Road Trip through Panama
A friend of mine is Panamanian and I was super lucky because he took some time off to show me around in his diverse country. This blog is about our 2 weeks trip through Panama with the car: From Panamá City to Boquete, Palo Seco, Santa Fe and Pedasí. If you want to read more about driving a car in Panama, check out this blog.
Boquete: The garden of Panama
Boquete is a small town in the Chiriquí Province, it took us 8 hours to get there from Panama City. Once you get to the city of David you leave the Panamericana (Highway) and it takes another 30 minutes to get to Boquete. On this way you can already feel how the temperature is quickly changing: From the dry, hot air in David to the chilly, clean air in Boquete. Panamanians come here to flee from the heat and some (retired) foreigners have residences in this region. Because of the chilly weather and the fertile soil, fruits and vegetables as well as the famous Geisha coffee, grow in this Province – Boquete is the garden of Panama.
There are a lot of different hiking trails in Boquete. It is not recommended to hike the long, unmarked trails by yourself. In the past people got lost in the wilderness. There are tour operators who offer leaded tours with trained guides. The tours are a bit pricy so we decided to do an easy trail by ourselves. Finca Lerida is a big premise with a trail that leads through the forest, the coffee plantation and gardens of the Finca. There is also a nice viewpoint over the landscape of Boquete and a waterfall in the forest. The trail takes around 2 hours and the entrance is 12 USD.
We booked our Rafting tour with Boquete Mountain Safari and had a boat for 4 people, which was 65 USD each. We met at the office of the tour operator at 9 am and took a Minivan for 1,5 hours to the river Rio Grande, close to the Costa Rican border. This was the starting point of our tour. Our guide gave us instructions on how to direct the boat and stopped at interesting points. We saw Yellow Squirrel Monkeys climbing in the trees and I was super excited because I love monkeys and this was the first time I saw this really cute species. There was also a Boa Constrictor Snake hanging in the tree, which I tried to avoid looking at because I hate snakes. We really had a great time rafting down the river, being surrounded by amazing nature, passing wild animals and local fishermen. At midday we enjoyed eating our lunch at the shore and swimming in the refreshing river. The boat trip took around 3,5 hours; after finishing we drove back to Boquete town where we arrived around 5 pm.
Food and Drinks
In the three month I spent in Panama, I can easily say, that I had the best dishes in Boquete. I highly recommend this places:
- Retro Gusto: Attention, this is food heaven! This place has the best pizza I ever had. Seriously I even don’t remember eating such a delicious one on my trip through Italy. The restaurant is owned by a friendly Italian guy who cooks the meals with love and fresh ingredients.
- The Rock: Fancy restaurant with beautiful ambience and very good food but a bit pricy.
- Boquete Brewing Company: Nice bar with good music offering Crafts beer and cider. The place to be for happy hour and meeting people.
- In Boquete there are a lot of strawberry farms and cafes where you can try lovely strawberry deserts. I had a home-made cheese cake with a fresh strawberry sauce on top of it and it was sooo good!