Charco azul puerto rico: Charco Azul – Swim in a Natural Pool in Carite Forest

Charco Azul — A Hidden Waterfall In Canon De San Cristobal

About La Cabra Waterfall and Charco Azul

Rating: 2.5

Difficulty: 3.5

Hiking Distance: roughly 3 miles round-trip (slippery stream scramble and jungle hike)

Suggested Time: allow about 2-2.5 hours

Date first visited: 2022-04-20

Date last visited: 2022-04-20

Waterfall Latitude: 18.16388

Waterfall Longitude: -66.29876

Directions: Get to the waterfall

Vicinity: Find nearby waterfalls

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Charco Azul and the La Cabra Waterfall were a pair of hidden gems deep within the Cañon de San Cristóbal Reserve.

Following on from the La Niebla Waterfall experience, this extension of the hike was where we really got to experience a side of Puerto Rico that most tourists don’t ever get to do.

Charco Azul in Cañon de San Cristóbal

La Cabra (Goat) Waterfall would typically have a wide drop under more normal flow conditions as it spilled into a large green pool flanked on two sides by vertical cliffs.

Atop one of the cliffs was a lookout or mirador that gazed towards the canyon’s vertical walls from a distance though this waterfall was unseen from there (only heard).

The cliffs also featured a tinge of red, which suggested that they contained oxidized iron, and they added a bit of a colorful contrast to the everpresent greenery within the lush canyon.

The Charco Azul within Cañon de San Cristóbal pertains to a deep blue pool nestled within the narrowest and deepest part of the canyon.

Looking across the base of La Cabra Waterfall and its large plunge pool within Cañon de San Cristóbal

There’s a waterfall dropping right into the head of this narrow chute and plunge pool, which we were able to view from a few precipitous spots.

My guide Ricardo told me that locals would often do cliff jumps from launching points adjacent to the falls, which could be done from varying heights.

He also guided me to a “cave” where we could peer out of its opening right across the waterfall (probably dropping some 15-20m or so) into the namesake blue pool down below.

Although it was possible to continue further downstream from this point (which involves swimming), this was our turnaround spot.

Looking down across the waterfall spilling into the long Charco Azul in the deepest part of Cañon de San Cristóbal

Overall, the entire three-mile jungle hike to this point and back (which encompassed a side excursion to La Niebla Waterfall) took us a little over 3 hours away from the car.

Trail Description – The Jungle Trek To Charco Azul

Just to give you an idea of what it was like to do the longer hike within Cañon de San Cristóbal to Charco Azul, I’ll do a trail description of the experience here.

Picking up from leaving La Niebla Waterfall (read about what it took to get to that waterfall here), we then went on a bit of a bouldering and jungle hike downstream in and along the Río Usabón.

We pretty much had to keep our balance as we negotiated slippery boulders and route-found our way towards La Cabra Waterfall, which was the next landmark about a quarter-mile downstram of the La Niebla Waterfall spur.

Ricardo surveying what would be the easiest way to navigate through this boulder field after leaving La Niebla Waterfall in Cañon de San Cristóbal

From atop La Cabra Waterfall, we then carefully scrambled our way to the left side of the waterfall, where we could get glimpses of parts of the falls, but we never really could get a clean look at it without swimming or without a drone.

We then continued jungle hiking downstream from La Cabra Falls for the next 0.3-mile or so, which pretty much was mostly above the river but still humid throughout.

Eventually, we’d reach part where the canyon narrowed so much that we were surrounded by large boulders that have fallen and even formed an “arch” that we had to duck under.

On the other side of the arch, we then had to cross a thigh-deep part of the river before finally looking down at the impressive Charco Azul and its waterfall.

Ricardo navigating through an ‘arch’ beneath a bunch of fallen boulders in the narrowest part of Cañon de San Cristóbal

After getting our fill of the views of the falls from the top, Ricardo then showed me to a “cave”.

But in order to get in there, we had to leave our packs behind because getting in there involved squeezing through a tight opening where I had to descend blindly in the darkness without knowing where the footholds were.

This secluded spot was perhaps the highlight of our Charco Azul experience without actually cliff diving and swimming in the blue pool itself, and it was a suitable turnaround point of our out-and-back trek.

