Volcan Baru National Park
Mountains • National Parks • Volcanos
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Panama's highest peak and only volcano at 3,478 meters offers sweeping ocean views and spectacular cloud forests from its summit.
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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4.5
424 reviews
Excellent
261
Very good
100
Average
44
Poor
13
Terrible
6

oriel b
Toronto, Canada173 contributions
Mar 2022
I must say, this was on my bucket list for a long time and never really had a chance to do it. We got up early, and were driven to the summit of the Volcano, we were there just before sunrise. We did a maybe 15 min hike to the actual summit at 3475mts above sea level to witness the sun rising and to our surprise, on this day, we were able to see both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, what a sight!!
Now, if you have the budget, this is the best way to do it in my opinion. We hired a tour company in Boquete and they drove us in 4X4 vehicles. Once we got up there, they had extra jackets for us, as we were not really prepared for the cold. Our guide leaded us to the summit, we stayed up there as long as we wanted and came down to a very nice warm breakfast prepared by the guide. Hot sandwiches, coffee, hot chocolate and we brought champagne for a toast at sunrise.
If you want to do the hike (which I will be doing next time) PLEASE! for the love of God! Prepare yourself! wear hiking shoes, bring enough water, warm clothing, a hiking stick wont hurt. During our drive up we encountered so many people sick by the altitude or just tired from the long 6 hr walk. Its not a good experience if you are not prepared, but if you want, you can do like we did and trust me, the experience is so much better.
Self driving is NOT an option by the way.
Written April 27, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Phil R
7 contributions
Apr 2021 • Couples
I read many reviews before arriving. Most people encouraged an early start on this hike (1-5am) and that it took 8 hours return to reach summit.

With that in mind, my wife and I (both 33yo and in fairly good condition) arrived around 10am for the East hike from Boquette. Our math was that sunset was 7pm and that gave us plenty of time to hike in the day. Maybe this was our mistake.

When we arrived, the ranger at the entrance was very concerned. Told us many times we were too late and unable to make it to the top because the park closed at 1pm (first time I had ever heard of this). He also pointed to a hand written notice that indicated we had to email a certain address to inform them we were coming (I’d guess as a COVID precaution - still, first I had ever heard of this).

After much negotiation, he let us pass provided that we did not try and make it to the summit, and that we returned by 2pm. We made it to the 8km mark and turned back.

All in all, it was beautiful and a long hard day (like we expected) but we kinda wish we had been able to summit.

Also, the drive from Boquete is a little confusing, and not well signed. Expect to drive about 10 mins into the mountain before actually arriving at the parking spot. Then you walk about 200m to the park entrance.
Written April 27, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Luca
Domanins, Italy5 contributions
Jan 2020 • Couples
One of the highlights of my trip in Panama. Started the hike at 23.30 and got on top by sunrise, just stunning. Took four more hours to walk back to the entrance. I hired a guide for 75 dollars in an agency in boquete but there were a lot of people hiking by themselves.
Highly recommended!
Written June 16, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Philipp M
Shanghai, China7 contributions
Apr 2021
What the hike!

So, we (a fit 26 years-old and I) hiked up Volcan Baru in April 2021 and this is to provide you some additional information:
1. They required a prior, email confirmation to hike up the mountain. Check if this is still in place as a requirement.
2. The hike itself was free of charge.
3. The route is a steep track that can be only crossed by vehicles that are build for this purpose. SUVs wouldn't be able to climb up that road.
4. The landscape is often covered by trees but sometimes the views are spectaculous.
5. Keep your eyes and ears open, there are plenty of monkeys and birds to watch on the way up.
6. Make sure to have proper boots, clothes for rain and warm weather and sunscreen.

