80° BY THE SEA
Looking for a beach vacation? Let us help you find the right spot.More
Boquete is a bird-watcher's heaven, and its avian diversity tops 400 species during the dry season. The mountain forests shelter emerald toucanet, collared redstart, sulfur-winged parakeet, a dozen hummingbird species, and the resplendent quetzal. Even the gardens of homes and hotels offer decent birding; they're the best places to see migrant birds wintering in Boquete, from the Tennessee warbler to the Baltimore oriole. The less accessible upper slopes of Volcán Barú are home to rare species like the volcano junco and volcano hummingbird.
One of the best places to see the quetzal and other cloud-forest birds is Finca Lérida. Another good place to see quetzal is along the Bajo Mono Road just up the road from Finca Lérida. One great birding area few people get to is Finca El Oasis, above the ANAM (National Environment Authority) ranger station on the road to the summit of Volcán Barú, a 90-minute drive from Boquete on a rough, 4WD-only road, which has plenty of quetzals and others. Quetzals are hard to spot, and bird-watching in general is difficult in a cloud-forest environment. Even experienced birders should hire a local guide, at least for the first day.
Hans and Terry van der Vooren. Terry van der Vooren, who runs coffee tours at the Kotowa Estate, also offers half- to full-day bird-watching and hiking tours ($60–$149). Boquete. 507/720–3852.
Santiago (Chago) Caballero. Boquete's best birding guide is scaling back his excursions a bit these days, but a trip with "Chago," as everyone knows him, is sure to check off new birds on your life list. Boquete. 507/6626–2200.