Trail type: in and out or just one-way One-way Distance: 8.8 km (5.4 miles) - 18 km (11.1 round trip) One-way Time: 5-7 hours (10 -14 hours round-trip) Elevation Gain: 686 m. (2,250 ft) Max Height: 2,505 m (8,218 ft.) Attractions: cloud forest, view, plants and animals , rivers Activities: hiking, camping, bird watching Use: low Rating: MODERATE Activity combines some easy sections with others that require more physical effort. It applies to long walks on uneven terrain (river crossings, dense vegetation , big boulders , very slippery ground), or short walks on trail with steep inclination.
The Quetzal Trail can be accessed from Boquete and Cerro Punta Cerro Punta Access: Taking Bajo Grande Street about 6 km (3.7 miles) is a ranger station in El Respingo. Part of the road is unpaved and it can be blocked from mudslides. 4x4s are better for getting up to the station. If you are not being able to drive to the station due to a mudslide, get out and walk up to the trailhead, it is not very long. Boquete Access: Take the road that leads to Alto Chiquero. It can be reached by taxi or bus from the Parque Domingo Medica. In Alto Chiquero is an ranger station, but the trailhead is still about 2.2 km (1.3 miles) down a gravel road and is marked by a faded sign on your left.
The Quetzal Trail has earned the name because there are more than 300 pairs of quetzals in Baru National Park. Some can see them, if you are careful, tending to their nests in the cloud forest. If you start the trail from Cerro Punta you go down hill and then hike up the remaining 2 km (1mile) "Hill of Lament" to reach the ranger station in Alto Chiquero. The trail is in relatively good condition, sufficiently marked. After being closed for two years for storm damage ANAM has reopened the trail for the public again. There is only one river crossing that has no bridge (1 km from the Boquete trailhead) but not enough to cause any worry. During the rainiest part of the year (October to December) the path can be very muddy. You have several options for how to enjoy this trail:
- Go and return the same day 18 km (11 miles) - recommend starting no later than 6:00 a.m.
- Most people go in one direction and arrange for someone (taxi-tour operator) to pick you up the other side to take back to your town of origin
- Camping - there is a point that is almost at the halfway point of the trail (about 3 miles from both trailheads). You can camp at this point and finish the next day
- You may walk the trail from Boquete to Cerro Punta and stay in Cerro Punta (or vice-versa). You can carry a day pack and than arrange for a taxi to take your luggage to where you will be staying in Cerro Punta o Boquete. Trusting the taxi driver is up to you though!
Look out (very run down), rest points and shelters, camping area, both ranger stations have facilities for visitors to sleep with booking ANAM’s Recommendations: http://www.anam.gob.pa/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=435&catid=78&lang=es&Itemid=322
Go with an experienced guide. Hikers have been lost even though the path is properly marked.
- Enough water
- Waterproof hiking boots (see a “little extra”)
- Hikers First aid kit
- Waterproof jacket (rainy season)
- Enough food
- Insect repellent (optional)
- Head lamp,
- Hiking pole,
- Proper camping equipment
THE HOURS, FEES, LOCAL GUIDES
Management: National Government (ANAM) Hours: 6AM – 4PM Fees: Students National - B. 1.00 National Visitors - B. 3.00 Foreign Visitors B. 5.00 Seniors - B. 1.50 Contact Information: National Protected Areas Department: (507) 500-0855 / (507) 500-0839 National Protected Area (ANAM) Regional Office, David – Tel: (507) 774-6671 Boquete - ( 507 ) -720-3057 National Park offices Tel: (507) 775-2055 Additional Information: http://www.anam.gob.pa/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=320&Itemid=322&lang=es
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