• Photo: Amaiquez | Dreamstime.com

Boquete

This pleasant town sits at 3,878 feet above sea level in the always springlike valley of the Río Caldera. The surrounding mountains are covered with forest and shade coffee farms, where coffee bushes grow amidst tropical trees. It's superb for bird-watching, and the roads and trails can be explored on foot, horseback, mountain bike, or four wheels.

Though the surrounding countryside holds most of Boquete's attractions,

the town itself is quite appealing, with tidy wooden houses and prolific flower gardens. Around 30,000 people live here, most of them scattered around the valley. The town center holds a simple parque central (central park), officially the Parque de las Madres, surrounded by shops, the town hall, and roads lined with patches of pink impatiens and the pale trumpetlike flowers of the Datura, also known as jimson weed or devil's trumpet. Streams meander through town, and the Río Caldera flows through a wide swath of boulders along its eastern edge.

Among the population are now several thousand foreigners who have chosen to make the town their new (or second) home. With a four-lane highway heading out from David and the 2012 expansion of that city’s airport, growth has steadily continued.

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