Volcan, the Swiss Alps in Panama


Think “Heidi” in the tropics – that’s Volcan. In fact one of the little communities in the Volcan area is called Nueva Suiza, “New Switzerland, after the European settlers who came here almost a hundred years ago to take advantage of the extremely fertile volcanic soil and ideal Spring-like year round climate.

Volcan clings to the other slope of Volcan Baru from Boquete but has the same wonderful climate, but without the high prices – yet! – or booming developments for expats.

All along the road from David and the Pan American Highway up to Volcan you will see beautiful dairy farms, rolling hills, and spectacular views of the Pacific.

It’s almost impossible to visit the Volcan area without coming home with a car laden down with oranges, onions, vegetables, plants, and even fresh trout from the trout farm in Bambino.


Above Volcan is the tiny community of Cerro Punta, probably best known for its vegetables and flowers and the Los Quetzals lodge which is popular with bird watchers eager to see the illusive resplendent quetzal.

Just outside of Cerro Punta is Sendero Los Quetzals, the trail head for the Quetzal Trail that runs about 12 km up and down from Cerro Punta to Boquete. It is a spectacular hike, about 6 hours.

Volcan isn’t that far from Boquete as the crow flies, in order to get there you generally have to go all the way back to the Pan American Highway and David. There is a windy road with beautiful views that goes from Potrerillos across the Southern slope of Volcan Baru.

Getting there: Take the Pan American highway West past David toward the Costa Rican border. At Concepcion turn right and the road winds up to Volcan. Turn right in Volcan for Bambito, Nueva Suiz, and Cerro Punta.

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