Las Cajones: The Chame Canyons
Los Cajones de Chame is a canyon formed by the rushing waters of the Chame River. You will find this natural wonder located in the town of El Jobo.
El jobo is about 30 minutes from Coronado, Panama towards the Mountain community of Altos del Maria. Las Cajones is accessible with 4x4 or an all-wheel drive, with high clearance. If your car is 2 wheel-drive or very low to the ground it is recommended to park at the entrance and walk down to the river, as there are several hills that might not be passable especially in rainy season. The walk from the entrance to Las Cajones is about 25 minutes, often there are local buses (pickup trucks equipped to move people) that will offer a ride for about 50 cents.
For those with 4x4 or all-wheel drive, there is plenty of parking at the site, as a parking lot was recently constructed. There is a small fee for the parking lot at the bottom of the hill, this fee is mandatory as the lot is private. You might be asked to pay a small fee at the entrance to park your car at the top of the hill as well, it is not mandatory as the land is public, however, you might want to just pay the small fee as these people will also be watching the cars at the entrance, and might stop people from breaking into your car. That being said, it is not recommended to leave valuables in your car no matter where you park or who you pay!
What to Bring to Las Cajones, Chame
Like most tourist destinations located in rural areas, the area does not have basic facilities such as bathrooms or drinking water. You should bring drinking water, especially if you plan to walk. If you plan to spend the day you should bring food, restaurants are quite a distance from the river. For children, or people who are not strong swimmers bring life vests. The river current can be strong in the rainy season, and most of the water is deep, aside from a few shallow swimming pools in the craters of the rock formations. Other items to bring include sunblock, hats and a pair of runners for reaching the bottom.
Getting to Las Cajones, Chame
Once you turn off the highway at the entrance to Altos del Maria onto the Bejuco - Sora highway the drive is approximately 20 minutes.
The turn on to the Bejuco-Sora Highway
There are a couple of mini-supers on the road if you want to stop for cold drinks or snacks, the selection is limited so if you’re looking for something special stock up before you exit the highway. There are also no gas stations on the road once you turn off the highway so you should gas up as well.
On the Bejuco - Sora highway you will pass through the towns of Llano Grande before arriving in El Jobo. Las Cajones is located in El Jobo, where the river of Chame passes through
The Llano Grande Mini Super
The entrance to Las Cajones
What to expect at Las Cajones
Since this is a natural swimming hole, expect to see some small fish in the cold water, while they might be a bit curious about you if your standing still, they will not bother you! Other creatures like snakes and spiders live here too (after all it is the wild), however since it is a location frequented by people you likely will not encounter one. However, it is always good to keep your eyes open or carry a stick which you can rustle the grass up ahead. One common creature in this area is the tarantula, a creature that is fun to see, and will likely not bother you unless you step directly on it. One way to avoid contact with creatures is to bring your dog, who will likely scare anything on the path before your group arrives.
Like any river, the canyon offers deep pools which are deep enough for jumping. The most daring jump from heights up to 8 meters. If you wish to jump, it is best to ask a local where the best place to do it is.
TIP: If you want this natural beauty all to yourself try visiting during the week, or traveling down the road to a river crossing where there is another nice pool for swimming. Weekends usually bring a crowd to Las Cajones.
If you are looking to stay near Las Cajones it is best to stay in Coronado or the surrounding beaches a drive to the Chame river. Here is an AirBnB in Coronado the owner will be happy to rent you a 4x4 vehicle to get to Las Cajones de Chame.