Spectacular Mountain Scenery, Coffee Farms, River Rafting and a Year-Round Spring Climate
Boquete is Panama’s premier mountain destination located close to the Costa Rica border, the centerpiece is the Baru Volcano, a 11,400 ft. inactive volcano that towers over the area with majestic views, The rich volcanic soil makes for a lush flora and fauna. Attractions include spectacular mountain views, world-class rafting and kayaking, golf, coffee farm tours, bird-watching, hiking, horseback riding. a thrilling zipline canopy tour, year-round spring climate, and a quaint friendly town.
Boquete coffee regularly wins the top awards in international competitions.
Boquete became famous for retirement when the AARP ( American Association for Retired Persons) chose it as one of the 5 top places in the world to retire- a rating based on safety, beauty, climate and cost-of-living. Fortune magazine’s Retirement Guide selected Boquete as one of the 5 best places in the world to retire.
How To Get There
By air, car or bus. You can fly Air Panama from Albrook Airport to the nearby city of David. Airfares are around $230 round trip.
From David, you can rent a car or take a 45 minute taxi ride to Boquete for about $30.
It’s an easy 7 hour car trip from Panama City. Or you can a take a bus ($15) from the Albrook Bus Terminal in Panama City that will take you to David and from there you can take another bus or a taxi to Boquete. There’s a convenient Midnight Express for those who want arrive in the morning.
How to get to Boquete from Bocas: For a personal driver to Boquete, call Candelario Vargas 6643-5961 or Betsy Gonzalez 6629-1023. They will meet you with a car or van in Puerto Almirante where you arrive on the ferry or boat from Bocas. The drive to Boquete takes about 3.5 hours. Or if you are on a budget you can take a bus from Almirante to David and then a bus from David to Boquete- the whole trip will cost less than $20.
Where To Stay
You can stay in three places in Boquete: in the town, on a mountainside overlooking the town and the volcano or just outside town along the river. A stay in a town hotel gives you walking distance to the riverside fair grounds full of flowers and conveniences like a grocery store and a good variety of restaurants. See our Boquete Hotels section for more information. A lodging near the river means a more countryside experience. A stay in one of the hotels on the mountainside is a close-to-nature experience with amazing volcano and mountain views
Where To Eat
- Mike’s Global Grill First-class cuisine in a humble setting, this special place is the creation of American Mike Rahm, a graduate of the top US cooking school- the Culinary Institute of America. Mike and his wife Heidi created a low-key place where people can relax, have a good time and great food very reasonably priced. It is truly “international” as the name suggests- you’ll find American comfort food classics, plus Thai, Mexican, pizza, Chinese, Panamanian dishes and the best falafel in Panama, There’s a sports bar and a young crowd often, especially on Saturdays when there’s live music.
- Sugar & Spice A rare find- a world-class bakery shop with dozens of delicious pastries and kinds of breads. A great place for breakfast and lunch with soups, sandwiches enchiladas and burritos. This place is irresistible-you’ll come back for sure.
- The Oasis Conveniently located downtown this restaurant which is part of a B &B, offers fine food nicely presented with good service in a attractive setting on river view terrace with fireplaces. Fresh local ingredients and an opportunity to try some Panamanian as well as American dishes.
- Panamonte – Boquete’ s original gourmet restaurant this is a famous place created by one of Panama’s top chefs-Charlie Collins. Tru the fresh trout, filet mignon and hearty seafood soup. For vegetarians, the wild mushroom polenta. For the evenings, there’s a beautiful lounge bar with a fireplace where you can order the same dishes.
Just outside town:
- The Rock One of the most popular restaurants in the most beautiful setting- 5 minutes by car from town overlooking a scenic river. The Rock is is the place for a romantic evening and a gourmet meal. The menu is fusion and American classics with a local twist. All fresh local ingredients and good service. Their Thursday night all-you-can-eat pork ribs. Salad and sourdough break for $18.00 is very popular.
