Boquete is a small town nestled in the mountains of the Chiriqui Province in Panama. With its landscape packed full of waterfalls and hikes, an active Volcano, and modest temperatures Boquete is an adventurer’s paradise. It was the perfect place for our wallets to take a break after our trip to Bocas.
Getting to Boquete
We took one of the shuttles from Bocas del Toro which cost $30 each. In our opinion this was not worth it and taking the public bus is a way cheaper option.
We stayed at our hostel for free in exchange for volunteer work through workaway. The cheapest hostel we found cost $8.50 for a 8 person dorm and the most expensive was $13 (not including tax).
At our hostel we had a communal kitchen that we really tried to take advantage of. Grocery shopping is the way to go in Boquete. We bought a bag of small bell peppers, an onion, garlic, and two bananas at a family vegetable shop for only a dollar. In the two weeks we spent here we spent a total of $140 on groceries. A small local bakery called Sugar and Spice has the most delicious muffins I have ever had for only $1. They also have traditional breakfast from $5 to $7.50. We ate out once, at Big´s Daddy´s ($21.35), and honestly it wasn’t that good.. There are a lot of cheaper restaurants.
Tours and Outdoor Adventures
The tours in Boquete are ridiculously expensive and completely not worth it. Most of them involve paying an obscene amount of money for a ¨guide¨ who is more like a hiking buddy. Our advice is to do them on your own. The Caldera hot spring tour which costs $25 with a tour costs a cheap bus ride and a $2-$5 entrance fee if you do it yourself. Don’t pay for any of the hikes. They can all be easily accessed by local buses and if there is an entrance fee it´s miniscule compared to the prices of the tour. The only thing we recommend paying for is white water rafting because you can’t really do that by yourself..
The cost of transportation in Boquete is zero. The town is small and you can walk anywhere.
Our total: $221.35
Daily Spending: $14, $7 each
Our budget for Boquete is definitely way different from what we would have been paying if we hadn’t done our workaway. Sadly, our workaway didn’t work out as we had planned (story of our workaway experience) and we weren’t able to explore Boquete´s natural wonders.
Our expenses if we hadn’t volunteered:
Outdoor activities: $156 (Rafting for two, entrance to the hot springs, and bus travel to and from hikes)
Total: $445, $222.50 each
Daily Spending: $31.78, $15.89 each
With relatively low accommodations costs, cheap groceries, and Mother Nature´s playground at your feet Boquete is a perfect destination for backpackers on a budget.
If you have any tips about traveling through Panama on a budget we would love to hear them!