We left the very quaint (and quiet, sleepy town of El Valle), to mosy closer to the Caribbean side, stopping at Boquete on the way. This town has the country’s largest volcano, is renowned for coffee plantations, sells cheap shoes (I know, who would have thought?!) and is an adventurists’ dream.
Our days consisted of:
We learnt all about the bean. Yup, we saw the trees, how they were collected and dried out, roasted and finally grinded. We even produced a packet of our very own coffee to take home! We sampled approximately 6 cups of the stuff, so yes hyper was the word! All in all, it was a great tour and we satisfied our caffeine cravings for perhaps the next year!
Horse Riding & Hot Springs
This was a bizarre little tour. We were informed that it would go for 5-6 hours, but when it went for only half of that, well I guess our butts were probably more than grateful. We set off horseriding through the very stunning countryside, atop some very pretty looking beasts (though Meg’s was by far in charge….mine was obviously at the bottom of the chain). It was so much fun remembering what to do with arms, legs and bums when the horses kicked off into a canter. And I think our guide had a laugh at our attempts.
A quick stop off at (another) set of hot springs had us feeling, well hot! (the water temp was about 38 degrees, and the outside weather was about 35 degrees….so I’m not sure what we were thinking!). Our cold shower back at the hostel was definitely refreshing!
Jungla Animal Rescue Centre
We had heard mixed reviews on this little place, regarding an American lady who had moved to Panama to look after injured and sick local wildlife. But what an afternoon it turned out to be!!! Firstly, we viewed the very beautiful howler monkey Daisy, who had suffered an awful upbringing and hence would never be released back in the wild. Apparently she was so psychologically injured that even the keepers had to be wary around her, which was quite sad to see.
Secondly, we were invited to go and see the range of birds that were there at the time (a mix of parrots and a macaw), who really insisted on scaring the daylights out of both of us. We were handed some seeds to feed them, but within seconds they all pounced on our arms at once, having us feeling a little freaked! Feeding them fast quickly became our goal, as they started to mistake our fingers for food, and well…. we weren’t exactly upset to get out of there!
Third came the visit of the very cute (and extremely cheeky) white faced monkeys. When we sat down to play with Manchego (yep, like cheese, that was his name), we were more than thrilled to have him crawl all over us- until he started to insist on expecting us for lice. Things got hairy quickly. This was followed by a very clever exit on his behalf through the tiniest of gaps in the fence, and he was gone! Although we were worried, the lady assured us that we was let out on a regular basis anyway to climb through the nearby trees, so we followed him outside. Once in the back paddock, the lady pointed our something very peculiar. The goats, who were also owned by the centre, were looking a little frazzled all of a sudden, and we soon realized why. Apparently, Manchego had decided that it would be fun to ride on their backs, hopping from one to the next!! Obviously this came as a shock to us, and we were quickly in hysterics watching him navigate from one goat to the next (see pic).
We were also informed that only earlier that day, his brother had escaped the enclosure and had travelled down to the local primary school! Apparently he had walked into one of the classrooms, sat on a child’s desk, rummaged through bags for food and hissed at anyone who dare tried to get him away. I knew that these monkeys were renowned for being cheeky but wow!
It was a fun few days in Boquete. Some new things tried and lots of pictures taken. Boquete, you were a winner!