Although the return hike was pretty straightforward (probably made easier because I did follow a guide who knew what he was doing), we did have to struggle through a steep climb back up to the top of the canyon.

Enjoying the view of Charco Azul and waterfall from within a secluded ‘cave’ that wasn’t easy to get into

Once that was done, we were back in the taxi, where Ricardo then took me back to my accommodation in Barranquitas to end the excursion.


Charco Azul and La Cabra Waterfall reside within La Reserva Natural Cañon de San Cristóbal (San Cristobal Canyon Natural Protected Area) in the municipalities of Barranquitas and Aibonito, Puerto Rico. It is administered by the Conservation Trust of Puerto Rico. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you can try to visit their website.

Route to this Waterfall

Since this excursion was combined with the La Niebla Waterfall experience, the driving directions are the same.

Therefore, I’ll punt you to that write-up if you care to know the directions.

That said, I’ve hired a guide so he took care of most of the logistics, and all I really had to do was to meet him at the agreed upon time and place.

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Tagged with: canon de san cristobal, rio usabon, cordillera central, la cabra waterfall, charco azul del usabon, puerto rico

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Visit El Charco Azul on your trip to Patillas or Puerto Rico

Tours to El Charco Azul

97 €
Full-Day Tour of Guavate and Charco Azul
Full-Day Tour of Guavate and Charco Azul

Duration: 6 hours

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182 €
Rain Forest and Hot Springs Full-Day Private Tour San Juan
Rain Forest and Hot Springs Full-Day Private Tour San Juan

Duration: 7 hours

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El Charco Azul reviews

TripAdvisor traveler rating

49 reviews


  • By L735XGirmac»>Driving there is a whole new experience. But Charco Azul is beautiful and clean. It has walking path already. 

    Driving there is a whole new experience. But Charco Azul is beautiful and clean. It has walking path already. 
    more »

  • By paulf417

    Fun half-day adventure and great way to cool off on a hot day. Easy to combine with a visit to Guavate. 

    Fun half-day adventure and great way to cool off on a hot day. Easy to combine with a visit to Guavate. 
    more »

  • By lizakq»>The place is beautiful but the recreational areas and bathrooms are nearly destroyed and abandoned. I still recommend a visit for a few hours at least. It’s an easy hike but I recommend water shoes… 

    The place is beautiful but the recreational areas and bathrooms are nearly destroyed and abandoned. I still recommend a visit for a few hours at least. It’s an easy hike but I recommend water shoes… 
    more »

See more on TripAdvisor ›


  • By Julio Cruz

    Awesome childhood memories. We didn’t actually make it all the way there. It’s about a 20 min hike from parking the car. We had some family members that couldn’t hike that far. Awesome fresh air and streams!


  • By Macon Ritter

    This was a fun place to go. Big body of water to swim in and a small waterfall. But, 15 mins up the road there is a place with 2 waterfalls and a place for the kids to rock jump.


  • By Nashira Vega

    Very pretty. I couldn’t get enough of it. Most likely will be going again. Very clean and big. There’s no signal so make sure to tell people where you’re going, specially if you’re a girl and going alone. Be careful of mosquitoes, majes and ants.


  • By Lizy Class

    Beautiful place! Very relaxing. Water is very cold. Be ready to walk for at least 10 min to get to this spot! Is worth it 🙂


  • By Tammy Swart

    Charco Azul is a lovely place for a hike and a swim. The temperatures here are much cooler than at lower elevations, even in the summer. The hike in would be about level 1+ for difficulty because while there is a trail, there are muddy and wet spots and maybe a scramble over a lot. The whole area sustained damage from the hurricanes, but there are ongoing improvements being made. The structures here are rough, but there is a shady place to put your belongings while you swim. Bring a lunch and enjoy the afternoon in Paradise! The charco, or pool is a lovely green, but can become murky when bathers stir up the sediments. A small falls feeds the pool from the left end, with another stream feeding in across the pool. The waters exit the pool over a shallow rocky streambed on the right. The forest and hills rise up all around the pool, giving you a feeling of isolation that is quite wonderful. The pool is full of little fish that will feast on your skin if you hold still, so don’t be alarmed at that first little tap! The area is maintained by someone, but at times the trash cans can be full to overflowing. Be prepared to pack out what you bring in. You could make it in flip flops, but water shoes might be a better choice.


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