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Jason and Nikki Wynn explore Panama

Getting High Above The Clouds – Volcan Baru

We’ve been living on a sailboat for well over a year now and our lungs have acclimated to sea level and below. Holding a single breath to swim down fifty feet and spear a lion fish has become a part of our norm.

So, taking on a twenty mile hike up a volcano with an elevation of 11,400 feet (3,475 meters) with zero training should be a walk in the park, right?  Ok, probably not but there was no way we were missing out on the chance to stand at the peak of Volcán Barú.

We left Curiosity tied up at a marina and headed inland on a road trip to the green mountain village of Boquete.  It’s been an epic trip so far that’s been worth the journey to get here.  We found the lost waterfalls and had euphoric coffee experiences with the local farmers.

Now here we are, at midnight, hopped up on caffeine and ready to climb to the highest peak in Panama for what is supposed to be the best sunrise over two oceans.

Those views!  We have been on a lot of hikes over the years but I think that is the first time we’ve ever stood on an active volcano.  Seeing the clouds moving below us (and NOT through an airplane window) was incredible.  We highly recommend it (pun intended).  Plus, I can’t ever get enough of being in the forest. Sometimes I think I may be part gnome because these fern covered floors feel like home.

Why Hike Volcan Baru Overnight?

This whole area is considered a cloudforest.  Afternoons and evenings tend to be cloudy and/or rainy, which doesn’t make for great visibility.  The mornings are the best chance for clear skies which is why most adventure seekers choose to hike overnight praying mother nature will part the clouds for sunrise.

There are many sad tales online from hikers who had torrential rains which make the trails exceptionally challenging. Their stories end with arriving at the top with clouds so thick they couldn’t see a thing.  All that pain and zero gain…not a fun way to spend the night.

Hiking this trail is one of the last things we did in Boquete, mainly because it’s easy to talk yourself out of it.  It’s raining, I don’t have a warm enough jacket, it’s so cloudy in town there’s no way it’ll be clear in the morning, etc. etc. etc.  So why bother?  Because the success stories rave of never ending views, repeating mountaintops as far as the eye can see, with two oceans in view and the most stunning sunrise you can find in Panama…and we concur.  Thank you Mother Nature!

Hiking Gear Used In This Video

Cameras Used to Capture This Video

Sailing Road Trip Report

To see our full map with interactive pins, click here: gonewiththewynns.com/map

volcan baru map

  • Dates Stayed: August 24 – 31, 2017
  • Miles Hiked: 20
  • Anchorage:  We left Curiosity docked at Red Frog Marina on Isla Bastimentos
  • Where We’re Staying: Fireside Inn and Grill.  We paid $54 a night, it was basic and marginally clean but a friendly and an inexpensive base camp for the week.  Our options were limited because of the cats and needing a pet friendly place to stay. Otherwise, we would have picked another location.  If you travel with a tent, there is camping near the top of the mountain.  That way if it’s socked in you can hunker down for a few days and wait for a clear morning to hike up to the peak.
  • Cell & WiFi: We had good +movil and claro cell phone service in town but no service during the hike.  Which is why we carried the InReach.

 

Thanks for being a part of the adventure!  If you enjoy what we do and you want to help us keep the videos and posts flowing, check out our Say Thanks page. It lists out some ways you can show us some digital love and most won’t cost you a penny.

Hello there! I honestly don’t know what to say, so I am going to tell you a bunch of random facts instead. I'm a fish eating vegetarian who hates spiders and loves snakes. I almost never took vacations growing up. I wanted to be Pippi Longstocking (still do). I misspell about every other word I write and still struggle with grammar. I love splurging on a good high tea (which is really hard to find these days). And whatever you do, don’t tell me I can’t do something, because then I'll HAVE to do it!

Comments (28)

  • Aubrey

    The video of the fog/clouds rolling through the forest was breathtaking.

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  • Deborah Kerr

    You all are smart to do this while you’re young and healthy!! Such a beautiful place!! Thank you for sharing!