We loved it and enjoyed sunshine on the peak, but everything else was covered in clouds. The roughly 30 km hike was really challenging. Not least, because I didn't really fall asleep the night before. While it is not technically a difficult route (99% just walking and only near the peak a bit of simple climbing), the altitude and humidity is still challenging. You have to be fit. If you love to go for 15 km runs than it should be ok.
Written September 10, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Dave
Reno, NV12 contributions
Mar 2020 • Couples
The sunrise is okay. While it is cool to see two oceans, your excitement will be tempered by all of the radio towers on top. If you could get here in half an hour on a maintained road it would be worth doing. But the access road is worse than any 4x4 road I have ever been on at home. Whether you get there one way by 6 hours of hiking or 2 hours of Jeep riding the travel is terrible. Save your time and money and do something else.
Written March 6, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Karen K
Alto Boquete, Panama80 contributions
Apr 2020
My husband had once hiked this treacherous mountain. Took him 17 hours up and back. I decided to go with a 4x4 with my friend. You leave about 4:00 am to reach the top of the volcano at sunrise. The most magnificent sight I have ever seen at sunrise. 11,500 ft above the clouds overlooking Panamá! Very chilly so dress appropriately. A once in a lifetime trip! A must do!
Written March 11, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

TMR1004
Valley Forge, PA397 contributions
Feb 2014 • Solo
The peak of Volcan Baru offers stunning views of Panama. There are also some great views of Boquete and the countryside on your way to the top. The actual trail itself is not that beautiful. It is a dirt road that is accessible by high clearance four wheel drive vehicles all the way to the top. The hike is challenging but doable for anyone in reasonably good hiking condition. Since many others have written about their experience and the views I thought I would just give some info that might be helpful in planning your trip.

1. Options to the summit
1. Hire a service to drive you to the top. I realize that most people who read this are hikers and scoff at the idea but hiking 17 miles with 5600 of elevation gain is not something everyone can do. If you feel the climb is too much this is a good option to have. Many companies in Boquete offer this service.
2. Hike the trail in two days. There is a campsite (Los Fogones) 600 vt. ft. and 1 km from the summit. If you choose this option you will hike 8 miles and climb 4800 ft. the first day. You can camp at Fogones and then summit early the next day and then descend. The second day you will hike 9 miles and climb 800 vertical feet (600 to the summit and another 200 returning to the park office).
3. Hike from the park office to the summit and return in 1 day. You will hike 17 miles. Including some ups and downs along the trail. You will climb a total of 5600 vertical ft.
4. Four wheel drive vehicles (not specialized for high clearance) can drive the first 2 miles of the trail past the park office. If you have a ride you can be dropped off or park here. You will reduce the hike 2 miles each way and reduce the vertical climb by 1600 ft.

2. Guides
You do not need a guide to do this hike. You simply follow the dirt road to the summit. The only advantage of a guide is that they could carry some of your weight (water), if necessary.

3. Water
There is no water on the trail. You must carry all you need. For most people this is 2-3 liters. I carried 3 liters and drank all of it. My friend, a guide who has summited over 50 times, recommended that I stash some of my water along the trail on the way up to lighten my load. It was good advice.

4. Time of Day
Most people start the hike at midnight +/- so they can view the sunrise from the peak. If you choose this option try to start at a time so that you do not summit too early. It can be very cold at the top at 4 AM! If you do not choose this option and choose to hike during the day I recommend an early start. I started at 5 AM and hiked the first hour + in the dark. There were some beautiful views of the lights of Boquete below. As dawn came the birds were singing all around me. The temperature was cool but perfect for hiking. For me, 5 AM to 7 AM was magical.

5. Signage
There are many signs along the trail telling you where you are. The distances on the sign are more or less correct, the altitudes are not. It can be quite discouraging to be told after you have been hiking for an hour that you only climbed 200 vertical feet! Listed below are the actual vt. feet you have climbed at certain markers

5k sign 1600 ft
6k sign 2300 ft.
9k sign 3800 ft.
Los Fogones campsite 4800 ft.
Summit 5400 ft.

6. Expected climbing times
Obviously this is a hard thing to predict due to conditioning, pack weight, weather conditions etc. But a fast hiker with a 15-20 lb. pack can summit in 4 hrs and descend in 3 hrs. Most people take 5-6 to summit and 4-5 to descent.

7. The summit can be very cold and windy so be prepared especially if you are summiting before sunrise. During mid day the sun is very strong near the summit so I recommend a cap or hat with a brim and sunscreen.

