Destination Panama Information Blog on Panama. A Life & Travel Guide with Tips on Panama for Vacationers, Panamanians, and Expats. Listings for Hotels, Restaurants, Doctors, Tours, Vacation Escapes and more.
Boquete Mountain Safari Tours Whether you're seeking rugged adventure, cool mountain waters, award winning coffee, sizzling hot springs, exotic birds, nature, geology, or panoramic vistas, Boquete Mountain Safari has the right tour for you. We can accommodate groups of 2 to 20. All of our guides were born and raised in Boquete, so they know the area very well; they are bi-lingual and great at finding the rare Quetzal and Three Wattled Bellbird, Howlers and Sloth, on our hikes. You can see what others are saying about us on TripAdvisor, IgoUgo, ThornTree, or our web site.
We also have information about how to get to Boquete, Panama, accomodations, and other things to do while here. Let us know if we can help in any way.
Experience Boquete Today New blog designed by the Boquete Business Association to keep the world informed of the latest news, weather, activities, and hotels in Boquete, Panama.
Weather in Boquete, Panama Since 2002, the world's retirement population has been discovering Boquete as a retirement haven with low cost of living, perfect weather and beautiful people. As a result, unemployment here is low and quality of life is high. Boquete weather is characterized by a warmer Dry Season (December through March) known as Summer, and a cooler Wet Season (April through November) known as Winter. Temperatures are highly dependent on elevation, cloud cover and rainfall, with variances of up to 20 degrees Farenheit between the sea level cities of Panama City and David, to the 1,200 meters (4,000 feet) above sea level elevation of Boquete. Nights and sometimes even days, on the summit of Volcan Baru at 4,000 meters (13,000 feet), can get VERY cold so be sure to prepare for this if you intend to scale the summit. The climatic conditions and sharp incline in topography make for breathtaking beauty, as well as several micro-climates within the valley itself. Check out the weather right now by clicking on the icon below.
The old Pardise Garden Wildlife Rescue in Boquete thrived because of the many volunteers from around the world who would come to Boquete and stay weeks or months helping out at the center. Now the new center is under way and looking for help.
To read more about the new center follow this link:
We receive many e-mails regarding Paradise Garden. For those of you who have never visited Boquete, Paradise Garden was a Wildlife rescue and flower garden. The original owners, Paul and Jenny, had to leave the country and put the Garden up for sale. It had been open during the transition staffed by volunteers who wanted to see the rescue continue. The recent purchase has closed the rescue to the public. It was always somewhat contriversal whether it was becoming too much like a 'zoo". Many injured and abused animals were taken in; some released back to the wild, while others remained forever behind bars. Being an animal advocate myself, I felt that most, if not all, should be released once they are heathy. I am of the belief that a wild animal should go back to the wild. I feel that they would rather have a 'free' shorter life in the wild, as nature intended, then live a long sad life in a cage. As a child I found it difficult to visit a zoo in the US. I wanted to open all the cage doors and set them all free.
However, there is a need for a true rescue in this remote area of Panama. Monkey's are often captured and kept in small cages to be displayed at the next fair. Wild parrots are caught and sold by the road side, often painted to look like a more exotic species. It seems that this need has caught the attention of Dorothy and Duane Howes. They will be opening LA JUNGLA DE PANAMÁ in 2011.
"There will be a petting zoo with calves, goats, and other farm animals. At the back of the estate will be housing for the more exotic animals, many of which will be rescue cases. The Howes’ are working with ANAM (the governmental agency charged with the protection of nature and wildlife) to receive injured, abandoned, and abused animals, with the goal of releasing them back into their natural environment whenever possible." They are also looking for volunteers.
Alouatta Lodge is about an hour (depending on the vehicle and who is driving) from Boquete and 30 minutes from David. This incredible Eco-Lodge sits on the side of a mountain amongst the plains and forests of Chorcha, in Chiriqui, Panama. Alouatta is latin for Howler Monkey. As you can see from the pictures, there are plenty of monkeys; howler, capuchins, and night monkeys. The accommodations at the lodge are in an ALL weather, tropical jungle hammock. This truly allows you to spend a night in the jungle like no other rainforest experience in Panama; night walks, lagoon boat trips, fishing, and birding.
Michelle as Monkey Tree • Some of these Howler Monkeys were orginally rescued and spent time at Paradise Garden, Boquete, Panama
Squirrel monkey at Eco-Lodge Panama
Steve and Michelle’s Story • The founders and owners of the Lodge.
