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Volcán Baru (Western Route) - Volcán Baru National Park

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The Basics

Trail type: in and out
Round-trip Distance: 16.5 km (10 miles)
Round-trip time: 10-12 hours
Elevation Gain: 1,578 m. (5,177 ft.)
Max Height: 3,478 m (11,410 ft.)
Attractions: cloud Forest, view, plants and animals
Activities: hiking, camping, bird watching
Use: Low
Difficulty: HARD
Activity requires good physical condition. It applies to roads that could be dangerous in some parts and should be traveled with care. Routes could pass for areas in poor condition or where there is no marked trail, or when the terrain is very steep and requires some skill to negotiate

The Trailhead:

There are two paths, one leading up from the town of Volcan (western route) and another that goes from Boquete (eastern route). This info card is for the West route from Volcan.

4 km (2.4 miles) after passing Volcan on the way to Cerro Punta is an entry (3rd entrance on the right after Cebollero / Road to Paso Ancho). Continue until you reach a T in the road, take a left until you reach a dirt road on your left (from the main road this isapprox. 7 km - 4.3 miles)

The Trail

This steep trail leads to Panama’s highest point and is also one of the most beautiful hikes in the country, not only for its breathtaking views but also for the different types of vegetation that you see as you go up (bamboo forests , moss and many wild flowers). In addition, the trail offers the opportunity to camp in the crater of the volcano and see both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans from the summit on a clear day.

Most of the trail is in ok condition, but during the first 6 km (3.7 miles) there are points where you can get lost, as there are several forks and no signage.

The weather can change as one moves up so it is important to pack a raincoat and if you plan to camp in the crater one should wear clothing and equipment to withstand freezing temperatures.If you want to see parts of this beautiful trail but do not want to climb to the top, you can hike to following recommended sites along the route:

  • Filo Escondido - 8.8 km ( 5.4 miles round-trip) – 5-6 hours round-trip
  • Las Flores - 12.6 km (7.8 round-trip) – 7-8 hours round-trip. 

You have several options for enjoying this trail:

Up and down the same day - recommend starting up later than 5:00 a.m.

  • Reaching the crater, camping in the crater and hiking down the next day - this option is best if you have a clear view of the summit during sunrise.
  • Hike up the western route (from Volcan) and down the eastern route (to Boquete) We recommend starting up no later than 5:00 a.m. The eastern trail, while easier, is not as beautiful as the Western Route.

Seasonal Elements:
Dry Season (JAN-FEB): Wind in the top, cold on top
Rainy Season (MARCH-DEC): Path slippery in sections, cold on top

Facilities

A natural spring at approx. 5km (or half of the trail ) allows one to obtain water, but we recommend that the filter before drinking. There are a lot of garbage in the area.

The Tips

  • Go with an experienced guide. Hikers have gotten lost. The trail is not marked.
  • Even if you know the path we recommend using a guide in order to help in case of an emergency and forks often change and maymislead you.
  • It gets below freezing at the top. Please take appropriate gear.
  • There is barely any Ranger presence on the trail, please tell someone where you are going and what time you expect to be back, even someone at the hotel you may bestaying at.

What to Bring:
  • Enough water
  • Waterproof hiking boots
  • Hikers First aid kit Enough food
  • Waterproof clothing and gear
  • Insect repellent
  • Head lamp
  • Hiking poles
  • Proper camping equipment
  • Layers of clothing as temperatures at the top can reach below freezing

Extra tips:

  • For long and difficult trails like this we recommend you use hiking boots. Be sure to use the, several times BEFORE attempting to summit Volcan Baru since there is nothing more unpleasant than getting blisters mid-hike.
  • There are points along the path where there is garbage. Usually plastic water bottles, food cans and cans of energy drinks. Make the effort to keep the trail clean and make sure "Leave no Trace " and exit with all that you entered with.

The Hours, Fees, and Local Guides

Management: National Government (ANAM)

Hours: Nothing official – but START EARLY, especially if Summiting

Fees:
(there is rarely anyone present to collect)
Students National - B. 1.00,
National Visitors - B. 3.00,
Seniors - B. 1.50
Foreign Visitors B. 5.00,

Contact Information:
National Park offices Tel: (507) 775-2055
National Protected Area (ANAM) Regional Office, David – Tel: (507) 774-6671
Boquete - ( 507 ) -720-3057
National Protected Areas Department: (507) 500-0855 / (507) 500-0839

Disclaimer - Caminando Panama is a personal project, a nonprofit website. The contents are based on personal contributions from the authors and /or of partners and general public. No rights can be derived from the information and images that are shown. The data in this website is informational only, may contain errors, or be slightly out of date.Caminando Panama is not responsible in any way for accidents and losses caused by people during walks or hikes. Each walker is responsible for their actions and consequences.