Business Week, July 2008 ranked Boquete in Panama as one of the top-ten dollar-friendly destinations on the planet. It has also become a firm favourite for snowbirds escapng the snow of northern USA and Canada. It is a small town with spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean and a river running across it, about a six hour drive from Panama City. The town, founded in 1911, is surrounded by steep, lush mountains to the north, east and west, where lies the Baru Volcano, Panama’s highest peak at 3,475 meters.
The slopes surrounding the town are dotted with coffee plantations, flower gardens and orange groves, rising to rugged peaks that are usually obscured by thick cloud that descends on the town in a constant fine mist known as bajareque.
Set in the far north of the Chiriqui Province, Boquete is only 7 km (3.3 miles) from the border with the Bocas del Toro Province and close to the border with Costa Rica. While small compared to David, Boquete is the most populated and developed highland community, with many stable businesses geared towards tourism. Coffee and dairy farming are popular local businesses here too.Complete with a wide variety of hotels and restaurants,it can satisfy both backpackers and more demanding travellers alike. Hotels range from $10.00-$100.00, and restaurants include Mexican and Italian, in addition to numerous local establishments.
Weather in Boquete
Roughly 1000ft above sea level, it is up in the highlands and has a superb climate, with temperatures 10-20F cooler than down below, and not as humid. There is a regular gentle breeze making even the hottest day comfortable.
Things to See and Do in Boquete
The Kotowa coffee tour is the best coffee-estate tour in the area. The 3 hours long tour describes the estate’s history (emphasis on the estate’s environmentally friendly methods of coffee production), shows the production facilities and the estate’s processing mill with all the original machinery followed by a tasting session, during which guests learn what to look for in high quality coffee. Try to make reservations 24 hour before desired tour date. Tel. 720-3852.
For bird watching try Coffee Adventures. Hans & Terry offer a wide range of birding tours in and around Boquete. Tel.720-3852
Gardens to visit
Mi Jardin es Su Jardin, just uphill from Café Ruiz, is a magnificent garden surrounding a luxurious private estate. There is no entrance fee, and the garden is open every day of the year. Only a 45-minutes walk from the center of Boquete is El Explorador.
There is a cafeteria which serves breads, hot chocolate and many more of food and beverages and behind the cafeteria there is a garden like a page ripped from Alice in Wonderland. El Explorador is open only on weekends and holidays and the entrance costs about $1.00
Horseback Riding Tours
Try a friendly guide called Franklin who speaks Spanish and English who offers horseback riding in the beautiful area of the Hot Springs/Caldera. Tel. 720-1750
These natural hot springs are famous for their health-giving properties. Located near Boquete make the access easy. Enjoy a half day tour to the hot springs in a very relaxed atmosphere.
The mountainous area surrounding the town is ideal for walking and exploring. There is a difficult hiking tour called Sendero Los Quetzales which lasts seven to eight hours. You can hike the trail either from Bajo Mono to Cerro Punta or the other way. For this tour you need to arrange a local guide.
The Chiriqui Viejo is a World Class River that has all. Located near the Panama-Costa Rican border. It has virgin forest, water falls, and wild life that is not surpassed anywhere in Central America. Best of all, it has some of the best rapids anywhere in the world. This river can be run on day trips or two night camping trips are available from Panama Rafters – Tel. 720-2712. E-Mail email@example.com.
Also recommended is Chiriqui River Rafting. They offer different river rafting tours with professional guides in the Chiriqui River. It is promised unforgettable memories and the tours are very safe. Tel. 720-1505. Cell 6618-0846
Boquete Tree Trek gives you a chance to safely experience the thrill of a zip-line canopy tour that can be compared to the most famous in the world. You will glide through the trees and encounter a world unknown. The tour is divided into 11 different zip-line cables over 3 kilometers in total length. Tel. 720-1635
Tour the Isla Boca Brava
Tel. 720-1635. You will experience the full sea side of the pacific coast in Chiriqui while still being close to shore.
