8 BEST HIKES IN BOQUETE, PANAMA
Boquete is the perfect destinations for lovers of the mountains. Within a short distance from the main town, there are more than ten great hikes in Boquete ranging in distance, difficulty. Lots of the hikes have waterfalls and they all have great wildlife. Boquete really is one of the top destinations in Panama for avid hikers and daytrippers. Many bird-watchers frequent the hikes in Boquete hoping to spot the famous Resplendent Quetzal bird up in the canopies.
It is almost 2000 meters above sea level and has a cool climate, which makes it perfect for daily adventures. I originally planned to stay in Boquete for a week but extended my stay to almost three weeks as I found there was just so much to do. In my entire three weeks, I managed to do a hike in Boquete or visit a waterfall every single day!
THE BEST 8 HIKES IN BOQUETE
1. THE LOST WATERFALLS TRAIL
On one of the most stunning jungle trails in Panama, we searched for the lost waterfalls of Boquete. Through luscious jungle, we trekked. Over muddy paths, we slipped and stumbled. From one patch of wildflowers to the next we discovered. Until we reached three, breathtakingly powerful and mind-blowingly beautiful waterfalls. The Lost Waterfall Trail is one of the best hikes in Boquete and even in the whole of Panama.
It is one of the most popular hikes in Boquete for obvious reasons. The Lost Waterfalls Trail is the first thing most visitors do in Boquete. It is $7 entrance but quite easy to get to and only a short hike but it gives great value with three amazing waterfalls. It is the crowd pleaser and great for those who want a bit of an adventure, a waterfall but only half a day worth of effort. For those who want to see epic waterfalls, beautiful jungles, and wildlife but only spend a few hours out in the wilderness, this is your trail.
View the full blog post: THE LOST WATERFALLS TRAIL HIKE
2. THE PIPELINE TRAIL
The Pipeline Trail is another great hike in Boquete in the Bajo Mono region. We walked alongside the river through the jungle until reaching a massive yet slow-descending cascade at the end of the trail. On the way, you will discover a thousand-year-old tree and some unique wildlife. The trail takes about two hours and is a great way to spend a morning or afternoon when you are staying in Boquete town.
The Pipeline Trail is a nice short walk through the jungle, with a great chance of spotting a Quetzal bird. They say this is one of the best things to do in Boquete for spotting the Quetzal. we also spotted a snake, caterpillars and lots of beautiful plants along the way.
The waterfall is quite high but more of a trickle than an aggressive flow like those on The Lost Waterfalls Trail.
View the full blog post: THE PIPELINE TRAIL
3. EL PIANISTA TRAIL
El Pianista Trail fast became my favorite jungle adventure and one of the most unique hikes in Boquete with its narrow canyon-esque path. The trail is just 4km out of Boquete town and is a 3-4 hour out and back trail with more than 2000 feet of elevation. The trail leads you into a cloud forest, which essentially means at least half of the trail is inside the clouds. This turns the scenery into a dripping rainforest, where life is buzzing, water droplets are falling to the floor from every leaf and wildflowers and birds are plentiful. I honestly loved being inside this rainforest!
We felt like the path was leading us through an undiscovered land. It was a truly immersive hike and being in the cloud forest was like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. I’m sure there are plenty around the world but I will really be seeking them out from this point onwards.
This trail harbors some dark secrets. In 2014, two Dutch girls in their early 20’s made it to the summit and then went missing. There was no sign of the girls until a few weeks later. There are huge holes in the story of what happened and how the investigation unfolded. The girls’ backpack was found 8 weeks later, bones including a foot still inside a boot were also found weeks later. The girls had hiked down past the summit into the continental divide, the area between Costa Rica and Panama. A tribe were the people to discover the backpack and would have been the first contact for the girls had they come into trouble and looking for a way out according to the reports.
