Panama properties, adventures

By Marlene Lomas
This item appears on page 28 of the December 2013 issue.

Two friends and I spent two weeks traveling to several areas in the wonderful country of Panama, Aug. 26-Sept. 6, 2013. Our favorite place was Boquete. This small town is at an elevation of about 4,000 feet, so the temperature was quite pleasant during our visit. Many expats make their homes there. The area is full of coffee plantations.

We stayed just outside of town at a wonderful property called Los Establos Boutique Hotel (Entrega General, Boquete, Chiriquí, 0413 código Postal, Panama; phone 011 507 720 2685 or, in the US, 888/481-0656). We booked through an online company, Snique Away, now known as Jetsetter (New York, NY; 877/573-8872). For the 4-night stay, I had my own room for $571 and my travel partners shared another room for the same price.

The whole establishment was gorgeous, with views of the mountains. We had a large room with a sitting area, an outdoor lanai and a huge bathroom that was so nice I took photos of it. At breakfast (included), we had choices of French toast, omelets or pancakes, which came with fruit, coffee, juice, etc. Each afternoon, we were offered a happy-hour wine.

We would go back there in a heartbeat. They were building an exercise room and a restaurant.

Our international running group had a “meet up” in an area called Playa Blanca, about two hours outside of Panama City. Instead of staying at the overpriced hotel with the rest of the runners, we booked a 2-bedroom, 2-bath condo at the Founders project by using Vacation Rentals By Owner (

This condo was, by far, the best deal I have ever found on VRBO. For $125 a night, we got a large lanai with a fabulous view plus a washer/dryer. We were on the 11th floor, and the place was super-quiet. 

Over two days, we did a zip-line tree trek and a one-day raft tour and they were well worth the cost of $99! This was through Boquete Outdoor Adventures (Boquete, Panama; phone +011 507 720 2284), run by American Jim Omer.

The zip-line tour consisted of 12 zip-lines along three kilometers of canopy cloud forest. (I would recommend taking the bus from town instead of driving there like we did. The road was NOT good.)

Our river raft tour was a Class II whitewater trip down the Río Chiriquí Viejo. The starting point was about a 1½-hour drive from Boquete. 


Honolulu, HI