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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12 Buddhist Eco-Guidelines – Inspiration

Buddha by EternalTraveler
Buddha by EternalTraveler

As we strive to cultivate a positive relationship with the environment, we need to first realize there are two facets to the journey – preserving inner happiness and maintaining outer ecological balance.

We encourage everyone to start with beautifying one’s mind and spirit and then extend outward to beautifying their environment.

Below are twelve guidelines when travel to a new destination:

 * Speak quietly – do not disturb others.

* Keep the ground clean – do not litter.

* Keep the air clean – do not smoke or pollute.

* Respect oneself and others – do not commit violent acts.

* Be polite – do not intrude upon others.

* Smile – do not face others with an angry expression.

* Speak kindly – do not utter abusive words.

* Follow the rules – do not seek exemptions or privileges.

* Be mindful of your actions – do not act unethically.

* Consume consciously – do not waste.

* Be grounded – do not live aimlessly.

* Practice kindness – do not create malice

Adapted from Living Affinity, by Hsing Yun (Lantern Books, 2004).

Whale Watching in Panama: Eco Guidelines for a sustainable adventure

Awe-Ispiring . Amazing . Unforgetable

Observe these elegant giants of the Pacific Ocean during their migration season that goes from July till November. At just 40 miles south from Panama City you will enter a rich biological corridor home the Pearl Islands Archipelago. Observe these amazing creatures as they make there way to their favorite warm tropical waters to give birth to their calves. Join this once in a life time experience with EcoCircuitos Panama; we will guide you through the deep waters of the Panama Bay onward to the Pearl Islands in search for these magnificent mammals.  Other options available in Azuero Peninsula and the Gulf of Chiriqui.

Here is some important guidelines for whale watching:

  • Slowly approach Cetaceans sideways, never from front or rear.
  • Never cross the path of a Cetacean or a group of Cetaceans in the aim to anticipate their moves and facilitate a closer encounter: they will most probably feel chased and avoid you.
  • Slow down to “no-wake” speed, and maintain a steady direction. You will make them feel more secure, and the probability of a close encounter will be higher.
  • Never split a pod or group of Cetaceans.
  • Be aware of other boats in the surrondings. Dolphins and Whales should never feel encircled, and it is very sensible to leave the area if it happens to be already busy.
  • Be especially aware of the presence of mothers and calves, exactly as you would be in your intraspecific relations.
  • Never spend more than 20 minutes with Cetaceans, unless they want to spend a longer time with you.
  • Never feed cetaceans. You do not want to perturb their natural feeding habits, which may cause big problems in the long run.
  • Try to make as little noise as possible.
  • Be aware of possible signs of distress (see below), and leave at very low speed the area if you notice any.
  • Kindly discourage other people from putting a lot of pressure on the Skipper in the aim of making her/him get closer and closer (and finally too close) to Cetaceans. It sadly happens more often than one can imagine. The best Whale Watch Operators are the ones who are more sensible, not the ones who get closer. Moreover, the most sensible operators have often the best encounters.
  • If you swim with Cetaceans, do not try to touch them or get closer than they want you to. As important, check the local regulations before you get in the water with them. Most countries or states do not let people swim with Cetaceans.

EcoCircuitos realizes that has important environmental and social responsibilities in and out of the office.  We create memorable travel experiences in Panama’s natural history and cultural heritage.   Our office team and supplier ensure quality service, cultural sensitivity, local knowledge, innovation and social and environmental responsibility.  As travellers ourselves we believe giving something back is essential.  Therefore we work with our team, suppliers and customers to ensure that benefits will contribute directly to the communities we visit and their environment.

For more information and tour description please contact us info@ecocircuitos.com

TIPS for arriving to the Tocumen International Airport in Panama

Currently Panama City’s primary airport is Tocumen International Airport.  It is under a major expansion and renovation process: new terminals, 20 new gates, more parking, 4-lane access to offer a better service to our international travelers. This project is anticipated to be ready in 2017.

Sometimes the arrival area after immigration could be packed with tourists and people waiting to pick up their relatives.   This can be confusing for first time visitors and travelers to Panama.  Our staff will waiting for you with a sign with your name on it.

We suggest you to follow the below instructions to avoid any hassle:

Once you arrive to Tocumen International Airport you will first go through immigration, then you will proceed to pick up your luggage.  After you have your luggage you will need to clear customs and agriculture, you will pass your all your luggage through an x-ray machine.  Then you will proceed to exit the area, once you pass through the exit door you can go either to the right or the left. EcoCircuitos Panama recommends that you go to the right to better locate our staff who will be receiving you with a sign bearing your name with the company’s logo.  In case you do not locate our staff please approach the Tourism Authority of Panama (ATP) tourist information stand, our staff will be close to this area. 
 

