After the impressive The Lost Waterfalls in Bajo Boquete, we were also in Santa Fé looking for wild waters in the dense jungle. And so the narrow road led us six kilometers west to the Alto de Piedra waterfalls. Again, three big waterfalls should be waiting for us. But the journey had it again in itself, because we had to find first the entrance of the hike.
We parked our car on the main road at the tourist information. Here we paid $2 for the parking lot and marched off. At the beginning, you just keep following the main road and after a few hundred meters, the starting point of the hike is on your left in a bend to the right. A wooden fence with a gate and a sign saying "Alto de Piedra" point you to the entrance. Three local men were talking here and showed us the direction. From here you have to cross a wide meadow with isolated trees. Several narrow paths lead through the grassland and we reached a jungle after about 10 minutes. Although this hike is one of the most famous routes in the area, the way through the jungle is still very adventurous, as we were to experience on our own bodies.
We reached the first of the three waterfalls after about 30 minutes of walking. We were taking the obligatory pictures when we suddenly saw one of the three men,
who had previously shown us the way, coming towards us from the green thicket. At the first moment our hearts were in our mouths and we could already see the headlines of the international press
"Two young tourists lost in the jungle during a hike". We packed our things and walked briskly back to the hiking trail. The man gave us to understand that he just wanted to lead us to the other
two waterfalls. We had no other choice and followed him, with a queasy feeling in our stomachs.
After some time on the muddy path, I suddenly heard Lui from behind telling us to wait. On the path was a 30 cm long black snake. The local and I had obviously stepped over it. I didn't even notice it. Our self-proclaimed guide tried to explain to us what animal it was. However, to this day it is still not clear to me whether it was poisonous or not. Be that as it may, Lui continued to refuse to walk past the animal. For this reason, the guide pulled out his slingshot and chased the animal into the nearby woods.
Important! Inform yourself in advance about poisonous and dangerous animals in exotic countries and how to protect yourself!
With increased caution, we continued along the muddy path. With old car tires, this was indeed fixed in some places, but it was still partly extremely slippery. At
the next fork in the road, our new friend said goodbye and we marched again on our own through the green canopy to the next waterfall, which was just around the corner. Somewhat smaller than the
first waterfall, but by no means insignificant, we found this one. In a small pool the falling water collected and we refreshed ourselves with dangling feet in the clear water.
After the nerve-wracking beginning of the hike, the rest of the tour went without further complications and we also reached the third and smallest waterfall after a few more minutes. When we had seen all three, the jungle released us again from its clutches and we stood again on the meadow where our adventure began. Here we realized that the trail would have actually started at this point and the local probably actually just wanted to show us the way. Thanks!
While these falls were not as impressive as The Lost Waterfalls, the surrounding rainforest, which the water seemed to divide in half, made for a breathtaking atmosphere. For this reason, you should definitely pay a visit to the Alto de Piedra waterfalls. And so our days in Santa Fé were already numbered. It was time to say goodbye to the small village and its impressive nature. Our next stop was El Valle de Antón, the city in the world's largest inhabited volcanic crater!