Over the treetops of Boquete

By Carina Forster

Nestled in the hilly green highlands and surrounded by lush cloud forest, Boquete is the town of coffee and strawberries. It is inhabited by a charming mix of local farmers, international expats and indigenous people, who give the town it’s unique flair.

Joining the passionate EcoCircuitos guide Gerardo on a hilly road trip, we learned about the fascinating history of the area and its role as the “bread basket” of Panama. After some spectacular photo-stops at panoramic view-points of the majestic Volcano Baru, we ended the morning with a delicious cup of coffee at a local farm.

 

In the afternoon we boarded a shuttle truck up a steep and bumpy road deep in the cloud forest to reach the wooden Tree Trek headquarters situated in a picturesque valley, home to the famous Canopy Zip Line of Boquete. But instead of following the crowds to the Zip Line Adventure, we went on a hidden trail up behind the lodge with the local guide Raphael, where a mysterious and unique experience was awaiting us.

Following Raphael through lush cloud forest, we could feel his passion and respect for the surroundings. “Did you study Biology “? I asked him. “No. I just love nature and read a lot”. Was his simple response. Being a Zip Line guide for Tree Trek for over 5 years, in his free time he used to stroll around deep in the cloud forests on his own until he eventually came up with the idea of building a hanging bridge over the valley. By shooting arrows to the other side and climbing the ropes, he built 7 hanging bridges and a beautiful trail network without cutting down a single tree, just within one year.

Following these fairy tale like paths combines unique encounters with the plants and animals of the dense cloud forest with breathtaking panoramic views of rivers, waterfalls and the mighty Baru Volcano covered in mystic fogs. Together with a light dose of adrenaline when crossing the slightly shaking bridges with the ground deep beneath your feet, you have all the ingredients for a unique natural adventure.

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Panama Destination: Chiriquí Highlands

The Chiriqui Highlands comprise the part of the Cordillera Central that defines the northern border of the province of Chiriquí.  It is a beautiful landscape of cloud forest, volcanic peaks, and coffee plantations and is home to most of Panama’s Ngöbe Indians.  In the province of Chiriquí, a few roads connect the highway to the highlands areas.  All these roads encompass one of the most beautiful scenic roads and landscapes of Panama.  Lowland areas give way to hills that have been clean for farming.  Ascending the mountains become sharper, their slopes more densely forested, and by noontime, they are enveloped in misty blue clouds.

La Amistad International Park

La Amistad is a binational park that stretches from Costa Rica into Panama, a small portion of which extends into the Chiriquí province. Here the land rises almost 5,000 feet, and warm air ascends the mountains where it meets with cooler air and condenses into persistent cloud cover. Cloudforest exhibit a unique ecosystem with an astonishing diversity of flora and fauna. Towering trees reach to the sun to form a canopy that creates a cool, shadowed, misty underworld on the forest floor. It is noisy with the sound of numerous ferns and epiphytes that crowd the lower and middle strata of the forest. Water drips from spongy mosses covering three trunks, from bromeliads that attach themselves to every cranny on the trees, and from flower petal perched high in the canopy of the forest. It is a magical world.

Boquete Mountain town

Tucked away on the eastern slopes of the Volcan Barú is small and charming mountain town of Boquete. Known to produce some of the best Coffee in Central America, Boquete is becoming a destination for those seeking great outdoor activities and good weather. Visitors bask in Boquete’s sunny and cool mountain climate and marvel at the beautiful landscape.

Boquete’s hills and slopes are primary covered in shade-grown coffee plantations.   Coffee is primary picked by the Ngöbe Indians during the months of October through February. Coffee picking season is a festive time when colorfully Indian families come from varios part of the Bocas del Toro and Chiriqui province to harvest the berries.

The highlands of Panama are the perfect place to practice different outdoor activities, such as hiking national parks, trekking adventures, birdwatching tours, river rafting, zip lining, downhill biking and more.  Contact us for more information on our extension tours to the highlands.  http://www.ecocircuitos.com