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Boquete is a gorgeous town nestled in the province of Chiriqui, Panama. It’s the perfect place to go while backpacking Panama for those that love outdoor adventure, with volcano hikes, coffee tours, waterfalls, zip-lining, cloud forests, and more. It’s also home to a pretty epic castle you can sleep in. And yes, it’s affordable to stay there. Read on to find out where to stay in Boquete and the best things to do there.
Where to stay in Boquete
Bambuda Castle is one of the coolest accommodations I have ever stayed at.
The castle was built by a man who promised his wife they would live in a castle, and so they did – talk about relationship goal! After a while they decided that they didn’t need that much space and downgraded to something more modest. The castle was put on the market and quickly sold to two Canadian boys who converted it into a hotel/hostel.
Staying at this castle feels like a 5-star hotel but the prices are so reasonable. It is stunning inside and out, extremely clean, has gorgeous views from the balcony, an indoor pool and hot tub. And you can get all this for as low as 14$ USD!
They have a restaurant on site and every night host a delicious family dinner which gives you a chance to talk to other travellers. The only downside to the hostel is that it’s a bit far from town, but you can get a taxi for $2-4 or walk 45 minutes in. Or just stay there forever because why would you want to leave a castle?
What to do in Boquete
Hiking in Boquete
Boquete is a paradise for hikers. One of the most epic hikes you can do there is Volcan Baru. Most people hike there for sunrise which involves hiking six hours in the dark, and I just couldn’t face it after hiking Acatenango in Guatemala. It’s a unique hike as you will be rewarded with a sunrise over both the Caribbean and Pacific oceans. Not gonna lie, I regret not doing it!
One of the best day hikes you can do is the lost waterfall hike which takes you to through the jungle to three beautiful waterfalls. I did this hike by myself and loved it, the trail is so beautiful and tranquil. It was very muddy when I was on it though – definitely wear a good pair of hiking boots if you plan to tackle this trail. If you aren’t comfortable hiking alone, you can also join a guided tour.
Visit a coffee plantation
The landscape of Boquete provides a great place to grow coffee given the rich soil from the Volcano. One of the best things to do while visiting Boquete is join a coffee tour.
I visited the Don Pepe coffee plantation which is a locally owned plant that produces extremely high-quality coffee. The area itself doesn’t produce an impressive amount of coffee, so they focus on higher quality such as Geisha coffee which is popular in Japan.
The tour of the plantation was fascinating. They show you the complete process of coffee manufacturing from growing the seed to roasting the beans. I had no idea that so much work went into making coffee. A coffee plant there can take 3-7 years before it is ready to be used! I left the tour with a much deeper appreciation of coffee.
After we saw the coffee plants outside, the guide took us inside to show how the coffee beans are peeled, cleaned, dried, and sorted. At the end of the tour we got to sample a bunch of the coffee that they produce which was delicious! It was so cool because a buyer from the Netherlands was at the facility tasting coffee with the owner to import back. I got to watch a proper coffee tasting and also learn a little about the worldwide coffee trade.
Visit the Caldera Hot Springs
There’s no better activity to do after hiking then visiting hot springs! Sooth your muscles with a relaxing trip to the Caldera Hot Springs, located just on the outskirts of Boquete. To get there go to the main bus stop in Boquete and look for the bus going to Caldera. Alternatively, if you have a few people you could hire a taxi.
Explore the hanging bridges in the cloud forest
Cloud Forests are an amazing place to walk through if you love nature, and hanging bridges make walking through them even more enjoyable. These hanging bridges are similar to what you would find in Monteverde or La Fortuna in Costa Rica, so I opted not to do this since I had already visited many! However, if you haven’t experienced a cloud forest before, this is a great place to see one.
Rafting in Boquete
If you’re looking for a fun adrenaline adventure, you can go rafting down Chiriqui Viejo River in Boquete. It’s a full-day adventure that will take you through class III rapids surrounded by beautiful landscapes. I didn’t get a chance to go rafting here but I have been rafting all over the world including the Zambezi River in Victoria Falls, and it’s one of my favorite things to do while traveling. If you’re new to rafting, this would be a great place to try it out as the rapids are suitable for all levels.
How to get to Boquete
When traveling by bus through Panama, you’ll have to get to the town of David first and then get another bus/taxi to Boquete from the terminal there, which takes about 25 minutes. I took a bus from Bocas Del Toro to David, which took about four hours. Leaving, I took a bus from David to Panama City, which took about eight hours. You can also fly from Panama City to David.
Where to go after Boquete
Wondering where to go after Boquete? If you’re heading South don’t miss the San Blas Islands tour from Panama City to Cartagena, Colombia. If you’re going North, take a trip to Bocas Del Toro – a beautiful island in Panama.
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