When you ask people if they have ever climbed the Volcan Baru, they say “Yes, I am glad I did it but I am not doing it again.”
Needless to say, it was the hardest hike I have ever done! After drinking a bottle of Balboa and wrapping my feet tightly in a sport bandage, 6 boys and I left a little town of Boquete close to midnight to go to the highest point of Panama, Volcan Baru. It’s more that 11000ft or 3400 meters high. Due to high elevation we chose to hike at night to get there for the sunrise and see the view of the Caribbean and the Pacific before the clouds come out.
The first part of the hike took us about 6 hours of cruel difficult elevation through huge rocks, peach black road, and tarantulas on the pass. Thanks God guys brought headlamps!
After climbing 11km for 6 hours we finally reached the top, the clock showed 5:15am. There were telephone towers and I had a feeling I was walking in an abandoned Chernobal in the middle of the night. Little we knew that we had another kilometer of pure bouldering.
With no headlamp, only knowing that from both sides there were cliffs, and behind were extremely supportive guys, I reached the final point with shaky hands, extremely cold ears, but excited to be finally done with the longest hike of my life!
When the sun started coming up, other groups of tourists appeared as well as a bottle of champagne, hot tea, and a lot of pictures. We spent about two hours chatting, photographing and drinking.
On the way back the steep rocky road we could finally see the beauty of the hike. 36 hours without sleeping and 11 hours of hard hiking didn’t even make me feel tired, just dizzy. I am just waiting to wake up tomorrow and not be able to walk. Nevertheless, I will do it again if I get a chance.
TIPS: No guide needed. Start from Boquette. Need a car to the National Park ($40 max per car). Entrance to the park -$10.