6 Ways to Piss Off Someone from Boquete, Panama

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6 Ways to Piss Off Someone from Boquete, Panama

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Renown as Panama's eco-adventure capital for all ages, Boquete is one of those magical mountain towns where you can reconnect with nature in its purest element and madly fall in love with the outdoors in active search of hidden waterfalls, breathtaking views, your next adrenaline rush (ziplining or rafting for example) or even the famous yet elusive Resplendent Quetzal.

Hikers at the top of Volcan Baru
Hikers at the top of Volcan Baru

Us Panamanians are particularly partial to its fresh, spring like temperatures, abundant greenery and vivid flowers, which lure visitors from all over the globe looking to take a break from the heat and humidity of Central America's lowlands, but wanting to remain in pursuit of exhilarating outdoor action, pristine natural beauty and a relaxing, stress free atmosphere.

Just as the rest of Panama, the fertile valley of Boquete is no exception of being a cultural and ethnic melting pot, but its weather and rural agricultural economy have shaped a very unique version of Panama.

You'd struggle to find more hard working, generous, down to earth and welcoming people than the "Boquetenians". However that doesn’t mean that there aren’t more than a few things that travelers, tourists and would-be retirees should know while visiting and keep in mind before inadvertently going around and offending the locals without intending to.

So, on your next trip to Boquete make sure to chill by the Caldera Hot-Springs, rock climb El Gunko and explore its valleys by horseback, but please, avoid these six things at all cost.

6. Offend the coffee

In Boquete, coffee is king. Everyone drinks it, there is a coffee shop on every corner, and it is THE BEST IN THE WORLD. No arguing the point. There are hundreds of hectares of coffee farms in the Boquete region that produce "high class" coffee (technically known as "specialty coffee" from the sought-after Geisha plant. This is not your Starbucks or Folgers coffee. This is $25/cup-level coffee. Heck, one pound of a "special" variety of Geisha coffee produced in Boquete recently went for almost $400! So please, do not offend the coffee. Not only are we proud of the final product, but it is also the livelihood of hundreds of local farmers and provides good work for their migrant Indigenous workers.

5. Cheer for an opposing province's baseball team

Boquete is in the Panamanian province of Chiriqui and the Chiriqueños (people from Chiriqui) are very patriotic and proud of where they come from (we even joke about the"Republic of Chiriqui, and how even Panamanians needing a passport to visit). If you happen to be in Panama during baseball season (March to June), you will make many local friends if you ask about the Chiriqui baseball team. Chiricanos are so good at baseball, and dominate the national tournaments so much, that the province's baseball team was split in two, and there's "Chiriquí Oriente" and "Chiriquí Occidente". You will make many enemies if you even whisper "Panama Metro," their biggest rival or "Herrera", another local baseball powerhouse. So when you are in Boquete, you will do good to wear red and green, scream "METO!" in a crowd, and always proclaim Chiriqui as the best baseball province in the nation (or just the best at everything).

Posted by Chiriqui Beisbol on Friday, June 3, 2016

4. Come to Boquete and not see any of the sights

When you get to Boquete, please put away your phone (unless you are taking a picture), take out your earbuds, roll the windows down and enjoy the beautiful and peaceful environment. Go hiking in the cloud forest, check out the many gardens in and around town, maybe even experience a zip line! Please do not sit in your accommodation, wishing that it weren't so humid or cloudy (we are in the a tropical cloud forest after all) and trying to find your favorite channel on the TV. Boqueteños (people from Boquete) are very proud of their region and want you to come and experience everything it has to offer.

3. Not try the local food and produce

Please visit the local market and vendors when you're in Boquete. You will find some really unique fruits and vegetables that are oftentimes produced right there in the Boquete region. Hundreds of farmers make their livelihood producing fruits and vegetables to feed all of Panama (Chiriqui produces the majority of Panama's food). The farmers are proud of their work and delight in having foreigners enjoy their produce.

Boquete is home to many great restaurants of all types of cuisine. Be sure to try the local restaurants as well as the international ones - your appetite will surely be satisfied!

2. Display an air of arrogance

Whether you're pink, blue, yellow, black, white or purple, you will be welcomed in Boquete BUT please don't come with your head held high and your nose turned up at our simple way of life and modest means. The local people of Boquete are hard workers, many in the agriculture industry, and they cherish the humble, down-to-earth folk. It doesn't matter if you have all of the money or no money - in Boquete, what matters is how you treat those you come across and the best way to start is by learning some common greetings in Spanish and having general small talk with anyone who strikes up a conversation with you. A genuine smile goes a long way in Boquete.

1. Exploit our natural resources

Boquete is located in a cloud forest, which means that there is a seasonal low-level cloud cover usually at the tree canopy level. The vegetation in this climate is a mix of tropical, coniferous (i.e. pine trees), and epiphyte (i.e. orchids, ferns). The whole scene is a bit enchanting and then you have these amazing flowering bushes and trees everywhere to really up the wow factor.

The locals do not take this environment for granted. They are happy for outsiders to visit, but they do not appreciate those with greed who see in this nature-rich land an opportunity for exploitation of the natural resources. The government has already dammed up way too many rivers in Chiriqui for hydroelectric projects (that's not a popular topic to bring up with locals - unless you want to really see a mad "Boqueteño") and there is much land that is supposed to be in a protected park that nevertheless continues to be cut away for farming and animal pastures, with the complacent hand of corrupt government officials in Panama City.

As you can see, Boquete is a fascinating place with fascinating people. Know before you go to avoid these common mistakes and your next visit to Panama will be even more memorable than you ever thought it could be.

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Search our blog if you're visiting Panama! From must do's, where to party or eat, to which beaches and hiking trails you shouldn't miss, you'll find great insider info about Bocas del Toro, Panama City and Boquete, as well as Panamanian culture, customs and traditions, and certainly tips and advice for learning Spanish while in our country! We've been writing about all things Panama for over 10 years and nothing beats local knowledge from the locals themselves.


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