Tour the Volcano – Vulcan Baru
Tour to the Volcano, at 3,475 meters altitude, when fair weather you will be able to look at the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans both at the same time. Tel. 720-1635.
Mountain Safari Tours
Boquete Mountain Safari sets itself apart from all other tours in Boquete by providing the only open air tour, in vintage Yellow Jeeps. It’s not just a tour—it is an adventure. Trek to see Howlers, Sloths, the Quetzal, or just have fun driving in the Cloud Forest to see Coffee Plantations and the beauty that makes Boquete the “Valley of the Flowers”. They are the only tour company in Panama allowed to visit Boquete’s award winning Specialty Coffee Estates (similar to the Napa Valley Wine Tours).
Cell Phone: 507-6627-8829
Quebrada Grande Golf Course
This course is in the Valle Escondido Resort. You will definitely be challenged by this 9 hole executive golf course. Imagine playing golf in Panama in air conditioned comfort!
At 3,000 feet above sea level, you are in the cool mountain air and it is the only no sweat golf available in Panama. The course is not only challenging, but most people agree that it is one of the most beautiful courses in the country. You play across the Quebrada Grande river on nearly every hole. There are two tee boxes for each hole making a two round 18 hole par 60 course.
There are clubs and golf carts for rent. There is a training center with driving range where you can warm up or brush up on your game.
Cielo Paraiso Golf Course
The first 9 holes at Cielo Paraiso are expected to open by January 2009 and the entire golf course will open for play by July 2009.
“Construction of the golf course at Cielo Paraiso is progressing nicely and we anticipate completion by July 2009. Having designed over 200 courses around the world and in virtually every climate, I can truly say that the Cielo Paraiso site is one of the most spectacular that I have had the privilege of working on. Our design and construction team is committed to the creation of one of the finest, most enjoyable and visually stunning courses in all of Central America. The 18-hole championship-quality golf course will, without question, be the centerpiece of the beautiful new Cielo Paraiso residential community in Boquete, Panama.”J. Michael PoellotGolf Course Architect
Retiring in Boquete
Boquete for retirement is ideal and it has become a firm favorite with retiring Americans for many reasons, not just the great weather.
The countryside is as beautiful as anywhere found in Central America. No fewer palm trees or striking colors! The mountains and coffee plantations are stunning.
Not only that but there are lots of things to do: fishing, horse riding, walking, bird watching etc.
Recently new places have been opening up in the town – like international style bars, hotels, museums, a nine-hole golf course, and gyms.
Given the rising popularity of this place, there are various constructions underway to appeal to tourists too like visitors’ centers and shops.
There are a lot of people here who speak English, and creating a good social life is easy.
Labor is cheap in the area, with $7 a day as a good base salary for gardeners, maids, cooks etc.
Life is not expensive (try a haircut for $2!) and retirees benefit from the very generous retirement package offered by the Panamanian government.
For more on the benefits of retiring in Panama go to
Real Estate in Boquete
There are not as many upscale choices for property as Panama City, but with the influx of 50-80 million baby–boomers in the next 10 years, well, “the times, they are-a-changing’!
Boquete offers both town living and country living.
You can build your own dream home here to your exact specifications or buy a ready built property.
This towm’s greatest asset really is the cost of real estate. For $45 a square foot for a US style home, massive 2,500 square foot homes are available for less than $80,000. Wow!
If doesn’t lure you enough to actually live there, many people are investing in real estate here to sell later or rent.
The Baru Volcano
The view of the Baru Volcano is amazing!
It is 11,000 feet high. You can take a hike up to the top in about 4hrs, or rent a jeep, and it will take you 45 minutes. Once you reach the top and with good weather conditions you can see both oceans (Pacific and Caribbean).
You can also take some of the trails leading to the different craters of the Baru volcano and see birds that can only be seen here.
