El Explorador Boquete

Address: Jaramillo, Boquete, Chiriquí, Panamá

One of Panama’s most ambitious contemporary art exhibits is stashed away in Jaramillo, Boquete in the Chiriquí province. Rather than an indoor venue with strategic lighting, El Explorador is an unassuming “eco thematic garden” that extends across a small hillside. The $5 entrance fee will grant you access to a dazzling spread plants coupled with sage quotes and moving scenes. The latter are written in Spanish so make sure to bring a Spanish-speaking friend or device if you are not familiar with the language.

The garden is quirky collection of man-made species: upturned buckets, monitors with mirror screens, empty refrigerators, musical wine bottles, and paintbrushes thick with time-hardened paint have been repurposed into friendly faces and scenes that suggest a better way to live. They have been appointed wide eyes with dark lashes and tumescent mouths so they may eagerly peer out from nests of fern and frond.

Along the way, there are small signs with choice advice about evergreen truths. The short epigrams - such as Sincranizate, ¡Se feliz! or Tune in, Be happy! - are curated by the Demetrio Miranda, the son of Sra. Deyanira Guerra de Miranda who is the gentle spirit who started the whimsical garden three decades ago. Neither a renowned mystic, author or poet, he has simply devised a way to amplify the garden’s array of messages by providing subtitles for his mother's imaginative, Seussian exhibits.

This is a truly uplifting labor of love that nature and art enthusiasts would be loath to miss.

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    Welcome sign

    Welcome sign
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    Re-cyling

    Re-cyling
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    View of part of the garden which overlooks Barú

    View of part of the garden which overlooks Barú