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- 13 Dec 2019, 3 nights
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Due to its position 4000 feet above sea level, Boquete has a fresh climate that's different to most of Panama. In the lush valleys here coffee, flowers and vegetables are bountiful and adventurous activities are varied. On a stroll through the town you'll pass by young travellers, native Panamanians and members of the indigenous Ngäbe tribe. This is a small district with a big reputation, thanks to its rolling rivers and the rugged trails on nearby volcanic peaks.
Many Boquete hostels have on-site restaurants and communal kitchens making dinner simple, plus breakfast is free at some. Stay in a castle complete with swimming pool and climbing wall or relax on a hammock strung between fruit trees. There's a rustic Boquete hostel up in the hills with dorms and private rooms, or another with a massage parlour – ideal after a day of serious hiking. You'll have access to outdoor terraces and social areas, and lots have air con too.
Boquete is compact because of its location in a narrow valley, so the residential sections are on the hillsides out of town. A number of restaurants and cafés line the main road and the streets leading off it, while Parque José Domingo Médica in the centre is the place to spend an afternoon among exotic flowers and fountains. Caldera Hot Springs are a 40-minute drive southeast and Barú Volcano National Park is northwest.
A favourite activity in Boquete is the challenging hike up Barú Volcano. This is one of few places on earth where you can see both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans simultaneously. Keep the adrenaline flowing with a whitewater rafting trip on the Chiriquí Viejo River or zipline above the canopies at Tree Trek Mountain Resort. For a more easy-going day, you can shop for crafts and local produce at the Tuesday Market downtown or sample a couple of the 40 varieties of honey produced on Boquete Bees farm.
The closest airport is Enrique Malek International Airport in David. To reach Boquete from here you can take a bus that stops close to the main plaza and takes about an hour. There are also connections to Caldera (45 minutes) and Puerto Viejo de Talamanca in Costa Rica (8 hours). You can walk around the whole town, but to get to the hills use the urbano (local) buses that depart just north of the plaza.