– Feria de Las Flores Y el Café
– Caldera Hot Springs
Boquete is in the Highlands of Panama and nearby are the Caldera Hot Springs. On our arrival to Boquete, we feel an instant change in the temperature of the air. The cloud forests are nearby in Costa Rica – just across the border. While we love the feel of a fresh natural air, our only hope is that this extreme weather change won’t have a toll on us while on this lovely single parent travel adventure. Just as our luxury travel experts always tell us, when on a family travel across regions, be prepared with appropriate clothing. You just never know how much the weather might change.
The mist blows in off the mountains as we head over a pretty river. It is getting late in the afternoon and we both change to long sleeve tops before we head out.
This mountain town of Boquete feels more like Europe. Mainly because, many years ago the Croatians, Swiss and Austrians settled here and introduced their housing style to the region.
The bridge over the Boquete River sets a great scene with the mountains and church beyond and the Boquete Inn where we would first want to have stayed in luxury style. We head to the flower and coffee festival.
Lots of women walk around in their traditional dress. Explorason decides to play statues as we walk around, and at least we are trying to make the best of the day.
It is a bit cold so we don’t last long. It is only $1.75 admission so we might come back another day dressed a little warmer. That cold mountain air is moving in fast.
As we exit, my son decides to play statues again. It is a very pretty festival, and the music is loud. We feel the vibe of Panama now and that is good.
I have a massive headache and aching shoulders. My neck is out. Carrying the bags today didn’t help and with all the tension of today, I just need a hot shower.
The lack of toilet stops or toilets on the buses means I can’t drink enough water. This, in turn, gives me a headache.
Caldera Hot Springs
Next day we have arranged for a driver to take us to the Hot Springs. We pass through some arid areas to Caldera. Other areas were planted with orchards which were pretty.
Lots of cattle freely walkabout.
The driver has a guide with him who will walk with us when we get to Caldera Hot Springs. We are to be charged $20 for 3 hours. Considering the return bus for the two of us is $12, and then it is a 4 km walk, I think this is a bargain. He speaks no English, so my Spanish – English dictionary comes in handy.
We head over a suspension bridge which is pretty cool – I notice Central America likes it’s suspension bridges.
There is another carload of Panamanians driving on ahead to Caldera Hot Springs or else we would have had the place to ourselves.
If in Panama, do try to sightsee on weekdays if you prefer serenity. Panamanians go by bus and carload to the tourist destinations on weekends and are avid sightseers. They are in groups and are loud but on weekdays they are all working so you will have a quieter experience – if that is what you are seeking.
On we hike
Yet we walk on. Over planks and little creeks.
Out of nowhere, there is a farm with lots of animals.
Our guide leads us to a small private WARM Hot Spring. It is by the river. It is as warm as you can bear on a hot day. We spend about 45 minutes here, and I relax and let the heat work on my shoulders and neck. After my earlier headache, this is perfect for me and I highly recommend it.
There is no sulfur smell as this is piped off the big spring.
Locals have a Picnic
Feeling we are missing out on the bigger pool at Caldera Hot Springs. Oh my – this one is so HOT! We pose for a picture but this is too hot to stay in for very long.
We head back into town with our driver after Caldera Hot Springs.
The driver and guide then try something we get used to on our travels. What they do is try to demand more money than agreed on at the start.
We wander around Boquete town. I love the church with its wood carved doors. Can you believe this blue sky and this was taken on an instant camera with no edits! But, the photograph is not a good one. Not close enough and not far enough to see the steeple crosses either, but then it is taken by a seven-year-old.
Explorason is nearly hit by a car
Explorason has gone across the road to take the photo. He twice nearly gets himself hit by a car not looking in the right direction.
I end that idea of him crossing alone ‘quick-sticks’!
It is time for my son to get a haircut so we find a barbershop. For $3 he gets just the worst haircut but then he is not used to cutting blonde curly hair I am sure. I am forced to stop the guy with the electric clippers and I don’t have a good feeling about this.
It is hard as I can’t communicate what we want. It looks like he had a bowl put on his head. A sixties haircut with a part by his ear!
One side is longer than the other. My son walks with his hands over his head back to our accommodation.
He jumps in the shower and washes it and I get out his school scissors. Out in the garden, I set to work cutting off uneven chunks of hair. I do a pretty good job and my son is able to face the world again but not before we had a LOT of tears.
Now, later on, when we talk about it, Explorason feels very sorry for the man and would like to return to the town to give him a hug ‘because he did his best’.
We head back to the Feria de Las Flores Y el Café (coffee festival). I want a good coffee and I am sure this is the place that I will be assured of that – how wrong I was!
We have coffee plantations all around us in the hills so I decide I want one where you get a souvenir mug.
The worst coffee
Guess what? It is a shocker of a coffee! They stick nutmeg on it and it is so weak. In fact, I tell everyone it is the worst coffee I ever had and it was at a coffee festival. I am sure they make good coffee and I just had an ‘end of day’ mug. Surely?
As we head back over the bridge we stop a couple of policemen and ask for a photo. This town is full of police as the festival gets rowdy at night with the dance parties (and drugs so we later find out).
Later that night there are SO MANY drunks in the street. I think their work was ahead of them that day!
Lack Of Sleep
Questions and Comments
- Ever heard of the Boquete Chiriqui highlands or the Caldera hot spring?
- What experiences do you have from touring the place?
- Do share your thoughts and comments with us.