep uphill sections. There was a rope for us to use to traverse the rocky terrain. In all honesty, we didn’t need to use the ropes, but it was nice to have.
From there it took us about 15 to 20 minutes to hike to the waterfall. We passed several great swimming holes before reaching the fall if you fancy a dip.
Make sure to stop and look around for “nature treasures” as my nieces call it. On our hike, we found several cool bugs, a land crab, and a ton of hummingbirds!
Waterfall Three was my personal favorite. It was super beautiful and surrounded by lush moss. You could even walk behind this one if you wanted to. Just be prepared to get soaked if you do!
The waterfalls run straight into a rocky river that flows toward the other falls and had a small area for swimming if desired.
From there we started the trek back. Going down the muddy section at the start of waterfall three wasn’t as bad as we expected. We were glad to have the ropes to help us this time though.
On our hike back we heard loud grumbling from the nearby forest and quickly realized it was howler monkeys.🙊 We weren’t able to spot them from the trail but we now understood why this area was called Bajo Mono (low monkey).
We spent around 2 and a half hours hiking the Lost Waterfalls Trail in total. That included hanging out at each fall for a bit, taking photos and videos along the way, and going a bit slower due to the kids and my Mom.
While it was a bit tough times, this hike is absolutely worth doing if you want to transport yourself to a tropical oasis without having to drive far from the city.
If you’re looking for a fun outdoor activity in Boquete, Panama definitely add the Lost Waterfalls Trail to your bucket list. And don’t forget to let us know what you thought of the experience in the comments below.
CHECK OUT MY OTHER BOQUETE PANAMA GUIDES
- Caldera Hot Springs: A Must-Do Activity Near Boquete Panama – One of our favorite activities from our entire trip.
- How To Take a Coffee Tour in Boquete, Panama (Complete Guide) – Great guide for coffee lovers who want to get to know the process of growing, processing, and roasting coffee more intimately.
- Your Guide to Hiking El Pianista Trail in Boquete, Panama – A great hiking guide if you want to venture into a cloud forest.
- 10 Must-Do Activities in Boquete, Panama – The perfect travel bucket list to help you plan your vacation in Boquete.