The town of Boquete in Panama is an awesome place to visit. The beauty, the cool breeze, the rivers. Thousands of people from around the world visit every year, and hundreds from North America and Europe have moved there, turning it into a chilled haven for foreigners in the otherwise warm Panama.
Aside from the perfect climate, Boquete has some awesome places to visit. When you go, fill out your trip and achieve maximum enjoyment points by visiting the following locations:
There are plenty of waterfalls in Panama, but most of them are either deep in the jungle, or so far in the distance you need a pair of binoculars to see them. In the highlands of Boquete, near the Ngobe work camps, there is a waterfall with a constant stream of visitors. I’m not going to lie, it isn’t huge, but it is beautiful and makes for some great Facebook profile pics. There are probably ten thousand of them by now. Don’t try to climb it though, it’s slippery and a guy recently fell off and ended up with some injuries. What you can do is whip out that new GoPro and snap a picture under the spray.
Sugar and Spice Bakery
Oh Sugar and Spice, you sultry, sultry temptress. She is a wonderland where you can stuff your face with some of the most delicious pastries in Panama. As someone who has done said stuffing all over the country, I can tell you from over a decade of experience that this place is where the deliciousness is at. It may be a bit pricier than other bakeries in the nation, but it sure is worth it. I make sure to save plenty of crumbs in my ultra-goatee for a late night snack. Aside from desserts, Sugar and Spice also makes a mean sandwich, and people tell me the salads are great (I’m trying to cut back, so I haven’t tried them).
Just like there are plenty of waterfalls in Panama, there are also plenty of parks, but Boquete’s central park is a rare gem in the nation. It is one of the only public places where you don’t feel like people are gawking at you, or that a drunken brawl might break out at any moment. They also keep it clean, unlike others, so you don’t have to worry about rusty nails or broken glass marring you as you saunter through the flowers. There are also lots of flowers! It depends on the time of year of course, but if you come around flower festival season (in mid-January), they are everywhere.
The park is also the heart of the town, so there are frequently live bands, gypsy salesmen selling handicrafts, books, puppies, street meat (bbq), and more.
Mi Jardin es Tu Jardin
Alright, so it isn’t the most creative of names, but that doesn’t make Mi Jardin es Tu Jardin (My Garden is Your Garden) any less awesome to visit. First of all it’s free, second, the whole place smells amazing. Kids love looking at the fish and walking over the little bridges dotting the area. You can enter without having to talk to anyone and mosey through the paths and gardens without a care in the world. There is also a random tower that you can climb up and get a killer view. Also some more profile pics.
There are plenty of souvenir shops in Boquete, but Artesanias Nacionales is a favorite. It isn’t big, but it does have a great selection and the prices are decent as well. Do some shopping around of course, but this is a great place to start. Keep in mind though, even though they are pretty, a lot of the handbags and other handicrafts in Boquete are not actually native to Panama, they are made in Peru and Ecuador. If you are a stickler for authenticity ask the shop owner where the souvenir came from.
La Princesa de Las Fresas
The Chiriqui province of Panama, where Boquete is located, is the produce center of the nation. Boquete and another nearby town called Cerro Punta are where the strawberries for the nation are grown. Because of the amazing, almost constant temperature and regular rain, they are produced year round. These two towns specialize in making some of the most amazing strawberries and cream you will ever eat. La Princesa de Las Fresas is right on the edge of Central Park. Make sure you grab an order of strawberries before you leave, the glorious red juices streaming down your chin will not soon be forgotten.
Boquete Baru Restaurante and Bar
This is hands down the best place to eat a meal in Boquete. You can go to any of the Mexican, Argentinian, Italian, American, or whatever other place you want, but the prices are going to be ridiculously inflated and the portions (especially in the Mexican restaurants) are going to be tiny. In Boquete Baru Restaurante and Bar you can buy a plate of nachos for $13 that the hungriest of men will have trouble finishing. The hamburgers are huge and the fries are great. They have personal pizzas for the kids, or chicken fingers. Some of the deserts are a bit overpriced for some reason, but I will say I haven’t found fried ice cream anywhere else, and you get decent portions for what you pay.
Anyone familiar with Boquete would punch me right in the face if I didn’t talk about Kotowa. Kotowa is Panama’s answer to Starbucks. Despite its clear cut copy of that franchise, it makes the best coffee and smoothies in Boquete. There are two locations in town, but the main hub is on the outskirts. It has an amazing view, friendly staff, and even animal friends who come to visit on occasion. The most difficult part about either location is finding any parking. The prices are reasonable for Panama ($3.50 for a large), and unlike other places that call water mixed with Nesquik, a handful of ice cubes, and some coffee grinds a frappe, Kotowa actually makes the delicious real deal. The next time you visit Boquete, make sure you grab one!