- Restaurant Bargains.
Sabroson: A humble cafeteria-style diner with incredibly cheap simple food. It will be hard to spend more than $4 on a meal. This is the best place in town for those on a budget and also a good place to get mix with the locals.
Nelvis is a cafeteria open for breakfast and lunch, The food is well prepared and you’ll find it hard to spend more the $5. Their fried chicken is delicious. El Sabroson on main street is another local cafeteria with more selection. You can get a large breakfast for $3 and a large lunch and dinner for less the $4.
- A Treat Called “Duros” These are delicious locally made popsicles in paper cup made of real fruit. They sell them at Restaurant Lourdes and other places for 30 cents- the perfect snack.
What To Do
Coffee Farm Tours
Boquete Safari Adventures offers both full day and half day coffee farm tours that include coffee tastings and viewing the coffee process from the coffee plants to the processing. The tours include a scenic ride of the valleys and mountains surrounding the town of Boquete.
Hike and Bike
For a hike you can see Quetzales in season, hike the Volcano or take easier trails to through rain forest to waterfalls.
Ask you hotel where to rent a bicycle. You’ll have a great time biking all around Boquete scenic outskirts.
Valle Escondido Resort has a scenic and challenging 9 hole golf course. The greens fee for 9 or 18 holes is $35. Afterward dine at one of their restaurants or have a coffee at their cafe. Call 720-2897.
Hike the Volcan Baru Volcano
This hike should only be done with a tour guide. The Volcan Baru is 11,400 ft- this is an all day hike through cloud forest. At the peak on a clear day you can see both the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans.
Rafting and Kayaking for both Families and the Experienced Adventurer
Chiriqui province where Boquete is located is known worldwide for some of the best rafting and kayaking anywhere-including sea kayaking. For rafting, we recommend Boquete Outdoor Adventures with perfect safety records and attentive, fun-oriented staff. They also specialize in kayaking and adventure trips on land and sea for everyone from families to extreme adventurists. See their info on the sidebar under Tour Operators.
Boquete is the ideal place for horseback riding- in short ride from the valley you find yourself on the mountain enjoying panoramic views. Boquete Safari Tours has a great horseback trip-where you’ll see views of the Pacific Ocean, Boquete and the volcano.
To rent a horse without a guide call Eduardo Cano.
Spas and Alternative Health Services
The Haven Spa offers health spa vacations in a beautiful mountain retreat. In addition to being the perfect place to relax and renew, it is the top alternative health destination in Panama.
Zipline Canopy Tour: Boquete Tree Trek
A thrilling and beautiful ride of almost a mile through the canopy of highland rainforest on a working coffee farm. See Tours on the side bar.
Shop for a Vacation Home or Retirement Home
While prices have gone up in the last few years, Boquete prices are still well below neighboring Costa Rica. For foreigners Boquete has many advantages-low living cost relative to the USA, a close-to-ideal climate, safety, a hard-working, honest and friendly local people, stores with just about everything you can buy in the States at the same price or better prices in nearby David and excellent medical care. See the sidebar residential communities.
Have a Cup of Gourmet Coffee
The best place to have a cup of Panama’s gourmet coffee is a Finca Lerida, a spectacular gourmet coffee farm about 15 minutes out of town. There’s both a coffee shop a gourmet restaurant with spectacular mountain and coffee farm views.
Finca Lerida is also a great place to stop by for bird watchers, as the flora and fruits attract many kinds of birds
Another great place to have a cup of coffee is Cafe Kotowa at the CEFATA center. Located just as you come into town, it has scenic views of the Boquete valley.
Birding and See a Resplendant Quetzal
There are a number of good guides for birding tours. If you want to see the rare Quetzal rare and one of the Holy Grail of birding we recommend you call Chago, a famous bird guide who can call Quetzales and mid-December thru May guarantees you will see at least one Quetzal. Chago’s phone number is 6626-2200.