Horse back riding in bouquet, panama

Boquete, Panamá

My best girl, Julie, was spending some quality time in Central America so I couldn’t resist the opportunity to join her (plus we’ve never travelled together, whaaa?). We met at the surprisingly elegant hostel Casa Colon in San José, Costa Rica. After a quick beer and sleep that felt more like a nap we headed straight for Panamá.

The bus ride took most of the day, and after a rain-soaked border crossing, there is nothing more that I wanted to do than jump into the pool at the Bambú Hostel in David. Frequented by a mix of friendly backpackers and slightly shady American ex-pats, the hostel was a decent stopping off point before we headed into the mountains.

Our destination was Boquete in the shade of Volcán Barú. A quiet town, forever crowned by low-hung clouds and temperate climate. Though the area has recently become a destination for North American retirees, there is plenty to be discovered away from the polished main street.

We had the good fortune of meeting a local guide, Patricio really early on. He works for the tour company Panama Pathfinders but quickly became a friend who just happened to have a life-long knowledge of the area. With Pat leading the way we saw the surrounding hills on horseback while Julie and her female horse fended off advances from a frisky stallion. This equine romance was not to be, or at least not on our watch. We concluded our ride with a dip in the hot springs that feed into the Caldera river. The next day we headed for a hike in the jungle, to see the area’s most famous feathered resident—the quetzal. I got pretty good at spotting the green bird among the green foliage (years of colour-training my designer eye, I guess).

On our last night in the mountains we were in for a surprise. Patricio took us to Monniche Restaurant at Finca Lerida coffee plantation (founded by a Norwegian, one of the original engineers of the Panama Canal). The place was beautiful but eerily empty. Armed with a delicious meal and bottle of wine it didn’t take long for us to fill it with laughter.

Through the blog I also had the pleasure of meeting Mary Beth a little while back, and she happened to live in Boquete, just a stone’s throw from our cozy lodge, Casa de la Abuela. We shared an excellent tapas meal with her at Black & White and chatted about her transformative experience of moving Panamá. You can read about her work on her blog. On Mary Beth’s recommendation, we also had dinner at La Posada—a real Argentinian feast! Gracias, MB.

Casa Colon, San Jose

Casa Colon, San José

Hostel Bambú in David

Hostel Bambú in David

Avocado at Hostel Bambú in David

Backyard loot

Road to Boquete

Welcome to Boquete

Boquete, panamaMountains, Boquete, panama bird, Boquete, panamaBoquete, panama Boquete, panama

fashion, Boquete, panama

Impromptu photo shoot inspired by matching nature

Boquete, panama gardening in Boquete, panama

dog in Boquete, panama

Never a shortage of friendly perros

Boquete, panama

Boquete, panama

Boquete, panama

A particularly photogenic garbage heap

funny mop face

I bet this bad-ass mop can take care of it

horse back riding in boquetehorse back riding in boquete

horse back riding in boquete

Julie putting a stop to the equine romance, “Sorry girl, not today”

horse back riding in boquete

The hunky stallion

horse back riding in boquete

A real cowboy showing us how it’s done

Blue morpho butterfly, panama

One of the rarest butterflies in the world, the Blue Morpho

hot springs, boquete

Hot springs trickle into this river bed

boquete panama rocks

Chris from Pathfinders explaining the science behind these incredible sediments

carving, boquete panama

boquete panama

If I can climb it, I won’t be able to resist it

boquete panama

Patricio teaching us something really important, I’m sure

glass wing butterfly, panama

Glass-winged wonder

Quetzal, panama

The elusive quetzal

With photos by Julie Gélinas

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UnaBoquete, Panamá


  1. Michelle

    Oh, swoon! I left a piece of my heart in Costa Rica many years ago and have longed to return ever since. Thank you for these gorgeous photos!

  2. una

    Grazie Michelle! Both incredible places, with a very similar focus on conserving the natural beauty that is so abundant. “Pura vida!” At the end of our trip we looped back into Costa Rica and spent some time in Puerto Viejo on the Caribbean side… what a dream! I’ll be posting the rest of the trip in bits over the next few weeks… xo

      1. Author

        Michelle, I know… just amazing. So much biking and good food.

    1. Author

      Ah, that makes sense. It seemed art directed some how, not just a random pile…

  3. Marko 'X Ray Cat'

    Absolutely amazing, it’s like I’m already there :) Getting lost in the jungle..
    Your pics are so great I can almost smell the nature :)
    You know what.. I like your blog so much that I’m gonna..

    1. Author

      Thanks Marko! Boquete is a beautiful spot & we were lucky to stumble on the great people at Pathfinders who can really show off the best the area has to offer.

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