JP and I finished off our time at Boca Brava. Our middle (full) day was all rain. This was OK with us as the place was still beautiful and we would be riding in the rain otherwise. We caught some nice beach time on the last day in the morning. We headed out mid-day to find the KLR still in tact at El Captain’s house.
The ride to Boquete was quite nice and not much more than an hour. We checked in at the Hostel Mamallena which was easy to find. Our room was spacious, and with agua caliente, it was pretty much just what we needed. We pretty much chilled out that evening over pizza and ended up at a bar next door called Amigo’s. It is apparently an ex-pat hang out. Let’s just say we met some interesting characters there. A few of them were pretty seedy and happened to have left Toronto some 20 years ago or so. A very odd crowd.
The next day we had a look around on foot and then opted to rent some scooters. Scooters?!?! you ask…well JP has recently acquired her bike license and we hadn’t had the opportunity to ride together yet. I was hoping that we could rent a small dual sport bike but it seems that Costa Rica is more appropriate for this venture.
On our second full day we booked two tours: a canopy zip line tour and an estate coffee tour. The canopy tour was great. There were four guests and some six staff — this is one of the benefits of traveling in the low season. The tour basically consisted of riding zip lines from platform to platform. The platforms are built around tall trees allow the steel cables to run up to about 1/2 kilometre long. In a harness similar to that used for rock climbing or repelling, you are “zipped” down a steel cable by way of a pulley reaching speeds up to 60 or 70 km/hr. Loads of fun and not so scary once the first cable is run.
We then booked a coffee tour having realized that we had the time. Again, due to low tourist numbers JP and I were the only guests. The Boquete area in Panama had recently come to light as a major high quality coffee producing region. It is said they focus on quality, not quantity and have been receiving attention on the world scene lately. One variety of coffee called “Geisha”, a type of Arabica, is said to sell for $170/lb, mostly to Asian markets. The estate we visited was slightly under 20 hectares and produces about 20,000lbs of coffee a year. Each step of the process was intimately explained. We saw samples of different coffee plants, the manner in which they are harvested, how the “beans” are extracted from the berries, “fermented”, dried, roasted, ground and so forth. The gentleman who owns the estate is not quite a one man show, but his process and product is quite impressive and fair less “industrial” than one would assume. Much of his equipment is DIY and constructed from things like 4×4 transmission, other car parts and various other inventive solutions. His operation is said to be to small to afford and justify large scale equipment. While we tasted a $10 pot of Geisha at a coffee has out a later time, we did taste several cups of Mr. Tito’s coffee and it was very good.
We are now back in David and are heading to Panama City tomorrow.