The conclusion from local police was that it was a hiking accident. However, some locals and sources think there was a third person involved and the girls were met with foul-play out in the jungle or others suggest that the girls were eaten. It remains a mystery. There is now a memorial for the girls at the top of the summit. It was definitely one of the eeriest hikes in Boquete, knowing this story and the moody vibe due to the clouds in the forest.
View the full blog post: EL PIANISTA TRAIL
4. LA PIEDRA DE LINO HIKE
It is one of the shortest hikes in Boquete but La Piedra De Lino will hurt your legs the most! This hike was a grueling 434 meters in elevation during just 1.3km of distance. That means for every three meters you walk forward, you walk up one meter. That is a painful equation. However, the view of Boquete from the top rock is worth the climb.
La Piedra De Lino means the rock of Lino. Lino is a small section of Boquete only about four kilometers from the center of Boquete town. There was a lot to see on the way up with flowers, berries, and glimpses of the view as we made our way to the top of the rock. Every time I turned back to look at the incline was an epic little view. There was no-one else on the trail at all and we felt like we were out in the jungle even though we had views back towards Boquete town!
The cool part about La Piedra De Lino is that you have views in multiple directions. It is essentially a 360-degree platform. You can look out to Volcan Baru, back into Bajo Mono or up to the east of Boquete. There was tons to look at and it was one of the most scenic hikes in Boquete if you are looking for an expansive view. It would be a great sunset spot but unfortunately, we only head stormy weather. It was still a great adventure and one I would plan to do with a possibility of a sunset if you have the chance. It was one of the toughest things to do in Boquete for your legs although the pain is shortlived as the trek is only small.
View the full blog post: LA PIEDRA DE LINO (THE ROCK OF LINO) HIKE
5. LA PIEDRA DE ARTILLERIA HIKE
La Artilleria hike is a beautiful trail up to one of the most epic viewpoints in all of Boquete. However, it is a strange one. The hike is suggested as a hiking trail on a poster in Mamallena hostel but apparently on private property, of which the owner wants no hikers coming onto. We were rejected by the owner of the property but managed to sneak our way to the top of the viewpoint. My philosophy is always if you aren’t doing anyone or anything harm, there should be no harm in doing it. If I have to bend the rules a little as long as no-one is negatively impacted in the process. Having said that, you can decide where your morals lay with trespassing!
At the top of the trail, we scrambled up the rocks and watched the clouds part to show us an amazing view of Boquete! It was definitely one of the best views from the hikes in Boquete and something I will never forget. In the opposite direction, we had rolling mountains with several layers and even a rainbow appeared. It was a day where everything seemed to turn out perfectly although this is one of the things to do in Boquete that won’t be recommended at your hostel.
View full blog post: LA ARTILLERIA HIKE
6. LA PIEDRA DE LA INDIA VIEJA HIKE
La Piedra de la India Vieja hike has in my opinion, the coolest viewpoint of all the hikes in Boquete. However, it also has the worst trail or from what I found… no trail. My legs had many a battle scar after this hike but boy was the rock viewpoint at the top worth it all and more. If you are up for an extremely tough jungle adventure, go for it. Otherwise, enjoy my photos and head to one of the other beautiful hikes in Boquete. That’s genuine advice, not a challenge. This was one of the toughest things to do in Boquete!
At the summit, the view was totally unexpected. A jagged rock wall curved around right beneath me while mountains in all directions created an immensely atmospheric backdrop. Despite the rough journey up and the imminent rough journey down, I felt like I was on top of Boquete and I really was out here alone. I hadn’t seen a soul and I’m pretty sure no-one is hiking this trail for good reason! I hung out up top for just under an hour shooting the mountainscape from a multitude of angles.
View full blog post: LA PIEDRA DE LA INDIA VIEJA HIKE
7. SENDERO LOS QUETZALES
Los Senderos Quetzales, translated to the Quetzal Trail, is one of the most popular hikes near the small town of Boquete in Panama. The Boquete region has a variety of trails to choose from yet Los Senderos Quetzales remains near the top of the list for visitors. The popularity of Los Senderos Quetzales is because this trail, in the Volcan Baru National Park, provides hikers a great opportunity to spot the elusive Quetzal bird.
