Boquete is the premiere destination attraction of the western highlands of Panama nestled in between the picturesque mountains of Chiriquí province. It is less than 30 miles from the border of Costa Rica and is referred to as the “Switzerland of Panama” due to the beautiful mountain scenery and fertile grounds that dominate the region.
The best way to get to Boquete is via a short 35-minute flight from Panama City to David International Airport followed by a 45 minute transfer to Boquete. Though Boquete is consistently ranked as one of the top retirement places in the world by internationally renowned publications, the town itself is small, unpretentious and leaves much desired for the intrepid traveler. The real reason to go to Boquete is because it is ground zero for exhilarating adventure sports such as Class III-IV white water rafting, one of the best Canopy Adventure Zip Line Tours in the Americas, and two extraordinary National and International Parks offering some of the preeminent hiking trails in all of Central America.
White Water Rafting
While there is an abundance of rivers and routes to take for White Water Rafting in Panama’s Chiriqui Province, Panama’s most exciting and intense river rafting that is known for non-stop thrills is the Rio Chiriqui. The river meanders along the Panamanian-Costa Rican border and is not as easy to access as some of the other rivers, but provides rafters with a spectacular drive full of views which certainly make up for the lost time.
While driving higher and higher up to the put in, rafters will get to take in beautiful scenes of untouched, dense rain forest corridors, breath-taking views of Volcan Barú and even Costa Rica’s rows of teak plantations.
Boquete Canopy Adventure Zip Line Tour
Costa Rica may have invented the Zip Line but Panama has perfected it! The day you do the Boquete Canopy Adventure Zip Line Tour may very well be the highlight of your Panama trip as you soar high above the ground through the tropical rainforest. You will glide through the treetops of century-old forests, high above the pristine rivers and waterfalls that make up the incredible collection of natural landscapes bordering La Amistad National Park and the famous Baru Volcano.
Who would have thought that a technology utilized hundreds of years ago by our indigenous people and later perfected by botanists and naturalists to observe and study the behaviors of wild creatures in their natural habitat, would be transformed into one of the most revered extreme adventure sports? A harness, an ultra-resistant steel cable and gravity are the only elements necessary to suspend and propel the “fearless rider” in this incredible “adrenaline rush”.
Central America’s Best Hiking Trails
La Amistad International Park bridges the border of Panama and Costa Rica and the Quetzal trail affords the best chance in Panamá to see the resplendent bird of the same name. It is considered the first Bi-National Biosphere Reserve of the world because it is located between Panama and Costa Rica. The Panamanian side of the park is part of the mountain range called “Cordillera de Talamanca”. It covers 511,000 acres of cloud forests and 95% of it is located in the province of Bocas del Toro, with the rest in the province of Chiriqui.
For its part, Baru Volcano National Park boasts a well-defined trail leading to the 11,600 foot summit of dormant Baru Volcano. For those adventurous enough to hike to the peak, the opportunity exists to see stunning views of two oceans at once – the Atlantic to the north and the Pacific to the south! Panama is one of the very few, if not only, places in the world where two oceans may be seen at once.
Another highlight of Baru Volcano National Park is Los Quetzales Hiking Trail, offering some of the best hiking experiences in Central America. One of Panama’s most visited and popular hikes, Cerro Punta resides on the western slope of Baru Volcano, whereas Boquete is situated on the volcano’s eastern side. The trail cuts through some of the province’s most pristine, protected forest, offering spectacular views of the surrounding valley.
World’s Best Coffee
One of Panama’s many best-kept secrets is that some of the world’s best coffee is produced up in the mountains above the town of Boquete at come incredible coffee plantations. Taking a coffee tour is a must for everyone, whether you are a true coffee connoisseur or simply interested in learning how some of the world’s best coffee is produced. And visitors to Boquete can can even stay at a beautiful working coffee farm where the coffee is grown and produced.