Charco Las Bambúas is Worth the Effort

If you are like us, playing in a river is a favorite way to cool off and relax. So we often head to the rivers in the central mountains to do just that. Recently, we took a day and visited five charcas in the town of Juana Díaz, which is located about 90 minutes from the San Juan area.

Out of the charcas we visited that day, Charco Las Bambúas was the most beautiful, and the most difficult to get to. This beautiful waterfall and pool is only for the more agile and adventurous, as there really is not an easy trail to get to it. Charco Las Bambuas is a true example of a hard-earned prize!

Charco Las Bambúas

Charco Las Bambúas is a waterfall and a beautiful, clear, blue-green pool, located at the bottom of a deep ravine, with no easy access route. There are three possible ways to get to the charca, of which we tried two ways.

Charco Las Bambúas

Down to the Top of the Waterfall

The first way we tried got us to the top of the waterfall. As you walk up the road, there is a sheer rock wall on the left side of the road, and a guardrail on the right. There is a steep “path” that you can see over the guard rail as the road curves to the left. And I mean very steep and slippery going down the slope to the river. We did not see a rope, so if you need to have one, bring it!

There are no steps and very few things to grab along the way (trees and roots), but we made it down alive. Only then did we realize this is the top of the waterfall, and we couldn’t see an easy way down (besides jumping — which we don’t do!) to get to the pool. So we scrambled back up the steep hillside and tried to find another way to access the river down-stream.

Charco Las Bambúas

Down to the Pool & Bottom of the Waterfall

The second way we tried was just as difficult, but it got us to the pool at the bottom of the waterfall. We went down the steep hill at the telephone pole that has “FOTO” spray-painted on it. This also was not a real path, and it was just as difficult, with no rope nor hand holds, but we made it down to the river. Then we had to walk up the river a bit to get to the pool.

This did require some scrambling up and over rocks. But brought us right to the pool, with a beautiful view of the waterfall. Being way up in the countryside, the water was clean and clear, and so refreshing! And then the sun came out and it was just magical!

Up the River to the Pool & Bottom of the Waterfall

A third way would be just to walk upriver from Charco La Ollita. We didn’t try this route, and we imagine it is not super easy either, as you would be walking on slippery underwater rocks, and scrambling over bigger rocks along the way. But this route does avoid the scary steep hill climb!

Charco Las Bambúas


Allow enough time to get back to your car before dark.

There are no facilities at this location. Please pack-out anything you have brought in.

This really isn’t for everyone, it was pretty difficult and one could say dangerous. This is not a suitable trip for kids. You need to wear sneakers or other closed-toe-shoes during the descent and ascent. Road 517 is a very narrow, neighborhood road. Be careful driving the curves!

From the main part of Juana Díaz, travel north on Carretera 512, and turn left onto Carretera 517. Follow 517 north-west until you get to the charco. Google Maps will take you right to area near the charco, just be sure to download the map into the app before you get there (there is little to no cellular coverage in that area). Park on the side of the road (there are some pull-offs). We parked close to the bridge, just on the side of the road near the house, and walked up the road to paths (because the road itself is thin all other places).

Charco La Ollita, Charco El Cafe, and El Salto de Miramar are near-by charcos that you can visit while in the area.

Click on a placename below to view the location on Google Maps ... assumes no responsibility regarding your safety when participating in the activities described in this article. Please use common sense! If your mother or that little voice in your head tells you that you are about to do something stupid … then don't do it! Read more about Safety →

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