8. I hope this info helps, and that it convinces you to do this hike. The views from the summit are incredible and the experience itself is epic.
Written February 12, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Robert O
Rotterdam, The Netherlands3,414 contributions
Apr 2017 • Solo
It is possible to do the summit from Boquete during the day if you start early. There is public transportation from Boquete (one block North of the parque) from about 5:50 AM. I took a colectivo at 5:55 AM to 'El Salto' (1,5 USD) it drops you off at the the turn-off, just 1.3 km from the National Park Entrance. It took me 25 minutes to reach the park entrance at 1775m and another 3 hours and 45 minutes to get to the top of Volcan Baru at 3475m. My age is 62. I spent about 40 minutes on the summit to enjoy the superb view. It took me the same time to get down to the turn-off that I reached at 15:10. Got a colectivo almost straight away (1.5 USD) At 15:30 I was back in Boquete.

Elevations
El Salto turn-off approximately 1600m
National Park entrance 1775m
Summit Volcan Baru 3475m

Distances
El Salto turn off - park entry 1.3 km
Park entry - Summit Volcan Baru 13.5 km
Summit Volcan Baru - park entry 13.5 km
Park entry - El Salto turn off 1.3 km
total 29.6 km

You can shorten this trip, if you take a taxi from Boquete to the park entrance. Price 10 USD for the whole taxi. So you can share this price if you find other hikers. At 5:40 AM in Boquete I was offered a price of 5USD by a taxi driver, who already had another passenger. I took the cheaper colectivo and did not regret it. However, if you are not fit, don't,

Note: even for experienced hikers this is a strenuous excursion. Not because of the technical difficulties, but because of the combination of distance (almost 30 km) and elevation difference (1800 to 1900m). The equivalent of walking almost 50 km on flat land.
The shorter option up and down from the park entrance took me just over 8 hours. Most people take more time or do the tour in two days.

Park entrance fee: 5USD for foreigners
3USD for Panamanian nationals and foreign residents over 55
Written April 6, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

mrtrav
Vancouver3 contributions
Like the brother of another reviewer here, I was also robbed at gun point on this hike. I did it without a guide, and two men at the top approached us with big machine guns. Then they made one of the people we had been hiking with clean up a pile of crap. Literally, feces. Then they said we all had to spend the night up there unless we paid them $30. In all, it was rather ridiculous. I do NOT recommend doing this hike!
Written February 4, 2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

CassidyNYC
New York173 contributions
I recently hiked from Cerro Punta to Boquete on the Sendero Los Quetzales trail. Here are my travel tips...

There are three legs of the trail, from the trail head in Cerro Punta to the Cerro Punta ranger station, between the ranger stations and from the Boquete ranger station to the Boquete bus stop. Driving to either ranger station is an option but requires 4WD. There is a small fee, $3 or so, at the Boquete ranger station.

I highly recommend starting on the Cerro Punta side, hiking to the CP ranger station, hiking to the Boquete ranger station and being picked up there. The hike from Cerro Punta to the CP station is beautiful. It's 1000 meters, very steep, lush and incredibly worthwhile. The drive to the CP station is 600 meters via an alternate path. On the Boquete side the "hike" is just a steep, paved road. There is no reason to hike this leg.

In between the ranger stations there are no services but there is an occasional bench and picnic table. There is one house that resembles a service area but it is in fact a private home which you should not try to enter.

Bring your camera, water and snacks and if it's been raining at all in the recent days definitely wear mud boots. The jungle can be very, very wet and even the best hiking boots will end up completely submerged in mud. If it's raining you will encounter flash rivers that have to be transversed with rope (which you must bring) or you will have to leave the trail to hike upstream to a more shallow area. For this reason I do not recommend hiking the trail without a guide when it has been raining. Guide services can be arranged in Volcan. With the exception of flash rivers the trail is well marked and does not require a guide. On the Boquete side there is a bus stop about a 40 minute walk down hill from the ranger station. Cell service does not work even at the bus stop.

The entire hike, from CP to the bus stop took me about 4 hours. Others had warned of 5-6 hours but that was not what it turned out to be. The trail can very steep with slippery steps and severe drop offs. The views are fantastic and I highly recommend the trail to anyone fit enough to hike it.
Written December 31, 2007
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Volcan Baru National Park (Boquete) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go

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