Boquete, Chiriquí, Panama

Price: 3 (not cheap but not expensive)

Attractions: 4

Food: 5

Language Barrier: Mostly Spanish, but English was wildly understood.

Would I return? Yes.

Boquete is without a doubt one of my favorite smaller towns. I realize this isn’t some tucked away paradise that no one knows about. It is a premier destination for retired Americans, Central American backpackers (I met two from Spain and several from America), as well as locals.

Boquete is a quiet town tucked away into the mountains of Panama’s Chiriquí province. Access to this town is easy once you get to David, Panama (either through bus from Costa Rica or Panama City through either bus or flight). David has a bus that goes to Boquete, although I was fortunate enough to have a hotel shuttle pick me up from the airport.

I stayed at the Hotel Valle Del Rio in a room facing the river behind the hotel. The hotel was quite private. The view was mountainous and jaw-dropping, you immediately see the beauty that Boquete has to offer. If you look at the map it does seem that the hotel was far from the center of town, but I assure you it was an easy and safe 10-15 minute walk to all desired locations.

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Now as I mentioned attractions, the photo above was my favorite. Coffee plantations are plentiful in the mountains of Boquete, and the views – as well as coffee – are astounding.

Finca Lerida, a coffee plantation as well as a hotel, was recommended to me from the hotel. Unfortunately I don’t remember the exact price, but the coffee tour was insightful and the guide spoke fantastic english. After the tour I took a hike on the trails, and capped the afternoon off with a great meal at the restaurant.

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Boquete Outdoor Adventures, offers a Jeep tour that drives up Volcán Barú. Once you reach the top you have the ability to see both the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean at the same time. Unfortunately, and as I assume is normally the case, the clouds make it almost impossible to see both. Side note, the 3am start time coupled with the expensive price makes this activity a no (if it is a yes for you, be sure to bring warm clothes). However, BOA offers numerous other activities and I’m sure there is something for everyone.

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Food. Boquete had the best food out of the three cities I visited during this trip (Boquete, Panama City – only one day, and San Jose).

The Rock. Great food, beautiful view, but I think I fell for the hype. The location makes it difficult to get to and the menu as well as prices reflected something closer to an American restaurant.

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RetroGusto. Hands down my favorite restaurant during my trip. The owner is charismatic, sincere, and the food was perfect. On top of that, the price couldn’t be beat!

I also visited several other eateries such as a great gelato shopcheap but tasty pizza, and better than average fish!

Overall Boquete is a must see destination in Central America. I recommend 3-6 days, since 1-2 days is too short and anything longer than a week is too long. If you ever want that perfect mountainous/jungle escape, without the corporate involvement, Boquete should be towards the top of your list.

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