Nothing on a pleasant 40-minute drive from David prepares a visitor for the first sight of Boquete. From the road, suddenly one peers down on a verdant valley, seeing the compact community in its jewel-like natural setting. A river cascades though it. It nestles under craggy 300-foot high rims of deep green rainforest so steep Boquete almost seems walled.

The rim itself is often capped with mist which in the village is called Bajareque, an afternoon drizzle so fine it invigorates without annoyance. Restaurants including pizzerias, lodgings, a school, church, tourist attractions, stores or shops for everyday needs, the Rio Caldera bridge and a town square are all contained within a dozen square blocks. All else nearby-homes and lodgings—seem minimized amid greenery and flowers in a community that itself invites exploration.

Nearby the visitor can indulge an interest in coffee plantations, orange groves or flower cultivation of all kinds. The annual 10-day flower and coffee festival is in January, and a fair featuring hundreds of orchid species is in April. Year round, explorations can be made by foot, horseback or river raft. To residents, in fact, it was ironic when beautiful Boquete was suddenly “discovered” by media as ideal for expatriates—something Swiss farmers knew back in 1911 when they founded the town. To some residents, the newest aspect of this bird-watcher’s delight has been its emergence as the habitat of numerous exotic breeds of realtors migrating from the north.

Visit the Volcan Baru:

The New World has only recently been discovered when now-extinct Volcan Baru last erupted, creating seven craters and a massive topography of slopes and fertile valleys in an ideal climate for growth. Today from neat its peak one can see both oceans or look down on magnificent rainforest parks.

These awesome heights are approached via roads which never quite connect, on Volcan Baru’s east and west slopes. The road up the east slope starts at David and ends at Boquete (population: 15,000). The west slope road starts from the Interamerican Highway at Concepcion about 10 miles beyond David, leading up to (and beyond) the town of Volcan (pop. 7,500). Twelve miles apart, Volcan and Boquete are both gateways to the 14,300-hectare Parque Nacional Volcan Baru. However, only the west slope road leads to the 407,000-hectare Parque Internacional La Amistad, its entrance about ten miles past the town of Volcan.

Author: | Instituto Panameño de Turismo (IPAT)