Climbing Pan de Az˙car

     Difficulty: HARD
     Length: 3-5 Days, 2-4 Nights
     Distance: From Road, 18 kilometers (11 miles) round trip
                     From San Juan Bosco, 28 kilometers (17 miles) round trip
     Altitude Change: 1908 meters (6964 feet, over 1 vertical mile!!)

Below is a TOPOGRAPHIC Map of the hike: highlighted in Orange and Black dots (GPS data) is the route from the road. Blue X represent camp sites. Click on the image for a larger view.

Hiking Pan de Az˙car is a spectacular hike of endurance, with views of over 12 waterfalls, an incredible diversity of fauna and flora which drastically changes as you ascend in altitude, over 1 vertical mile in total. From the crest, on a clear day, you can see Peru and beyond, an amazing view of the Andes Mountains and the basin where the head waters of the Amazon river arrise.
From the road, cross 2 farms and head into the wilderness of Primary Jungle, following the Chone River. Climb up and over a small hill, and reach the Kalaglas River, which is surrounded by 10 story tall trees covered in orchids, bromeliads, and other plant life.


The hike offers amazing beauties of nature, including water falls, as shown below.

Rio Kalaglas                                                    Marin Falls

La Montura (The Saddle)

The Saddle is so called for its appearance, and is the last point of salvation before the ascension of the last 800 meters (1/2 mile) of vertical altitude. This is by far the hardest part of the hike, an unrelenting quest.
In the photo below, to the left is the River Kalaglas, and to the right, The Seven Churches River (named after the Seven Churches Ridge). The vertical descent is over 1 kilometer (over 1/2 mile).

Below is a view of the backside of Pan de Az˙car, giving an idea of how steep the final ascent is.

The Point

After a long mile, the top of Pan de Az˙car is finally reached. Literally translated, Pan de Az˙car means "sweet bread", but after the climb up, you will realize that the person who named the mountain never climbed it! The view is spectacular from the top; to the east, you can see Peru.

View to the East

View to the West, the Seven Churches Ridge (Cordillera Siete Iglesias)

To the north, looking down at over a 45 degree angle, you can see the town of San Juan Bosco:
View to the North, San Juan Bosco


Below are some sample images of fauna and flora, with the altitudes indicated to demonstrate the drastic change in flora and fauna experienced during this hike.

Fauna at 1400 meters (5,200 feet)

Flora at 1400 meters (5,200 feet)

Hi altitude Flora and Fauna

Fauna at 2950 meters (9,735 feet)

Climbing Pan is exhilarating, the views are spectacular, the air can get no purer, and the dramatic change in ecosystem over such a short period of time is undescribable. The recommended trip time is 3 days, two nights, but for those who want to enjoy the trip thouroughly, with ample time to photograph orchids and birds (as hunting of all types is strictly prohibited), 3 nights or more is better.

For more information, contact Dave Goucher (Webmaster, link below).


Web master:
David R. Goucher