From time to time, we get asked about our Boquete favorites – so here’s our list for folks planning a visit here. This is just a beginning, and we’ll add to/update it over time.

FAVE OUTDOOR ADVENTURES
  • Hiking the Lost Waterfalls, Pipeline, Los Quetzales, or El Pianista trails in the cloud forest above Boquete
  • The “secret” swimming hole on the Chiriqui Nuevo river. It’s pup heaven for our dogs and a wonderful place to cool off on a hot day. Not easy to find, but we can tell you all about it if you’re interested.
  • JaWakTa. No words can describe the fabulosity of this bi-level swimming hole/waterfall just a short drive from Boquete (and thanks to our friend Bond McCamy for figuring out the best way to get there!).
  • Los Cangilones de Gualaca. OK, so we haven’t been here yet – but we’ll call this our “fave spot that our friends all love that’s high on our list to check out.” Near the town of Gualaca south of Boquete, this natural swimming hole was created when the Rio Esti carved deep, vertical walls in the surrounding rock. We’ll make it there one of these days!
  • The canopy tour/zipline or the hanging bridges hike at Boquete Tree Trek
  • Whitewater rafting on the Chiriqui Viejo river

For directions and more information on any of these, visit:

  • Boquete Outdoor Adventures – great tours at a reasonable price.
  • Boquete Travel Guide – Our friend Andrea Cook has put together this excellent reference, which includes detailed directions to many of the above places. FYI, Andrea also runs an outstanding travel agency, Viaje Vacations.
  • Our friend Jere McCormick’s blog and Facebook page. Jere does a guided hike every Wednesday and Friday, open to all. She’s a treasure trove of knowledge about hiking trails and other aspects of the natural world here.
FAVE TOURS
  • Finca Dos Jefes Coffee Tour. Host Richard Lipner not only knows his coffee, but he’s committed to sustainable
    John tries his hand at roasting coffee on the Dos Jefes tour

    growing practices that most benefit the land and the people working on it.

  • The Boquete Bees tour. This beautiful property is a haven for bees and also a working coffee finca. You’ll learn amazing but true facts about bees and how critical they are to our lives – and the medicinal properties of raw honey. Of course you can buy said honey right on the premises. There’s also a recently opened butterfly house.
FAVE SHORTER-TERM LODGING

 Casa de Montaña Bed and Breakfast. Full disclosure: hosts Manzar Lari and Terry Richmeier are good friends of ours, but if you think we’re biased, check out their stellar Trip Advisor rating. They really roll out the red carpet for their guests, and if you’re planning a move to Boquete, they’ll help you get oriented.

Runners-up:
Boquete Garden Inn (another wonderful place; we stayed here on our first trip to Boquete in 2010). Also, Hotel El Oasis and The Haven Spa Hotel.

FAVE PET-FRIENDLY PLACE TO LAND FOR A FEW WEEKS WHILE YOU GET YOUR BEARINGS

Casa Valhalla. This cozy house is perfectly located just a short walk from downtown Boquete and consists of four apartments of varying sizes. We lived here for a month when we first arrived in Boquete, and it had everything we and our dogs needed to get our feet on the ground in Boquete and find a more permanent home.  It’s also a great place to meet other pet-owning “newbies”; some of our best friends today are people we met at CV. Warning: it books far in advance, especially during high season.

On the porch of our apartment at Casa Valhalla
FAVE COZY BAR IN A HISTORIC HOTEL
The Panamonte Bar (photo courtesy Hotel Panammonte)

The Hotel Panamonte. Hands-down the best place to enjoy an adult beverage in front of the roaring fire on a grey, rainy cloud forest afternoon.

FAVE SPECIAL-OCCASION RESTAURANT

RetroGusto (oh, the pork chop!). Runners-Up: the Panamonte, El Oasis, or Colibrí

FAVE BREAKFAST

You can’t go wrong with Boquete Sandwich Shop – excellent all-day breakfast at a very reasonable price, and they have been known to serve up a mean Bloody Mary. Runners up: Sugar and Spice, Olga’s (at Punta del Encuentra), La Karetta

Kotowa Coffee cafe in the CEFATI
FAVE MICROBREW PUB

Boquete Brewing Company. Well, it’s the only brewpub in town (so far) but it recently moved to a great new location and the beers are getting better all the time. It’s a fun place to meet up with friends and then hop across the street to Apizza or RetroGusto.

FAVE PIZZA

Apizza, from the same folks who brought us RetroGusto. Crispy wood-fired crust and just the right amount of topping, at a very reasonable price. Runner-up: Il Pianista.

FAVE “TIPICO” RESTAURANTS

El Sabrosón #3. Basic Panamanian fare, served up generously at rock-bottom prices. Runners-up: Restaurante Las Orquideas, KM 35, El Sabrosito in Dolega between Boquete and David

The “6-foot appetizer” at RetroGusto
OTHER FAVE RESTAURANTS

Boquete Fish House (when it’s open – we can’t figure out their hours lately), Tree Trek restaurant (what a view!), Big Daddy’s (awesome fish tacos and margaritas, and it’s fast becoming a happening night spot), Senor Gyro’s (one of the few dog-friendly places in town but it’s under new management – seems that major changes are afoot), Il Pianista (lovely riverside setting)

FAVE JEWISH RYE FIX

Morton’s Bakehouse. Other great bakeries: Sugar and Spice, La Ceiba

FAVE SWEET TREATS

Gelateria La Ghiotta for authentic and fanstastic gelato. Fave flavors: cafe and pistacchio. Also, check out Chox Artisan Chocolate, our friend Deborah Gershon’s fab little chocolateria. Runners-up: Helados JTO, on the river just before the bridge, and the new Italian bakery that everyone’s raving about but we have not had a chance to try yet.

