Parque Nacional Volcán Barú

sights / Parks & gardens

Lonely Planet review

Volcán Barú is Panama's only volcano and the dominant geographical feature of western Panama. It has not one but seven craters. Its summit, at 3478m (11,410ft), is the highest point in Panama, and on a clear day it affords views of both the Pacific and Caribbean coasts.

Volcán Barú is no longer active; its last eruption was about 500 years ago. The fertile volcanic soil and the temperate climate of its mid-altitude slopes support some of Panama's most productive agriculture, especially in the areas around Cerro Punta and Boquete. Large trees dominate the volcano's lower slopes, giving way on the upper slopes to smaller plants, bushes, scrub and alpine wildflowers.

The 14,300ha (55 sq mi) Parque Nacional Volcán Barú contains walking trails and provides ample possibilities for hiking, mountain climbing and camping. The park is home to abundant wildlife, including pumas and the conejo pintado , a raccoon-like animal. The resplendent quetzal is often seen here, especially from January to May.