Chiriqui Province Travel Guide
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    Photo: Angel DiBilio / shutterstock

Plan Your Chiriqui Province Vacation

Panama's southwest province of Chiriquí contains the country's most varied scenery. Landscapes that evoke different continents—from alpine peaks to palm-lined beaches—lie mere hours apart. The diverse environments provide conditions for world-class sportfishing, bird-watching, scuba diving, river rafting, horseback riding, hiking, and surfing, making Chiriquí an ideal destination for nature lovers.

Lush cloud forest covers the northern sector of the province. The valleys that flank Volcán Barú—an extinct volcano and Panama's highest peak—have cool mountain climates and unforgettable scenery. Boquete, Bambito, and Cerro Punta are popular with bird-watchers, rafters, and hikers, and have captivating landscapes and charming restaurants and inns. The southern lowlands are less impressive—hot and mostly deforested—and become brown and dusty in the dry season. To the south lies the Golfo de Chiriquí, with dozens of pristine islands and countless acres of coral reef awash with rainbows of marine life, and an opportunity to sample world-class, but little-known, surfing and sportfishing.

Chiricanos, or residents of Chiriquí, fly their red-and-green provincial flag with more vigor than they do the national banner. The province's population is almost as varied as its landscapes; the majority is mestizo—a mix of European and indigenous bloodlines—with a sprinkling of Asian immigrants. Many families in the mountain valleys descend from Swedish, Swiss, and other European roots, whereas David has significant Asian and Middle Eastern minorities. The Ngöbe (aka "Guaymí"), the country's largest indigenous group, have been in this region since long before Chiriquí or Panama existed. Though most Ngöbe live in a comarca (autonomous indigenous territory) northeast of Chiriquí, you also find them in Boquete, Cerro Punta, and David. Ngöbe women are recognizable by their colorful traditional dresses.


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Top Reasons To Go

  1. Misty Mountains The upper slopes of the Cordillera de Talamanca are draped with lush cloud forest and are usually enveloped in mist. Much of that forest is protected within La Amistad and Barú Volcano National Parks, home to a wealth of wildlife, which can be explored via hiking trails.
  2. Teeming Sea The Golfo de Chiriquí is home to an amazing array of fish, ranging from colorful king angelfish to the mighty black marlin, making the province an ideal destination for scuba divers and sport fishers alike.
  3. Birds in the Bush The mountains of Chiriquí are a must-visit for bird-watchers because they hold species found nowhere else in Panama, such as the resplendent quetzal and long-tailed silky flycatcher. From November to April, northern migrants push the bird count to more than 500 species.
  4. Pristine Islands Between Parque Nacional Marino Golfo de Chiriquí and the Islas Secas, the sea here brims with uninhabited islands think palm-lined beaches, crystalline waters, and coral reefs a short swim from shore.
  5. Farming Communities The mountain communities of Boquete, Bambito, and Cerro Punta are surrounded by gorgeous scenery and are distinguished by charming wooden houses, exuberant flower gardens, cozy restaurants, and hotels that combine all of the above.

When To Go

When to Go

The December-to-May dry season is the most popular time to visit Chiriquí since days tend to be sunny in the lowlands. From December to March...

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