FAVE SELECTION FOR WINOS

Yes, we admit it – we love our vino. One of the first things we do when we visit a new city or town is to scope out the best wine selection. In Boquete, it’s the Alto Dorado market in Alto Boquete. What was that great wine you had for dinner last night? The proprietor, Melissa, will track down the label for you and then order it by the case, if you so choose. Runners-up: Supermercado Baru, Ivan, Felipe Motta Wine Store and Deli in David (with other locations throughout Panama).

FAVE LOCAL SHOP FOR SPECIALTY FOOD ITEMS

Casa de Jamon, with its huge selection of meats, cheeses, wines, and many other yummies from Spain and Italy. Runners-

Queuing up at one of the produce stalls in the public market

up: Boquete’s brand-new Supermercado Baru.

FAVE SOURCE FOR FRESH FRUIT AND VEGGIES

Boquete’s new Mercado Público (public market), which opened to much fanfare about a year ago. Runners-up: Sara’s (aka Sarita’s), Ana’s (in the back of the BCP on Tuesday market days). 

FAVE WAY TO SPEND A LAZY MORNING
The panoramic view of Boquete and the Rio Caldera from the CEFATI

Start your day at the Boquete Visitor Center (also known by its Spanish abbreviation, the CEFATI). It’s the large yellow building at the top of the hill across from the Volcancito Road turnoff, and it’s been recently graced with a colorful new “Boquete” sign (see top of this post) that’s a popular photo opp for locals and visitors alike. Sip a Kotowa coffee and enjoy the panoramic view of the Caldera River and Boquete town.

Walk around downtown Boquete and poke into the shops. Get another coffee at Central Park, sit in the Parque Domingo Médica (the main plaza) and people-watch. Send the folks back home a photo, because the Parque now has free w-fi. Boquete comes alive especially on Sunday mornings, when the Ngäbe indigenous families and other folk who live in the highlands come to town for church and shopping. Check out the Mercado Público just off the Parque.

Walk across the bridge over the Caldera (just past the Parque). If it’s a weekend, check out the plant and crafts stands on the left, just before you get to the bridge. If it’s Tuesday,  visit the market at the BCP (AKA the “gringo” market), just after you cross the bridge in the BCP building on the right. You’ll find a huge selection of gourmet food items, fresh produce, and arts and crafts. Say hi to our friends Elizabeth and Dianne, who run Cloud Forest Botanicals, or our friend Manzar (the beforementioned proprietor of Casa de Montaña), who’s usually on hand selling his gourmet Pakistani delicacies. Have something yummy and a beverage at the BCP’s El Fenix Cafe. Have lunch at El Sabrosón #3, Senor Gyros, or Big Daddy’s. Treat yourself to a gelato at La Ghiotta or JTO.

 

 

14 Comments

    • John and Susan Pazera Reply

      Please do! We’d love to finally meet you – and you have a place to stay!

  1. Robbin & Tom Siano Reply

    Awsome guide ! Congrats keep them coming it helps us during our PAINFULL waite to move there !
    God Bless.
    Robbin & Tom

    • John and Susan Pazera Reply

      Thanks, Robbin and Tom! I remember that waiting period – it seemed like forever. But you’ll be here and settled before you know it!

    • John and Susan Pazera Reply

      Thanks, Cap’n! Hugs to you and Karen.

  2. It seems like forever when we visited Boquete in 2014 and clearly, we missed all the good stuff! I love that so many of the outings are around the water and in such beautiful surroundings. And like all good communities, the friends you make are the glue that keep you there and living happily. We may have to come back for a visit sometime! Anita

  3. Super post – makes me want to wave a magic wand (if I only had one) and find myself in Boquette, right away! Thank you.

    • John and Susan Pazera Reply

      You’ll be here before you know it!

  4. Leslie fiet Reply

    Hopefully we will be there soon. Just waiting for our home to sell. Fingers crossed. Do you know of a rental agency that helps people find temporary (6 mo) housing. We have a dog and would like to take our time finding our perfect home. Hopefully we will be there in less than 6 months:))

    • John and Susan Pazera Reply

      Well. . . there are a few real estate companies in town that also help with rentals. Good call to wait six months and figure out your favorite area (we have lots of microclimates, for instance). Word of mouth is the best way to find a good rental. When we first moved to Boquete we landed with our dogs at Casa Valhalla, mentioned in this blog post. There are other good online resources for rentals: Chiriqui Life (www.chiriqui.life) and the Boquete News and Boquete Community groups on Facebook. The good news for you is that the rental market seems pretty soft right now – there are plenty of rentals on the market. Good luck!

  5. Sara Crocker Reply

    So glad for the recommendation of Casa Valhalla. We have a three month rental there from Jan-Mar 2018 to give us time to really look around the area and make sure Boquete is for us! Hope to meet you both when we are there!

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