Gateway to the Cloud Forest! Boquete, which in Spanish means gap or opening, is truly the gateway to a land of mists, myths, and magical sites. And what better place to stay to begin your exploration but The Panamonte Inn & Spa, Boquete’s most famous hotel, and Panama’s only registered Small Luxury Hotel.
What is your vacation style? Do you want an adventure in the jungle? Luxury spa treatments? Birdwatching? Fine dining? A comfortable and serene place to kick back, do some reading, take a nap, or a stroll through the garden? The Panamonte can make all of these and more available to you, either on site or through one of their trusted service providers. The Panamonte staff will happily help you to arrange the activities that will make your vacation a unique and memorable experience.
Tour a world-class, award winning coffee finca and learn the mysteries of coffee ‘cupping,’ the stylized ritual that connoisseurs use to evaluate and describe coffee. Here, in the rich volcanic soil of Volcan Baru with the right balance of rain and sun, grow the finest Arabica coffees in the world, confirmed annually in the International Specialty Coffee competitions.
Hike, for an hour or a day, into La Amistad National Park, which spans the border between Panama and Costa Rica. Watch closely, and you’ll see for the elusive resplendent quetzal. Hear the howler monkeys. Study the trail for jaguar tracks. Count the songbirds (the Audubon Society has counted over a 1000 here—and people come from the world over to do their ‘birding’ in Boquete). Marvel at the orchids, bromeliads, wild heliconias, and lush tropical foliage of the cloud forest. Splash in the cold, pure water of a jungle water fall.
Visit volcanic hot springs in the lower land jungle, where hot water bubbles up through the sand into rock pools. Rainbow colored parakeets gather noisily by the hundreds in the fruit trees overhead. Walk in or ride a horse. And while you are in the Caldera area, stop in to see the ancient petroglyphs carved on huge boulders by lost tribes.
Book an eco-tour, fly through the air on the canopy zip line, ride horses, take a Spanish class, tour a private garden, pamper yourself with a full day of spa treatments…or, simply, sit in the Panamonte’s quiet garden and be, as the locals say, ‘tranquillo.’ After all, it’s YOUR vacation…and the Panamonte staff will help you design it to be exactly what you want it to be.
In the evening, while Boquete offers a number of restaurants, the enticing lure of the Fireside Lounge and the Panamonte dining room, may make it hard for you to pull away to go elsewhere!
- ATV and scooter rentals – by the day, by the hour. Explore the winding mountain roads in the mountains above and around the Boquete valley. Cuidado—the curves and hills are challenging!
- Beach trips – Las Lajas for wide open sands, gentle waves, and seaside restaurants. Leave early in the morning, spend the day in the sun, return to the Panamonte in time for cocktails and dinner. Las Olas is the option for a comfortable beach front resort restaurant, swimming pool bar and crashing surf. The Panamonte staff can arrange transportation, if needed.
- Bird watching – Close to 1000 species of birds make their home for part of each year in the Boquete area. Birding groups from around the world come here annually to count, catalogue and admire the variety of feathered friends. The Audobon Society and The Smithsonian have been tracking migratory patterns of birds through Boquete for almost 100 years. Don’t leave without seeking the elusive Resplendent Quetzal, the most rare, beautiful and renowned of Boquete’s birds. (Hint—March and April are nesting months and local guides know where and how to find them.)
- Boquete Tree Trek canopy zip line – the 2nd highest in Central America. Travel from station to station in complete security, high above the canopied forest and river below. A breathtaking experience, never to be forgotten.
- Coffee Tours – tours are available at a number of coffee fincas and processing beneficios, from large commercial to small private operations. Guided tours during harvest season (November through February) are a fascinating way to learn about this internationally famous Boquete crop. See how and where it grows. Learn how it is processed. Taste freshly roasted, ground and brewed coffee on site, and learn why it is as complex as any wine tasting.
- Flower Festivals – every January people flock from all over the world to participate in the celebration of Flowers and Coffee in Boquete, Feria de las Flores y del Café, an event celebrated for over 50 years. Crafters from South and Central America display their wares, music plays, people dance, children play. It is a family friendly, high-spirited ten days of merry making. In April, the Orchid Festival draws enthusiasts for these exquisite flowers from as far away as Japan.
- Hiking – for short hikes, long hikes, river hikes, up the volcano hikes, the Panamonte staff will help you arrange guides that will see you safely to your destination and back. The Volcan Baru hike is very challenging, but for those fit and adventurous souls, it is the only place you can stand and look in one direction to the Pacific Ocean and the other to the Carribean! Overnight camping excursions are also available.
- Horseback riding – ride through the mountains or along the road.
- Hot Springs – natural volcanic hot springs soak away your travel weariness in nearby Caldera. Combine this trip with a horseback riding tour, take a dip in the cold river water near by, relax in the hot (non-sulphurous) waters and be amazed at the flocks of parakeets that land in the nearby trees.
- Parades – from the first of November through Christmas, there are parades to mark the different Independence Day and holiday celebrations of Panama. Not to be missed, these events take all day to fully appreciate, as young and old marchers, dancers, musicians and civic groups display their choreography, their banners, and their pride in Panama.
- Private Garden and estate tours – orchids, coffee, flowers, and medicinal plants can all be found in various local garden and botanical sites. Some are whimsical and fun. Some are simply beautiful. Some are open to the public for free, others charge small fees for guided or unguided tours.
- Spanish language and Panamanian cultural lessons. Several options for Spanish classes, at all levels, are available in Boquete. Ask for field trips that take you into the community to practice your skills in the local mercados!
- The Tuesday Morning Meeting and Market. Every Tuesday, from 9-12, local crafters and vendors gather at the Boquete Centro de Eventos (BCP) to display and sell everything from handcrafted jewelry, hand made soaps, local coffee, organic produce, medicinal herbal products to delicious soups, tamales and fresh cracked coconuts. From 10:30 to 12, an information meeting is held in the auditorium, where you can meet people, ask questions, and get a feel for what life in Boquete is all about.
- Theatre productions by the Chiriqui Players or Boquete Community Players are often on the calendar, offering a wide range of live entertainment options. Live music is often performed on the weekends at various restaurants.
- Volcan Baru – towering over Boquete at almost 12,000 feet, this dormant giant begs the intrepid to hike to the summit or tackle the daunting trail with an ATV. Do NOT go without a guide.
- White water rafting and kayaking – from gentle, lulling rivers to Class 4 and 5 rapids, there is rafting for every skill level, every adrenaline threshold.
- Wildlife refuges and expeditions. Visit howler monkeys, pet a tiny tamarin, view local reptiles, jungle cats, toucans and macaws at one of several refuge and rehabilitation centers in the area.
Not feeling motivated to venture far or wide on any given day? Spend time wandering around Boquete, only a 5 minute walk from the Panamonte. Shop for local crafts, visit the farmer’s Mercado. Eat at any one of Boquete’s many restaurants—from local Panamanian typical (yum!) to high end haute cuisine and everything in between, there is something for every budget, every mood, every palate.
Relax in the Panamonte’s gardens or lounge. Read a book on the private terrace of your room. Book a luxurious Spa treatment through The Haven Spa. Relax! Tranquilo! The staff will see to your every need.
Whatever activity intrigues you, the Panamonte Inn & Spa staff can make all the arrangements with the most experienced and reputable guides and companies, insuring that your exploration of the cloud forest is enjoyable, entertaining and safe. Arranging tours and guides is a complimentary service of the Panamonte. Making recommendations for your visit and seeing to your needs is what service at the Panamonte is all about—personal, professional, dependable.