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Travel Guide to Chiriqui, Panama

Map of the Area

Chiriqui Panama - Travel Guide - Tropical Discovery
  • 6,490.9 km2 (2,506.2 sq mi)
  • high: 83–90 °F [28–32 °C], low: 71–75 °F [22–24 °C]
  • Eastern Standard Time (UTC-5) -5 hrs
  • The Panamanian Balboa (PAB) B/1.00 = $1.00 USD.
  • Spanish
  • 416,873 (2010)
  • 8°26′N 82°26′W

Chiriqui, Panama

Panama's Highland Region

The province of Chiriqui, located in western Panama, borders to the North on the Bocas del Toro region and to the South on the Pacific Ocean. Chiriqui is easily reached via its local airport in the town of David. Until the arrival of the Spanish Chiriqui was populated by a variety of Indian tribes (Changuinas, Zurias, Boquerones, Buricas, Doraces, Bugabas and Guanacas) that are all grouped together under the generic name “Guaymíes”. Its discovery in the year 1519 is attributed to Gaspar de Espinosa from Spain and the official province of Chiriqui was created on May 26th 1849 during a time when Panama was part of Colombia. Chiriqui’s economy is mostly based on agricultural production and life stock and it is the main provider of foods to the rest of the Republic of Panama. Tourism is gaining in importance as more and more visitors discover the natural beauty of the region, making it an attractive destination for national and international travelers alike.

Chiriqui Panama - Travel Guide - Tropical Discovery

Main Attractions in Chiriqui Panama

Panama's Highland Region

The highland area is the heart of Chiriqui and extends from the mountains of La Amistad Park to the misty cloud forests of Boquete and Volcan. Boquete and Volcan with their cool climate are perfectly suited for the cultivation of coffee, citrus fruits, and flowers. The region is also one of the country’s top destinations for nature lovers. Several hundred bird species have been identified in this area including the resplendent Quetzal which is one of the most exotic birds in Central America. To learn more about places to visit, please click below.

 

Chiriqui Panama - Travel Guide - Tropical Discovery

Chiriqui, Panama

HISTORY

Chiriquí is a province of Panama, it is located on the western coast of Panama, and it is also the second most developed province in the country, after the Panamá Province. Its capital is the city of David. It has a total area of 6,490.9 km², with a population of 416,873 as of the year 2010. The province of Chiriquí is located in the western region of Panama. It is bordered to the north by the provinces Bocas del Toro and Ngobe-Buglé, to the west by Costa Rica, to the east by the province of Veraguas, and to the south by the Pacific Ocean, specifically the Gulf of Chiriquí.

Until the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors, Chiriquí was populated by a number of indigenous tribes, known collectively as the Guaymí people.

The first European to visit and describe Chiriquí was Gaspar de Espinosa, in 1519. The province was officially established on May 26, 1849, when Panama was still part of Colombia. Chiriquí was Abraham Lincoln's favored destination for Linconia, a project of colonization by free blacks. Chiriquí was the province in which Manuel Noriega rose in the military ranks which included helping bring Omar Torrijos back into the country after a coup d'état.

To help he lined up jeeps with their lights on the runway in David to allow Torrijos' aircraft to land. Chiriqui was also the heart of a short lived pro-democracy guerrilla movement in the late 1960s and early 1970s. After the dictatorship by Manuel Noriega from 1983 to 1989, Guillermo Endara became president of Panama and gave the charge of governor of Chiriquí to Edgar De Puy.

Chiriqui Panama - Travel Guide - Tropical Discovery

Day Tours in the Chiriqui Highland Region, Panama

Hiking, Birding & Adventure Sports Whether you would like to go birding, horseback riding, hiking, rafting or learn more about the local vegetation and Chiriqui's coffee production our recommended day tours will provide you with the opportunity to do so in style with your private guide.
    • Los Quetzales trail unites the two communities of Boquete and Cerro Punta and is one of Panama's most visited and popular hikes, named for a particular species of bird called the Resplendent Quetzal. Quite elusive, these birds are a magnificent and rare treat to observe and are a favorite among many birding enthusiasts. In addition to the Quetzal, there are more than 220 other bird species native to the area. The tour starts with a 2 hour drive from Boquete to Cerro Punta. From Cerro Punta back to Boquete you will walk on the Quetzal Trail around the Baru Volcano. The 10 km trail climbs steadily (roughly 800 meters) as you pass from tropical rain forest to tropical cloud forest and takes approximately 4-6 hours of hiking to complete.

