Quetzal Route in Boquete, Panama
If we went to Boquete in the highlands of Panama, province of Chiriqui, it was for several reasons, and one of them was to do the trekking along the famous Route of the Quetzals.
But this is not the only thing in Boquete, the Baru volcano is also there.
This volcano, besides being the highest point in Panama with 3474 meters high, if you go up to it and the day is clear, you can see the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean.
We did not climb the Barú Volcano, as the weather was not good.
But if you want to climb the volcano, here are some things you should know.
The route takes about twelve hours, and the difficulty is very high, so you have to be quite fit.
Due to the length of the route, the usual thing is to get out there around eleven o’clock at night, and start the climb.
If you do this, you will enjoy what they say, it is one of the most beautiful sunrises you can see.
There are many local agencies that manage the tour with a guide, but we also met people who did it on their own, of course, during the day.
We saw the Barú Volcano from the Route of the Quetzals.
The Route of the Quetzals
The name of the route is due to the bird known as the quetzal, as it is a kind of sanctuary for them, although there are fewer and fewer of them, and despite the efforts, it is not easy to keep the place intact, or at least away from the predatory hands of humans.
The beginning of the Route of the Quetzals where we started was Cerro Punta, at 1981 meters high.
It took us almost an hour to get there, and yes, we hired a guide at the hostel where we were staying.
So, once we got to Cerro Punta, this trekking of almost ten kilometers began and it may take about seven hours.
Luckily, you do not need to be very fit to do this trekking, as it is of medium difficulty.
I advance you that if you want to see quetzals, you will have to go from January to June, since it is the time when they are in the Baru Volcano National Park, where this route is located.
This bird, in the pre-Hispanic cultures had a sacred character, and that is why so many kings and priests wore headdresses with their feathers.
It was a pity not to see one, since we visited Panama in November, bad luck…
We started the trekking seeing some fields of crops, and looking at the trees we saw pines, pines in Panama? Well yes, this was the work of the Spaniards, they brought this kind of tree, and now you can see them over there.
The side effect is that this type of tree consumes a lot of hybrid resources, and somehow impoverishes the land.
You know, invasive species were never good.
Once we started climbing, we were surrounded by high, very high mountains.
The highest point of this tour is 2500 meters above sea level.
And although Panama is tropical, at that altitude it’s cold, I can vouch for that.
Although we didn’t see any quetzals, we enjoyed going into a huge rainforest, with trees over a thousand years old, which is said to be soon.
How many things have happened in all this time.
During the trekking there was a stretch of quite a climb, then a bit of a descent.
We climbed again up to the highest part, where we could behold the Barú Volcano.
We were lucky because the day was clear, and besides, it didn’t rain!
The truth is that it was surprising to see such huge plants, gigantic ferns, huge leaves, thanks to the tropical climate, the depth of this rainforest where there were times when only a few rays of sunshine managed to cross the thickness of the forest.
Without a doubt, this route was a kind of communion with nature, enjoying the silence of nature and solitude.
We did not meet anyone else during the tour, and that is one of the plans you can do in Boquete.
This Route of the Quetzals surrounds the Barú volcano, so if you take almost an hour to get to Cerro Punta, the return to Boquete is much shorter, barely twenty minutes by car.
What to pack for the Quetzal trek
Although this trekking is of medium difficulty, there are some tips for you to enjoy the route that you should take into account.
Although at the highest points, if you stand for a long time, you may get a little cold, bring water, at least a liter per person.
It is also important that you bring some food, whether it is a sandwich, fruit and some glucose.
Of course, the plastic that you bring up with you, you keep it and throw it away in Boquete, let’s try to keep the environment clean.
For this trek, wear hiking boots, if you have low boots it’s okay. You have to take into account that you will have to pass a river at the end of the route. I took off my boots, but some people didn’t. There are also some stretches with mud. We went in November, which is the rainy season, and low boots were enough.
Wear comfortable clothes, mountain pants. A backpack to carry the things you need and make it comfortable. Try not to carry it too much, as it is quite a long walk. Don’t forget a thin raincoat, because it usually rains, and it’s cool at the top, so you won’t get cold.
Accommodation in Boquete
Accommodation in Boquete is varied, and prices are not excessive. We went with the accommodation already booked from Santa Catalina. And we did this, because in the lodging of Santa Catalina they advised us one, Mamallena.
Also, since we used the shuttle from HelloTravel Panama, a company associated with Mamallena Hostel, they gave us a discount on the price of the room.
This hostel is in the center of town, in the Domingo Médica park. And less than three minutes away there is a supermarket where you can find everything you are looking for.
If you want to see pictures, availability and prices, you can check the following link, Hostel Mamallena.
If you also want to take a look at other options, you can look at Accommodation in Boquete.