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  • Roger B

    Incredible journey to the top. Again, I really love your drone videos

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  • Ben Ordonez and Sally

    Hi there, it’s been a long time for any comments, but have been keeping up with you all. We started with your Buying an RV on HGTV and all your travels which were awesome and now on to your sailing adventures such beauty everywhere from land to sea…sent you all a little something in the tip jar and hope you always have ways to keep going, so the holidays are coming and that’s are gift to you all…Merry Christmas and a adventurous New Year!

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  • Jeff Frisby

    Nikki, did I happen to hear you say “Safety third” while Jason was walking backwards down the peak of the mountain? I am an Army vet and, even given the nature of our job, we pretended to live by the motto “safety first” (probably very much like almost everything, every group, or every employer these days). A couple of years before I got out of the Army, I saw Mike Rowe’s TED Talk, in which he is telling a great story about filming the “Deadliest Catch” television show. In that speech, he tells of a particularly rough day at sea where he learned the perspective of “safety third”. It was a great insight that actually developed me some as a leader. Because I have only heard that expression one other place, I am curious, where did you pick up that phrase?

    Amazing adventures as always. Thank you both for sharing. Incredibly jealous each week of the paths you guys are taking.

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  • Marsha

    I can’t imagine walking that trail in the dark. Great video, as usual. I was getting tired watching you all.

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  • Curious Minion

    Nikki and Jason have some unreliable internet at the moment and have asked me to post this for them:

    Hey guys, thanks for all the love and comments! There have been a few about Jason climbing on the cross at the top of the Volcano we wanted to address. To some this was a sign of disrespect and that was not our intention at all. We think it is important to respect others thoughts and beliefs which is why we wanted to say something about it. We were on a hike, not at a religious site and we honestly didn’t even consider that him sitting on it would upset anyone. If so, he wouldn’t have done it. We will try to be more mindful in the future.

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  • Pedro Luiz Maineri

    hi Jason, nice hike ! Event thought no one mention anything about muscular cramps that can happen on long hikes : A tip from my army days…when hiking this long you should have water with a spoon of salt. It prevents cramps which can be very annoying. If this happens after the long hike, during the recovering days, drink Tonic Water. Also, pack some bananas for the journey !

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  • Matthew Luke

    Wow, incredible pictures!

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  • JOHN SCHRETLEN

    Congrats on pushing yourselves to do this hike. Looks like you had the hill to yourselves the whole time.
    Love the photography & videography.

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  • Kay QUISENBERRY

    WOW! You 4 are amazingly tough. Thank you for the adventure!

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  • MikeE

    That was great!… as usual!

    My wife and I have a dog and her reaction to our return home after much shorter durations, is that of such excitement. I’m curious as to the reception you received from the cats; especially for both the amount of time you were away coupled with the fact they were in a ‘strange’ hotel room? I’m thinking they must have been really glad to see you both.

    Happy journeys. I would like to think my wife and I could join you some time to share some of your adventures. Chao!

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  • Steve

    So who is taking care of the cats during your roadside adventures?

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    • Curious Minion

      The cats are staying at the hotel with them. In the first Boquete video they are buying a turkey basting pan and kitty litter.

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  • Deby

    I’m so impressed! Absolutely gorgeous. But, so scary hiking at night on a path you’ve never seen before. 4 days recovery? Crazy! Thanks for sharing!!

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  • Thanks for another terrific adventure. Your spirit and curiosity are inspirational. We have begun our own adventure in a small RV thanks to you! All the best in your continuing travels!

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  • Eliana

    Amazing! Thank you for taking us with you and sharing your experiences. Be safe and have fun!

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  • Tia

    As I was watching, after the sun was up; my comment, sitting here alone in my living room, was outloud! to no one! I looked at the view and said “oh , wow “. can not imagine the view for you guys, being there! so look forward to every single video!

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  • Rick Spear

    Drone video spectacular, great stuff for us old duffers to observe from the elevation of a couple of hundred feet in northern Indiana! Thanks for making the walk for us…
    RS

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  • Mr Ian Wood

    Hi Nikki Wynn, You got a nice bum. I hope that you are sailing to Europe sometime. I wish you all best. Ian Wood

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