We took a day trip from Boca Chica up to the town of Boquete, Panama. The drive can be done in about 90 minutes. We were able to follow good quality secondary roads off the Panamerican Highway that took us through scenic terrain.
Boquete is a popular town for visitors. There are many boutique hotels with high end restaurants. A lot of expats live here. They are attracted to the year round temperate weather and the outdoor activities like hiking and rafting. One of the most popular hikes is the overnight hike up Volcan Baru to watch the sunrise. Volcan Baru is the highest point in Panama and on a clear day you can watch the sunrise up over the Atlantic Ocean.
The town is high up in the mountains so it is much cooler than down by the ocean. I am glad that I brought a sweater and a rain jacket. The day was sunny but there were frequent cold squalls passing through the town. If you are dressed for the beach you would be uncomfortable in the cold, wind and rain.
The centre of Boquete town is the square with the pavilion. The town radiates out from the square. All around the square are various types of shops, travel agencies, and places to eat. We were able to park on one of the back streets and spent a few hours walking around the town.
There is fresh fruit and produce on sale on the street from the back of trucks. Along the main street there are small open air markets to purchase handmade goods. We purchased a beautiful handcrafted blanket made out of Alpaca wool. We paid a fair price of $40 for it.
After walking around we drove up to one of the coffee plantations and had coffee and a pastry. Coffee harvest time is from January to April. The beans are dried for eight days and sold green. We watched the workers drying and sorting the coffee beans.
Geisha coffee beans are the most expensive coffee beans in the world with some batches going for over $1000 a pound. They are grown on a rare and ancient Ethiopian coffee plant that does very well on the slopes of Volcan Baru. Professional coffee tasters rank it as the best coffee in the world and expect it to hit a perfect score of 100 soon.
After drinking our coffee we drove around the side roads looking at the boutique lodges. It would be easy to spend a few days here going on 2 or 3 hour hikes and enjoying the amenities offered by the lodges. The day trip was enjoyable and we were back to our villa before dark.