Panama Day 12- Santa Fe to Boquette

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Getting to Boquette from Santa Fe was easy but took most of the day.

We both got up early and I was ready by 8am so just chilled on a hammock waiting for my brother. Some time passed, and I thought my brother was taking an awfully long time to get ready, but I figured what the hell, whats the rush?

As 10am came, I went to get him, only to find out he thought he had been waiting on me to get ready. This was not a first occurrence.

We waited about 20 mins to catch the bus from the small bus station in Santa Fe back to Santiago.

The ride was short, although unpleasant, as they like cramming as many people as humanly possible into the busses here and I am a big guy.

We got to the Santiago station, which we had already been to and were familiar with, and located a bus headed to the major hub city of David a little North West. Little did we know but we would be waiting for about an hour and a half for this bus to depart at 1:30pm.
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Finally we got on our way. The bus ride to David took about 3 hours, and was by no means any more comfortable. It was $9.

The bus station in David was also fairly small and easy to navigate.

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There was a sign up telling which position each city’s bus departed from so we headed to our platform.
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They were randomly selling chicks in the bus station?

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Our bus from David to Boquette was comparably very comfortable. They ran school busses this route, and we calculated they managed to cram 80+ people into this bus.
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We had a standing position but the windows were open and after being cramped the rest of the way we were glad to be cramped for the hour and a half ride to Boquette.

Boquette was a small city (or big town). We were told it was very americanized and touristy. It was also known for its adventure and outdoorsy stuff.

Initially, we thought we would hit up Santa Fe instead, since they were both mountain towns but Santa Fe was less traveled and smaller. However, while were there people who had already been to Boquette recommended we still go. So go we did.

The bus dropped us at a small square.
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Here, we checked in our book to find a hostel and settled on one called Mamallena that just so happened to be right by the bus station.

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The hostel seemed pretty nice. The main reason we came here was to hike a volcano called Volcan Baru. It is the highest point in Panama and you can see both the Pacific and Carribean oceans from it’s peak.

We signed up for the tour, that night to depart at 11:30pm so we did not check in a room. We showered up and attempted to rest after a long day of traveling and before our soon-to-find out, extremely long hike.

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Panama Day 10 & 11 – Bermejo Falls

There is tons of hiking around here, and we found out they are pretty long hikes. Both took us most of the day (6-7 hours). However, this included time to get lost since the directions on both occasion were horrible.

Pretty much you start off walking on the road, where the directions are fine, until you get off the main road where you pretty much are on your own.

The first day I forgot my camera, and we were unable to find the waterfalls we were hiking to. We found the path off the main road fine, however, the map of the trail showed 3 waterfalls in a loop, easy enough. In reality, it was 2 hours bushwhacking through muddy jungle.

The second hike was to Bermejo Falls.

We started off around 10am and started hiking on the road. There are roosters everywhere that don’t shut up from like 4:30am until 10am so it is hard to sleep in.

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We hiked for about an hour on the road leaving Santa Fe and we ran into some cows.
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There were also some nice views since it was so hilly.
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According to the lonely planet, to get to the waterfall, you “follow past William’s inner-tube rentals; after taking the Bulava bridge take your first left to a steep uphill. Here the road becomes dirt; continue until the waterfall, following yellow arrow signs into the trail”

So we took the Bulava bridge as advised and took the steep uphill.

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We came to the part where the “road became dirt” and we were supposed to “continue until the waterfall following arrow signs.”
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So one would think you go straight here, not left, right? We also had another set of directions from the hostel that were equally confusing.

So we went straight here, which was the wrong way, until we were told by locals a couple miles [very steep uphill] in the wrong direction.

When we got back on track, we followed this road for about 25 minutes until we reached a church at a 4 way intersection.
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We took a right here, and walked another 10-15 minutes walk until we came to a house with a sign across from it for the trail.
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Bermejo Falls. This trail was super muddy like the last one even though we were in the dry season.

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We crossed 2 little streams until we saw another sign for Bermejo falls.
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Very shortly into the hike we saw a chicken and some chicks.
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This path was all downhill in mud and worked its way into a little valley.
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There were very few bridges along the way to help keep us out of the muck.
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After a while we came to a fence and were unsure if we were going the right way, but went through anyway.
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By now we could hear the water, although no defined path, we continued to follow the water upstream as instructed from the instructions from the hostel.

Eventually we came to a third, bigger stream. There were tons of banana trees along the way
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I picked some on my own but they were tiny.
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Then my brother found some bigger ones, so I climbed on his back and pulled down a tree and we got a big bunch of them.
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We took some with us and the rest we left hanging on the side of the trail for other hikers.

We kept following this trail along the stream for another 10 minutes or so and we found it- Bermejo Falls!
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We couldn’t see the actual waterfall, so after eating, we started to climb up. It was beautiful.
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It took us less than 10 minutes and we carefully made our way to view the waterfall. Breathtaking.
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Overall the hike was great. Top 10 spots for sure. There were very few tourists here (in Santa Fe in general). The trails were dense rainforest trails and the people are extremely friendly. Oranges and bananas growing everywhere.
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Very relaxed atmosphere. Love this place.