    Please wear hiking shoes and long pants and don't forget to bring a rain jacket, sunscreen, sunglasses, binoculars, camera and water.

    * Please note that there are two options of transportation available: A normal a/c motorcoach taking you to the park entrance or a strong 4x4 vehicle that takes you to the ranger station in the park. Choosing the 4x4 vehicle means about 2 hours less hiking, the most challenging part of the trail (uphill at the beginning).

    Please inquire for details and pricing Includes: Round trip transportation from Boquete, English speaking ornithologist guide, picnic lunch. Duration: 10 hours

      • Did you know that Panama produces some of the most flavorful coffee in the world? A relatively new player on the gourmet-coffee market, the country produces traditional shade-grown-coffee varieties that are generally considered to be more complex and distinctive than those produced by its more famous neighbor, Costa Rica. Most coffee plantations in Panama are concentrated around Boquete because of the high altitude required for prime coffee growing, and because of the region's fertile volcanic soil. On this tour you will learn about the cultivation and process of the coffee bean. You will never look at your morning cup of joy the same once you have taken a coffee tour. Even coffee snobs will glean insight not only into the meticulous growing process but into the economics of the local Ngöbe-Buglé indigenous labor and culture, the "shade-grown" theory to protect the environment and to grow a better bean, the effect coffee has on the world, and what coffee producers really think about Starbucks. Tours are capped off with a "cupping," which, much like a wine-tasting, gives you a chance to sample different flavors, strengths, and roasts.

    Please wear comfortable shoes and clothes and don't forget to bring a hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, camera and water.

    Please inquire for details and pricing Includes: Transportation from and to Boquete, English speaking driver/guide, entrance fees Duration: 4 hours

      • Your guide knows the very best spots in and around Boquete to see many different species of birds. Among them the Resplendent Quetzal, the Collared Trogon, Orange-bellied Trogon, Bellbirds, Dark Pewee, Silvery-throated Tanager, Sulphur-winged Parakeet, Black Guan, Violet Sabrewing, Stripe-tailed Hummingbird, White-tailed Emerald and many more.

    Bring: Hiking shoes, long pants, rain jacket, sunscreen, sunglasses, binoculars, camera, water

    Please inquire for details and pricing *Includes: Transportation, English speaking ornithologist guide, entrance fees Duration: 5 hours

      • Established by Tollef B. Mönniche in 1922, purchased by Alfred Collins in 1957, and developed and currently operated by members of the Collins family, Finca Lerida is one of Boquete's oldest and most traditional Coffee Estates. Located in the Highlands of Boquete, at an altitude of 5,500 feet, on the foothills of the Baru Volcano, with its deep rich volcanic soil, this beautiful and traditional coffee estate offers optimum conditions for growing premium mountain coffee. The ample rainfall and sunny, dry harvesting season promotes ideal production of this Arabica. Mr. Mönniche designed and constructed the first "beneficio", processing plant, functioning with water and by gravity, and designed and patented a coffee siphon which would be used in "beneficios" throughout Central America and other countries in the world. Lerida's owner guided coffee tour takes you from the plantation through the process, roasting and brewing finishing with a cupping session.

    Please wear comfortable clothes and shoes and don't forget to bring a hat, sunscreen, sunglasses and water.

    Please inquire for details and pricing Includes: Transportation from and to Finca Lérida, English speaking guide, coffee tasting Duration: 2 hours

    • Enjoy hiking at Finca Lerida's natural reserve, a unique place to study and experience the cloud forest environment and to discover the flora and fauna hidden within. Many of the birds found in Panama can be seen in Finca Lerida's Estate, as well as many species of plants and trees. Hike though the forest to a hidden waterfall leaving civilization behind and relax listening to the sound of birds. The trails vary in degree of difficulty and one is handicap accessible.

      Please wear hiking shoes, long pants and a hat and bring sunscreen, sunglasses and water.

      Please inquire for details and pricing Includes: Transportation from and to Finca Lérida, English speaking guide, lunch Duration: 5 hours

    • Panama is one of the favorite destinations for birding, but birding in Panama is not complete unless you visit the Boquete highlands. As suggested in Robert S. Ridgley's "A Guide to The Birds of Panama", Finca Lerida is a place to go "searching for quetzals and other specialties". A unique collection of over 1600 bird specimens collected in the vicinity of Lerida by its previous owner Mr. Tollef B. Monniche was donated to the Birds Department of Zoology in the Field Museum in Chicago. Finca Lerida has a network of professionally built trails which have been visited by birdwatchers looking to see the Resplendent Quetzal, and by those interested in the magnificent flora and fauna within the estate grounds. Finca Lerida is home to over 300 species of birds.

