A great escape for a few days is the Chiriqui highland town of Boquete. Because its in the highlands the temperature and humidity are a lot lower: not cold though (maybe a sweater?) unless your going to climb Volcan Baru. Be warned though, it does rain a bit...
How to get there
Boquete is about a 30-40 minute drive east of David in Chiriqui province. In early April 2012 the road improvements between David and Boquete were nearly complete, turning a once narrow windy road into a straight, two-lane dual-carriageway.
To get there from Gamboa, head over the Centenario Bridge and stay on the interamericana for about 5 or 6 hours. Turn right at the El Rey in David...or you can fly to David from the Albrook Airport.
The drive is interesting in that the landscape changes continuously for the entire drive, as does the condition of the interamericana. The road is dual carriageway of varying quality until Santiago, then rubbish for about 50km. The road improves substantially when you enter Chiriqui. DON'T FORGET YOUR PASSPORT - There is a checkpoint (not a border crossing) on the highway about 30 mins before David where an official will ask where you're going and check that you have a current visa for Panama.
You may find a Quetzal if you explore in the forests around Boquete
What to do
There are a ton of things to do in Boquete:
Climb the Volcano, raft a river, ride a horse, zip-line, coffee tour, cultural festivals, explore the cloud forest, go birding, eat good food (I particularly like "The Rock"), hike the quetzal trail, listen to jazz, anything else you feel like.
Where to stay
There are tons of places to stay in Boquete, here are a select few...
Casa de mi Abuela
A new B & B at the top of the main street. WiFi, satellite TV and provate bathrooms. Breakfast is included (but you can find much better around town). Around $60 for a two person room (queen bed).
Boquete Tree Trek
Up in the mountains above boquete. They run coffee tours and have a zipline tour of the forest as well. A bit removed from Boquete, but right on the edge of Amistad NP. They have a range of accomodation options from $55-85 per room/cabin, and a pickup service from the main street. If you want cloud forest with a bit of adrenalin thrown in, then this place is for you...
Have you stayed anywhere in Boquete?
Post a reply below on where you stayed and I'll include it in this page...