The Volcan Baru National Park is located in the western portion of the Chiriqui Province. It is the second national park created in Panama and is one of the most visited parks in the country. It is a one hour flight or six hour drive from Panama City. The park is named after the highest point in Panama, the Baru Volcano, which rises 11,400 feet above sea level. This volcano has been dormant for thousands of years, but the lava flows from this volcano have created a rugged terrain that supports a surprising variety of life zones. Temperatures generally range between 50-70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Volcan Baru National Park covers approximately 35,000 acres near the Talamanca Mountains, and features volcanic cliffs, forests and rainforests. Some of the trees in the forests are more than 600 years old. On a sunny day, both oceans and a good portion of eastern Panama can be seen from the slopes of the Baru Volcano. This park protects ten important rivers such as the Caldera, Chiriquì, David, Platanal, Pedra, Escarrea and Gariché Rivers. The waters from the Caldera River are important to Panama because it generates a lot of hydro-electric power for the entire country.
Over 250 bird species have been identified in the park, including the beautiful quetzal, the spectacular black and white hawk eagle, the black-bellied hummingbird, the brown violet ear, the black-cheeked warbler, the yellow-thighed finch and the black guan. All five of the species of cat that are native to Panama are found here, with the Puma being the most common. Other mammals frequently found in the park include the endangered Underwoods water mouse, porcupines and a large number of bat species.