Friday a bunch of us set off to find a new swimming spot that Holly (of Let The Adventure Begin) knew about. Emma (of a Woman, a Plan, a Canal… , but who has been way too busy to write for a while) was visiting and we all wanted to spend some time together. Joel (of Finding Myself in Panama) and Lauren (of Air Propel Latin America) and I met up at the intersection of Via Boquete and the road to Caldera. (whew, that’s a lot of bloggers all together!).
We proceeded to follow Holly’s car through Caldera and beyond on windy, hilly roads into places I’d never seen before.
It was Good Friday, and we passed this procession of people singing hymns.
The scenery became more and more beautiful
We took these photos on the way back so I could get out of the car when I saw especially amazing spots.
It’s very dry now and brush fires are common. Apparently there was one up in those hills.
I feel so fortunate to live in this beautiful country.
Just one more photo of beautiful mountains
We ended up at a spot with a little room to pull over and park, and then walked the rest of the way. It apparently is private property, and the guy at the gate said he would like $2/person when we leave. As close as I can figure this location is about 19 kilometers from the Via Boquete / Caldera road intersection, and we were going to Rio Chiriqui Nuevo. I did think to start my cycling ap shortly after we left the area so with any luck THIS will bring up a map that will get you close to the location. It’s a great spot so remembering how to find it is for my benefit as much as anyone else’s.
We walked through dry grass and big rocks
We passed between some really big rocks!
Little did we know what a beautiful spot awaited us!
And, little did we know the fun had just begun. As we got out of our cars we saw three other cars pulling in, and it wasn’t long before those people joined us at the swimming hole. As they started unpacking and getting settled, I turned around to look at the guy behind me and found I was looking into the face of Cesar Augusto Melendez, the rock climber! Not only is he a very accomplished climber, he’s quite handsome, a really nice guy and I enjoyed talking with him. I told him my daughter and son-in-law are climbers, and he said he hopes they can visit Panama sometime because he would love to take them climbing. He even gave me his card so I can get in touch with him.
Cesar was out with maybe 20 young people from Panama City. A lot of people from the city like to take advantage of the holiday and go to “the interior” to beaches, rivers, and other spots where they can swim, cool off, and enjoy themselves.
The young people gather and prepare for a day of fun.
Holly and Emma make their way into the cool water.
Cesar strung a line across the water and was the first to walk along it.
Then, others try their luck walking on the line. Scott, Holly’s husband, found a good spot on the rock to enjoy the sun and fun.
It’s a good place to do this because when you fall, you only fall into the water not far below.
Then, the next thing we knew Cesar appeared on the rocks high up above the water! The next activity was for people to climb up to an outcropping of rock, grab the vine, swing over and jump into the water below.
I had noticed the big vine earlier.
Cesar up on the rocks
Everyone laughs and cheers as people land in the water
Another guy makes the jump
Cesar helps a girl get ready to jump
She swings out on the vine for the jump
Unfortunately the girl in purple slipped and hit another outcropping below. Thankfully she only hit her foot, but it was bruised and she couldn’t walk on it. Later her friends helped her to the car and headed off to the hospital for some help.
Sometimes fun is not without risk, so we were very happy the injured girl hadn’t done anything worse. Hopefully it’s only a bad bruise, or at worst a cracked bone on the top of her foot.
It was quite chilly getting into the water, but once in it was very nice. It looks like Holly wants to be sure we notice her in the background :D
Lauren enjoys a nice spot on a rock
There were a lot of GoPro’s and cameras to record the day’s activities.
Later, Cesar and some of the others decided to rappel down the waterfall!
First Cesar comes down the waterfall.
Then Cesar stands by while another guy comes down.
It is such a beautiful spot!
This is the group up top helping, watching, and waiting their turns to come down.
Another starts down
It was amazing to see Cesar climb around on the rocks like it was nothing, so sure footed, unafraid, and capable!
But, like all good things, the time came when we had to head back. What a great morning! Not only did we have a great time with friends, we saw a beautiful new spot, and really enjoyed being there with the young people and Cesar. Thank you Holly for yet another great outing!