EcoCircuitos Slow Adventure Tours

The independent traveler defined slow travel as an offshoot of the slow food movement, which began in Italy in the 1980’s. The slow food movement purposes are to preserve local cuisine, local farming and traditional food preparation methods. This cultural initiative has since multiplied into a whole way of life known as the Slow Movement, which emphasizes connection — connection to food, and, in the case of travel and tourism, connection to the local’s, culture, gastronomy and history. Slow travel then is the opportunity to become part of the local way of life and thinking.

Picture by Cubita, Chitré.

In today’s world we live a fast culture of stressful work, traffic and abuse of technology, that become sometimes the way of our travels. Rushing from one destination to another and not enjoying fully the landscape, a beautiful small town, a local bakery, tasting the local flavors or discovering the real people. The slow travel could be an interesting way to experience Panama for tourists that are burned out from their daily routines and the constant use of technology.

Our tailored slow experiences will allow you to truly connect with the place you are visiting, spend more time in fewer places. Immerse yourself with the local culture and connect with the community. Visit local markets, sit in a local restaurant and drink a coffee or read the paper in the plaza, while watching the community that surrounds you. EcoCircuitos´ Slow Experiences have been uniquely designed in places where visitors can interact with local people, carry out daily adventures and relax just as the locals do. Some slow destinations include Boquete and Volcan located in the Chiriqui Highlands, Pedasi and Chitré in the Azuero Peninsula and some other beautiful towns and communities. Make traveling special again with a slow adventure tour. Contact us today to find out more about these experiential slow travel options! http://www.ecocircuitos.com

COIBA National Park – Attractions and Activities

Located in the Gulf of Chiriquí, Coiba National Park is a marine reserve off Panama’s Pacific coast. Coiba National Park (Nacional Parque Coiba) is comprised of a group of 38 islands including Coiba Island (Isla Coiba) and the waters surrounding them and covers 430,825 acres. Identified by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 2005, Coiba National Park offers rich and well preserved natural resources.

Because Isla Coiba served Panama as a penal colony, access to the island was very restricted. Almost by accident, 80% of the islands’ natural resources have therefore survived untouched and flourished through limited human contact.

Coiba National Park is managed by the National Authority for the Environment (Autoridad Nacional del Ambiente, ANAM). The park is accessible only by permit from ANAM.  A number of tour operators in Panama, including EcoCircuitos Panama offer adventure tours, kayaking, snorkeling, and scuba diving trips to Coiba and can assist in obtaining appropriate permits.

The tour operators depart from several different places on the Panamanian coast.

Attractions in Coiba includes:
• Exhibition and Information Center, Park Ranger Station.
• Viewing Platforms (Miradores) El Gambute.
• Thermal Springs and Nature Interpretation Trial.
• Monkey Trail.
• Nature Interpretation Trail to ancient Mangrove Forest of Santa Cruz.
• Trial to the Waterfall at Juncal.
• Nature Interpretation Trail to the Volcanic Rift Valley.
• Volcanic Fault.
• The Island Granito de Oro (Grain of Gold)
• The Penal Colony, La Central Camp.
• Nature Interpretation trails of Jicaron and Jicarita.
• River Kayaking. Rio San Juan and Punta Hermosa.
• Nature Interpretation Trail on Isla Rancheria.
• Nature Interpretation Trail Isla Brincanco, Archipelago of Contreras.

Source:  http://www.coibanationalpark.com/

EcoCircuitos Business Objectives

By Annie Young J.

A while ago I heard the quote by Mahatma Gandhi, “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony”.

This quote really hit home for me and since I have heard it has become one of my mottos in life. Before returning home from a study abroad program where I volunteered with a conservation organization I went on a backpacking trip that inspired me to create EcoCircuitos Panama (1999). After this trip I realized that I wanted to share my passion for Panama with the rest of the world in a different way.

As a dreamer, I felt that we could connect conservation, social development and tourism. This has been my goal since I began EcoCircuitos Panama. It has not been easy… sometimes promoting responsible travel is more difficult that the classical approach, but we believe that it can be done.

The EcoCircuitos Panama team including myself has evolved since the company began. I have learned from many different people that have worked with me all these years that in today’s world you have to give something back… not just take.

Today we are a team of local enthusiasts about Panama. On a daily basis we learn from each other sharing, our dreams for sustainable development. It is important to me to motivate each member of my team to create, innovate and collaborate in an environment where it is not only my vision that is followed.

Our objectives as a company are very clear to us:

– Create low-impact tours and experiences that are appealing to our clients.

– Increase the level of awareness amongst travelers and turning them in effective agents for conservation.

– Channel a portion of our revenues towards supporting the conservation and sustainable use of Panama´s biodiversity.

– Reduce poverty through environmental conscious income generation activities and employment, which effectively decrease the threat to biodiversity in our local communities.

– Encourage active participation and involvement of local communities in the development, operation and monitoring of tourism activities.

This is our responsibility as a tour operator and DMC in Panama, and we are a happy team that is following a beautiful dream.