Volcan, hot springs,
free and natural wonder

Volcan, hot springs are situated about half an hour north (depending on how fast you drive) from the Chiriqui mountain town of Volcan.

Thousands of years ago, mother nature gave Volcan its most striking feature, the 11,300 foot tall Baru Volcano. The Volcano is dormant (local realtors will swear on a bible that this is true) but geo-thermal activity is very much alive in the mountain jungles north of Volcan.

My friend Joe Ligon, owns a large chunk of mountain jungle and he invited my wife and I To take a trip and see several hot springs that bubble forth on his property.

Joe is a retired dentist from Venice, Florida and he bought 400 acres of mountain in an area called Los Pozos, near Volcan. He has a small cabin there that has a breathtaking view that extends all the way down to the Pacific Ocean and nearby coast of Costa Rica.

It was a sunny Sunday morning when we left Volcan; we drove for ten minutes north from town and then turned off the paved road and headed for the Los Pozos River. The road has been graded and extensive culvert work has been carried out, even so Joe's jeep bumped along quite vigorously.

Smelly footbath
After twenty minutes or so, we turned off down a short incline and Joe pointed to the right. "That's the first hot spring, right there." We jumped out of the car and where immediately hit with the smell of sulphur. This first spring was a bit of a disappointment -it would hardly pass for a footbath - and then leave you with incredibly smelly feet. Not to worry the next spring was just a few yards away.

This second spring was much larger - in fact, a mother and daughter were happily taking their ease in the pool as we approached. The temperature of this hot spring was 101 degrees Fahrenheit - about the same as a hot tub.
This second spring was in an idyllic woodland setting with the Los Pozos river just feet away. Joe and I went down a small trail to where another river, the much larger, Rio Colorado joined the Los Pozos. Together, the two water sources careened down a canyon and disappeared out of site behind the thick jungle canopy.

Wait there's more
Joe had his best, or should I say, hottest, spring saved for last. A short drive and one shallow river crossing later we arrived at a small collection of rusty tin shacks. Close by one shack was the Los Pozos river once again and on the bank another small pool.

Naturally boiled chicken anyone?
Joe said that locals claim this spring is hot enough to boil a chicken. Ever the skeptic, I took out my trusty Radio Shack digital thermometer and plunged it into the bubbling water. The water was too hot even to place the tips of your fingers in and the temperature measured a very respectable 126 degrees F. Well maybe . . . you could boil a chicken here, but with all the sulphur and chemicals in the water it would taste like crap and even the Colonel's secret herbs and spices wouldn't make it palatable.

The mountains around Volcan abound with these natural thermal wonders. My other friends, Spike and Wendy Baldwin have several on their mountain property and have invited me, not just to look and touch, but to actually immerse my pallid, corpulent frame within one of their pools. Dehydration might be a problem, so I intend on taking along some appropriate beverages so I can sit, soak and enjoy one of Volcan's warmest and fuzziest natural attractions.

There is talk that the Panamanian President, Martin Torrijos, visited the Los Pozos pools and has promised to pave the road to help tourism. If the story is true, then that would be wonderful. In the meantime if you plan to visit Volcan we at yourpanama.com would be happy to give you directions to the Volcan hot springs.

David Dell,