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Boquete

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Pacific West : Boquete
Revision as of 17:56, 25 February 2012 by 166.237.251.96 (Talk)

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Boquete is a village in Chiriqui province, in the Pacific West of Panama.

Getting there

  • From David: there are several refurbished school buses leaving roughly every 45 minutes until 9:45 PM. Travel time is around 1 hour and cost is $1.75 which you pay when getting off. Look for the school buses with the biggest line and a big "Boquete" sign painted across the top front.
  • From San Jose in Costa Rica: there is one morning bus leaving from the Tracopa terminal at 7:30AM ($15-20). It takes about 9 hours to get to David. From David see above.
  • From Panama City : AirPanama [1] and Aeroperlas www.aeroperlas.com have daily flights to David. The flight takes about 50 minutes, prices range from $80.50 (retired discount) to $101.50 each way.
  • There are regular buses from the Albrook bus terminal, run by at least three companies (Panafrom, Padafront, and Terminales David); between them, there is a bus leaving about every hour. Daytime fares (as of February 2011) are $15.00; there are also nighttime express buses for $18.50. It is an air conditioned bus and gets very cold bus and it makes one 20-30 minute meal stop in Santiago. It takes roughly seven hours to get there.
  • There is a once-daily, $29 shuttle between Bocas del Toro and Boquete 3:30-4 hours(as well as several daily buses between David and Bocas, which are cheaper but take quite a bit longer 5-6 hours). Call or e-mail tour operators in Boquete for details.

Get around

Boquete is a very cozy mountain village so you won't have problems exploring the city on foot. For the surroundings you can either use taxi (one dollar brings you quite far) or the local area buses which leave from the La Bruna Super Market 200 meters up the main road from the busstop. There are also many tour companies that offer guided trips through the mountains to see waterfalls, coffee plantations, the cloud forest, and the National Park.

For more extensive information, there is the Boquete Visitor Center located in downtown. This place amoung several of the hostels offers free, up-to-date, reliable info on tours, restaurants, accommodations and transportation. Their phone number from within US is 786-207-0727, from Panama 507-720-2545.

See

Boquete is known as the "Valley of the Flowers". Nestled in the western highlands of Panama, near the border to Costa Rica. Boquete shares some of the same mountain ranges with Costa Rica, as well as, some of the incredible wildlife and rain forests. However, because it is not as well known, and a 'road less traveled', prices are lower, and it is not as commercial. You can hike for 1/2 a day, or all day, and still have a rare chance to see the Resplendent Quetzal, or a Howler Monkey in the wild. The Boquete Valley is rich with agriculture as well; strawberries, oranges, and coffee come from this region. Volcan Baru, Panama's highest point, is literally the easiest place in the world to see both of the worlds great oceans. The famous 'geisha' coffee, that was sold at auction, for $130 a pound, can be found growing on the rich Volcanic slopes. Adventure travel is a key reason that Boquete, a fairly small town, is growing in popularity for European, American, Latino, and Asian travelers. It is difficult to come to Boquete for just a couple of days and see all that it has to offer, and like many, you may find yourself here for a long term stay.

Do

Horseback Riding in the Mountains of Boquete
Resplendent Quetzal
Entrance Sign for the Volcan Baru National Park
Hot Springs pool in Boquete