A short story by Steven and Michelle Walker
We have worked with plants forever it seems, I started at 14 when my parents bought a Market garden in New Zealand and veggies were our life. Steven decided a conventional career didn’t suit him and at 18 started a landscaping business in South Africa. Years passed and we met, fell in love and did all those things that young people do. During this time we discovered that our interests were mutual and we carried on our passion with plants in South Africa, the Seychelles, New Zealand, Indonesia and Australia. Stevens main passion is Palms and mine is whatever I can grow that will give me an edible product of some form. This also of course entailed learning about plants, growing conditions and medicinal and cooking methods.
My love affair with monkeys started in earnest in South Africa with the Vervet Monkeys that frequented the Parks and gardens where their antics and curiosity kept me enthralled for hours.
Around this time and after 9 years in Australia the life style started to take its toll, everything was controlled and you could put money on waking up in the mornings to yet another perfect day. We needed change. We needed a little disorganization, a different culture, a different language [oh well, we would cope with this too]. We researched and read and studied and there are just so many places in the world we could have gone to but in the end, with 2 school aged children, we decided to try panama and if we weren’t happy, we’d just move on to another region. So we packed up and left, destination Panama, to the tropics which we all love, the lushness of growth, the wealth and variety of plants, the afternoon rains from light drizzle to torrential downpours, its all so life giving ~ and there are monkeys too, several species in fact.
Months of searching found us the property we have finally bought, a 15 hectare piece of land sitting up on the shoulder of Cerro del Monte, the only flat topped mountain in Panama [they do tell that aliens visit the Planet Earth here]. Our first sighting was little more than an animal track through 2 metre high Heliconia, up the hillside we trekked until we managed a ‘glimpse’ out through the tress and vegetation and that glimpse was wonderful, we had to have this place.
The sale transactions took place and work started; the bottom half of the property had been cleared previously so this was carried out again. Slowly, we started beating back the wild Heliconia and planting of other trees of our choice, and shrubs and so the beginnings of our botanical gardens. The top half of the property had not been cleared and so this was left to provide the wildlife with much needed sanctuary but since, we have cut tracks through these high forested places to enable people to walk through and see the birdlife and other animal life that we have resident here. These tracks also have differing degrees of difficulty so there is something for everyone.
One day, not long after we had purchased the property, our friends at Paradise Gardens ~ Paul and Jenny Saban ~ had received a baby Howler Monkey as a rescue and only a couple of weeks later, as we headed down the mountain side to our place, there to greet us was another baby Howler Monkey found walking along the roadside by one of our staff. They had brought it to us for us to see. What a dirty little wretch it looked. But we were faced with a dilemma. Two choices…. Leave it to die or adopt it and try to reintroduce it it when it was old enough and strong enough. This was the birth of our idea for being able to relocate rescued animals on to the land here.
Yahoo [an appropriate name for a Howler Monkey] grew strong and came to think of us as his family and admittedly, we had thought that he was a she until when he was almost two years old [an educated guess] he made it quite clear that he was growing up as a male. We built a large enclosure that would house not only Yahoo but also the baby Howler Monkey from Paradise Gardens eventually and to be somewhere they could in safety, acclimatize in an area they would live and socialize with other monkeys. It only took them a couple of months to get used to the area and they are both now free roaming on the property but come and visit us each morning and evening [and at any other time they want company or food]. They have also had visits from the wild Howler Monkey troops [of which we have a few] and they do interact albeit on a limited basis. They are not overly that confident as yet but time is a great educator.
The idea that we could share and provide these experiences with other people coming to visit us was something we discussed at length. The property is indeed beautiful and spectacular, the bird life rich and diverse as to the animal wildlife, insect and magnificent butterflies but the best part is lying in bed in the very early morning just as the black night sky starts to lighten, to hear the troops of Howler Monkeys calling for the sun to rise or then late in the afternoons calling for the refreshing rains to fall. What better name then for such a place than that of the Howler ~ Alouatta.
Our adventures continue as the days unfold and there is always a new surprise somewhere, a new butterfly to see flitting around or a new plant flowering, watching the dazzling displays of ‘fire flies’ as they dance in the grass and trees and seeing the ripening fruits on a tree where ~ oh oh, there was fruit there before but now the monkeys have been around and got to it first. If we are lucky, we will watch large tarantulas crossing one of the trail paths up in the forest. There are myriad things like this and all these things we really do want to share.
So remember, when visiting Panama and especially Chiriquí, come by, visit us, stay awhile, chill, breathe and learn the magic of nature.
