Boquete, Panama

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We finally arrived into Boquete around 6:30 in the morning. The overnight bus from Panama City to David took a little over 6 hours. If you’re ever planning on taking a bus in Central America, be sure to bring warm clothes. I wore a hoodie and sweatpants and I  was still freezing. From David, we caught a ride in a beat up taxi and drove the rest of the way into Boquete. Driving into Boquete we watched the sunrise pier over Vulcan Baru and made the entire trip worth it. Check in at the hostel wasn’t until 1:00pm, so we decided to camp out on the hammocks that were pitched by the river. Refugio del Rio is a quaint and quiet hostel for those wanting to relax and enjoy the outdoors. There’s an open patio with plenty of seating with a covered roof overhead. This allowed us to spend most of our time outdoors even if it was raining. We tried hiking Vulcan Baru; the highest point in Panama which on a good day you can see both the Pacific and Caribbean Oceans; but the weather did not permit. You have to leave for this trek at 11:30pm to complete a 6 hour hike in order to watch the sunrise. Unfortunately, it was pouring down rain each night of our stay. Instead, we hiked to El Explorador which is a gorgeous eco-friendly garden on the side of a mountain overlooking the valley below. Recycled materials were turned into flower pots filling the garden; everything from cologne bottles to sewing machines. It felt like I was Alice walking through Wonderland. One of the best ways to see the countryside was by horseback in Jaramillo. Mariela, the owner, would pick travelers up from their hostel and drive them to her privately owned ranch. She fitted everyone with a horse that suited their skill level from first timers to experienced riders. The 2 hour tour trekked through a dense jungle over bridges and through rocky streams. The trail then opened up to a working coffee plantation and finished with a full gallop back to the ranch. Boquete offers a variety of guided hikes and tours but at a steep price. A majority of these hikes and tours you do not need a guide and can easily do on your own for a fraction of the cost. For instance, the Caldera Hot Springs tour is $35.00 with a guide. This includes a guide walking you through a clear set path which you can easily navigate on your own. We paid $6.00 including transportation to and from Boquete to Caldera and the entrance fee. If you do your research and ask locals, you can do almost any of these tours at a cost effective price. Boquete was a beautiful mountain town and was refreshing to see after the hustle and bustle of Panama City. Not many backpackers know of this hidden gem which makes it all the more worth while. I highly recommend this small town for anyone venturing to Panama. We leave for the islands of Bocas Del Toro in the morning and I’m sad to goodbye to the mountain valley hidden in the jungle.

 

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