Things to do during your vacation in Boquete

Boquete is a small town nestled in the green mountainous highlands located in the westen-most Chiriquí Province that boards with Costa Rica.  The Caldera River makes its way through this picturesque town.

Due to its elevation 1,200 metres (3,900 ft) above sea level, its climate is cooler than that of the lowlands. Its beautiful mountain landscape, temperature, and natural environment make it popular destination for the adventure traveler.

Our staff suggests the following activities while during your stay in Boquete:

  1.  White water river rafting –  Experience adrenaline-filled, world-class white water rafting in amazing scenic rivers.  We suggest the following outfitters:  BOA and Chiriqui River Rafting.
  2. Horse back riding tours – Boquete and Caldera offer amazing horseback riding adventures through the stunning Chiriqui landscapes. This local tour supports community farms in Boquete and use local farmers as guides. We suggest Franklin’s horseback riding.
  3. Hiking the Baru National Park – you don´t have to go to the top of the mountain to experience a great adventure.  There are several trails in the national park for all levels.   For safety always go with a local expert guide from  EcoCircuitos Panama.
  4. Los Quetzales Trail – this is one of Panama’s most spectaculars hiking trails of the western highlands. The 8km route takes between 5 and 7 hours. It runs between Boquete and Cerro Punta, crossing Caldera river.  For those in very good shape.
  5. Hot Springs and Caldera Petroglyphs – enjoy nature at its finest and discover Caldera’s famous hot springs. You will visit a typical town and walk to the petroglyphs where you will be able to observe part of the history of Panama’s indigenous past.
  6. Coffee Tours – Boquete offers some of the best coffees in the world and you can´t miss the unique opportunity to visit a coffee plantation, discover the processing mills and learn about how coffee makes it journey from the coffee bush to your cup.   Don´t miss to taste a cup of Geisha coffe from Ruiz coffee shop.
  7. Rock Climbing – Boquete is becoming a world-class rock climbing destination. You can learn from the masters and climb one of the most incredible natural columnar basalt rock formations with different levels from easy to very difficult.
  8. Birding tours in private reserves, national parks and pipeline trail – don´t miss the opportunity to admire a great variety of the species from the highlands of Panama.  The Resplendant Quetzal, Bell Bird and Volcano Hummingbird are some of the stars. Make sure to reserve a birding guide with our team!
  9. Canopy Adventure / Zip lining -glide on zip lines through the canopy of old cloud forest, high above rivers and waterfalls, an unforgetable adventure with 3 kilometers in total length and 12 different platforms.
  10. Try the local gastronomy of the area – we suggest El Pianista, Finca Lerida restaurant, La Roca, Panamonte and if you have time to drive towards volcan, why not Cerro Brujo Restaurant.
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What to do in El Valle de Antón

At only 120 Km from Panama City and very close from the Pacific beaches in Cocle province is located the quaint town of el Valle.   This beautiful town is nestled in the caldera -crater- of the second largest inhabited volcano in the world.  This crater   with a radius of 6 km was formed about 1.1-1.3 million years ago. Today the crater forms the ground for the small town El Valle de Anton with its 6200 inhabitants.

El Valle, lying 600 m above sea level, owns an all-season mild springtime climate. Year-round average high temperature is 28° C, and the average nighttime minimum is 20° C, with little variation between summer and rainy season. The dry season starts in the middle of December and lasts until the the beginning of May.  During the rainy season the town turns greener and nature is at is best.  This time is ideal for hiking and longer treks.

WHAT TO DO IN EL VALLE

Local Artisan and Vegetable Market

On Sundays is full of people.  Here you can buy tropical fruits, plants, flowers and beautiful orchids.   Also you different artisans show their local art and handicrafts. Including: ceramics, bateas (wooden trays), woven baskets, hats, carved and painted totumas (cups made from squash) and trinkets made from acorn.

Bird Watching – El Valle is one of the best places in Panama for birders. More than 339 birds species has been registered.

Butterfly Haven (El Mariposario) – Experience the wonder and tranquility of being immersed in hundreds of living, jewel colored butterflies in a tropical rain forest setting. Hours: Everyday from 9 am to 3:30 pm, closed on Wednesday. Closed October and November

Zip Lining or Canopy Adventure – The Canopy Tour and the “Chorro El Macho” waterfall share the same entrance. Here, from platforms 100 feet in the air, you are given a spectacular insight and view of the cloud forrest´s fauna and flora.
On this tour you soar above the waterfall twice. The tour lasts aprox. one and a half hours and costs around 55 US$ per person. More information can be found here.

