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Approximately 3 million years ago the Isthmus of Panama was formed as a continuous land mass connecting North and South America.

The Pacific and Caribbean sides of Panama are separated by a central mountain range running west to east from Costa Rica to Columbia. This continental divide is not part of the extensive mountain chains of North America, and only in the eastern most part of the Darien Gap is there any relation to the Andes of South America. It is the eroded ridge of an uplift of the sea floor due to the collision of two tectonic plates, and the main peaks are volcanic formations. The range is referred to by various names, most commonly the Cordillera Central.

The highest peak in Panama is the now extinct (hopefully) Vulcan Baru or Baru Volcano, at 3,475 meters/ 11,398 Feet above sea level. It is accessible only by foot, helicopter or highly specialized four-wheel-drive vehicles. From the summit it is possible to see the Pacific to the south and the Caribbean to the north, on a clear day of course.

The cordillera is what makes Panama the lush tropical region that it is, forcing clouds formed in the warm Caribbean waters to rise and dump rain. Although Panama is a small country, every region has slight variations in climate, temperature, ecology, geology, and accessibility.

Hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding and four-wheeling are the best ways to explore our incredible environment.

Adventure Tours Panama is currently involved in a voluntary program to develop the Sendero TransPanama, or Trans-Panama Trail, which will extend from the Panama - Costa Rica border, to the Darien Jungle and the border with Columbia. The trails already exist. Our goal is to hike, explore, and map all of the trails using GPS, and then place all the information on the website with free access. Upon completion, the quality of the notes, maps, photographs and directions will be such that anyone will be able to hike, bike or horse pack the trail with nothing more than our downloadable free trail notes. The use of compass or GPS will be strictly optional. The trail will take you through mountains, beaches, villages and cities, and will cross rivers, bypass lakes, and give the users the opportunity to explore every environment that Panama has to offer. 

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