but

  • Hiking to the Top of the Volcan Baru - Though there are other options, but ANAM (Panama's Environmental Protection Organization) has encouraged local tour guides to recommend the more environmentally friendly method of hiking to the top of Panama's highest point. Expert Guides and professional equipment can be found by stopping by the Mirador Adventures tour office at Hostal Nomba [2]. Also, they do their best to match single travelers or small groups with others hikers in order to keep costs low. Notice: the climb is very difficult because of the length and steepness of the trail. Take into cosideration the dramatic change in climates as you summit and be prepared. This is the only place in Panama that temperatures occasionally drop below freezing and sadly two people have died on the top due to hypothermia. Guide is not necessary for hikers in groups, strongly recommended for individual hikers.
  • Hike the Quetzal Trail, one of the most famous trails in all of Panama, the Quetzal Trail; so named because it is the home of the rare Resplendent Quetzal. You can hike from Boquete to Cerro Punta (gradual evavation gain), or the reverse. Most hikers though will hike from Boquete to the "Mirador Las Rocas" and then return to avoid the more than 3 hour return by bus from Cerro Punta back to Boquete. It is about a 5-7 hour hike, so it can be completed in one day. Guide recommended as recently repaired trail is extremely hard to follow and if you want any chance of spotting a Quelzal, a guide would be excellent in helping to locate a nest.
  • Visit a Coffee Plantation--See what all the buzz is about regarding coffee tours in Boquete; from 2 to 4 hours: Cafe Ruiz [3] and Kotowa.
  • Whitewater River Rafting on the Chiriquí Viejo--Several companies offer 1/2 day and full day rafting excursions and the last offers inflatable kayak decents for all levels on several rivers around Boquete. Rafting ranges from $65-$90, kayak $45-$70
    • Panama Rafters [4]
    • Boquete Outdoor Adventure [5]

NOTE: Chiriqui River Rafters has now closed for business.

    • Mirador Adventures [6]
  • Zip Line through the Canopy of the Cloud Forest [7] Cost $60 pp.
  • Hot Springs Caldera - [8] Hot and Bubbly mineral water right next to the Caldera River! Take a dip in both hot and cold. Taxis currently charge $30 to $36 for the round-trip journey. There are also a few inconsistent buses between Boquete and Caldera - from the bus stop in Caldera it's about an hour walk to the hot springs. After the bridge over the river, the real hot springs are to the left. tourists that take a tour are taken to instead (see photo below). To join what they call the "Hot Springs Under the Stars" tour stop by Hostal Nomba where daily departures to fun evenings soaking in hot water and sharing stories over a plastic cup of wine or two can be had. Remarkable value for guest of the hostel.
  • Horseback Riding in The Mountains of Boquete - Add a Coffee Tasting to your Horseback Riding Excursion. The Coffee Estate is 10 minutes from the Horse Farm.
    • Horseback Riding in the Mountains [9]
Yellow Jeep Tours crossing river on the way to the Caldera Hot Springs
  • Boquete Outdoor Adventures (BOA), Main Street, Boquete (Los Establos Mall), 011-507-720-2284, [10]. 9am-5pm. Whitewater, sea kayaking, multi-sport and family adventure vacations.
  • Finca dos Jefes, Boquete, 6677 7748, [11]. Visit Finca dos Jefes and experience the only hands-on roasting tour in Panama.
  • Boquete Rock Climbing, +50767647918. Expert rock climber Cesar takes prospective scalers to an unusual volcanic rock face just outside of town. There is one 5.6 path and several 5.9 paths. $40 for 4 hours, with harnesses and ropes provided. $40.
  • Boquete Mountain Safari Tours (The Famous 4 x 4 Yellow Jeeps), Los Establos Plaza (Center of Town right next to Banco General), 507-720-1147, [12]. Ride in the yellow open air jeeps; Cloud Forest Safari's; Horseback Riding; Hiking; Caldera Hot Springs; Coffee Tastings. Also, trips up the Volcan Baru; either hiking or 4x4 driving. Shuttle service to Bocas from Boquete, or Boquete to Bocas del Toro.
  • Solar powered chlorine-free swimming pool, Rancho de Caldera Eco Resort Hotel (20 minutes from downtown Boquete in Caldera), [13]. Swim in what is likely the regions - if not the country's - only solar powered chlorine-free swimming pool with a beautiful view of Boquete's green hills. Pool open to Madre Tierra restaurant guests and overnight guests at Rancho de Caldera Eco Resort Hotel.
  • Beyond Adventure Tours, Central Ave. (Main street), (507)61301414, [14]. 7am - 7pm. Hiking, 4x4 Tours, panoramic, Cloud forest, Coffe tasting tours, Hotspring, horseback Riding, Hidden Pools and Transfers to your destination. hikes from $25.
  • Mirador Adventures (Boquete), Located within Hostal Nomba www.nombapanama.com (Primera calle oeste, arriba escuela Josefa Montero de Vazquez (One block north and one block west of central park)), 720-2864, [15]. 07:00-20:00. Specializing in mountain biking and whitewater excursions. Nightly hotsprings tours, professional equipment headquarters.

