In many ways Boquete, Panama won my heart: from the stunning landscape of the highland forest; to the cool breezes arising from multiple creeks crisscrossing town; to the veritable feast of delicious and affordable food offered by home-based restaurants.
We planned to visit Panama as a way to renew our Costa Rican Visa for both ourselves and our vehicle, as we also enjoyed a weekend vacation to one of the two countries in Central America we had yet to visit.
Above all, Boquete was a short four hour drive from where we were staying in Costa Rica. Located in the mountains of Volcan Baru, in the province of Chiriquí, Boquete is nestled in a valley, 3,900 feet above sea level.
Lost Waterfall Trails. A quick drive beyond the town limits brings you to the Lost Waterfalls Trails. Keep an eye out for the sign which will guide you across a wooden bridge to reach the home of the trail keepers. There a charming cabin overlooks the valley of Boquete, as scents of orchids and other flowers float through the crisp air. To enter the park there is a small fee that helps to pay for trail maintenance. The trail follows a path through the forest, surrounded by luscious plants on all sides, where orchids and bromeliads cling to lichen covered tree trunks. The trail boasts several waterfalls with three vista points from which to view it. Plan to spend a few hours exploring the park or bring a picnic and make it a full day.
Hotel Rebequet: Opened since 1984, this small nine room hotel was home for our first night in Boquete. Located in a residential neighborhood just a short walk from main street, Hotel Rebequet offers a peaceful stay, plus a home cooked breakfast in the morning with fresh eggs as you like, toast, coffee and juice.
Pensión Topas: For the rest of our time in Boquete we stayed at Pensión Topas, a hostel operated by a German expat. The spacious grounds of the property offer a pool, gardens, river, and reading nooks. The friendly owner has tips on all the best places to see in town, and can help you book any manor of diversion.
Black & White: Located on the main street in town, Black & White is a Spanish tapas restaurant with an excellent happy hour deal. Even though the power went out during dinner (not uncommon for Central America,) we ended the night with several sangrias and multiple little plates of delectable dishes all for the nice price of $20.
Sugar and Spice: This artisan bakery makes European style baked goods, plus the American favorite – cupcakes. A variety of delightful flavors await your selection at Sugar and Spice, with the option to dine in with a mug of coffee or take to-go.
Olgas: A quaint cafe that offers breakfast in an indoor/outdoor, alfresco dining room. Enjoy a cup of coffee from beans grown at one of the local coffee farms as you have breakfast.
Restaurante Las Orquideas: A small restaurant, operated out of the home of a local family, their $4 lunch will satisfy your hunger. Dine in their enclosed patio on a meal that comes with a choice of meat (we had tuna), potatoes, salad, and tea.
Other things to check out in Boquete:
- Sendero Los Quetzales (The Quetzales Trail)
- El Parque Nacional Volcán Barú (Volcano Barú National Park)
- Tree Trek
- Coffee Tasting