Chorro El Macho Waterfall – This waterfall is the largest in the región with a drop of 70m. It is just a 30 minutes walk from the towncenter in the direction of La Mesa.  Since the beginning of 2009 it is not posible anymore to see it close-by or take a bath in the natural pool. Open every day from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm

Chorro Las Mosas Waterfalls, along Rio Anton – To reach these rapids it is a1/2 hour walk. From here follow the right side of the river for 30 minutes to reach a natural swimming pool. Here the local youth venture very dangerous jumps into the pond. In the Green Season you hardly can see the path to the pool. It is more or less a climbing at the slippy rockface to reach it. There is danger to slip, fall on the rocks hidden under the water or end up in one of the caves below.
Hiking – A path behind the Hotel Campestre will lead you to the Cloud Forest Reserve of the Cerro Gaital Natural Monument. Here the cloud forrest offers its unique flora and fauna. Serious walkers and birdwatchers will be pleased.
To scale the peak of Cerro Gaital there is another entrance after the village of La Mesa (which is also a great place for bird watching). The village can be reached by car or local buses.
There are two tours from La Mesa: For the large one to the top you should ask the locals for advice, start early in the morning and bring some climbing experiences with you. Up and down it will take about 5-6 hours.
The Sleeping Indian or La India Dormida is a hill chain with the silhouette of a sleeping Indian woman in the west of El Valle. The name has it´s origin in a local legend.
Another interesting tour is to Rio Indio, one hour away from El Valle (by car) in the cloud forrest. You can reach the place with the public pickups that leave in the center of the town a few times a day.

Biking – The valley offers excellent roads with great scenic views and little traffic. Bikes can be rented in many hotels.

Horse Back Riding – Another way to discover the valley is by horse. The spot were you can rent them is near the Hotel Campestre. The fee is $5.00 per hour. A guide can be engaged on request

Orchids Center  (Aprovaca Orquídeas) – The nonprofit organisation APROVACA (Asociación de Productores de Orquídeas El Valle y Cabuya) deicates itself to the task of cultivating and conserving endangered local and regional orchids. At the moment 147 different kinds of orchids can be seen. Open every day from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm

Petroglyphs: La Piedra Pintada – This pre-Columbian pertroglyph (more a rock face) couldn´t be decoded yet. Some locals say it has been a map for traders, other say it is a map of caves connecting the mountain range.

Pozos termales (Hot Springs) – There are two cement pools under the jungle canopy. They are filled with hot mineral water (38 degree Centigrade), coming directly out of the volcanic ground from a depth of 1200 m. Another atraction here is the mineral clay you can use for a face mask or a full body cover. There is also a picknick area and a playground.
Open every day from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm

Zip Line Tours in Panama and Canopy Adventures

Experience one of amazing eco-adventures in Panama:  Canopy Zip Line Tours or Canopy Adventures.  A Zip Line Tour or Canopy Tour is an established route through a wooded and often mountainous landscape making primary use of zip-lines and aerial platforms built in trees.    You will be harnessed to a super resistant steel cable without interruption throughout the entire tour for safety.  Although canopy tours date back far back into history for their civil use and even scientific they are now used primarily for recreation and fun and have become part of the adventure tourism industry in Panama.

In Panama we offer different options and areas for this exciting adventure.  Enjoy the view from above while taking in waterfalls and spotting birdlife amongst the surrounding trees. Our professional guides will assure the safety of each group and point out interesting facts along the way.   This is also a great tour and experience for team building and corporate events.

Our recommendation:  the highlands of Boquete – Boquete Tree Trek: this adventrue involve walking, mostly downhill.  This breathtaking 3.5 kilometers journey takes thrill seekers to 14 different platforms via 12 zip lines while flying through the jungle canopy. Suspended by sturdy harnesses, riders are whisked along the cables and they travel from one platform to the next, from where they can watch cascades, the magnificent Volcan Baru and exotic birds.  Times: 08:00 a.m. y 1:00 p.m. Minimun age: 5 años Duration: 4 hours.  The adventure allows the brave at heart to experience the heights of the rainforest treetops while marveling at the beautiful scenery below. This is one of the top activities in Boquete and an incredible experience to enjoy while visiting the highlands!  Departure Times:  8.00AM and 1.00PM

El Valle de Anton – Canopy Adventure:  This was the first zip line tour in Panama and it offers 5 platforms.  This adventure also involve moderate hiking, mostly uphill.   Departure:  Everyday until 5.00PM.  Reservations recommended.

Bocas del ToroBastimentos Sky Canopy Tour: with 7 ziplines and 13 platforms.  This is amazing as goes to 150 feet high and up to 1000 foot long zips.   Departure times from Kayukos Restaurant: 10am, 1pm & 3:30pm

Colón in Portobello – Panama Outdoor Adventures

Discovering Boquete, the highlands of Panama

by Juan Jose Calvache – Operations Manager

Last week I had the opportunity to visit Boquete in a Fam Trip organized by Finca Lerida, Air Panama, Tree Trek and Fresas Café.