Temperatures may drop as low as 68 degrees! Burrrr!!! . Some fast flowing rivers like the Chiriqui Viejo, winding its way through the agricultural lands of Boquete are used for rafting or canoeing.
Some other places like El Respingo near Cerro Punt are excellent for bird watching, especially the Quetzal (phraromacrus mocino) and the Toucan (ramphastos swainsonii), or for collecting some of the many Wild Orchids, ferns or moss that grow in this area.
Restaurants in Boquette
Delicias de Peru – Seafood
Restaurante Hibiscus. Tel.720-2652. Internacional cuisine specialized in French style
Restaurante Hotel Panamonte. Tel.720-1327. International cuisine
Restaurante Gran Francés. Tel. 720-2556 / National cuisine
Restaurante Lourdes. Tel. 720-1031 / Local Panamanian
Restaurante Bistro Boquete. Tel. 720-1017
Restaurante La Casona Mexicana. Mexican Food
Restaurante Antojitos. Mexican Food
Restaurante Tacos & Tacos. Mexican Food
Restaurante y Pizzería Salvatore. Pizza / Italian food
Pizzería La Volcánica. Tel. 720-1063. Pizza. / Local
Java Juice – the best hamburgers and shakes/juices
Panama Roasting Company – Breakfast and Lunch
Neli Coffee Shop – Coffee and little things
Hotels in Boquete
Mstrong>Panamonte Inn & Spa
Charming New-England-style Country Inn located 4 blocks from center of town, in Chiriqui Highlands. The Panamonte Inn & Spa is famous for its gracious hospitality, antique charm and exquisite cuisine. The Panamonte is not a hotel or a lodge, but the true definition of a country inn: a warm and friendly place for travelers seeking a comfortable ambiance and personalized attention, a home away from home. There are 16 rooms including garden cabins, standard rooms, suites and an apartment. Prices range from $98 to $280 a night. Phone 011(507) 720-1324 • Fax: 011(507) 720-2055 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Valle Escondido, or Hidden Valley, is a Residential Resort Community of unprecedented tranquility and beauty. www.valleescondido.bizTel: (507) 720-2454
Valle Prima Vera
Accommodation at reasonable rates in a very tranquil and laid back atmosphere. Their rooms are large, clean, comfortable, including private bathrooms with hot water. Just a 6 minutes walk from downtown Boquete. Prices are around $40 a night. Tel: (507) 720-2881Mobile: 6674-5761
The Coffee Estate Inn
Luxury bungalows in a coffee plantation facing the Baru volcano, 800ft above Boquete. The hotel offers candlelit dinners and excellent cuisine as well as some of the freshest coffee you will ever have the pleasure to drink. A bungalow for two is $145 a night. Only 7 guests can be accommodated at any time. The owners can organize trips from here. Tel (507) 720-2211 www.coffeeestateinn.com
Boquette Garden Inn
Boquete Garden Inn was included in Frommer’s ‘Best of Panama’ section as one of the top nine Small Hotels and B&Bs in Panama! This unique Panama B&B is the perfect escape for your vacation, honeymoon or special celebration. Double rooms are $85 to $100 a night including tax. Phone (507) 720-2376 www. boquetegardeninn.com
La Huaca Inn
A new hotel in Boquete town, right on Central Avenue, close to restaurants, shops, public transportation, Caldera river, and more. Six beautiful rooms with a coffee and wine bar on the premises. $40 per night for double occupancy. Tel: (507) 720-2515 www.lahuacainn.com
Isla VerdeThe hotel is situated just 3 minutes walking distance from Boquete centre. There are six open, bright and spacious roundhouses and 2 suites. All lodging is situated in a lush tropical garden setting. Every unit is outfitted with bath and kitchen as well as hot and cold water along with Direct TV service. Free high-speed wireless Internet is also available to guests. Double rooms are between $80 and $100 not including breakfast or tax. Tel: 507-720 2533 www. islaverdepanama.com
Boquete Paradise Hotel
Just 5 minutes from downtown Boquete, these cabanas are surrounded by gorgeous gardens located next to a roaring mountain stream with a breathtaking view of the 11,500 ft. Volcano Baru. There are 7 two bedroom suites, accommodating up to 8 people, complete with full kitchen/dining area; or 4 single queen bed suites with kitchenettes. All include satellite TV, wireless internet and complimentary continental breakfast.
