Barú Volcano National Park
Snapple® “Real Facts” #147. Panama is the only place in the world where you can see the sun rise on the Pacific and set on the Atlantic. ¨Panama¨ in this Snapple fact refers actually to the Barú Volcano, home to the country´s highest point in which on a clear day, you can see the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea at the same time from its peak. Volcán Barú is a dormant, but potentially active volcano, with the last eruption between 400-550 years ago. It stands at 11,398 ft (3,474 m) and is located 35 km off the Costa Rican border in the cool highlands of Panama’s Chiriqui province. From the towns of Boquete or Volcán, the adventurer can begin his/her 6-8 hour ascent to reach the summit, enjoy breathtaking views, and spend 4-5 hours to come back down. Camping is available in a campground near the summit.
Guided tours make this challenging 13.5 km climb both doable and educational for inexperienced hikers. A light snow dusting and frost have been reported near the peak, as temperatures can reach freezing, and proper gear is needed. Volcán Barú is not a tropical rainforest due to its high altitude, but rather a cloud forest, characterized by the frequent low-level cloud cover and moist, mossy conditions. There is an abundance of birds in this biologically diverse region to be enjoyed from the trail. Volcán Barú is located within Volcán Barú National Park, a 35,000 acre geologically and ecologically scenic landscape mixed with forest and volcano. The altitude has fostered a variety of natural foods and agricultural activities, including strawberries, oranges and coffee.