Finca: Casa Ruiz
Owner: Maria and Plinio Ruiz
Town / Region: Boquete, Chiriqui
Altitude: 1500 – 1650 masl
Certifications: Some farms, since 2003 are fully organically certified (FDA)
Harvest Time: December – March
Tucked away on the eastern slopes of the Volcan Barú is the small and charming mountain village of Boquete. Known to produce some of the sweetest oranges and richest coffees in all of Panama, Boquete is quickly becoming a destination for those visitors seeking the most enchanting weather in the world. Visitors bask in Boquete’s sunny and cool mountain weather and marvel at the exquisite vistas. Boquete’s healthy climate has prompted many to believe it is the secret to longevity since many native Boqueteños have lived well on past their one-hundredth birthdays.
Boquete’s surrounding hills and slopes are primarily covered in shade-grown coffee plantations, providing a rich product recognized by international connoisseurs. Known for their sustainable farming practices, these farms are recognized the world over by conservationist and are home to an abundance of birds equal to those found in the cloud forests higher on the mountain. Coffee is primarily picked by the Guaymi Indians during the months of October through February. Coffee picking season is a festive time and colourfully clad Indian families come from various parts of the province to harvest the coffee cherries. Tours through some of the coffee fincas of Boquete can be arranged for those interested in seeing the origins of their morning brew or sighting a wide variety of bird life.
Coincident with the coffee harvest is the Flower Festival.The gardens of Boquete are rivaled only by the great Mediterranean garden centers of California, Italy, and South Africa. This verdant production is best witnessed at the Festival, but can be seen throughout the year in a variety of contexts. Bromeliads cover the shade trees on the fincas.
Deep flowerbeds adorn the inns. And, rated as one of the top three private gardens in the world, Mi jardin es su jardin is open to visitors who are encouraged to wander the grounds, enjoying the vision and hospitality of the owners.
The best way to see the cloud forest flora and fauna is to catch a ride over to Cerro Punta, pickup the trailhead around the mountain’s backside and hike a 4 hours trail back to Boquete.
Walking among some of the largest trees in the hemisphere, time stands still. The silence broken only by birdcalls that give away the positions of those that you seek among the
draping moss and brightly coloured bromeliads. The trail is moderately improved, but not too strenuous, dropping elevation along the route. It is a lifetime bird watching experience you
will not want to miss. Any of the lodges can make arrangements for you.
After your hike, you may want to have a restful afternoon in the hot springs or do a little trout fishing with a fly. Both of these provide a calm alternative in preparation to a day of whitewater rafting on the Chiriqui Grande [class II-IV] or horseback riding the many mountain trails and roads the crisscross the highland fincas.