El Chorro de Las Lajas, A Nearby Hidden Gem

Not far from the beautiful beaches of Coronado, sits a beach of a different sort called “El Chorro de Las Lajas.”  A natural swimming hole surrounded by the river, this little gem is a favorite hideaway for local families.  As the title suggests, “el chorro” is a “waterfall” that cascades down from a height of twelve meters (or forty feet) to those of us not well versed in the metric system. High atop the natural cliffs are local children and teens courageous enough to jump off of the high dive into the natural pool below.  The alternative route is to climb down the steep, natural rocks, carefully descending to the sandy beach below.  The beach provides easy access into the natural swimming hole that’s completely secluded from the outside world by solid rock walls.

During the summer or dry season the water is clear and full of river prawns and fish.  After a heavy rain the water may take on more of a chocolate color but is still a safe way to cool off from the tropical heat. Hidden within the river are natural rock benches that make the perfect spot to sunbathe or rest up from the strenuous cliff diving.

Those unsure of how to safely climb down the rocks to enjoy the pool below need only to watch the locals.  Families carrying babies, coolers, and open beer cans climb down the rocks barefoot.  These sure-footed locals have probably been trekking over these boulders since they could first walk.  

Although this natural wonder is just minutes from the Pan American Highway, it’s well hidden from civilization.  Across from the entrance to the El Rey Shopping Center just a little bit towards Panama City is the road to Las Lajas.  Coming from Coronado take a left onto that road and continue for exactly 2.1 kilometers.  At this point you’ll see the “baseball backstop” at the local school playground on the right.  Turn left here and continue traveling down the dirt road which gets pretty rough towards the end.  When the road turns too rough to continue, just pull your car over and start walking.  Continue a short distance until the road ends and when you look down; you’ll see the swimming hole.  To the right you’ll see kids taking the plunge off the cliffs into the water below.  Here you’re faced with two options:  jump or climb down the trail following the locals for the best route.  

Relax in the pool and become one with nature as you take in the scents and scenery of the tropical landscape. After enjoying the day be sure to pick up your trash on the way out to ensure the future beauty of this country that we now call home.