Are you seeking a quiet retreat from technology? Try a night beneath the stars in La Yeguada, Panama’s first forest reserve. Located in Calobre Veraguas, La Yeguada offers two well-maintained campsites with a large lake, waterfall and volcanic range to explore. While facilities are basic, the landscape is breathtaking.
The La Yeguada forest reserve was created in 1960 in an effort to preserve a part of the San Juan River basin it surrounds. The 1.125 Km2 lake is an old volcanic crater that supplies an abundance of clean water to the Yeguada hydroelectric plant. Today ANAM, Panama’s National Environmental Authority protects the lake and over seventy square kilometers of the surrounding area.
In 1967 the local women planted over two thousand hectares of Caribbean Pines as part of one of the oldest Central American reforestation efforts. Today these trees stand high on the skyline. Among them remains another piece of history, a tall metal structure in the crater from which visitors can jump from nearly thirty meter heights.
With little rain this season, the lake’s water level is alarmingly low. The metal structure that once appeared to sit almost in the middle of the lake ‘inches’ towards the shore as the water level has decreased by almost ten feet. The La Yeguada hydroelectric plant’s usually rushing supply of water is a mere trickle.
While there is a local bus that drives up the mountain from to Jagüito La Yeguada the easiest way to arrive is by car. Driving towards David on the Pan-American Highway, make a right 15 minutes or so after passing the agricultural center of Augadulce. Before that right hand turn, there will be sign to to Jagüito. On the corner there is and a small pharmacy (farmacia in Spanish). Follow this road for 30km to Calobre; continue 20km more to La Yeguada.