Eat

  • Pizzaria Salvatore, (Walk South from the town square (towards David) for about 8 minutes). Enormous Pizza for $12 down to a small one for $6. Various pasta-based Italian options are also on offer. Great pizza dough and cheese & tomato base, toppings vary in quality. US$6 - US$12 main.
  • El Casona Mexicana, (Walk South from the town square for about 8 minutes.). Very good Mexican food and large portion sizes. Various Mexican folk tunes play in the background. US$5 - 8 main.

Drink

  • Zanzibar. This chilled bar offers live music at weekends, and is extremely popular. *La Cabaña Late night bar, open Fridays and Saturdays only.
  • Madre Tierra Restaurant at Rancho de Caldera Eco-Resort, Caldera, Boquete, Panama (On site at Rancho de Caldera Eco-Resort (see separate listing)), (507) 720-4225, [16]. Wine and beer are served, as well as delicious healthy beverages prepared with local fruits and herbs and sweetened with honey - instead of refined sugar.
  • Boquete Jazz&Blues Festival, Boquete/Chiriqui, +507-6519-7876, [17]. The open-air Boquete Jazz&Blues Festival 2012 will take place on March 1-4, 2012. It will feature world-class Blues as well as Latin Jazz on the fairgrounds of the Feria de Las Flores in Boquete. Admission is $15/day or $25 for a festival pass.


Sleep

There are several inexpensive hostels around and within a few blocks the central park.

