Panamanians affectionately refer to their country as the small isthmus when talking about its nature and wildlife. The gorgeous stretch of land that connects the northern and southern American hemispheres hides many wonders of beauty. Even though it is less known for its natural beauty than neighboring Costa Rica, it rivals it in diversity and amazing habitat. The word “isthmus” reminds me of the magical Xanth series by Piers Anthony. I draw similar parallels when I am thinking of the small island of Jersey, which I always thought of as Robert L Stevenson’s Treasure Island. Even Xanth has active volcanoes.
Active Volcanoes Panama: Baru
Magically hiding its secrets in open view, that’s how I would describe Panama. Gorgeous waterfalls, hidden just off the beaten tracks, big cats in the jungles of Chiriqui, and volcanoes.
The most famous of them and the highest mountain in Panama is Barú. This giant peeks its head above the skies of the province Chiriqui, about 35 miles east of the Costa Rican border at 3,475 meters (11,400 feet). On a clear day, one can see both the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean from its top.
This volcano hasn’t bothered the inhabitants for 400-500 years. There were four eruptive episodes in the last 1600 years. Just as it is in Hawaii, any region that experienced volcanic activity in the past flourishes. The beauty of the Barú region is stunning. My friend and TCI Alliance member Megan has been there. She lives in Boquete, an expat’s paradise, which is about 18.2 kms (11.3 miles) from the volcano Barú.
There are amazing tours to the summit of the volcano – just ask Megan which tour to take! You can choose guided options – from one-day expeditions to two-day camping trips. What an amazing experience – one that’s on my to-do list. Apart from the mountain, the Parque Nacional Volcán Barú is worth a trip on its own.
Active Volcanoes Panama: La Yeguada & El Valle (Anton)
While not much is happening in terms of volcanic activity, the Elle Valle mountain could spew ashes up to 15 kms high due to its built-up water reservoir underneath. That’s impressive! As for La Yeguada, this is a region of several volcanoes, forming a volcanic complex.
If for any reason the earth underneath the volcanic structures becomes weak, lava may make its may to the top of the mountains, triggering an eruption.
There are other volcano regions in Panama; to the west, the entire Cordillera Central, alongside the Costa Rican border.
And on the Darian side towards Colombia, there are underwater volcanoes in the area of Jaqué.
Active Volcanoes in Panama – It’s safer than Hawaii!
For those worried about coming to Panama because of the volcanoes, it is no more dangerous than living in Sicily (Mount Etna), or on any of the Hawaiian islands where the most active volcanoes are Kilauea, Mauna Loa, Mauna Kea, Hualalai and Mount Haleakala.
Personally, here in Panama City, we have the occasional earthquake, but I am used to those from California. Wherever you live, whatever nature may have in store, always have a bugout plan. The emergency response in Panama is impressive and reassuring. I am not worried and I am enjoying this beautiful isthmus, called Panama, to the fullest.
Do you have any volcanos or other dangerous natural beauty where you are? Are you prepared for any eventualities? Share your experience with the expat community here at TCI.
by: LP Wirth