PANAMA
 
 
May 29, 2017

View From Mi Jardin

Gardens of Boquete

Boquete is a hot destination for tourist and expats.  Located in the interior highlands, Boquete has an eternal Spring.  The fresh cilmate, amazing views, and friendly people make this a perfect hideaway.  Enjoy this personal look at such wonderful place.

Boquete, in the West Highland region of Panama, offers a change of climate for those coming from the swelteringly hot and humid Panama City. Over here, in the uplands near the Costa Rican border, the air is cooler, there are refreshing breezes, and you may – may – even require a jacket at some point.  The tree covered mountain scenery here is even greener than in the rest of this lush, luxuriant country. There are some outstanding garden parks to visit in the little hillside town of Boquete. It is an interesting town to visit, and has a real ‘Wild West’ feel to it, having lots of wooden houses with balustraded balconies. Some of the public gardens are really quite surreal – read on to find out more.

 

Mi Jardin

Mi jardin es Tu Jardin

First up, the wonderfully eccentric Mi Jardin es Tu Jardin (My Garden is Your Garden), a landscaped garden with larger-than-lifesize painted cow statues dotted around. Well, I mean, why on earth not? This remarkable space also includes a viewing platform with spiral staircase, not to mention a Koi Carp pond with a beautiful , and to me, quite incongruous miniature chapel overlooking the water. There are many different flower varieties to admire here, including the national flower of Panama, the hibiscus.  A word of warning – there are some tiny black flying beetles here that pack a ferocious punch (OK, bite). As soon as I entered the gardens, I was bitten on the hand – a little while later my hand had swollen up like a balloon. You see, I had dropped my guard, being away from Panama City, I had rashly assumed I wouldn’t need insect repellent in the cooler highlands.  Anyway, in more cheerful news, Mi Jardin es Tu Jardin is also replete with ornately decorated wooden birdhouses. These seem to be a real feature in Boquete, and I definitely regret not buying one when we had the chance. Oh well, a good excuse for a return trip I suppose!

HibiscusPainted Cow Mi Jardin

 

El Explorador Eco Garden

This gigantic garden on a steeply sloping hillside on the outskirts of Boquete is another eccentric’s paradise, being filled with variousstatues made from assorted junk metal and scrap. It also has the highest set of swings known to man – the difference in height between the swing seat and the supporting bar being something like twenty feet – somewhat unsettling to use when you are on what feels like the steepest slope ever looking down in the Boquete valley way below. We had a great time exploring this garden, which is laid out like a treasure hunt – you go from one ecologically-friendly statue to the next in a circuit up and down the (did I mention this before?) incredibly steep hillside. We even met a friendly goat on our travels, who tried to eat our clothes in that loveable goat-ish way. After this walk we had a nice, very basic lunch in the tiny café at the entrance. An added bonus was the spectacularly kitsch wall mural of a black panther.

 

JunkHigh Swing

 

Finca Lerida

With a slightly different feel, on a vastly more expansive scale, Finca Lerida, out in the sticks in the hillsides past Boquete is a gloriously glamorous coffee plantation. Oh, and complete with an absurdly good restaurant with a hillside terrace overlooking the plantation.  Watch the hummingbirds flit from flower to flower as you relax over some grilled trout with a nice glass of wine, followed, of course, by some of the house coffee. Sublime.  Walk through the coffee plants and you will spot, every so often, an orange tree. They are there for a reason – something to do with growing over the coffee plant bushes and protecting them with their shade – and they add to the magical effect. Walking around with the aroma of coffee beans mingling with the scent of fresh oranges takes some beating. Of course, you can go on a guided tour of the coffee plantation but we didn’t feel this would be fair on our three young children, so gave this a miss. 

 

Finca Lerida

Grilled Trout

 

Photographs and text, Jane Ellis
*Except photographs of El Explorador and Finca Lerida by Martin Ellis


Jane is an expat living in Panama and a Freelance Writer.  Follow her adventures at panamajama.com



 

Featured Item

mondoexplorer

Finca Lerida

At the heart of the coffee plantation, you'll find our restaurant complete with wooden deck and surrounding gardens. Imagine breakfast here...amidst flowers and hummingbirds, breathing in the fresh, clean morning air with the mountain range in the background.

more...