Boquete Travel Guide

Boquete is a lovely mountain town located in the western portion of Panama. It’s a popular destination for hiking, coffee, and good restaurants. Lots of people retire to here for the temperate air, and you’ll find a city filled with great food. I ate the best meals of my trip in this town. Throw in some amazing mountain hikes, a strawberry ice cream shop, and cheap local food, and, well, Boquete might be touristy but it’s not overrated.

Typical Costs

Hostel prices – Hostels in the city costs between 10-15 PAB for a dorm room. Private rooms in hostels begin at 35 PAB per night for a single or double room.

Budget hotel prices – Budget hotels cost between 40-90 PAB per night for a double room with A/C, hot water, and private bathroom.

Average cost of food – Local stalls will cost around 2-3 PAB and will get you chicken, rice, and beans. For a nice meal with wine, expect to pay around 30-40 PAB. Top restaurants include The Rock, Sugar and Spice, and the Panamonte.

Transportation costs – Taxis in the city cost about 5 PAB. Buses around the area cost 1 PAB.

Money Saving Tips

Eat at the local stands – Meals at local food stalls cost between 3-4 PAB. You’ll get rice, chicken, beans, and maybe another side, plus a drink. I didn’t love the food in Panama but at the price they had, it made eating very cheap.

Walk around town – The town is so small that everything is walkable. Avoid taking the taxis unless you are in a rush somewhere.

Top Things to See and Do

Spot wildlife in the Paradise Gardens – This wildlife sanctuary is great for those interested in Panama’s flora and fauna. Paradise Gardens features tamarins, howler monkeys, white-faced capuchins, a margay, parrots, a striking variety of macaws, kinkajous, and more. What also makes this place great is that it is solely run by volunteers.

Visit Mi Jardín Es Su Jardín – This garden is a private garden made for everyone, and free to enter. There are a lot of plants here and the place has a funky design. There’s an impressive view of the valley and surrounding mountains, which you can look at through the observation tower.

Take a Coffee Plantation Tour – Most of the coffee in Panama is grown here and throughout the mountains there are tons of coffee plantations. Take a tour of one and see how coffee is grown and processed. Most tours are half day and cost around 25 PAB, but can cost as little as 10 PAB. Here’s a video of my tour:

Go Hiking – This area is filled with jungles, mountains, waterfalls, and animals. Plus, since it’s in the mountains, it stays relatively cool. All of this is the perfect recipe for great hiking. Wander through the many marked trails around the city and just enjoy the outdoors.

Hike the Sendero Los Quetzales Trail – This 8 mile trail begins about 5 miles out of town and ends in Cerro Punta. If you start from Boquete, you go uphill. From Cerro Punta, downhill. However, some people think the uphill hike is actually easier than hiking downhill since the downhill part is very hard on your knees. The trail takes a whole day to walk so it’s best to leave early in the morning. While you won’t see a lot of animals here, you’ll find lots of birds and great views and waterfalls along the path.

Climb Volcán Barú – This volcano is one of the biggest attractions for travelers here. You hike up to the summit of the dormant volcano for great views of the area, the caldera, and good exercise. While it is possible to do it in a very long day hike, most people hike this volcano over two days. That way you can spend the night at the top and witness the spectacular sunrise in the morning. You can hike this by yourself or go on an overnight tour with a guide for around 50 PAB.

Traverse Chiriquí Viejo River – If you are looking for a bit of a thrill in this quiet mountain area, a number of tour companies offer half and full-day whitewater rafting tours on the Chiriquí Viejo River. Prices tend to range from 65-90 PAB.

Go on a Trail Ride – It’s possible to arrange a horseback ride through the mountains around Boquete, and if you’d like, you can even combine this with a visit to a coffee plantation for a mere 10 PAB extra.

Soak in the Caldera Hot Springs – Next to the Caldera River, lie the Caldera Hot Springs, which are wonderful way to unwind after your hike up the volcano. Keep in mind that it’s a bit tricky to get to these springs. You can either take a bus (which doesn’t run on a reliable schedule) and then hike for 45 minutes, or you can pay around 35 PAB to arrange a round-trip taxi.

Do a zip-line tour – For a fun afternoon, arrange a zip-lining tour of the Cloud Forest canopy. The zip-line system in the area consists of twelve different lines. Expect to pay around 65 PAB for the activity.

Go rock climbing – The first rock climbing company in Panama was founded here in Boquete. Climbers of all levels can do a bouldering or rock climbing tour here, or can opt for a climbing course. You will pay around 40-45 PAB for a day tour.

Tour the Gulf Islands – An hour and a half’s drive from Boquete will grant you access to the Chiriqui’s gulf islands. Tours leave from Boquete, and give you a day of swimming, snorkeling, and relaxing around these gorgeous tropical islands. Tour prices range from 75-100 PAB.

Eat some ice cream – The strawberry ice cream shop, Fresas Mary, will leave a lasting impression. Go there for an ice cream or a bowl of strawberries with whipped cream. It’s the perfect way to finish off a long day of exploring.

Fashion in the Country

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How I Travel So Much

What is the secret to traveling long term? How can I travel so much, so often? Am I rich? Do I have a trust fund? Are all my trips paid for by someone else? What is the secret?!!! Well, while money does help, want to know the real reason I can afford to travel so much?

DESIRE.

That’s it.

No secret trust fund.

No illegal activity.

I just focus on making it happen.

After my first trip to Costa Rica in 2004, I was bitten by the travel bug and have been traveling ever since. I live to travel. I make the time, I budget for it, and my life revolves around it.

Traveling is what’s important to me, so I find a way to make it happen.

I skip the Starbucks, don’t shop that often, and don’t eat out a lot. I cut corners elsewhere so I can have the time and money to do what I love: travel.

I fake plan dozens of trips every day. If I have unplanned time in my calendar, I think “hmmm, where can I go that week? Let’s figure out how to get there.”

That’s it. I’ve built my life around traveling more.

I often hear from people that traveling is out of their reach, that they don’t have the money or the time. They have just too much responsibility. And while there are certain constraints on traveling that time and money create, people do what they want. When you truly want something, you go after it. If you truly wanted to travel, you would. You wouldn’t make excuses; you would just find a way. Excuses are simply a convenient way for people to ignore their own fears.

I travel so often for the same reason my friend always seems to be at a Patriots game, or my other friend has a new pair of shoes, and another always seems to be hiking. That’s what we love and we actively work to realize those goals. You want to get that new iPhone? You’ll make it happen.

We always want to make our desires come true.

I choose to work towards making my travel desire a reality.

There are a lot of unknowns in long term traveling and a lot of people aren’t ready to deal with that. However, even if you’ll never spend a year traveling around the world or dedicate your life to vagabonding, that doesn’t mean travel will be out of your reach.

Travel is a wonderful thing. Life is short and I don’t think we were ever meant to spend it droning away in cubicles. Travel can show you all the beauty in the world — from chaotic markets in Asia and majestic cities in Europe to dense jungles and exotic wildlife in Central America. Everywhere you go, every day something new happens. New people, new places, and new experiences.

People like to think that travel costs a lot of money or that you just can’t make it happen. My only hope is that by reading this blog, you realize that you can. I’m not rich, but I budget well and I find good travel deals. I work hard so that I can play hard. With a little flexibility and a little price scouting, you can get anywhere on any budget. People are always amazed when they see how cheap it can be and how little effort it really takes.

Once you have the desire and motivation to go, nothing can stop you.