The Quetzal is the national bird of Guatemala as it plays an important role in numerous types of Meso-American mythology. Additionally, the Quetzal is a very striking bird with impressive green feathers on its back while on its front it is covered in striking red feathers. The Quetzal also has a long tail. All of these features make it an attractive bird for bird-watchers to travel all the way to the Chiriqui region of Panama. El Sendero Los Quetzales is one of the most popular things to do in Boquete.
View full blog post: SENDERO LOS QUETZALES: THE TRAIL OF THE FAMOUS QUETZAL
8. HIKE TO THE SUMMIT OF VOLCAN BARU
At 11:45 pm we set off in darkness, climbing a steep path into the mist of the night. Our mission was to reach the highest point in Panama in time to watch the sunrise from our viewpoint above the clouds. We were attempting the strenuous, overnight hike up Volcan Baru near Boquete, Panama.
After 13km of hard work, we made it to the summit! All that effort in the cold and the dark and now we were on top of the world. We looked out over to the horizon and all we could see was a blanket of clouds below us, the sign was trying to break through and then, it did just that.
This was one of my favorite things to do in Boquete and if you like a bit of adventure this one is definitely for you! I hope you get a beautiful sunrise.
View full blog post: 27KM VOLCAN BARU HIKE OVERNIGHT FOR EPIC SUNRISE
WHERE I STAYED IN BOQUETE (FOR 20 DAYS)
Throughout my two weeks in Boquete, I stayed at Mamallena Hostel. I first stayed in a private room, which was on special for $21 a night and shared that with my friend. Then when my friends left I moved into the dorm for the price of $11 a night. Mamallena hostel is the main hostel of the town and is in a perfect location. It is right near the main street where you can get a taxi, colectivo van or bus. It is within one-minute walking distance to the grocery stores, bank and several cafes and restaurants.
Mamallena Hostel has a kitchen, which you can use to cook. Lots of the guests cooked their meals to save money but I hate cooking. I ate out at the same restaurant for every single meal. It’s called Sobrosons. All of the locals eat there and it is kind of a cafeteria style restaurant where you choose rice, pasta, chicken, salads, lasagna, empanadas, platanas and more. It was pretty cheap and we each meal was about $5-6 USD. Even if you only go once it is a good local experience and one of the cheap things to do in Boquete when you aren’t hiking!
Mamallena Hostel provides all-you-can-eat pancakes every morning and free unlimited coffee on tap. You make the pancakes yourself whenever you wake up but they have the batter ready to go. It seems to be quite common in Panama and Colombia to offer the free pancakes.
The staff at Mamallena Hostel were super helpful and I asked them so many questions about things to do in Boquete and hikes that they never send any guests on. In fact, many of the hikes on this list were trails that they told me not to go on. They knew a lot about the area and all of the best things to do in Boquete. They helped everyone in the hostel plan their activities and helped different types of people decide what would be the best things to do in Boquete depending on their style of travel and fitness.
The wifi at the hostel was solid and I pumped out a blog every night without any issues. I really did enjoy the vibe at this hostel and as it isn’t a party town it wasn’t too loud. Most people were just adventuring during the day and hanging out at night.
This wasn’t a sponsored stay. I paid for every night of my accommodation here.
WIFI IN BOQUETE
Fear not fellow digital nomads. Boquete is awesome for WiFi. Not only are there awesome things to do in Boquete but you can stay online easily too. Like I said, at Mamallena Hostel, the WiFi was perfect I was daily blogging. I didn’t try other places around town but normally if one hostel is good they are all okay as it usually depends on the overall region. If you want, you can also get a sim card. I bought one later on in my trip in Santa Fe, where there was no wifi at my hostel for the most part. For 7 days of unlimited LTE data, it cost $5 and it worked pretty damn good. I assume Boquete, which had good WiFi would be similar.