Boquete, Panama is one of those infamous places in Panama for retirees and was high on my list for visiting. Unfortunately I had to squeeze it in as a one day trip. Fortunately, I didn’t find anything worth sticking around for.
Boquete wasn’t bad, it was just a little slow for my tastes… and a little Gringo heavy. With moderate temperatures year round and a low/moderate cost of living, retirees were running a muck! I met a good number of them at a couple restaurants and they all were friendly. The locals seemed to be very welcoming as well. On the bright side, there hadn’t been a bunch of trouble making young gringos ruining our reputation. Boquete was included in my previous post about business so I won’t dive into that.
[pullquote]he knew damn well what the gringos were up to.[/pullquote]
The major activity in Boquete for Maurice and I was going on a four-wheeling tour.
4-wheel tour options in Boquete, Panama
There were several options to choose from. The first place we came to wanted $60 each! We decided to check another place. Then we came across a place that only wanted $30-40 each. That sounded much better until we realized that we would be riding granny-like 250cc 4-wheelers. We turned around and went back to the first guy.
Let the adventure begin
After negotiating our prices and saddling up, we were instructed to take a couple laps around the test track. The owner wanted to make sure we could handle the 500cc machines before he cut us loose on the hills. Although it was a guided tour, he knew damn well what these gringos were up to. We then drove through the town as slowly as we were told. Our tour guide stopped to offer a free ride to travel writer. Once she was gone, he made it clear that he was only offering the free ride because she was a hot gringa. We all stared at her ass as she walked away 😉
Once we left Boquete, we were given the green light to haul ass. The three of us raced up the paved road to a dirt road that led through a series of farms. Children and farmers stopped to watch the gringos as we took turns trying to avoid the rocks the other kicked up. The helmets worked.
We spent 20 minutes riding through trails and dirt roads before hitting another paved road. This road led us past more farms and some spurs with great views. Then we came across a bridge where we stopped for traffic. In the distance I noticed a building that looked abandoned. Our guide explained that it was planned to be a hotel and it looked like an adventure itself. Rumor was that two brothers had started the project stopped due to infighting. They apparently were not willing to sell either.
A few more miles down the road and we came across a waterfall. There was a small stand of homemade goods and coffee. Because it had been raining, neither Maurice nor I had brought our wallets. It was getting a little chilly and coffee sounded like a blessing. None for us though!
Our guide began expressing just “how beautiful” this waterfall was. I just played ignorant and walked away. Maurice stayed to entertain the guy. Later, Maurice said he felt sad when he realized that this was the most beautiful nature the guide really had ever seen. While there were some nice views, Maurice and I both have seen much more beautiful sights in the U.S. and elsewhere. Not to mention MUCH larger and nicer waterfalls. Turns out the tour guide had never really travelled himself.
All-in-all, this off-roading experience was the best thing I found to go in Boquete. Our interaction with the Indians was probably the highlight. It is worth noting that our guide did not speak English and I relied on Maurice to translate. That said, most of the time the four wheelers were to loud to hear over. Also, the guy rented the equipment seemed to speak English and I don’t think Spanish is necessary.