Posted on February 17, 2014
Boquete was my last stop in Panama, before traveling to Costa Rica. I chose this destination, because after the first 10 very hot days in Panama, I felt like cooling down somewhere, seeing mountains and hiking volcano Barú.
How did I get to Boquete? I took a bus from Albrook terminal in Panama City to David and from David a typical american school bus to Boquete. The whole journey was around 9 hours, leaving Panama City at 10 am and getting to Boquete around 7pm. As usual, I had no place reserved (I hate to make plans in advance, cause I never know who I meet :). Actually already in the bus from Panama city to David I “kidnapped” Rick from Australia who was on his way to Costa Rica. But as it happens, he changed his plans and joined me to Boquete. When we got off the bus, the bus driver recommended “Mama llena” hostel, right on the main square. The hostel was almost sold out, they had only one bed available, so I took that one (12USD/dorm) and Rick slept on a couch in the living room (only for 6 dolars!). I had a very good impression of this hostel, it was friendly, clean and nice volunteers working there. It was also possible to do different tours through the hostel, but yeah… if you speak Spanish or you know how to move around a bit, you don’t need to pay extra money for a guide. So I didn’t do any of the organized tours, I went on my own to the hot springs and also for some hikes. The main highlight of this trip was supposed to be the night hike to volcano Barú – the highest peak of Panama. I wanted to do it, because everyone does that. But when I found more about the conditions, I decided this type of activity was not for me.
Night hike to volcano Baru. The hike starts at 11:30pm when a shuttle brings you to the starting point and from there, you have up to 6 hours to get to the top of Baru for the sunrise. The goal is to get for the sunrise and if you’re lucky, you’ll be able to see both sides of the oceans – Pacific and Atlantic (Caribbean sea). This sounds amazing, but is the whole trip worth it? I don’t know. I decided that it was too much for me, at that point I didn’t hike for 7 months and I didn’t like the idea of hiking at night. It was supposed to be very cold on top of Baru (4 degrees Celcius) and the worst part was to hike back to Boquete after no sleeping at all. The hike in total was around 10 hours. My decision was clear – I said “No, thank you”. And I don’t regret it at all. I congratulate to everyone, who made it, because it has to be a good and proud feeling to do an activity like that. But I also think that we shouldn’t torture ourselves just because this is a type of activity that Lonely planet recommends. There will be more volcanos in Costa Rica and Nicaragua, so no stress at all.
I stayed in Boquete for one week. It was a very nice and chilled time, discovering the area, hiking and spending time with nice people from the hostel. I met many retired American couples who moved here and bought properties. Nice people, they invited me for a coffee or just wanted to talk. At the end I felt that it was time to jump on a bus back to David and from David catch a bus to the border of Costa Rica! And that will be another story ☺
Some shots from Boquete: