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.
- Finca Dos Jefes Coffee Tour. Host Richard Lipner not only knows his coffee, but he’s committed to sustainable
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.
FAVE COZY BAR IN A HISTORIC HOTEL
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
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
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.
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
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-
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
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.