It’s that time again – yes, time to start planning your next vacation! After years of postponing travel plans in favor of social distancing and self-quarantine, you’re well overdue for an adventure. But not just any adventure…
Rather than spend thousands of dollars waiting in line to ride what may be a 30-second attraction at another overcrowded theme park, why not take your vacation to new heights – 11,398 feet above sea level to be exact!
Panama, home to the 12th highest peak in Central America, is sure to fit the bill. Where else can you climb to the top of a volcano?
Have we got your attention?
Keep reading to learn more about the top 5 tourism attractions that await you in Boquete, Panama:
- #1. Volcán Barú National Park
- #2. Don Pepe Coffee Estate
- #3. Lost Waterfalls
- #4. Hanging Bridges
- #5. Downtown Boquete
Now, it’s not every day that someone invites you to use your hard-earned vacation days on what you might consider a less-than-traditional destination.
You may be right, but that’s exactly why you should go!
In addition to the five must-visit attractions that we’ll go over shortly, there are easily 100 reasons why you should trade your beachside Pina Colada in for a hot cup of artisanal Panamanian coffee.
But, for the sake of time, we’ll sum it up with this:
Panama is Unique in Every Way
Most widely known for Panama City and its iconic lock-type canal, it is not uncommon for other, less commercialized areas of Panama to go unexplored – areas like Boquete.
Nestled in the highlands of western Panama, Boquete is a microcosm of bliss. As the country’s most mountainous region, this small slice of paradise offers stunning vistas, lush greenery and acres of fertile farmland.
Often referred to as Panama’s breadbasket, this province is responsible for 80-percent of the country’s produce production – and home to some of the world’s most exquisite coffee.
Famous for its Gesha or “Geisha” coffee, these beans are easily the most expensive in the world, averaging at about $1,000 per pound. While it sells for $9 per cup in Panama, you can spend between $18 to $68 per cup in other parts of the world.
At Los Establos Boutique Resort you can experience its sweet bitter taste for free.
Welcome to Los Establos Boutique Resort
If you love your coffee, then you will love Los Establos!
Situated in the heart of Boquete, this stunning property is home to one of the country’s oldest coffee plantations and processing mills. Built more than 100 years ago by the founders of Kotowa Coffee, this mill offers a divine history of farming and cultivation practices that will leave you with a brand-new appreciation for your morning ‘cuppa’ joe.
Here’s something else you can appreciate.
You can tour this fascinating historical site, or choose from 12 additional complimentary excursions when you stay at Los Establos. That’s a free tour for every day of your visit!
Click here for a complete list of our complimentary tours and excursions.
Now, without further ado, here’s why you should visit Boquete.
#1: Volcán Barú National Park
Towering Volcán Barú– Panama’s exclusive volcano – is easily the number one reason to visit Boquete.
While not included in the resort’s complimentary tours and excursions, it’s impossible to put a price on the spectacular view that you get from its summit.
As the only place in the world where you can see both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans at the same time, it’s well worth the $125 surcharge.
That is of course if you choose to take a tour-operated 4×4 ride to the top of the mountain. This is easily the quickest and least strenuous way to reach the peak.
However, if you’re up for a challenge, you can take the scenic route. There are several hiking trails starting from the town of Volcán that will bring you past volcanic craters and other fascinating formations dating back 1,600 years.
The volcano and its surrounding area feature five different ecosystems thanks to a combination of rainforest highlands and byproducts of volcanic eruptions from millions of years ago.
You can thank that combination of altitude and rich soil for the bold cup of artisanal Panamanian coffee waiting for you when you reach the top.
After a 4 a.m. wakeup call from your tour operator, you’re going to need it.
But there’s no better pairing to your morning ‘cuppa joe’ than a stunning sunrise above the clouds.
It looks a little something like this.
Well worth a few hours of sleep, don’t you think?
And, if you need a pick me up, you can always take a tour of our historic coffee plantation!
#2. Don Pepe Coffee Estate
If you love coffee, this is the place to be!
Strategically located in the foothills of Volcán Barú, in the highlands of Boquete, this 145-acre farm combines altitude and rich volcanic soil to produce the best coffee to ever grace the bottom of your mug.
What makes it truly superb is the innate attention to detail taken to harvest, clean, dry and preserve each individual coffee bean.
And not all processes are the same. Just like not all coffees are the same. Some are sweet, some are bitter.
It all comes down to the different cultivation practices that are used – in this case, there are three:
- Natural Process – high body, low acidity, exotic flavors
- ‘Honey’ Process – unique flavor, characterized by a particularly sweet acidity
- Washed Coffee – light body, fruity, balanced flavors
During your tour of this 100-year-old processing mill, you’ll learn how and when to use these processes to achieve distinct flavors with hints of raspberry, apricot, peach, walnuts, green apple, and more.
But more importantly, you’ll get to taste them – yes, even the signature Geisha blend!
