BOQUETE, Panama – It is called Panama’s roof because from its summit, 3,474 meters (11,390 feet) above sea level, Baru volcano looks out on both the Caribbean and the Pacific Ocean.
Located in the Talamanca mountains, in the western province of Chiriqui, Baru is Panama’s highest peak and the third-highest active volcano in Central America.
“It is the point of reference in the formation of the Panama isthmus. It emerged roughly 500,000 years ago as a result of a series of eruptions and remains active now,” Arkin Tapias, a researcher for Panama’s Geosciences Institute, told EFE.
“It is one of the wonders we have in this country,” tourism official Siguilinde Palacios said.
While Baru’s last eruption was in 1550, witnessed by Spanish explorers aboard a ship in Pacific waters, it meets the scientific standard for classification as active.
Baru has erupted five times in the past 1,800 years, approximately once every 400 to 500 years, but its earliest confirmed eruption was in 9,280 B.C., according to the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.
“If we consider its rhythms and that it becomes active every four centuries, we could say we are in the range of a new eruption,” Tapias said.