Dubbed the land of “Eternal Spring”, Chiriquí borders Costa Rica to the west and often provides travelers with their first taste of Panama’s intense beauty. And it does not shy to the task. The province flaunts an undulating array of all the country’s “biggests” and “bests”: the tallest mountains, longest rivers, most pristine white-sand beaches, and most fertile plantations, all adorned in enchanting rainforests and flower-lined pathways.
The Chiriquí highlands, encompassing Boquete and Volcan, lives up to its reputation as the Napa Valley of coffee with its rich coffee plantations—as well as oranges, strawberries, vegetable, and cattle farms—flanking the fertile mountainsides of Boquete. Just as the next cup of strong Arabica is never too far away, so too are the epic adventures of whitewater rafting and hiking along Panama’s highest point, Volcan Baru, a sleeping giant that reveals both the Pacific and Caribbean waters from its 11,400-foot peak. It should therefore come as no surprise that Boquete has emerged as one of the hottest destinations in the world. Indeed, it seems as though Boquete could have remained a small town in a previous life, but a massive deluge of American and European retired expats have since laid their claim at gated communities amid its hillsides to create an ever-evolving life in paradise.
Just a two-hour drive south over the jagged mountains of Boquete reveals the Chiriquí lowlands and its capital city of David, a landlocked transportation and trade hub between Panama and Costa Rica. While David is a destination in its own right, this affluent, alternate expat-laden city is most commonly known as the gateway to the majority of Chiriquí’s lowland attractions, including the undisputed treasure of the region: the Gulf of Chiriquí. This sparkling gulf along Panama’s Pacific could be considered one of the world’s few remaining “undiscovered” paradises, with its dozens of lovely islands, rich mangrove forests, beautiful outer beaches, and two huge marine parks protecting one of the largest coral reefs in the Pacific, as well as the various monkeys, nesting sea turtles, and 280 recorded bird species that call this place home. It’s no wonder, then, why so many people from across the world are quickly flocking to its shores to find the good life.