Duration: 1 hour and a half-one way
Recommendations: take water and sun protection if you're planning on
staying by the river for a while, the sun is blazing over there. In the rainy
season, the current can be too strong to even consider swimming there,
but it's still a nice little walk.
This short hike will take you through the lowlands of Santa Fe (Los
Bajos), which makes it very easy, with very few hills. On your way, you
will go through pasture fields and culture (corn, beans, and coffee). It is
a quiet and relaxing stroll
The swimming hole in itself is a very nice spot, with a small waterfall you
can use for hydro-massage when it is not too powerful and a flat-stone
beach where you can just sun-bathe and relax.
To come back, you can actually choose to follow the same path you
went on, or go to the main Santiago-Santa Fe road and take the bus
back in town
From the hostel, go down to the left, towards the supermarket
(Cooperativa) and then, take right towards town. You will follow the
main road to Santiago and go as far as the hotel Santa Fe. Right after it,
on your left, you will take the damaged road that goes down to the
Santa Maria River. Cross the elevated footbridge there and follow the
trail on your right
You will get to an intersection, go straight. Shortly after, you will get to
a place with a lot of roosters in cages, cross a little stream, and follow the
main trail, curving to the left. At that point, you'll see an uphill dirt road
on your left, ignore it. Follow the trail, you'll cross another little bridge
over a creek, be going up a few little hills before you arrive to the
community of "El Carmen". You will pass a school, on your right, just
before meeting the main road that goes to "El Alto". Once on that road,
turn left to go to the swimming hole. (Turn right to go to the bus stop, half an hour walk-at the big bridge over the Santa Maria).
Follow the road for maybe 15 min. When it starts to go uphill (there is a
sign "La Pandura), you'll see a trail on your right next to a fenced
property with a lot of orange trees. Take it and go straight, ignoring the
little trail that goes directly down to the river.
Follow this little trail until you arrive at the small waterfall
. You actually
have to cross the river, above the waterfall or a bit further upstream, to
get to the stone beach and have a dip in the hole.
Get back to the main road and follow it to the bus stop (30 min walk) if
you want to come back by bus (50 cents fare) or follow the same way