Known as “the champagne of coffee,” this aromatic brew has a light body along with sweet notes ranging from berries and citrus to jasmine and gardenia…truly “an expression that goes from cultivation to cup.”
Did we mention all this is included in your stay at Los Establos?
That’s worth raising a glass, or in this case a mug to. Cheers!
But before you get lost in the sweet taste and aroma of your morning coffee, we insist that you to explore this next stunning site.
#3. Panama’s Lost Waterfalls
Don’t let its name fool you.
Panama’s Lost Waterfalls are relatively easy to get to. It’s even easier – not to mention free – when you book your tour and transportation through the Los Establos tour desk.
You might be sensing a pattern here…
But rather than shell out the cost of a taxi, on top of the $7 entry fee, you will get all of that plus a free guided tour of the falls.
You’ll be picked up directly from the resort’s lobby and whisked away on an adventure nothing short of amazing.
Imagine hanging vines, luscious trees, and the soothing sound of cascading water crashing into a bottom pool of cool, refreshing water. Surrounded by the canopy of the jungle, you’ll feel as though you are hours away from civilization – meanwhile in reality, the trail’s entrance is just 20 minutes from town.
But your adventure doesn’t have to end at the first sign of water. There are three distinct waterfalls that you can visit – two of which you can even take a dip in.
So, don’t forget your bathing suit!
The trek to the last waterfall is a bit more challenging than the first two, but the view is next to none (ok, not quite as magnificent as Volcán Barú, but as close as you can get without another 4 a.m. wake up call.)
But hey, there’s always more coffee!
So, head back, fuel up and get ready for the next adventure because this is another one you can’t afford to miss.
#4. Hanging Bridges
Also known as Tree Trek Boquete, this circuit of suspension bridges through the treetops is your unique opportunity to enjoy an elevated perspective of the biodiversity of Panama’s tropical cloud forest.
Located within the private Rio Crystal reserve, this 2.7-mile route is made up of six hanging bridges ranging from 70 to 135 meters long and up to 75 meters high.
Don’t worry! Once you’ve conquered Volcán Barú, this will be a walk in the park. Although you’ve never seen a park quite this remarkable.
In addition to trekking across bridges bordering La Amistad International Park, you will also hike along six trails – from a quarter-mile to a mile – that will lead you past canopy-lined observation decks, rivers and waterfalls that are truly spectacular.
While there, you can even take your adventure one step further with a zipline through the jungle where you will encounter native species including small animals and birds, as well as a great variety of orchids and wildflowers.
With any luck, you may even catch a glimpse of the famed quetzal – a brilliantly-colored bird that is considered one of the most beautiful in the world.
Once you catch your breath and your adrenaline has settled down a bit, you can take a breather in downtown Boquete.
With all the excitement, if you’ve worked up an appetite, you wouldn’t be the first.
#5. Downtown Boquete
Comprised of just a handful of streets with local shops and eateries, the small town of Boquete is the place to go for entertainment, authentic Panamanian dining and international cuisine.
You absolutely must visit Donde Giselle when you’re there.
This open-air, thatched-roof restaurant pairs locally-sourced ingredients with a casual downtown vibe to offer you a unique dining experience that you won’t soon forget.
For a true taste of Panamanian flavor, be sure to try the signature Guacho de Guandú, with pork– a traditional broth and rice dish served hot.
Or, if you’re looking for something a bit more upscale, you can visit ‘The Panamonte Restaurant’ or ‘Mesa Azul.’
Both renowned for gourmet cuisine and fine dining, these restaurants are sure to elevate your palate with delicacies like yellowfin tuna, prime rib and lobster thermidor.
But don’t feel pressured to pick just one. The vibrant streets of downtown are just a short 20-minute walk from Los Establos and an even quicker taxi ride.
You will love the small-town charm and local boutiques that line the streets, especially if you’re looking for a souvenir or gift for friends and family back home.
Depending on the time of year you visit, you may even get to attend one of Boquete’s famous festivals.
Attracting more than 30 thousand domestic and foreign tourists each year, Feria de Orquideas, also known as the Orchid Festival Boquete, marks the start of spring and is the most anticipated celebration of the year. Thousands of delicate flowers are displayed throughout the Boquete’s fairgrounds along the Caldera River and it is absolutely beautiful.
You can also check out Boquete’s annual Flowers and Coffee Fair – one of the world’s most recognizable celebrations of flowers – or the Jazz and Blues Festival – a culmination of musical and artistic talent.
Click here for more information about these exciting festivals.
But before you leave, be sure to have a cup of coffee at one of the many specialty coffee shops, or a craft beer from Boquete Brewing Company.
With a diverse and fascinating culture, there are endless ways to experience and learn about Panama.
And not just the well-known parts of the fascinating country.
Dust off your suitcase and opt for adventure in Boquete.
Click here start planning your trip today!
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