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“Be prepared: It's a tough climb”

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.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
99 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
“Be prepared: It's a tough climb”
Reviewed January 3, 2014

It took us 6 hours to hike to the summit in order to watch the sun rise. It's not an easy hike but it was worth it. Be warned, definitely bring warm layers and gloves. It is super cold at the summit at sunrise. You don't need a guide to hike the volcano, unless you just want someone to accompany you. The paths are clearly marked.

Visited December 2013
2 Thank cwmmh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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New York City, New York
Level Contributor
37 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Don't high five yourself too soon....”
Reviewed January 1, 2014

We set off on the night trek to catch the sunrise.

We took a shuttle for $5 from the Mamallena hostel to the base of the trail. Definitely the easiest way to manage it and ensure there are a few of you heading up at the same time, given that it's pitch black. This also makes sense since you'll question whether you're going the right way at a couple of moments, and the lemming pack mentality will at least offer some comfort at the time!

Main issue on the climb is that it really should only take 4-5 hours, but the bus left the hostel at 11.30, which means that you could start walking at midnight and be freezing at the top by 4 waiting for sunrise. You definitely don't want to miss the sunrise, but an alternative route to the trailbase at around 1am might be a smarter move for fast walkers. This may also allow you to get a bit of sleep beforehand because it was nigh on impossible to sleep from 7pm-10pm, at least for me.

Keep water levels up as we heard a couple of stories of altitude sickness, so it's not really worth the risk, and make sure you savor the view at the top.

However, prepare yourself mentally for a downward trail that can almost take as long as the ascent. Once at the bottom, the bus stop is another 20 minutes walk. This was devastating having not been to bed the night before, and expecting that we would have been able to order a cab from the ticket office at the trailbase.

All in all, we felt a real sense of achievement, but trekking for 9-11 hours on no sleep is tough for anyone, regardless of fitness level.

We also wish we had brought hiking boots in the luggage. I like to think they would have made the downward trudge slightly more bearable!

Visited December 2013
1 Thank Alexander H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kansas City, Missouri
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Hard...but worth it if you are in shape and the weather is decent”
Reviewed December 16, 2013

Not a place you would want to slog up in the freezing rain. I had a drizzle when I made the accent. I went with a group from the hostel so we moved at the pace of our slowest...slowwwwest member. Thank goodness the weather was half decent, not wonderful but not bad. Choose your companions wisely or be selfish and hike on at your own speed. I don't know, but I am expecting more enjoyable volcanic experiences on my central American trip.

Visited December 2013
1 Thank ridly s
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
17 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 62 helpful votes
“Beautiful is one way to put it.”
Reviewed November 11, 2013

To this day this is the most beautiful hike I've done. It's exhausting but well worth it. Now, don't let anyone tell you you need a guide for it, because that's absolutely not true. First of all, there's only one trail and it's wide enough to fit a vehicle, so missing it is impossible. The trick is getting to the trailhead because it's not really walking distance from Boquete town and there are no buses that go there, but it's really not a problem. You just take a taxi which costs about $5USD. The entrance fee to the park is about $10 and I think they also charge for camping $5. When I went, there was no guard at the entrance so, I didn't have to pay. However, it's not unusual for them to try to get you on your way out. I caught a ride out with a local who knew the guard so I wasn't asked to pay.
If you decide to camp, keep in mind it gets very cold at night. If you don't have camping or hiking equipment, Hostal Nomba rents anything you might need at very reasonable prices.
Most people do this hike in one day. I don't think I could've done it so, I recommend camping. When you hike at night you miss your surroundings and seeing it on the way down when you're exhausted is not the same. The average time to do this hike is 6hrs up and 4 down.

Visited February 2013
7 Thank Luisanaaaa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Denver, Colorado
Level Contributor
150 reviews
79 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
“Beautiful Park!”
Reviewed October 21, 2013

This park is absolutely BEAUTIFUL! It is a must see in Boquete! We did the hike that leads to Cerro Azul, but we did not go all the way. Next time I would like to go all the way to Cerro Azul and spend time there!

Visited September 2013
2 Thank Chelsi P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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