Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Panama Scenes of the Boquete Area Mar. 2016

The following are some pictures that represent our impressions of Boquete, Panama.  They were taken during the month of March 2016.  I wish I had taken my wide angle lens but the suitcases were getting full and as a result the following pictures were taken with a 100-400mm lens.
The town of Boquete lies in a valley between Volcan Baru, Panama's highest mountain, and the Continental Divide.  It is 4000 feet above sea level giving it a most agreeable climate.   The Caldera River runs through it. The hills in the background provided some of the many trails that we hiked and the world's best coffee, according to some, is grown there. 
Some of the butterflies were brilliant.  We saw many beautiful, giant blue Morpho butterflies but they wouldn't sit still for a picture.
Coatis at the visitors center.
A little girl peeks as we hike up Culebra Trail.
We had a great "conversation" with this charming couple although none of us knew each others language.
Praying Mantis at our cottage.
Native ladies wore these dresses in many colors but same basic design.  I didn't notice the charming architecture in the background when I took the picture.
Boquete street scene.
He had a little character in his face and I liked the hat.
We bought our vegetables and fruit at these stands which sold local produce.  12 oranges for $1.00
Cicada-the noisiest bug in the world.
 The rural Panamians love their horses.
These guys insisted I take their picture.

The Boquete town square.  It was always active.
The "new" bridge in town.

Our Cowboy rental car.  Dian sits at the table.  Chicken or pork with rice and beans for $3.50.
Taxis are everywhere as the locals rarely own cars.
Flowers are abundant on the forest trails.
David citizens come to Boquete for the weekend and the town is very busy. Native ladies (below) contrast with the tourists.  Their dresses were always so clean considering they probably had no washing machines.

Most likely city of David tourists.
Dian at Romeros-the local supermarket.  Food prices were about the same as home in Canada.
At Romeros.
This dog always greeted us as we arrived home.  The pile of dirt was cool.
Most of our groceries were bought here.

Banded Orange Heliconian

Swinging bridges were quite common in the area.  Cars and trucks would drive over them but we decided to park on the other side and walk across.

A Postman Butterfly.  

These flowers were photographed at Finca Lerida, a coffee plantation.  Some of the coffee (called Giesha) at this plantation sells for $100 a pound in Japan. 
Different types of coffee are spread out to cool after being roasted at Finca Lerida.

Cangilones swimming hole.
Horses are a source of transportation in the rural areas.
Jesus Lizard runs on top of water.
A young Common Basilisk or Jesus Lizard.
These beetles were common. 
Bill Fox and kids at Pipeline Trail.
Part of the Boquete Hiking Club in the mist called bajareque.  The expats do a lot of activities together. 
Just a fly.
These pictures were some of the many I selected to remind us of our adventure in Boquete, Panama.     The people were very friendly and willing to help. One fellow walked with us until I found a barber and another went looking for lemons for us.  It is good to know a little Spanish if you want to find a bathroom or buy an onion (cebolla) and not end up with a horse (caballo).  Panamanian drivers are very aggressive.  If there are driving rules, no one follows them.  There are about 2000 people from the US, Canada and Europe, who have come to Boquete to retire.  Some come from the Southern States to escape the heat in the summer. They have made an impact on the town with such activities as weekly markets, theatre, library, etc.  We felt safe here-more so than Mexico and would recommend it if one is interested in nature.  If you weren't into nature, I think the novelty of the town would wear off after a week or so.  As mentioned in a previous blog, we found 188 birds in the month.  This was done while staying in one area and hiring a guide for 1 day.  If we would have had a guide for 1 more day I am sure we would have had over 200 birds.  For comparison when we toured the east coast of Australia for a month, we had a pelagic trip, stayed a week in four different locations and had a guide for 3 days.  We saw 218 birds on that trip.  If there weren't different parts of the world to explore we would probably go back.  After all,  there are 800 birds we didn't see.  Thor Manson, who has also visited Boquete,  has added some interesting additions in the comments below.  

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  1. Len: Thanks very much for your excellent post trip analysis. I would think it should be a " must read " for anyone contemplating a trip to the Boquete area. I think the nearby Cerro Punta area on the other side of Volcan Baru is another great area to explore. Your photographic eye continues to amaze/me. I wish I had that talent.
    I also appreciated your car rental statement. When I was there I didn't realize there was a Panamanian equivalent to the North American " Rent a Wreck ", which, as you know is also prevalent in New Zealand/Australia; a good way to save a few bucks.
    I recognized your pics of the local grocery store, Romeros, and the coffee beans drying in the sun. I doubt any North American would pay the Japanese price for coffee, but you never know.
    I can also relate to your statement of wanting to go back this perfect perpetual spring climate, at the same time acknowledging there are so many great birding destinations out there, and not enough time???
    My only add-on comments to your analysis would be for prospective birders visiting that area, if possible, to spend some time exploring the Caribbean slope, which is pretty easily accessible from Boquete; a whole different suite of birds over there. Some may also like to spend some time on the offshore islands there like Bastiementos.
    Also, I would reiterate my caution about being aware of the local policia always on the look out to rip off tourists who might inadvertently break some minor traffic rule while driving; can cost some significant dollars in pay-offs. Glad to hear you seemed to avoid this scenario.
    I very much look forward to your next travel/birding/photography blog.

  2. Good points Thor. Thanks for the input.

  3. Such a wonderful post, and your photos are gorgeous! Thank you so much for sharing, and warm greetings from Montreal, Canada. :)

    1. Glad to know someone is reading the blog. : > ) Thanks Linda.