Claude Walker | Bicentennial-By-Buttons

“No quetzals, but still a hearty hike”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 13, 2013

The trailhead is a challenging 20-minute drive from Boquete, Panama. Not much signage. You go past a waterfall en route, along with a few villages, goat farms, coffee plantations and really steep roads.

Leave your vehicle at ranger station. $5 per person to enter, which you pay on the return. Consult the map on the wall of the ranger station and ask the ranger about conditions. It was raining when we were there.

The trail is somewhat defined in most spots. After an hour or so, you'll hit a dead-end where a private farm is located. We chatted with the owner, who directed us to a muddy entrance to deeper forest where the trail continued. In especially boggy spots, log posts create a stepping-stone path.

The sound of rivers and falling water can be heard throughout the trek. The bridges are very cool, especially the suspension bridge. After another hour, the trail opened up to a cleared area with a house or cookshed. As the rain intensified, we decided to return. We lost the trail twice coming down, but stuck near the river and reconnected.

We saw glimpses of the volcano - Baru - as well as hawks, little yellow birds and turtles. We encountered a guy on a mountain bike who had walked it all the way from the other side!

It took another 2 hours to get back to the ranger station, where we informed the ranger that we didn't see a quetzal. Wrong month for quetzales, he explained.

Visited December 2012

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