My family and I recently spent ten amazing days in Panama and Boquete was definitely one of our highlights. It’s easy to spend a few days in Boquete on a Panama adventure, and it’s a lush area that I highly recommend.
When we visited (in March ‘2021) the weather was a cool 70 degrees. And, I say cool because this is a drastic difference from Panama City temps and even around the coast. Panamanians refer to this area as “fresh” – they say you can breathe easier. And, the green lush hills make it all that more idyllic. While we had intended to stay for one more night (making it three nights in total), we did end up heading to the coast a day earlier because we were yearning for the beach! With that being said – I think weather makes a big difference. And, if you do have more time, there is definitely a lot to explore, even an hour’s drive from Boquete.
Note that this area is a hot spot for retirees 😉 But, we did see a mix of people while we were there. Definitely very laid back and casual.
Getting to Boquete
If road trips are your jam – you can make the trek via car from Panama City. It takes around 6.5 hours, without stops. We booked a flight with Copa Airlines to the town of David. It was a brief 40ish minute flight.
The David airport is tiny. This is expected to change in the next few years when it becomes an International Airport as David attracts a lot of travelers who are heading to Boquete, other areas in the mountains (to bird watch and such) as well as make it easier to get to the popular area of Bocos Del Toro. And, the many many fishermen who frequent this area.
Also, noteworthy – we met a lot of European travelers!
We rented a car with Budget which was super easy as well. Located directly outside of the airport, they have the major car rental companies there and you then hit the road pretty seamlessly.
Driving in Boquete
Driving was a breeze. Well, we did get a speeding ticket on our last day in the area. Oops! So, watch out for that. The policia ride motorcycles and sit on the side of the highway with their speed guns. They wave you down if you’re going too fast. The ticket cost $50. Thankfully that process was pretty uneventful.
The drive to Boquete from David is only one hour (make sure you have international service!). Before we hit the road, we enjoyed some delicious coffee (not hard to find in this region!) at Maple Coffee & Rock. The other place we were considering was Buho Cafe, but it was a Sunday and it hadn’t opened yet.
All the things to do, when spending a few days in Boquete…
The Chiriqui Highlands are filled with coffee plantations and the Baru Volcano National Park. It’s no wonder that this region is a top expat haven. And, there is no shortage of adventure to be had.
We loved the Lost Waterfalls hike (or Tres Cascadas). We could have spent an entire day here! If you’re brave enough, you can stop along the way and swim – the water is quite frigid though! Note that you’ll reach a structure where a person collects your information, etc. and the hike costs $10 per person. I believe my youngest was $5. So, have cash on you! Most of the hikes in the area had someone present to collect money.
Pro tip: the hike is a bit farther up from the Pipeline Trail – so keep driving! You will see another parking area. We did hike the Pipeline Trail the next day. It was pretty, but we liked the Lost Waterfalls better.
El Pianista was also on my list, unfortunately, we did not make it there.
Another favorite was booking an experience at Eco Horqueta. The location is jaw dropping! Marilin welcomed us into her home with such warmth. We picked coffee beans / fruit off her plants, learned how to roast it – while she shared stories of her family. It was a beautiful morning! She also made the most delicious hot chocolate for our three kids.
If you’re still wondering how to spend a few days in Boquete, Panama – I wish we could have booked an e-bike tour, but our youngest wasn’t tall enough. If you can – definitely check it out!
Where to eat in Boquete…
We had some fantastic meals in Boquete. RetroGusto was delicious! There was a band playing at the Boquete Brewing Company – so definitely spend some time there. They are family-friendly and offer other beverages besides beer such as seltzers and wine.
I also recommend lunch at the Panamonte Inn.
On our last night we ate at The Rock. SO GOOD. The live music was a perfect touch, as well as the roaring bonfire for s’mores post-dinner.
Lastly, we stayed at Finca Lerida. The grounds of this property are majestic! And, there are hiking trails as well. There’s a coffee shop on site as well as a restaurant that I’d recommend, even if you aren’t staying there – make sure to stop in!
And, after Boquete we stayed at Cala Mia Island Resort on Isla Boca Brava. So dreamy. To reach this isolated gem, we drove back to David where they arrange complimentary transportation from the airport to a dock in Boca Chica, one hour south of David. The resort sends a small boat to pick you up and you reach the resort in 15 minutes. Just note that it’s truly isolated – so, if you’re looking for more action you’ll want to consider other areas such as Bocas del Toro. Or, where I am headed in May – Santa Catalina for surfing. There’s no shortage of amazing places to stay on the coast.
There’s also a well known hotel in Boca Chica – prime area to island hop, snorkel, fish etc. called Hotel Bocas Del Mar, if heading to the island of Isla Boca Brava doesn’t sound like your thing. It’s worth checking out this hotel!
Now, it’s time to spend a few days in Boquete!
Pack your bags, and add Panama to your bucket list. I loved every second of this adventure. Boquete was so gorg and a nice way to break up the steamy temps in the rest of the country. And, well – I LOVE COFFEE. I love lush green mountainous scenery, and chasing waterfalls is always a good time!
Happy + safe #wildbumming.