(Forbes) Panama has been open to international travelers since October, as long as a negative Covid-19 test is provided upon entry. Recently, Chiriquí Highlands in the western part of the country— and its highest point— has expanded visitor experience offerings at their local farms. The region is best known for producing Geisha Coffee, the world’s most valuable coffee and harvested by the Ngäbe and the Buglé indigenous communities.
The coffee is originally from Ethiopia, specifically the Gori Gesha forest, from where it takes its name. In 2019, it sold for over $1,000/ pound. What makes it so special? While Geisha (also known as Gesha) is grown in other parts of Latin America, the ones from Panama always rank highest in competitions thanks to the combination of the right attitude, volcanic soil and the microclimates of Boquete.
While the region has long welcomed tourists to experience how the coffee is made at the Coffee Circuit— currently being developed by the Tourism Authority of Panama (ATP) and the Center for Competitiveness of the Western Region (CECOMRO) to further enhance the region’s economic activity and raise awareness of the extraordinary biodiversity in the region— 15 coffee farms are also offering added experiences.
Finca Ceriana at Tierras Altas offers horseback riding tours, picnics and access to more than 204 species of birds. Hacienda Café Eleta in Renacimiento, located near the UNESCO World Heritage park La Amistad (PILA), offers coffee tours, tastings, and lodging as well. At Boquete Tree Trek in Boquete , adventurous visitors can zip through one of the farm’s 12 zip lines of six suspension bridges.
As the pandemic has shifted most travelers towards slower, more purposeful and regenerative travel— advocating for the carbon positive (instead of just carbon neutral), working closely with local indigenous communities, visiting the Chiriquí Highlands supports Panama’s master plan for sustainable tourism, recently recognized by UNESCO as an example of innovation and sustainability, highlighting Panama’s tourism routes.
Visitors can reach Chiriquí Highlands by car (a seven-hour ride from Panama City) or by plane (less than an hour) to David, Chiriquí, followed by a 45-minute car ride to Boquete or Tierras Altas