Today I will take you on a trip to the inactive volcano called Barú, which is located in Panama’s western highlands. It reaches a height of 3,478 meters and is therefore the highest point of Panama. You can only imagine how stunning the view is once you have reached the top.
The Barú volcano in Boquete
Together with a friend I went on a 2-week roundtrip to Panama in January 2020. One of the places we really wanted to visit was the small town of Boquete as it promises fascinating natural spectacles such as waterfalls, mountains and the volcano Barú. One other reason to visit Boquete was to climb the volcano. It is a 13.5-kilometre hike and it takes about 6 hours to reach the top. The biggest part of the hike takes place at night, so you can enjoy the sunrise from the volcano when you reach the top.
A good preparation and there we go
The day before the hike we rested and tried to save as much energy as possible. We also prepared a lot of snacks and drinks for the ascend to the Barú. At 11:45 pm we were brought to the starting point of the hike.
We started our hike at midnight, it was dark but luckily a clear night which let the moon give some light. Of course, we also had headlamps with us to find our way through the night. The ascend was not steep and we did not have to climb. Yet, after the first 2 kilometers we took our first break. After a few more kilometers it started to get colder also more exhausting. It seemed like we were losing more energy than we were able to take in, especially due to our lack of sleep. After another break we continued. There were small signs on the side of the way after every kilometer that we walked. Those kept us motivated and were also a helpful indicator on how much we still had ahead of us. After about 7 kilometers we started to struggle quite a lot and considered to turn around and go back to our accommodation. Somehow though we managed to motivate us to go further. A while before the finish line is started to get really cold and the air got humid, as we were basically walking through the clouds. Then, after about 6 hours we had finally reached the top of the volcano. We made it!
Sunrise on top of Volcano Barú
Our enthusiasm soon faded when we saw that the entire crater was covered in clouds and that we could literally not see a thing even though we expected the most beautiful sunrise of our lives. We decided to rest for a while before making our way back to Boquete and found shelter in a small cabin which was the home to some locals. Suddenly other hikers opened the door saying that everyone should immediately come outside. We did not know what was happening but the surprise was rather pleasant: the clouds magically disappeared and we witnessed a truly spectacular sunrise. The clouds were still moving which made this view even more special. On the other side of the volcano we were able to see the pacific ocean. If you are very lucky you get to see both the Caribbean and the pacific coast at the same time.
After seeing the sunrise we made our way back down to Boquete. Luckily, after a few kilometers a local who was driving down from the top of the Barú took us on the back of his truck. That sure was an adventurous ride!
For whom is the hike suitable?
Overall, I can highly recommend to do this hike to the top of the Barú volcano. As long as you have a good basic condition and you do not have any walking disabilities, you can participate in this hike. However, it is important that you ask yourself in advance if such hike suits you. The trekking starts in the middle of the night and you walk to the top in about 6 hours. It is therefore quite a challenge, but if you like adventure it is a great experience. Make sure you bring enough snacks and drinks and wear layers of clothing. It can get very cold.
This experience is something I will always remember when thinking about my trip to Panama!
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