The Pacora River Valley is a tropical rain forest paradise 44 miles east of Panama City where monkeys, sloths and toucans abound. Tucked away in this pristine landscape lies Kalu Yala, an entirely unique off-the-beaten-path travel destination. Entrepreneurs, artists, scientists and modern day romantics come together In this Eco- friendly settlement to re imagine sustainable design, promote a communal lifestyle and offer an inspiring Panama jungle experience. The combination of these passionate and talented people and the remote jungle location make this a truly unrivaled destination in Panama. Enjoy the adventure of the natural world, the conveniences of the modern life and like-minded company from around the world in one stunning location.
ACTIVITIES IN KALU YALA
Hike the valleys and peaks to your heart’s content, dive into one or more of the area’s many natural pools, join in with the cool community activities, and enjoy special events all in a diverse, social atmosphere.
- Jaguar falls hike – Includes the highlights of everything the natural environment in this valley has to offer, capped off by a waterfall. (Duration: approximately 6 hours)
- Biology Night Hike -Venture into the jungle with our biologist in search of nocturnal wildlife. You will encounter creatures such as frogs, snakes, mammals, bats and bugs. (Duration: approximately 90 minutes)
- Monkey Mountain – Explore the tropical jungle and climb the steep terrain to be rewarded with spectacular views on both sides of the summit. (Duration: approximately 5 hours)
- Paradise Rock – A nearby natural pool for easy access to swimming and chilling out.
- Mermaid’s Pool – A guided hike through the biodiverse Pacora river valley. Refresh and relax in this stunning natural pool before the return hike. (Duration: approximately 60 minutes)
- Ramon’s Pool – Follow and cross the Iguana River to one of the best swimming holes in the area. (Duration: approximately 2 hours)
- Boys Pool – Explore the Pacora River of the Tres Brazos Valley on a guided hike to Boys Pool. You will arrive at this stunning natural swimming pool where you can relax, take a dip in the water, and fully experience the river’s magic. (Duration: approximately 90 minutes)
- Yoga – Purify your mind and body with a regenerative yoga session followed by a short trek through the jungle. (Duration: approximately 2 hours)
- Distillery Tour and Tasting– The outpost’s distiller will take you through the processes of making alcoholic products off the grid. You will also have the opportunity to taste a sample of the seasonal batches available. (Duration: approximately 1 hour)
- Farm Tour – Walk through the beautiful food forest of the Pacora Valley while discussing global food systems and sustainable farming techniques with our farm team tour guide. (Duration: approximately 1 hour)
- Need to work? Our high speed WiFi is powered by an innovative, eco-friendly solar power system!
Kalu Yala’s Dry Season Weekend Lineup for summer 2020
- Jan 18: Inspiration Weekend presents Lens Venture
- Jan 25: Let’s Eat presents The Barbeque by the River
- Feb 1: Jungle Beats Music Weekend
- Feb 8: Inspiration Weekend
- Feb 15: Let’s Eat presents Fresh & Local Bites
- Feb 22: Get Outside hosts The Campout
- Feb 29: Jungle Beats Music Weekend
- Mar 7: Get Outside hosts the Chagres Ridge Run
- Mar 14: Inspiration Weekend with Pa Que Sepas
- Mar 21: Let’s Eat presents Casco in the Campo
- Mar 28: Jungle Beats Music Weekend
ACCOMMODATION & FOOD IN KALU YALA
Kalu Yala is a well-rooted settlement, rather than a full fledged town, which is part of its excitement and charm. It is also set up to encourage communal behavior and interaction with one another. For these reasons, traditional lodging and food options are not available. Visitors that have an open mind to this approach will be rewarded with a special experience, but if high-end accommodations or a variety of dining options is what you seek, then it is not for you.
Accommodation options are limited to a few comfortable and authentic choices. These are open air, covered platforms that are a hybrid between camping and staying in a traditional hostel.
- Villa Vento Hostel Kalu Yala – brand new in 2020, Villa Vento is a soulful and comfortable spot designed to blend into its natural surrounding. It offers dorm beds or private tents for $15 per night. Contact +507 6295-3155 on Whatsapp to reserve.
- Bodhi Hostel Kalu Yala – a similar setup to Villa Vento hostel.
This is still a rustic outpost operated on solar energy so food options are limited.
- There are no markets or restaurants in the settlement.
- There is a basic communal kitchen but there is no refrigeration for food that you bring in. Villa Vento Hostel Kalu Yala does provide boxes for the storage of non-perishable food you bring in.
- There are delicious meals available for purchase. The meals are served family style and options are limited, but with vegetarian and vegan options. The costs is $15 for 3 meals per day.
HOW TO GET TO VILLA VENTO SURF KALU YALA
Currently accessible only by two miles of rough dirt road, the valley is located 50 minutes from Panama City and 35 minutes from Tocumen International Airport.
Option 1 – Metro + bus
Take public transport to the town of San Miguel and then either hike in to Kalu Yala or schedule a ride (see below).
- Take ‘Linea 2’ until ‘Nuevo Tocumen (approximately $1)
- From the road take the bus San Miguel – La Doña (approximately $1.25)
Option 2 – Two buses
- Take a bus to 24 de Diciembre (Dir: La Doña, Chepo, Felipillo, Pacora). Centro Comercial de la Doña. Cost of the first bus: $0.75/$1.00
- From the road take the bus San Miguel – La Doña (approximately $1.25)
After Arriving in San Miguel
- After passing the 3 speed bumps, you arrive at the town of San Miguel. Turn right at the large painted rock that says, “Bienvenidos a San Miguel” and Kalu Yala Basecamp is the third house to the left.
- From here either get directions for the hike in or use the 4×4 truck to Villa Vento Hostel Kalu Yala (journey time: 30 minutes). The 4×4 truck leaves twice a day. For reservations or information contact us at +507-6759-5038 0n Whatsapp.
Option 3 – Shuttle
Take a shuttle all the way in from Panama City directly into Kalu Yala.
- There is a shuttle that departs daily from Panama City at 7:30
- It costs $60 one way or $110 for a round trip (up to 4 guests)
- You must reserve the shuttle at least 24 hours in advance
Option 4 – Uber
Uber from Panama City to San Miguel (Kalu Yala Basecamp):
- On the Uber app, enter the following as the destination: Kalu Yala Basecamp. At the town center of San Miguel you will see a large painted rock that says, “Bienvenidos a San Miguel”, take the gravel road that spurs off to the right along the river, three houses down on the left there is a bright yellow house with a tall gate. Estimated cost with Uber: $30-65.
From Kalu Yala Basecamp to the valley of Kalu Yala
From Kalu Yala Basecamp we have a 4×4 truck bringing you into the valley of Kalu Yala. This rides normally leaves twice a day and costs $10 per person, per ride. Please contact us for the timing of the truck and arrange it a minimum 24 hours before to reserve your spot (WhatsApp: Daniel +5076295-3155 or Dickey +507 6749-5038).
You can also hike in, open Google Maps and put the route from Kalu Yala Basecamp to Kalu Yala. There is no cellphone reception either in Kalu Yala Basecamp or Kalu Yala, so make sure to open the route in Google Maps before arriving at Kalu Yala Basecamp (we do have WiFi). Cost of the 4×4 truck, per person, per way: $10