Getting High Above The Clouds – Volcan Baru

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:

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.

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