  • Hostal Paradiso, right opposite the bus station and the central park. Bit noisy since it's right on the street, mind your belongings. I little run down, but Pancho the owner is very friendly and helpful. 8.50 US for dorm.
  • Hostal Nomba (Adventure Backpackers), Primera calle oeste, arriba escuela Josefa Montero de Vazquez (One block north and one block west of central park), +507 720-2864, 6497-5672 (), [18]. checkin: 13:00; checkout: 11:00. Cheap, friendly micro-hostel just off the main street. Run by an extremely welcoming young couple. Poker nights, table football, and comfy hammocks in the common area. They also rent a full range of outdoor equipment for local expeditions, and organise a wide range of adventure tours in the region. WiFi, Free breakfast, backpacker bar with happy hour, two kitchens and 3 baths over just a few rooms. Adjacent is the office of Mirador Adventures [19] Dorm rooms starting $8, privates starting $18.
  • Rancho de Caldera Eco-Resort Boquete Panama, Caldera (25 minutes from downtown Boquete, 40 minutes from David), Toll free from Canada and USA: (877) 810-0898 or (216) 220-0192, [20]. checkin: 2:00; checkout: 11:00. Rancho de Caldera (http://www.ranchodecaldera.com) is a serene and gorgeous eco-resort (completely off the grid, on renewable energy year round) nestled in the mountains of Chiriqui; accommodations include large, spacious rooms, each with a glasswall overlooking the mountains to the east, A/C, iPod docking station, TV, mini-refrigerator and free Internet. Activities include horseback riding, hiking and swimming in a beautiful infinity-edge pool. Hot springs nearby. Rancho de Caldera's on-site Madre Tierra Gourmet Restaurant under the care of internationally acclaimed Chef Craig Miller is a popular new fine dining choice in western Panama. Rancho de Caldera, a leader in innovative, clean energy hospitality, has been recognized by Green Globe International, Rain Forest Alliance and Sustainable Travel International and is among the few lodges in the world that enjoy being #1 on the popularity index and a 100% recommendation rate from guests on the world's largest travel website,TripAdvisor.com
  • Boquete Mountain Casitas, Boquete, Chiriqui (Boquete is a 30 minute drive from David), 507-6613-1472, [21]. checkin: 2:00; checkout: 11:00. Some of the casitas are located within walking distance to the village while others are on private estates in the mountains. Has one 2 bedroom, 2 bath in the middle of an Organic Coffee Farm.
  • Hostal Gaia, Boquete (On main street across from Roxane´s restaurant, next to Sugar & Spice.), 7201952, [22]. checkin: 12:00; checkout: 12:00. Here at our hostel you will find a pleasant atmosphere, a fully equipped kitchen and a dining room, WiFi, camping area, and laundry facilities. from $10.
  • Boquete Paradise, 507-720-2278. Next to a roaring mountain stream and walking out with a view of the 11,500 ft. Volcan Baru right out of your front door. Each unit has a two bedrooms suite with full kitchen, that sleeps eight people. Breakfast is served in the morning $60 - $189.
  • Hostel Mamallena, Parque Central (Right on the Central Park, 30 metres from the bus stop), 720 1260, [23]. This new hostel (sister to the established Mamallena in Panama City) is already extremely popular with travellers.Free breakfast, WiFi internet, lounge, patio, laundry. Also has private rooms with private bathrooms.Information and tours are available.
  • Panamonte Inn & Spa, Ave 11 de Abril, Boquete, +507-720-1327, [24]. Famous for its gracious hospitality, charm and exquisite cuisine, The Panamonte is the true definition of a country inn: a warm and friendly place for travelers seeking a pleasurable ambiance and personalized attention, a home away from home. Located at the foot of Barú Volcano, the Panamonte is the perfect base for exploring the Chiriquí Highlands, and it is the only full-service lodging option in Boquete, offering a deluxe spa, fireside lounge, excursion planning, and a regionally renowned gourmet restaurant.
  • Valle Primavera, (8 minutes, walking, heading South from the central square), (507) 720-2881, [25]. checkout: 11:00. Offers bed-and-breakfast style accommodations in a tranquil atmosphere. Rooms are comfortable and include private entrance, private bathrooms with hot water, cable television and WiFi. Breakfast included. Ideal for families, though it becomes noisy around 8am every morning, so do not expect to lie-in. US$38 (inc taxes) for 1 - 3 person room.
  • Hotel Isla Verde, Calle 5a Sure (Behind the School Josefa Vasquez), (507) 720-2533, [26]. checkin: 1pm; checkout: 11am. Isla Verde offers six roundhouse cabins and four suites, all fully equipped, next to the river in a tropical garden with mountain views. Walking distance to town but peaceful. On-Site massage available. $ 80 - $ 100.
  • Momentum Panama (momentum panama), Alto Boquete (Left side of road going towards Boquete in alto b oquete), 7204385, [27]. checkin: 10; checkout: 2. Momentum's fully-equipped cabins and B&B are set on a green plateau, perched on the edge of a valley alongside the rambling Rio Cochea. There’s plenty of room to wander for you and your family. Small groups welcome. (Maximum capacity 26). At 800 mt. (2,625 ft.), the temperature and distinct lack of humidity is always refreshing. Enjoy the peace, privacy and serenity of our unique location. Better yet, it all comes with spectacular ‘straight-on’ views of Volcan Baru, at 3,475 mt. (10,750 ft.), Panama’s highest peak. 49.

Get out

  • Swim, fish, scuba, snorkel or surf in the cool, clear waters of the Gulf of Chiriqui, an hours' drive away. Go for a day trip or stay in the charming fishing village of Boca Chica, or on one of the island resorts on Boca Brava or Isla Palenque.
  • Pamper yourself with a relaxing long gourmet weekend or mini-vacation in the lush green hills just 20 minutes from Boquete in the direction to David, at [28] Rancho de Caldera Green Globe Eco-Resort Project. Horseback riding, bird watching,hot springs nearby, gourmet food restaurant Madre Tierra, luxurious terraced suites with huge comfortable beds, kitchenettes and massage chairs, solar powered swimming pool and more.



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