Search This Blog

About Me

My photo
Panama, Panama, Panama
Greetings from Panama! My name is Marina Ehrman and I have been a professional tour guide and promoter for Panama Tourism and Travel Company since 2005. I love what I do and am proud to share what my country has to offer. It is filled with endless leisure and commercial attractions, friendly happy people who open their doors to all visitors. Panama is a country of incomparable natural beauty with a variety of tourist attractions, beautiful beaches in the Pacific and Caribbean. The tropical climate year round with its diversified flora, fauna and indigenous groups make it one of the most important of Ecotourism in Latin America. I invite you to know our country’s history, culture and also enjoy the cuisine, folklore and traditions that only a place in the world can provide………Panama! Contact me and I’ll organize your visit and will be happy to welcome you in Panama. For more information on Panama, follow my Facebook page and my blog. Visit

Quetzals Trail Guided Hiking Tour

General Information & Facts about "El Sendero de los Quetzales"

Considered one of the most gorgeous paths in Central America, the Quetzals Trail is without any doubt the most popular hike in Panama's western highlands. Located within the Volcan Baru National Park, the "Sendero de los Quetzales" links the towns of Guadalupe, which is near Cerro Punta on the west side of the Volcano, with the town of Boquete which is on its east. The trail skirts the Baru Volcano on its north face and can be hiked in any direction, starting in Boquete and ending in Cerro Punta, or vice versa.

Hiking the 9.6 kms (total distance of 6 miles) of this path may take from 4 to 7 hours. Fluctuations in timing come from differences in hiking speeds, direction chosen to complete the hike (uphill or downhill), time spent contemplating the scenery and time invested "hunting down" one of the splendorous birds that gives its name to this path: the Resplendent Quetzal.

Boquete's altitude is 975 meters (3,200 feet) above sea level but the ranger station where the hike starts is at about 1,800 meters and Cerro Punta's altitude is 1,981 meters (6,500 feet) but the highest point in the Quetzals Trail is marked at 2,500 meters. This makes the shift in altitude around 500 meters for the entire hike. In this National Park temperatures range from 10° - 16°C (50° to 60°F).

At each end of the Quetzals Trail the ANAM (National Authority of the Environment) has a Ranger Station that marks the beginning and end of the hike. At the last part of the paved road, roughly 8 km from downtown Boquete, Alto Chiquero Ranger Station guards the entrance on the east side of the National Park. El Respingo Ranger Station is certainly closer from the town of Guadalupe, at only 4 km but the road is not paved on this side so the ride from Guadalupe to this ranger station takes longer and you need a 4 x 4 to make it.

Hiking the Quetzals Trail from Boquete to Cerro Punta

Hiking the trek in this direction demands more physical stamina and endurance than going downhill, but it does have a major significant advantage: you will be able to encounter more wildlife in the lower altitudes of the National Park, especially during the first hours of light. If you choose to make the uphill trek, then our guided tours aim to arrive to Alto Chiquero's Ranger Station in Boquete at sunrise (between 6:00 a.m. and 6:40 a.m. depending on the time of year). We can start before if you wish to.

Within the first hour you could find some Quetzals still roosting along the trail. The amount of birds rapidly decreases after the first hour, mainly due to the progression of day but also because of the increase in altitude.

Another point in favor of this option is that although the uphill hike is more strenuous, it can be gentler on the knees than a steep rough descent. And yet another advantage is that in Boquete it more commonly rains in the afternoons and in Cerro Punta it more commonly rains in the mornings, so you may stand a better chance of remaining dry if hiking in this direction. Truth told, in the rainforest during the rainy season, there is no such thing as a guarantee for dryness.

From Boquete's side, El "Sendero de los Quetzales" starts after Alto Chiquero's Ranger Station with three quarters of an hour hike (mostly downhill with a few ups) on a dirt road. At some point instead of continuing on the dirt/rock road we take a left and join the trail that immediately immerses us into the rainforest. After about an hour and a half or two of mostly flat terrain with only a slight pendent, the steep ascent begins.

Series of staircases scale the steepest terrains, and present the greatest obstacles. Ongoing exposure to moisture has rotted the wood, and steps are frequently missing and covered with moss.

Midway up the ascent we reach a picnic area with several wooden tables. Further up, about halfway along the trail, we arrive to "Mirador La Roca" which is approximately equidistant from both Ranger Stations and marks the trail's highest elevation at 3,100m. Depending our hiking pace, this part of the trail can be covered in 45 minutes to 1.5 hours. This resting area offers a viewing platform with almost 270° panoramas, a shelter, picnic grounds and a camping site. This is where we stop to have a nice lunch. An unnamed opening, several minutes before this spot, offers even greater panoramic views. In the Out and Back option we then return to Boquete.

The rest of the trail continues upwards into the cloudforest but with a less inclined gradient. It is certainly tough enough and after 2 - 3 hours we finally reach Alto Respingo Ranger Station where we will be picked up and taken to the town of Guadalupe where we'll have private transportation back to Boquete. For the overnight option, this will be our camping spot. Simply beautiful. Almost everybody agrees that this side of the trail is the most amazing and the next day even more wildlife watching early in the morning.
Out and back
Price:  $ 45.00 per person

Boquete to Cerro Punta                        
Price: $ 65.00 per person  

Overnight ( Boquete to Cerro Punta)  

Price:  $ 125.00 per person   
Hiking the Quetzals Trail from Cerro Punta to Boquete

The major advantage about making the hike from west to east is that it is mostly downhill and for some hikers this might mean that it is now a doable hike. If you cannot make it uphill or do not like the idea of having an early start, completing the Quetzals Trail in this direction is certainly worth it.

Private transportation is provided from Boquete to Cerro Punta. From another point of view it is also a comforting idea to know that at the end of the hike, only after a 20 minute drive, you will be back in your hotel for a hot water bath, or in one of Boquete's many restaurants with a hot plate of food in front of you, as opposed to making a 3 hour road journey after the hike, first from Cerro Punta to David, and then from David to Boquete.
Price:       $ 65.00 per person


* The prices do not include Panama's Sales Tax.

Although an early start will not guarantee spotting one of the elusive quetzals, starting the hike just before dawn will dramatically tilt the odds in your favor. In a guided tour hikers have spotted up to 15 quetzals in a single day.

Our guided tour includes: bilingual bird watching guide and transportation arrangements to drop you off at a pre-selected Ranger Station and pick you up at its counterpart once the hiking tour is over. Hiking the Quetzals Trail in each direction has its own advantages and disadvantages, as it will be explained further on.
What do you need to take?
  • Small backpack or rucksack (any extra weight only makes the hike more difficult: keep it light)
  • Drinking water (at least 2 liters per person)
  • Snacks (nuts, chocolate, energy bars, etc.)
  • Shoes in good condition for hiking
  • A digital camera with enough batteries and memory space
  • Rain coat or waterproof jacket ("poncho")
  • A soul at peace to contemplate nature's beauty (and a rested body for the hike)

No comments:

Post a Comment