I have read several of the blogs about the rain and mud slides in Boquete, Panama. I've received several calls from concerned friends wondering if our house was floating down the river. Here we are again, a year after the other "Boquete Flood" and the news coming out of Boquete, and being distributed on-line, paints a devastating picture. Although it is true that Valle Escondido had mud slides and some homes were damaged, Valle Escondido, although a large development in Boquete is a small section of town. A couple of other areas of Boquete also had some excessive rain cause damage but the rest of the town is fine. I have been through 5 hurricanes in the past 10 years--these don't even come close to the wide spread devastation that happens when a Cat 5 hits your entire state for a 12 hour period. I don't want to diminish the loss and trauma to the victims here in Boquete but wish the sensationalist reports would be more accurate.
The picture is totally unrelated to the mud slides; but you have to smile when you look at this picture from Paradise Garden Wildlife Rescue.
Tourism is down everywhere, and Panama is no exception. Add to that, it is the off-season in Panama until December. Paradise Garden Wildlife Rescue is taking a big hit because of the economy, the off season, and the constant need to help the injured and abandoned wildlife. If you are coming to Boquete please stop in and help out with a generous donation. You can also donate on line. If you have been to the rescue on a previous visit you know the good work that they are trying to do. Paradise Garden is also a great learning experience for the family.
You too can have a parrot hat; just visit Paradise Garden.
It is difficult to drive by, and not purchase, one of the parrots for sale on the side of the road in Panama, but that is exactly what you should do. I am one of those people, as well, who have a hard time not stopping, as I feel I will be helping the parrots find a better life. However, the sad truth is that the seller will just go back to the forest and catch more to be sold to the next misinformed, but good intentioned person. The following picture was taken by Paul, from Paradise Garden Rescue in Boquete. These are actually green parrots who have been dyed yellow, to appear rare and exotic.
Animal cruelty and abuse is a sad fact in many countries. Even in the United States, I would find kittens thrown in dumpsters. Most Panamanians love their domestic and wild animals; often they just don't understand how to properly care for them. The abusive parrot trade is just a means of making money for some nationals. The only way to stop this is through education; better jobs and better wages.
Paul and Jenny, who started Paradise Garden in Boquete, Panama, are no longer here; their love of birds and animals brought a new awareness of the wild world around us, to the local and expat community. They are dearly missed.
Central and South America provides a home for a living pre-historic mammal. The very strange looking and odd behaviored Sloth has its ancestral roots dating back 35 to 40 million years ago. They are very shy and live almost entirely in the tree tops. Their dwindling numbers are directly attributed to the de-forestation of the rainforest and the encroaching human habitat.
The floods in November 2008, that damaged some of the trails, also destroyed the trees that the Sloths call home. As the crews work to repair bridges and water lines, the construction work in their habitat has driven them further from our site. That's why, this week, when our guides were hiking a new trail, and they spotted this Sloth, everybody was thrilled.
Boquete, Panama was once a slow and sleepy village, residing much like the Sloth, quietly in the tree tops. If we are not careful about designing Boquete's development, as not to impact the Eco-System, we will soon lose one of the greatest treasures that has made Boquete a truly fascinating destination; our Natural Eco-System.
These 2 siblings arrived recently at Paradise Garden. Hopefully when they are old enough, they can be returned to the rainforests of Panama. It is difficult to educate locals not to trap and capture wild animals such as these, when some consider them just exotic pets--which they are not. Paul and Jenny, at Paradise Garden, will take them in and return them to the remote regions of Panama where they belong. Soon they hope to have an education center where the children can learn how to respect their wildlife.
This is the newest baby at Paradise Garden--a baby Sloth. He looks very content in Jenny's lap--almost smiling. Jenny and Paul will accept any wild animal in need of care, especially the babies. They have nurtured and released Owls, Howler Monkey's, and more. A must see 3 acres of wildlife, exotic plants, fountains, and serenity.
Paradise Garden is the only animal rescue center in Panama. They are in Volcancito, Boquete and twenty four hours a day, 7 days a week, if there is a wild animal in need, their doors are open. The newest arrival is JJ (a several week old Howler Monkey). When his Howler group was startled, he fell off of his mom, and the group never came back to pick him up. He was originally brought to the local Panama City Zoo, but now has a temporary home at Paradise Garden Rescue Center. When he is old enough, he will be re-introduced to the wild. (This picture is dated 6/3/2008). Several other howler babies have been cared for by the volunteers at Paradise Garden and re-introduced to Howler Groups in Chorcha.
Footnote: Little JJ didn't make it. It is often difficult to successfully raise a baby wild animal. They do not have any immunity against our germs and diseases. New little babies are often brought to Paradise Garden, and Jenny and Paul try their hardest to see them off--back in to forests they came from.