      Please wear hiking shoes, long pants and a hat and don't forget to bring sunscreen, sunglasses and water.

      Please inquire for details and pricing Includes: Transportation from and to Finca Lérida, English speaking ornithologist guide, lunch Duration: 5 hours

    • The International National Park La Amistad extends into Costa Rica. It covers approximately 2000 square kilometers of mountainous terrain in the Cordillera de Talamanca mountain range. The park is famous for its cloud forests, where the trees form a canopy that creates a cool, misty atmosphere on the forest floor. On your tour through this park you will enjoy more than 80 different bird species such as Reinita, the Zorzal, Ruiseñor, Jilguero, Tapaculo among others. Spend the whole day with an experienced guide from the area looking for the many species of birds and other animals.
    • Please wear hiking shoes and long pants and don't forget to bring a rain jacket, sunscreen, sunglasses, binoculars, camera and water.

      Please inquire for details and pricing Includes: Transportation from Volcan or Cerro Punta, English speaking driver/guide, entrance fees, picnic lunch Duration: 6 hours

    • The Los Quetzales trail unites the two communities of Boquete and Cerro Punta and is one of Panama's most visited and popular hikes, named for a particular species of bird called the Resplendent Quetzal. Quite elusive, these birds are a magnificent and rare treat to observe and are a favorite among many birding enthusiasts. In addition to the Quetzal, there are more than 220 other bird species native to the area. From Cerro Punta to Boquete, the 10 km trail climbs steadily (roughly 800 meters) as you pass from tropical rain forest to tropical cloud forest and takes approximately 4-6 hours of hiking to complete. The tour starts with a short drive from to Cerro Punta where your hiking adventure on the Quetzal Trail starts.
    • * Please note that there are two options of transportation available: A normal a/c motorcoach taking you to the park entrance or a strong 4x4 vehicle that takes you to the ranger station in the park. Choosing the 4x4 vehicle means about 2 hours less hiking, the most challenging part of the trail (uphill at the beginning and downhill at the end) will be done by car. Upon arrival in Boquete you will be tranfered back to Volcan.

      Bring: Hiking shoes, long pants, rain jacket, sunscreen, sunglasses, binoculars, camera, water.

      Please inquire for details and pricing Includes: Round trip transportation from Volcan, English speaking ornithologist guide, lunch Duration: 10 hours

    • Your guide knows the very best spots in and around Volcan and Cerro Punta to see many different highland species of birds. Among them the Resplendent Quetzal, the Collared Trogon, Orange-bellied Trogon, Bellbirds, Dark Pewee, Silvery-throated Tanager, Sulphur-winged Parakeet, Black Guan, Violet Saberwing, Stripe-tailed Hummingbird, White-tailed Emerald and many more.
    • Bring: Hiking shoes, long pants, rain jacket, sunscreen, sunglasses, binoculars, camera, water.

      Please inquire for details and pricing Includes: Transportation from Volcan or Cerro Punta, English speaking driver/guide, entrance fees, lunch Duration: 6 hours

    • Finca Dracula is an orchid farm, located at only 5 minutes of the suburb of Guadalupe, Cerro Punta. After the gate, the path through the finca moves along a zone of woodlands. The finca's name is all to do with the Dracula Orchid - there are 124 species of Draculas growing in the finca's greenhouses. They only wake up in the night lifting up a blossom with a ghoulishly vampiric face. Different faces, different colors, but none raise their heads during daylight hours. Started as a hobby in 1969 by owner Andrew Maduro, the finca covers 22 acres. Formerly a cattle pastures with a main house built in the 1920s by Swiss-German immigrants, it now produces over 2,200 types of orchids from all over the world. It is both, a safe haven for endangered varieties as well as a business. And not just within Panama - over 25% of the plants get exported overseas. Some rarities can fetch more than $5,000 apiece. If you are fascinated by orchids, the best time to go is between March and April, when the majority are in bloom. The tour continues to the Jansen Coffee Plantation where your guide will explain you how they process, roast and package the coffee beans. Of course you will have a coffee cupping session at the end of the tour to try this Panama gourmet coffee.
    • Bring: Comfortable clothes and shoes, sunscreen, sunglasses, camera, water.

      Please inquire for details and Pricing Includes: Transportation from Volcan or Cerro Punta, English speaking driver/guide, entrance fees, lunch Duration: 6 hours

     

    * Please note: Information on this page is believed to be correct but not guaranteed

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