Boquete is Panama's premier mountain destination and rated as one of the best places in the world for a second homes and retirement. Located close to the Costa Rica border, the center piece is the Baru Volcano, a 11,400 ft. inactive volcano which towers over the area with majestic views and a rich volcanic soil that makes for lush flora and fauna. Attractions include spectacular mountain views, world-class rafting and kayaking, golf, coffee farm tours, bird-watching, hiking, horseback riding and a thrilling zipline canopy tour.
The small town of Boquete is nestled in a picturesque valley with a river rushing through it. It is famous for it's year-round spring climate and friendly locals. It used to be a "best kept secret". All that changed in when the American Association for Retired Persons chose Boquete 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 $10.
Where To Stay
There are three kinds of Boquete lodging venues: stay in the village or up on the mountain overlooking the village and the volcano or just outside the village along the river. A stay in a village hotel gives you walking distance to the riverside fair grounds full of flowers, Boquete town sights, all conveniences and 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
Just outside town:
What To Do
Boquete Jazz & Blues Festival:
Feb. 28 – March 3, 2013
Boquete is home to a world-class Jazz and Blues - Central America’s only music festival showcasing with an exciting mix of eight bands playing Latin Jazz and North American Blues. Plan your Panama vacation for an immersion in great music in the enchanting town of Boquete.
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. Afterwards 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 luxury mountain retreat. In addition to being the perfect place to relax and renew, they are well known for helping many with chronic illnesses.
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
We recommend Cafe Ruiz near My Garden is Your Garden, and the Cafe Kotowa at the CEFATA center (great views) and Los Establos Plaza. If you have a car, have a coffee at Finca Lerida, a spectacular gourmet coffee farm about 15 minutes out of town with cafe with a restaurant that has mountain and coffee farm views. Finca Lerida is also a great place to stop by for bird watchers, as the deliberately placed flora and fruits attract many birds.
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 Grails 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.
For fine dining, we especially recommend The Panamonte Inn, Sabor Escondido in Valle Escondido and Rancho Caldera, about half an hour from town and for American comfort food. The Bistro on Main St. is also good, or for amazingly cheap but good Panamanian food try El Sabroson on Main Street for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Boquete also has a surprising variety of international restaurants including Mexican, Peruvian, Italian, French and Middle Eastern.