It was a beautiful experience, discovering new and charming landscapes of the mountains of Panama, Chiriqui province at the western side bordering Costa Rica.

We flew with Air Panama with the new fleet of modern planes and upon arrival the staff of Finca Lerida was organizing our transfer to their mountain lodge.  Cesar one of our top birder guides in the highlands was in charge of the group and he show all his skills as a top birder and naturalist guide.

We discover with other eyes Boquete, the nature and its people.  We hike around the national park, and around Finca Lerida private reserve, we visit the coffee farm and learn about the amazing process of coffee… the smell of fresh coffee is fantastic!

Boquete offers amazing array of activities, such as the Canopy Adventure, Rafting, coffee farms, strawberry picking and hiking the cloudforest.  I had the opportunity to spot an amazing bird… The Quetzal in its splendor.

I highly recommend this great extension tour to the Highlands where EcoCircuitos will organize a trip to your needs.   If you are in Panama, don´t miss the opportunity to explore Boquete at the western side of Panama.

For more information, contact us at info@ecocircuitos.com  or call our toll free number at 1-800-830-7142

Geotourism in Chagres National Park

Early in the morning, we get to the Chagres River, the main reservoir of drinking water for the cities of Panama and Colon, also supplies water for the operation of the Panama Canal. Here we board a dugout canoe with motor and travel up the River to the Embera Drua village.

The boat journey of 45 minutes takes us through lush rainforest of the Chagres National park. From the boat it is possible to admire the beauty of the rich and flourishing nature; there is a complete silence, broken only by the sounds of the water and of the birds. The river is the only way to get to the Emberá village, otherwise it is possible to walk through the forest but that will take no less than 4 hrs. During the rainy season the river will rise a lot, while during the dry season the level of the water will be very shallow, causing problems to pass through some places.

The Emberá community was founded in the Chagres national Park in 1975, and today counts 115 inhabitants, of which 30 are kids. In 1996 a school was built also thanks to the contribution of organizations, tour operators and individuals who strongly support the protection and conservation of the environment end the life of the Indigenous communities. There are often volunteers who spend some time within the village, offering help and doing researches.

When we arrive, a representative of the Emberá community explain us everything about their history, way of living, traditions, dances, music, together with the help of some women that show us how they make handcrafts using palms fibers, woods, leaves, rocks, etc..

All the handicrafts they make are on sale at their small picturesque market.
We have also the chance to get our body painted, as the Emberá usually do, using a particular ink made of ashes and plant pigments. The tattoos will last about 8 days.

At lunchtime we sit together enjoying the delicious freshwater fish, Tilapia and Sargento, accompanied by crispy platanos y a bunch of fresh fruits, such as pineapple, passion fruit, watermelon, bananas..

After lunch we move to another open air building, where the Emberá women will perform local dances on the music played by the men using artesian flutes and drums. The first dance is performed in between them, while in the following ones everybody will take the floor and show their dancing skills!

Once we have done with that, unfortunately It’s time to board again on the piraguas and go back to the “real word”, but confident with the fact that our soul is fulfilled with the best emotions and feelings that the wonderful people of the Emberá community were passionately able to transmit to us.

Léa Maillard & Paola Alzatti.

Special promotion for green season

8 DAYS ADVENTURE FOR $1080.00

Adventure program includes: all transfers in private, 3 nights at boutique hotel in Panama City, domestic flights, 2 nights adventure in Boquete/Finca Lerida, 2 nights adventure in Bocas del Toro and more! For more information, please contact info@ecocircuitos.com

Christmas Vacation in Panama

7 days and 6 nights
$725.00

This trip combines the cosmopolitan city of Panama, the highlands of El Valle and the Pacific Beach retreat at TOGO B&B or Buenaventura hotel.  City, Beaches and Rainforest in an unforgettable Christmas vacation in Central America.  Hike the cloudorest at a former crater in el Valle and enjoy a zip line adventure at Canopy Tour.  You will be staying at Los Mandarinos boutique hotel and SPA surrounded by beautiful mountains.  Admire the Panama Canal and the historical colonial sites and climb the observatory tower at Discovery Center.   Finish your trip by traveling into the Pacific Beach  with activities including snorkeling, fishing, and much more!

Contact us for the Caribbean Adventure in Bocas del Toro, San Blas, Boquete highlands, Azuero Peninsula and more.

For quotes and prices:  sales@ecocircuitos.com