Hiking Volcan Baru In Panama


Standing at 11,398 feet (3,474 meters) above the sea level, Volcan Baru’s summit is the highest point in Panama. The active volcano is one of the few places that allow hikers to view both the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean at the same time.

If you are considering hiking Volcan Baru, knowing what to expect, when to go, what to pack, etc. can make your trek much easier. In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about the Volcan Baru hike.

When to Go Hiking Volcan Baru

For you to have a great time hiking Volcan Baru, you should consider packing your hiking gear and heading to Panama in the dry season. The dry season starts in December and ends in May.

In the dry season, the chances of dealing with rain after donning your hiking boots and grabbing your hiking backpack are much lower. Also, the view from Volcan Baru’s summit is extremely impressive in the dry season.

Options for Summiting Volcan Baru

There are 2 main ways of summiting Volcan Baru – walking and making use of 4 x 4 jeep tours. Below, we will take a deeper look at these 2 options:


Simple hiking (walking) is the most rewarding way of exploring Volcan Baru. You can choose to walk independently (with an organized group) or you can decide to hire a local guide.

Local guides can be costly if you are on a budget. Hence, unless you are a beginning hiker, exploring Volcan Baru independently may be a better option. The trail is extremely easy to follow and hence it is almost impossible to get lost in the wilderness when hiking independently.

Most hikers prefer to start climbing at around midnight to reach the summit for the next morning’s sunrise. Another ideal option is to start climbing at around 6 am, summit Baru at noon, and then come back before dark. If you had brought your backpacking tent and other camping gear, you can climb Volcan Baru in the afternoon, enjoy the sunset on the summit, set up a camp, and then descend the next morning after enjoying the sunrise.

Hiking trips start in a small town known as Boquete. From the town, you will need to hire a taxi to the entrance of Volcan Baru National Park for an average of $12.

From the entrance of the National Park, you will need to follow a wide, rock and dirt path featuring green forests on both sides. While the Volcan Baru trail has a 1,300 meters ascent, you will not have to deal with incredibly steep sections.

The whole trail features gradual inclines. In most sections, after each incline, the trail seems to flatten out, allowing you to recover.

The entire hike, from the National Park’s entrance to the summit, is approximately 14.5 kilometers. At a relaxed pace, you should be able to summit the mountain in approximately 5 to 6 hours.

At the top, you will find a network of towers that broadcast various programs. Unless you would like to look at these towers for a couple of minutes, ignore them and follow the path that leads past the Virgin of Guadalupe shrine to a series of rocks. You will need to climb the rocks to reach the summit – to have an easier time climbing the rocks, be sure to wear hiking shoes featuring good traction and grip. Once on the summit, you will come to a large, graffitied cross and a stunning 360 degrees view of Panama.

You can enjoy the view for as long as you want. Once you are done, you can complete your Volcan Baru hike by walking down the mountain. Depending on your walking speed, hiking Volcan Baru downhill takes an average of 4 to 6 hours. On average, the round trip will take you 9 to 12 hours.

Using 4×4 Jeep Tours


If your physical condition does not allow you to attempt the Volcan Baru hike via the 9- to 12-hour walk, a jeep tour may be an ideal option for you. While numerous companies are offering 4×4 jeep tours, the best companies require tourists to arrange their jeep tour at least 48 hours before the date and time that the tourist would like to explore Volcan Baru.

If you would like to catch the amazing sunrise, you will need to wake up early, at 3:00 am so that you can leave at 4:00 am. The ride up the boulder laden trail is pretty bumpy. However, it will take you an average of 2 hours to reach the summit.

If you manage to arrive before sunset, you will be allowed to stay warm in the vehicle until just before sunrise. At sunrise, you will hop out to take landscape photos and enjoy the stunning views.

Afterward, you will begin the descent. Unlike when driving up the mountain, there will be enough sunlight for you to appreciate the great environs.

Different companies offering jeep tours up Volcan Baru will have varying prices – to get the best price, you may need to check with several companies. On average, however, you should expect to spend about $100 to $150.

Gear for Hiking Volcan Baru

To enjoy exploring Volcan Baru, you will need to bring the following gear:

  • Food – Be sure to pack hiking snacks, food, and energy bars – you will need these to keep your energy up while hiking for up to 12 hours. If you will be using a 4×4 jeep tour, the tour company may provide the food.
  • Warm clothes – Volcan Baru’s Summit is extremely cold – temperatures can even be below the freezing point. To avoid hypothermia or feeling uncomfortable throughout the hike, wear warm hiking clothes in layers.
  • Flashlight or headlamp – This comes in handy if you will start your hike at midnight to observe the sunrise on Volcan Baru’s summit.
  • Hiking gloves – These will keep your hands warm.
  • Hiking hat – In addition to keeping your head warm, a good hat should protect you from the sun.
  • Rain gear – Even if you intend to hike in the dry season, rain gear is crucial. The weather on Volcan Baru can change when you least expect it.
  • Sunblock or sunscreen – This will help you avoid treating sunburns after the hike.
  • Water – Be sure to pack at least 2 liters of water. This should be enough for the entire journey.
  • Hiking or backpacking camera – This will be ideal for the views from Volcan Baru’s summit.
  • Camping gear – If you will be walking to the summit in the evening, carrying camping gear can help you enjoy a night in the wilderness.
  • Sturdy hiking shoes or boots – The hike will take up to a whole day and features a lot of miles. To have a great time, you will need to wear the right shoes/boots.


Q: What’s the Best Way to See Volcan Baru National Park?


Created in 1976, Volcan Baru National Park covers more than 35,000 acres. The National Park protects more than 250 species of birds and 5 species of wild cats. Some of the cat species in the National Park include the Margay, Jaguarundi, Ocelot, Puma, and the Jaguar while some of the bird species you may come across include Black Guan, Black and White Hawk-eagle, Black-thighed Grosbeak, Yellow-thighed Finch, a variety of Tanagers, and Toucans. This tells you that Volcan Baru National Park has a lot to offer – taking your time to explore its flora and fauna is worth it.

If you are still trying to figure out the best way to see the National Park, you should try trekking Volcan Baru. By the time you finish the 14.5 kilometers hike, you will have explored almost everything that the National Park has to offer.

If your goal of exploring Volcan Baru National Park is so that you can enjoy bird watching and other wild-life specific excursions, consider starting your trek in the morning. If your goal is to enjoy viewing the flora, you can explore the National Park at any time. However, since the afternoon hours usually do not feature optimal conditions, you may still want to hike in the morning.

A trek to the summit will not just allow you to see the National Park, it will also allow you to witness a stunning sunrise and also see the Caribean sea and the Pacific Ocean from one location.

Globo Surf Overview

While the Volcan Baru hike is rated difficult, it is one of the best activities outdoor lovers can enjoy in Panama. Hiking Volcan Baru will take you to the highest point in Panama from where you get to enjoy great views in all directions.

It is worth noting that trekking up Volcan Baru is only recommended for people who are healthy and fit enough. If you cannot handle the 9- to 12-hour trip up and down the volcano, you can summit the mountain using a 4×4 jeep tour. To use a jeep tour, however, you will need more money compared to trekking up the mountain.

More Backpacking/Hiking Reviews:


  1. Volcan Baru Hike – Adventurespanama.com
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My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!