Panama is the land of beautiful beaches and fantastic nature reserves. The country consists of more than 50% rainforests and you cannot leave Panama until you have made a cool hike. The mountain village of Boquete is a good base for doing this. There are various possibilities; from half a day to multi-day hikes. We have done three in total and in this blog we tell you everything you need to know about these trails.

Boquete is a small village at the foot of Baru volcano. It is about an hour drive from the city of David and can be easily reached by public transport. The best time to visit Boquete is in the dry season from December to April because in the rainy season some trails are not accessible. Do you have to be very sporty to do such a hike? Nope! The first two trails are easy to do if you are in some condition. The third trail I describe, La Pianista trail, is more intensive. This is the trail where the Dutch girls Lisanne Froon and Kris Kremers went missing in 2014. Since that time there has been a clear ‘end sign’, but nowadays this intensive tour is often done under the guidance of a guide.

1. Lost Waterfall trail
The first trail we walked was The Lost Waterfall trail. This is also the best known trail in the Boquete area. The name says it all, you will see fantastic waterfalls along the way. The starting point is a 15-minute drive from the village. The trail takes about 4 hours and is easy to do without a guide. There are plenty of signs along the way that will show you the way to the falls. You do not have to wear special mountain / hiking shoes, but flipflops are not recommended because of the steep climbs.

After paying the entrance fee ($ 7 per person per night) and writing down the names, the trail immediately starts climbing a bit and you are soon in the “jungle”. You will quickly hear the sound of the first waterfall but on the advice of another tourist we decided not to turn right to waterfall number 1, but first to turn left to waterfall number 2. After all, this was more impressive and on the way back you come again along waterfall number 1.
It is a really wonderful climb where you look your eyes out.  The tranquility, the sound of the birds, the effort and the view together create a wonderful feeling. The great thing about this trail is that every time after climbing a bit you end up at a nice point, where you can take a break and take some beautiful pictures. Especially between the second and third waterfall you have to climb a bit more, you will find ropes where you can pull yourself up.

So we started with the 2nd waterfall, then the 3rd and on the way back we saw the 1st waterfall. The trail leads itself and getting lost on this trail is almost impossible. We therefore recommend that you do this trail on your own. You do not have to be super trained for this trail, but there is some climbing. You cannot buy any drinks along the way, so bring enough water.

Afterwards you can wait at the starting point along the road until a colectivo or taxi passes. Or you should be lucky just like us and get a lift to Boquete from other tourists with a rental car.

Practical information:
– Entrance fee: $ 7 per person
– Duration of the hike: approximately 4 hours
– Intensity: basic condition
– Distance from Boquete: 15 min
– Transport: taxi $ 8 or colectivo $ 2.50 per person each way
– You cannot buy any drinks along the way, so bring enough water

2. Pipeline Trail
The Pipeline Trail is known as a less intensive trail than the Lost Waterfall Trail and the Quetzal trail. The most important thing is that, as the name suggests, you keep following the pipelines. The Pipeline Trail starts near the Lost Waterfall Trail.

This time we paid $ 6 for a taxi to the starting point. This trail is also well marked with signs (see photo) and can therefore easily be done without a guide. There is a small house at the start, but when we were there someone walked to us and we had to pay the entrance fee ($ 3 per person) to her. You walk past the fence that has Privada and the trail can start. The trail has a fairly long run-up before you arrive in the jungle, but then you realize that it is worth it. It is really a beautiful trip over various bridges, under tree trunks and with beautiful views over the river. The area is much flatter, so you have fewer altimeters than the other treks in the area. After a 45 minutes walk you will pass a special old tree of more than 1000 years old. This is on the left side of the path going up. The last part of the trip you climb over large rocks and boulders. When you see the waterfall, you know you have reached the end point. You can relax here on one of the gigantic boulders, before you start on the way back. You seem to be able to spot the famous Quetzal bird, howler monkeys and snakes during this trek, but we unfortunately did not see them.

