The beauty of Panama is that it offers many options within a tiny spanof geography. One may think that to seek respite from the heat the only alternative is the beach or the pools in the social areas of many new high rises. However the country offers many more options to cool off in nature outside of Panama City.
Many Panamanians enjoy the summer in rivers, water holes, thermal wells or lagoons around the country. These are spots that are currently underdeveloped and not really on the main tourist routes.
First and foremost if you like camping and roughing it, the San Carlos Lagoon is the place for you. It is located in the district that bears
its name: San Carlos, 2,625 feet above sea level, about 15 miles from Coronado heading towards the mountains. It is a cool area with
lush vegetation surrounded by the hills Picacho and Laguna. The lagoon water is clean and unpolluted, more than 60 feet deep which makes it suitable for fishing trout, carp and other fish.
The area around the lagoon is frequently used for camping. There are no cabins but if you bring your own tents, food and bottled water then you’re good to go. You can get to the lagoon driving or by bus and walking the last 10 minutes. For driving take the Interamerican Highway until the town of Las Lajas in Chame and take the main road into Las Lajas. Drive for 25 minutes then take a right and drive about one and a halfmiles and you will be there. There are also buses from Las Lajas to the community called Laguna and from Laguna the lagoon is a 10 minute walk.
A bit further down the highway in the town of El Valle you will find thermal wells. These wells are pretty well known and receive many people a day. These are actually one of the few sites with thermal wells in Panama which have been adapted for public use with some facilities for visitors. There are a total of 28 thermal wells sites in Panama, however most are in their natural states with minimal facilities if any.
The thermal wells in El Valle are approximately 3 minutes from the center of town. These waters are just rain water that collect in the volcano crater and filter through to about 650 hundred feet underground where they are heated and then go back up to the surface through fissures to combine with the superficial currents creating the thermal wells.
In Chiriqui on the road to Boquete entering through a town called Caldera there are other thermal wells that are well known. The province of Chiriqui has four zones with thermal wells and the most visited is the Caldera area possibly because it is more accessible as it is on the road to Boquete. There are four thermal wells in Caldera with temperatures between 93 and 109 degrees which are fed by a year round warm water spring. The waters seem to be beneficial for the body as they have high percentages of minerals dissolved in the sulphur laced water.
Thermal mineral waters are considered to be great therapy for everything from arthritis, rheumatism, bone and joint pain, circulation problems, pain management and relaxation. These thermal waters are also used in physical therapy.
More of these special places will be mentioned in upcoming articles on things to do this summer.
For more adventure: PanamaQmagazine