Boquete

To call Boquete an undiscovered gem would be a lie, because it has certainly been discovered, as the thriving multinational expat community ably demonstrates. But this small mountain town in the Chiriquí Province of Panama is certainly a gem, and a multifaceted one at that.

With its fresh, comfortable climate and spectacular natural surroundings, Boquete has long attracted foreigners looking for their piece of paradise. But it also has a thriving tourist scene, one that appeals to both holidaying Panamanians and international visitors.

The town, which is located near the Barú Volcano and its associated national park, is a hub for outdoor activities. Climbing, hiking, river rafting, zip ling, horse riding and canopy touring are all popular activities that are easy to arrange. It’s also a hotspot for birdwatching, with some 500 of the country’s 970 species of bird located in the region. And when you want to relax, you can soak in the nearby hot springs.

If coffee is your thing, you’ll certainly be spoiled in Boquete. The surrounding area is home to some of the world’s best coffee growers, including Cafe Geisha, the producer of one of the world’s most expensive brews (you can expect to pay as much as $40 for a cup in most parts of the world). Many of the plantations are open to tours, so you can see the entire coffee process before sampling the finished product.

Thanks in part to investments made by the burgeoning expat community, Boquete now boasts excellent accommodations ranging from backpacker hostels to boutique hotels and five-star resorts. New restaurants and cafes are also springing up, as well as cultural activities. The annual Boquete Jazz & Blues Festival always attracts a large crowd, and the local theater group and other social events provide a lively music and arts scene year-round.

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