In the shadow of Volcan Barú

The long-dormant volcano, Volcan Barú, is always there: crystal-clear at the crack of dawn, looming out of the afternoon mists, and a dark, imposing shadow as the sun sets. Barú is just so large (11,400 feet) that it's simply impossible to ignore. And the presence of Barú permeates daily life, right through local Volcan life, history and culture, subtly defining the region and its people. This is a land of adventure, a place of vitality and great beauty; and a place to appreciate and respect.

Volcan Baru
Volcan Baru
Volcan Baru
Volcan Baru
Volcan Baru
Volcan Baru
Volcan Baru
Volcan Baru
Volcan Baru
Volcan Baru

The Volcano Barú National Park is close to Both Boquete and Volcan, being situated in the Province of Chiriqui. It covers a vast area, 14,325 hectares (35,000 acres), and is home to many important species, some of which are unique to the area. It is in this park you will find the slumped mass and craters of the long-dormant Volcan Barú, which still manages to tower over everything.

In fact it is the fertile andesitic volcanic soil from these ancient eruptions that has led to the area having perhaps the richest farming land in all of Panama; and why crop farming is so widespread around Volcan (I was struck by the endless acres of onions, in neat rows :Webmaster). And yet there are also huge areas of rainforest all around too: sometimes when you look up, you'll spot neat rows of coffee bushes set out underneath the taller, disorganised canopy of the rainforest trees - the aptly named shade coffee. Temperatures in this area are are typically between 10 and 20 C, so are ideal for crops. All of these factors combine to make this one of the most visited parks in Panama.

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