Newly opened in July 2008 this modern hotel has 20 rooms of which 2 are suites. Tel:720-1791 www.hotel-ladera.com
Cheap Places to stay in Boquete
Refugio del Rio Known in town as the “luxurious” hostel, you will surprised to discover that such a beautiful house has been transformed into a hostel. The house has been carefully furnished and decorated and has 4 bedrooms all of which have private bathrooms. 2 of the bedrooms are dorm rooms that can accommodate up to 6 and 10 people each. The other 2 bedrooms have a double bed and one of them also has a single bed with a beautiful view to the garden and to the creek behind the property. The communal areas are the best amongst the low budget hostels in Boquete Tel: (507) 720 2433 / 720 2088 www.refugiodelrio.com/Boquete.html
Hotel Palacios by the bus stop, in front of the Parque / $6.50 per person. With shower it is $10 or $15 for two. Go there for the friendly owner, the small garden, the kitchen & the backpackers’ atmosphere. What you may not like : the rooms are not very clean, the whole place is rather messy, the water is cold, the mattress uncomfortable and it is very noisy, thanks to the lovely neighbors and their five dogs ! Tel: 7201653
Hostal Boquete, east of the Parque, toward the bridge by the river. Rooms with a shower are. $8 for one or $13 for two. Go there for the excellent deal, the nice comfortable rooms and the setting, with a tiny flowered garden by the river. Not all the rooms offer a river view. Tel: 7202573 Hotel Rebequet one street South of the Parque . Rooms with a shower are $10 per person or $15 for two in main building. Around a garden prices are $20 for a single and $30 for a double plus tax. Go there for the large pleasant rooms in a spotless environment. Tel: 7201365
Pension Marilos opposite the above. Only $6.50 for a single or $10 for a double room. With a shower it is slightly more. The house is charming, well decorated and has a homely atmosphere. The rooms are rather small, the furniture basic and not all have a window. Tel 7201380
Topas Pension one street South of the above. From $10 for a double room. Go there for the great setting in a relaxed garden w. swimming pool and volley net, the good rooms well decorated, the excellent info from the German owner or if you are a Tintin fan (look for the murals) / Bike for guests at $5 per day. Tel: 7201005 (email@example.com),
Medical Services in Boquete
Centro Médico San Juan Bautista.
Dr. Leonidas Pretelt. Tel. 720-1881 Cel. 616-2177 / Fluent English
Clinica Valle Boquete Dr. Basilio Markaw, Tel. 6673-3305 Dr. Augusto Sitton Tel. 6675-0422. / Some English
Consultorio Alfa. (Al lado de La Reina / Next to La Reina store). Dr. Alfonso Mou Tel .720-2434 Cel. 675-8393. / Good Enough English
Ministerio de Salud. Dr. Jeffrey Joyner Tel. 720-2341. Cel. 673-9908. / Bilingual
Mountain Safari Tours
Your Path to Adventure!
Hiking Tours • Horseback Riding • Cloud Forest •Hot Springs • 4 x 4 Jeep Tours • Wildlife • Coffee Tours • Quetzal Trail
Boquete Safari invites you to discover this unspoiled region of Panama filled with natural and cultural riches with a legacy that has shaped the world’s history. The Chiriqui Province of Panama is filled with wonderful biodiversity found within ancient rainforests, spectacular seas and indigenous cultures. A land of mystery and enchantment.