Photo of the Week
August 23, 2015

This week's photo is a scan of a 1950's vintage Mirro-Krome / Photo Flatau photo postcard titled "Cerro Azul" (Blue Mountains) and Goofy Lake.  I ran across this old post card while going through a stack of post cards I haven't looked at in a long time.  Although I didn't frequent Goofy Lake like other Zonians.  I heard of good times that were had there.  There is a waterfall associated with the lake called, of course, Goofy Falls.  Cerro Azul was one of the best kept secrets for years.   The area is 3,500 feet above sea level has a delightfully cool climate of 70 degrees all year round. The lake is popular for water sports, swimming and fishing.

Below is an article from the Panama Canal Review – May 1968:

Goofy Lake in Cerro Azul is an example of spectacularly beautiful place off the beaten path.

Cerro Azul is 25 miles east of Panama City, an hour's drive. The turn-off is roughly midway on the road between Tocumen Airport and Pacora.

The development started in 1943 when Juan Euribiades Jimenez, a prom¬inent Panama City businessman, pur¬chased a 3,000-hectare (7,500 acres) tract. He became interested in the place when he was told by a visiting German urbanization expert that an area with Alpine climate lay close to the capital city and would provide an ideal de¬velopment area. Later a road was built from the Pacora Highway to Cerro Azul. The name, incidentally, was inspired by the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia.

When Jimenez purchased the land, there was no lake. About 3 years after he acquired the property, he was on a hunting trip with a guide from the area and they came onto a marshy valley. The guide told him the area flooded during the rainy season, be¬coming a lagoon. He said he was sure if a retaining wall were built, the waters would be trapped and a year-round lake would be formed.

That's how Goofy Lake was conceived.

Jimenez decided to tackle the project. A Panamanian engineering firm drew the plans and carried out the construc¬tion of the dam, which is a terraced dirt structure with a rock reinforcement in the middle. Friends called Jimenez "gufy" (a phonetic Spanish adaptation of "goo¬fy"), he recalls now, "so I decided that if I was goofy, then it should be called Goofy Lake." The project was begun in 1945 and the lake was ready in 1950.

"The wall is still there," Jimenez says with a smile.

Goofy Lake covers 25 hectares (62.5 acres) and its average depth is 33 feet. It is 2,150 feet high (the highest point in Cerro Azul is 3,700 feet). Shortly after the lake was ready, Jimenez had it stocked with 200 big-mouth bass which he imported from the United States by air. To feed the bass, he later put in bluegill which he obtained locally. Anglers who visit Goofy Lake now catch the descendants of the original 200 big-mouth bass.

Cerro Azul is still a popular place today.  Check out the Panama Canal Reality website.   It is too bad that some of us didn't buy land in Cerro Azul back in the old days when land was cheap to purchase.


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