Boquete is a lovely mountain town located in the western portion of Panama. It’s a popular destination for hiking, coffee, and good restaurants. Lots of people retire to here for the cool air and you’ll find a city filled with great food. I ate the best meals of my trip in this town. Throw in some amazing mountain hikes, a strawberry ice cream shop, and cheap local food, and well, Boquete might be touristy but it’s not overrated.
- Hostel Prices: Hostels in the city costs between $10-12 USD for a dorm room. Private rooms in hostels begin at $30 USD per night.
- Budget Hotel Prices: Budget hotels cost between $40-60 USD per night for a room with A/C, hot water, and private bathroom.
- Average Cost of Food: Local stalls will cost around $2-3 USD and will get you chicken, rice, and beans. Western restaurants will cost between $7-10 USD. For a nice meal with wine, expect to pay around $30-40 USD. Top restaurants include The Rock, Sugar and Spice, and the Panamonte.
- Transportation Costs: Taxis in the city cost about $5. Buses around the area cost $1.
Top Things to Do
- The Paradise Gardens - This wildlife sanctuary is great for those interested in Panama’s flora and fauna. Paradise Gardens features tamarins, howler monkeys, white-faced capuchins, a margay, parrots, a striking variety of macaws, kinkajous, and more. What also makes this place great is that it is solely run by volunteers.
- Mi Jardín Es Su Jardín – This garden is a private garden made for everyone. There’s a lot of plants here and a funky design. There’s an impressive view of the valley and surrounding mountains, which you can look at through the observation tower. The garden is free to enter.
- Take a Coffee Plantation Tour - Most of the coffee in Panama is grown here and throughout the mountains there are tons of coffee plantations. Take a tour of one and see how coffee is grown and processed. Most tours are half day and cost around $25 USD.
- Go Hiking - This area is filled with jungles, mountains, waterfalls, and animals. Plus, since it’s in the mountains, it stays relatively cool. All of this is the perfect recipe to go hiking. Wander through the many marked trails around the city and just enjoy the outdoors.
- Hike the Sendero Los Quetzales Trail - This 13 km trail begins about 10km out of town and ends in Cerro Punta. If you go from Boquete, you go uphill. From Cerro Punta, downhill. However, some people think the uphill hike is actually easier than hiking downhill since the downhill part is very hard on your knees. The trail takes a whole day to walk so it’s best to leave early in the morning. While you won’t see a lot of animals here, you’ll find lots of birds and great views and waterfalls along the path.
- Climb Volcán Barú – This volcano is one of the biggest attractions for travelers here. You hike up to the summit of the dormant volcano for great views of the area, the caldera, and good hiking. While it is possible to do it in a very long day hike, most people hike this volcano over two days. That way you can spend the night at the top and witness the spectacular sunrise in the morning. You can hike this by yourself or go on an overnight tour with a guide for $50 USD.
- Eat at the local stands – Meals at local food stalls cost between $3-4 USD. You’ll get rice, chicken, beans, and maybe another side plus a drink. I didn’t love the food in Panama but at the price they had, it made eating very cheap.
- Walk around town – The town is so small that everything is walkable. Avoid taking the taxis unless you are in a rush somewhere.