November 19 2010
When visiting Panama, many people do the Panama City – Boquete – Bocas del Toro circuit. A perfect combination of city, mountains and beach, right?
But sometimes logistics can be a challenge. Here are the top 5 things you need to know if you are planning a trip to both Bocas del Toro and Boquete:
1. Flights There are no longer flights between David (the regional airport closest to Boquete) and Bocas del Toro.
2. But…there are economical alternatives to flying! Land transfers between Boquete and Almirante (the port town close to Bocas) take approximately 3.5 – 4.5 hours, depending on your mode of transportation. Once you are in Almirante, you can take a $3-$4 water taxi to the island. Here are your options:
a. A shuttle service between Boquete and Almirante: The cost is $35 per person. We recommend Panama Travel Services. They have professional drivers, safe vehicles and are insured. And the best thing is – they pick up at Boquete Garden Inn at 9:00 am (other shuttle services require that you get to them – for 7:30 am)
b. Private taxi: Panama Travel Services also offers transportation between Almirante and Boquete for $160 for 2 people. Comfy, safe and insured minivan. c. Bus: Take either a taxi or bus to David bus station, and then a bus from David to Almirante. Buses leave every 30 minutes from David. Panama bus schedule. You’re looking at a 5 hour trip. And possibly sharing the vehicle with chickens.
3. Taking a rental car from Boquete to Almirante is not a great idea. The rental companies charge a hefty premium to pick up your car from Almirante. And if you are planning on leaving the car in Almirante and then driving it back yourself – you’re paying to park an unused car.
4. Guests tell us that they wish they’d stayed longer in Boquete. I know what you’re thinking: Of course we’d say that – we’re a Boquete hotel. But it’s true! There are so many things to do in Boquete and the surrounding areas – see our Things to Do section for more info.
5. Skip the logistics and stay in Chiriqui! Boquete is the perfect home base to explore the mountains and beaches of Chiriqui. Las Lajas is 1 hour and 45 minutes away, Boca Chica and Las Olas are 1.5 hours away. We provide our guests with great maps to plan their beachy day trips! Spend less time traveling and more time enjoying your Panama vacation right here in Chiriqui!
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November 05 2010
One of the things you’ll notice when you visit Boquete: there are a lot of dogs. For the most part they are indifferent. They go about their business, posing no threat to people. But they are often malnourished and unkempt. And they roam the streets, unconcerned about traffic. This can sometimes pose problems for the dogs and their human neighbours.
There is a great organization in Boquete called Amigos de Animales Boquete (FADAB). Their mission is to provide low cost spaying and neutering of dogs and cats and to promote the general welfare of animals in the Boquete community and surrounding areas–which includes pet adoptions and feeding programs for street dogs and cats.
You can support this great group by purchasing the Amigos de Animales Boquete (FADAB) 2011 Calendar. The calendar features cats and dogs that have been adopted through the program and pets that belong to Boquete residents.
Visit the FADAB site for more information!
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October 30 2010
This serves as a quick heads up to anyone visiting Panama in November, or for those newly settled here: November is the month of Patriotic Holidays. Independence Day. Flag day. Recovery day. Another Independence Day. It’s noisier than usual, less productive than usual, more crowded than usual.
If you’re prepared, you’ll navigate the holidays and enjoy what they have to offer (parades, parties and great photo ops). Remember: book your regional airline tickets in advance. Get to the station early if you are traveling by bus. Avoid driving in Panama City (you’ll be fine in Boquete). And keep this schedule handy:
November 1 & 2: regular hours for banks, businesses
November 3: Independence Day (from Colombia). Banks, government offices and most businesses closed (exceptions: most restaurants, tour providers). Limited taxi service in Boquete*
November 4: Flag Day. Banks, government offices and most businesses closed (exceptions: most restaurants, tour providers). Limited taxi service in Boquete*
November 5: Random Party Day. Banks, government offices and most businesses closed (exceptions: most restaurants, tour providers). Limited taxi service in Boquete*
November 6: Recovery Day. Limited hours for banks (usually 8am – noon), government offices closed, businesses open, taxi service mostly back to normal (except early morning, which is dedicated to hangover nursing)*
November 10 & 29: Banks, government offices closed
November 28: Independence Day (it’s Spain this time). Heavy on parades.
