Baru Volcano National Park
Barù volcano national Park was established in 1976 on 14.322.5 hectares of land in Chiriquì Province on Panama's slope. Locadet near the Talamanca Mountains (Cordillera de Talamanca), the peak of the imposing massif of 3.474 meter high barù Volcano is the highest point oin the entire country. Both oceans are visible from this excellent lookout point as well as a large part of eastern Panama.
As a reminder of volcanic activity dating back to the sixth centry AD, a succession of lava flows, tors and volcanic cliffs stretch from 1.800 meters above sea level, the lowest point in the park, to peak, creating very ruged topography and a wide variety of life zones for such a small area of protected land.
Average annual temperatures fluctuate between 20°C in the lowest parts to under 10°C on the top of the volcano. Precipitation is also very variable. Althought less heavy on the low lying land, with an annual average of about 4.000 mm, its exceeds 6.000 mm in the upper reaches. Important river courses, such as the River Caldera, rise in the park. Water from the Caldera generates a lot of hydro-electricity for the entire country, before mixing with the waters of the River Chiriquì, David, Platanal, Pedra, Escarrea and Gariché Rivers also rise here.
Despite its smallness, the protected area contains very moist montane forests, low moist montane forests, not found elsewhere in Panama, low montane rainforest and premontane rainforest. The altitude and isolated location make the massif into a biclimatic island, where, alongside species that are common in other parts, such as huge oaks (Quercus spp.) or magnolia (Magnolia sorarum), there are many regional endemisms, like for example, the zarzamora (Rubus praecipuus) or the orchids Stelis montana, Hoffmania areolata and Anthurium chriquense. Over 250 bird species have been recorded in the park, including the extremely beautiful quetzal (Pharomachrus mocinno), the spectacular black and white hawk eagle (Spizastur melanoleucus) that soars above the steep cliffs of the protected area, the blackbellied hummingbird (Eupherusa nigriventris) and the brown violet ear (Colibri delphinae).
Species endemic to the Cordillera de Talamanca are also found here, such as the black cheeked warbler (Basileuterus melanogenys), wrenthrush (Weledonia coronata), yellow-thighed finch (Pselliophorus tibialis) and black guan (Chamaepetes unicolor). Of the five cat species found in Panama that are also found here, the puma (Felis concolor) is the most common. Other mammals with stables populations are the threatened mouse Rheomys underwoodi, porcupine (Sphiggurus mexicanus) and a large number of bat species such as Aritbeu aztecus and Lasiurus borealis.
LOCATION: the park is in Chiriquì Province, above the Cordillera de talamanca, 473 kilometres by road from Panama City.
ACCESS: there is an international airport in david, the capital of Chiriquì Privince, Vehicle access to the park is via towns of Boquete (on the eastern slopes) and Cerro Punta (on the western slopes). There are paths leading to the top of the volcano from both towns.
FACILITIES: the park has administrative headquarters, an information booth, ranger station, interpretation center and two refuches (Respingue and Alto Chiquero).
ACCOMODATION: Besides in David, accomodation is available in the towns of Boquete and Cerro Punta in the vicinity of the national park.
USEFUL ADRESSES:for further information, contact the regional headquarters of ANAM in Chiriquì Tel: (507) 774-6671; fax (507) 775-3163, o the national park offices tel (507) 775-2055