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“Awesome, But Don't Get a Tour Guide”

Volcan Baru National Park
Ranked #4 of 45 things to do in Boquete
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Panama's highest peak and only volcano at 3,478 meters offers sweeping ocean views and spectacular cloud forests from its summit.
Boston, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Awesome, But Don't Get a Tour Guide”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 11, 2013

My girlfriend and I hiked Volcan Baru in July. We debated on whether or not to get a guide and whether to stay overnight or start the hike at midnight.

Now, hiking it is something I loved doing and is well worth it, but you don't need a guide and if you can't camp outside don't take the offer for "shelter" at the top of the mountain. The path is very clearly marked, you're not going to get lost. And while I personally liked our guide, it was a waste of money. The shelter we were provided was sleeping on some ridiculously dirty mattresses next to the servers in one of the buildings where all the wireless towers are. If we could have hiked and camped on our own that would have been better but camping was not recommended at that time of year.

Don't get me wrong. it is beautiful up there. The hike is hard but if you are in decent enough shape and take your time you will make it. I have no regrets about the hike, it was just that we spent money we didn't need to.

Visited June 2013
2 Thank Matthew E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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289 reviews from our community

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Tampa, Florida
Level Contributor
21 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Sunrise Jeep Tour with Boquete Mountain Safari”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 29, 2013

Stunning. After reading many of these reviews, our family decided it would be best to take the Jeep tour up instead of taking the hike. On the way up we learned here were campgrounds along the way (closer to the summit); and decided we would have needed to plan a two day hike with a camping stay over as we are avid walkers, but not hike trekkers. The Jeep tour was absolutely fabulous, it was the right way to see the mountain for us. We booked with Boquete Mountain Safari, and at our driver's recommendation, he picked us up at 4:30 AM to get to the summit at sunrise. I was by stunned by the amount of off-roading expertise this trail quickly required; not only do you need the correct vehicle for this task, your driver must also have experience with the particular tire/vehicle placement in covering some of the rock sections. Being a fan of off-roading I can say I was thrilled with this unexpected aspect. Unfortunately, on our first trip up, a truck was wedged in the carved out pathway, there was no way to go around. Our diver stopped at a beautiful vista at sunrise on the way down and re-booked us (no re-negotiations required). On the second attempt we made it at sunrise. Our driver led us up a small rock trail to get from the tower station to the summit after providing refreshments. Without gushing on and on, I will say the view was stunning, absolutely the highlight of the trip. Obviously, you will need to prepare for colder weather at the summit. The trip down the mountain was my second favorite part of the whole trip, as our driver took the top off the back of the jeep, we enjoyed an excellent view of the lush forest the entire way down, stopping at a couple points of interest. If you decide to book a jeep trip up to the summit I can only recommend Boquete Mountain Safari as they are the only ones with a vehicle and a driver flawlessly up to the task. Another company has a nice truck out front with an advertisement for the trip, but when we encountered their group going up, they were in a smaller CJ-5 style jeep and the rear tires were slipping/spinning on rocks; we never slipped and were completely comfortable (other than the expected rocking and bumps that come with this level of 4X4'ing). A 10 out of 10 on all aspects.

Visited September 2013
7 Thank Laura_FL_77
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Medicine Hat, Canada
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Himalayan High in Panama”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 2, 2013

At 3474 m, Volcan Baru is Himalayan high and should never be taken lightly. Departing at midnight would be recommended to reach the summit in time for a magnificent, crimson sunrise. 3400 meters in the Himalaya can be freezing cold at 6 am and the same holds true in tropical Panama. Wear your winter woolies. It is essential that you climb slowly and hydrate consistently with water...not wine. Be certain that your companions agree to walk slowly as nobody really wants to walk in the dark of a Panamanian night...alone. A head lamp with fresh batteries is essential. I've spent years in the Himalaya, leading people across her magnificent mountains and never once suffered with altitude sickness. Vomiting off the summit of Volcan Baru is not recommended. Trust me. This is a phenomenal experience but be prepared to suffer a little. Expect symptoms of altitude and don't think of this as a "walk in the park". The summit views are beautiful.

Visited April 2013
1 Thank twofeetoneworld
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
71 reviews
40 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
“Great Views!”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 10, 2013

I did the hike starting at midnight with three friends. We took a cab to the end of the paved road, just below the ranger station. We told him "Volcan Baru" and he knew just where we meant. We were lucky to have clear skies and millions and millions of stars! We reached the summit in about 5 hours and hunkered down in the cold to wait for sunrise. I didn't have a thermometer, but maybe it was 0C or 32F? Cold but not beyond tolerable (for me, anyway. For the Panamanian, she was pretty miserable for that hour!). We were able to see both oceans for about 5 minutes, and then the clouds came in, and fast. We took about 4 hours going down (lots of breaks for our tired legs and knees) and then called a cab from our phones once we got to the ranger station.

One tip I would give, is that once you reach the top, where the buildings and towers are, you can still go higher up. It's a small, fairly easy scramble to where the big white cross is. That's the actual summit. In the dark when we arrived, I didn't see that part right away and almost missed the views for not coming up it soon enough after sunrise.

Visited August 2013
5 Thank Amy B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oranjestad, Aruba
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 attraction reviews
“Amazing experience”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 22, 2013

Loved the view, once in a lifetime kind of experience. I would recommend everyone to take the car ride with Boquete Custom Tours! We had a great time, felt very comfortable! Well worth it!

Visited July 2013
Thank Marielle L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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