Deep in the heart of El Cope National Park (Cocle) in Panama, is located El Tife Waterfall, whose mystic waters run down the Caribbean slope. I am a waterfall seeker, and this is the most mystic and intriguing waterfall I have seen in panama. Few people have been here, to get there you most ask for TIFE.
Getting there to the park: The park is located 180km from Panama city. From the centennial bridge in Panama city you drive west on the Pan-American for 147 km until you reach Penonome town. 18 km after Penonome there is a right turn of with a little gas station. Go on this good paved road for 26 km until you find the town of el Cope. Keep going straight you will find a dirt moody road that goes up 7km to the entrance of the park. Once there ask to the park ranger who to get there. Be prepared for at least two nights in the Park.
Have you ever seen cigars being made by hand? If not, stop into this little factroy owned by a woman named Miriam Padilla. She originally opened the business with some Cubans who have since moved on, but the business is up and running, and visitors are welcome.
The "factory" is located in La Pintada, a small foothill town 12km SW of downtown Penonome. From the soccer field, go back towards Penonome (on the one, main road), past the Cafe Cocle on your right. Take the road just beyond the cafe that initially parallels the main road (not the road that is actually a right turn). The factory is about 1km along this road. No sign, but it's the only building that looks like it could be a cigar "factory".
This was so far off the beaten path that if we hadn't asked for directions twice, we may not have found it. And, once we got there, we were the ONLY ones at the waterfall - on a Saturday!
It was beautiful and amazing: A 98 foot waterfall with a refreshing pool at the base. Even more interesting, especially because of the remote location and lack of visitors, was a 3 sided "changing room" near the pool.
To get there:
From Penonome, take your 4WD vehicle on the road to Churuquita Chiquita, then on to Chiriqui Arriba - about an hour. Go past the Posada del Cerra La Vieja (an ecolodge). In a few kilometers you'll reach a school & church. The main road goes to the right and becomes quite a bit more rough - more pot-holes than road. In about another kilometer you'll see a small brown sign on the left for the cascade.
We parked near one residence by the sign and hiked up an old road through a gate to where the trail ended at a nicely manicured area with some huts, tables, and chairs. No one was around, except some men working on one of the huts up on a hill. We could see the waterfall, and found where the trail resumed.
Corregimiento de El Valle, Distrito de Anton, El Valle de Anton, Panama
Good for: Business
115 KM VIA INTERAMERICANA, Farallon, CO 99999
340 Calle 3ra Buenaventura | Rio Hato, Cocle, Farallon, Panama
Good for: Couples