We think the trip is definitely worthwile. Although it took a little less effort than the other trails, there is a different atmosphere than the Lost Waterfall Trail for example. It took almost three hours so you can easily combine this trip with other activities in the area such as a coffee tour. The advantage of this draw is that it is much quieter along the way, so you often walk all by yourself. Note: according to the internet you can enter the park up to 15.00. We could not find anything about this at the entrance.

Practical information:
– Entrance fee: 3 $ p.p.
– Duration of the trail: 2.5 – 3 hours
– Intensity: basic condition
– Distance from Boquete: 15 min
– Transport: taxi $ 6 or colectivo $ 2.50 per person each way
– You cannot buy any drinks along the way, so bring enough water

3. El Pianista Trail
The third trail we have done is the Pianista Trail, we initially doubted this a lot. We actually wanted to walk the famous Quetzal Trail but after talking to several people, we decided to go for the ‘El Pianista Trail’.

The Pianista Trail really has its own identity. It is different from the previous trails because you go up a lot. The magic of this trip is that you climb into the clouds while going up, which creates a mystical effect. We were there on a very clear day. As a result, we walked through a few clouds on the way, but we did have a spectacular view from the top.

This is also the trail that Lisanne Froon and Kris Kremers started in 2014 but never returned from. We understood that there is a commemorative sign at the top of the mountain and we wanted to see it to show our respect in our own way. This is also a clear end point of the trail nowadays.

The route
After having thoroughly immersed ourselves in the route, we decided to walk it without a guide. The trail starts near Boquete, a taxi takes you there for $ 4 and you do not have to pay an entrance fee. The entrance is right next to the Italian restaurant “Il Pianista”. Before you enter the dense jungle, you walk for about twenty minutes through open fields with an total clear and open view. The paths largely lead themselves, but there are still a few points where you can go the wrong way. After a 5-minute walk, you can cross the river through a small bridge and then turn right onto the path. If you don’t do this, you have to cross the river through the water a few minutes later. Once in the jungle we had to cross the river again and immediately afterwards we missed a path that led us to continue our route across the river. Fortunately, a friendly local gave us a little further the advice to climb up and follow the usual path. The higher you go, the narrower the paths become. You will also notice that the path is getting soggy and that the necessary grip is required (think of good shoes and possibly a walking stick). Just when you think there is no end to the climb, you are there. What a nice feeling to be ‘on top of the mountain’ in the clouds. And yet you also get a completely different feeling at this place because you will also find the memorial to Lisanne and Kris here. Goosebumps. It is nice to see that the memorial to this terrible event is well maintained by the local guides.

The Pianista Trail is a much harder trail because it has many height meters. If you are not trained at all, then we do not recommend this draw. In addition, it is quite muddy, and it gets slippery the higher you go. We were there during the dry season and for the most part walked the way back with a stick to avoid slipping. When it has rained for a few days, it seems uncomfortable and irresponsible to go to the top. The trip takes about 4 hours and we personally do not recommend doing this hike on your own. You encounter very few people along the way and especially during the last part there is a risk of slipping. We met one boy at the beginning and otherwise only one Dutch girl with a guide. She indicated that she was happy that she used a guide. She has chosen Feliciano, a famous guide in the area who also maintains the memorial site of Kris and Lisanne.

Practical information:
– Entrance fee: none
– Duration of the trail: approximately 4 hours
– Intensity: advanced condition
– Distance from Boquete: 10 minutes by taxi
– Transportation: taxi $ 4 each way
– You cannot buy any drinks along the way, so bring enough water

Hi I am Anne (29) and I am a travel and lifestyle blogger for Travelgoodies. Together with Remco I travel the world. Along the way I shoot pictures of worldly interiors and I have a special thing with boutique hotels. At Travelgoodies I share my personal (travel) experiences and of course useful tips for on the road. Never stop exploring! Do you have questions, tips or comments? Feel free to send me an email: or contact us by using the contact form.
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