*This refers to yellow taxis. Our preferred taxi service, which does airport runs, tours, trips to Almirante etc., is available throughout the holidays
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September 03 2010
Palm Tanager at Boquete Garden Inn
The Palm Tanager, a frequent visitor and nester at Boquete Garden Inn. He’ll make the odd appearance at the Boquete Garden breakfast, alongside Passerini’s Tanager and Blue Gray Tanager, but generally likes to keep to himself. Favourite fruit: Papaya.
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August 31 2010
Boquete Mountain Safari is always measuring, adjusting and listening to feedback to get their tour mix just right. Guest favourites include the Wildlife/Hiking tour ($40 for half day) Caldera Hot Springs with Horseback Riding ($50 for 5 hours) and the Cloud Forest Safari 4×4 jeep tour ($35 for half day) The guides are excellent – knowledgeable and friendly.
Many people ask me if it’s necessary to hire a guide for hiking. I think it’s a really good idea if you’ve got limited time and want to see as much as possible. These guys know how to call down birds, take you to the best trails and give you a mini-tour of surrounding areas on the way to the trails.
And a new feature for Boquete Mountain Safari: ‘add a coffee tasting to your tour’…
Add a coffee tour to the Cloud Forest Safari, Wildlife Hike or Horseback Riding and it’s only $50- $55 per person for a five-hour tour. Awesome value and expertise!
We organize tours for our guests at no additional charge – it’s a complimentary service and most tours pick up at the hotel! Send us an email if you’d like more information!
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August 12 2010
“How do we get to Boquete without an overnight stay in Panama City?”
Many guests have asked us about flying from San Jose, Costa Rica to the regional airport in David Panama (closest airport to Boquete) versus flying from Panama City.
The reasoning behind this: Boquete is very close to the Costa Rica border. Guests want to get to Boquete as quickly as possible, without spending a night in Panama City. This is technically an option, but the timing is very tight.
Panama flights leave San Jose for David Panama on: Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 11:00 am local time. So, unless your flight lands in San Jose very early, you’ll still have to spend a night in a big city. Given the choice, I’d rather stay overnight in Panama City than San Jose.
Another option available soon: David Airport Expansion
The David airport is set to undergo a major expansion, which will open up this side of the country to more Panama flights. Copa Airlines recently announced that it will provide service from Tocumen International Airport in Panama City to David, starting the first quarter of 2011. (Right now, travellers have to do a 30-minute land transfer from Tocumen International to the regional airport in Albrook and then take a flight to David.)
Panama Flights – Regional airlines
Air Panama www.flyairpanama.com
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August 04 2010
Thanks to Ursula from Panama Travel Group, we’ve received some exciting updates about new direct flights to Panama.
Madrid – Panama Airline: Iberia. Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday starting October 1, 2010
Frankfurt – Panama Airline: Lufthansa. Departure dates to be determined. Starting November 1
Panama – Japan – Salomon Shamah, administrator of the Panama Tourism Authority, is visiting Japan with a Copa Airlines rep to submit a business plan to the directors of All Nippon Airways (ANA). If this goes forward, an air link would be established in 2011.
Panama – Amsterdam– Air France-KLM plan to increase their weekly flights on this route in November, possibly up to seven a week.
(Sloth designed by David Shenoda, featured on shirt.woot.com)
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June 17 2010
A dedicated member of Boquete Garden Inn’s feathered clean-up crew (specialty: muffin crumbs), this little lady decided to build her nest next to our reception area, cutting her commute time in half.
She is currently on maternity leave, but look for her to return in early July.
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May 10 2010
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May 09 2010
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