Boquete, Baru & La Amistad
If you could visit only one province of Panama, Chiriqui would be a fine choice—Chiriqui’s landscape rolls from cloud-forested mountains to sunny Pacific beaches.
High in the misty Talamanca Mountains of the eastern Chiriqui Province, Volcan Baru is an inactive volcano, crowned by seven craters.
Its summit reaches 11,401 feet above sea level.
The slopes around the mountain are habitat for more than 250 species of birds, including Resplendent quetzals.
Baru Volcano National Park
Those who make the two-day cloud-forest trek are rewarded with the unique opportunity to see both the Pacific and Caribbean coasts simultaneously.
Just outside Volcan Baru National Park, one of Latin America’s finest orchid sanctuaries cultivates in excess of 2,000 exotic varieties.
La Amistad is home to over 1,000 bird species, tapirs, monkeys, and brilliantly-colored frogs.
Privately guided day hikes can be arranged to the La Cascada waterfall and panoramic lookout points.
The Mysterious Barriles Culture
On a picturesque family farm near the town of Volcan, visitors can learn about the enigmatic Barriles Culture, which disappeared sometime around 600 AD.
In 1947, 18 large stone statues were discovered here. Some of the carved figures suggest African and Asian facial features.
These stones are now on display at the Reina Torrez de Arauz Anthropological Museum in Panama City.
Boquete, located east of Volcan Baru, is known for its pine forests, rivers, and near perfect climate.
Here you can enjoy whitewater rafting trips, zip-line canopy tours, horseback riding, and visits to organic coffee farms.
Another fine option is the Sendero de los Quetzales—a six-mile trail from Boquete to Cerro Punta.
Birding in Boquete
Over 225 species of birds have been identified on this route, including the shy Resplendent quetzal.
The Boquete Fair of Flowers and Coffee
Boquete’s most famous event is the 10-day Fair of Flowers and Coffee, held each January.
The province’s Pacific Coast offers warm waters, diving, and sport fishing.
The Chiriqui National Marine Park protects 25 islands and over a dozen separate reefs. Here you can observe:
- Sea Turtles
- Humpback Whales (July to October)
- Hammerhead Sharks
- Manta Rays
For those with more time, multi-day cruises to Coiba Island National Park are available from the town of Boca Chica.
Full, Half, and Multi-day Fishing Charters
Fishing charters—targeting black marlin, sailfish, wahoo, and cubera snapper—can be arranged for half, full and multi-day excursions.
Chiriqui’s diverse microclimates require creative packing. In general, the best time to visit is between January and April.
The highlands are characterized by cool evenings, with rain potential from August to November.
The Pacific Coast has highs in the 90s and lows near 70° year-round.
Joseph Hilaire Pierre René Belloc