Panama is making its mark as a must-visit destination for travelers from around the world, expanding the touristic experiences at local coffee farms throughout the Chiriquí Highlands. 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 area offers a range of unforgettable experiences. From tours and coffee tastings at iconic family farms to ziplining, and hiking the Baru Volcano, one of the only places in the world where you can see both the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea at the same time. You can also partake on world-class birdwatching in the stunning mountain region and indulge with the region’s remarkable gastronomy.
The farms are part of the country’s Coffee Circuit, which is 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. The initiative hopes to include up to 42 farms upon completion.
All types of travelers, from families to nature lovers, and adventurers, are welcomed to explore the coffee farms that are located in three main regions of the Chiriquí Highlands: Tierras Altas which includes Volcan, Bambito, and Cerro Punta; as well as Renacimiento and Boquete. The 15 coffee farms that are active in providing distinctive touristic experiences are as follows:
Tierras Altas, Chiriquí:
- Finca Candela: Go on an intricate tour of the coffee plant and witness the process of turning the coffee fruit into coffee beans.
- Finca Ceriana: Choose from five experiences, including guided tours of the coffee plantations, horseback riding tours, classy picnics, trekking, observation of the flora, and access to more than 204 species of birds.
- Finca Don Lara: Take a guided tour of the plantation provided by the owner himself, and learn about the coffee varieties available in the region, and depending on the season, take part in the farm’s coffee harvest.
- Finca Janson: Take in the natural paradise of the highest alpine lakes of Panama and experience a world-class birding destination established as a natural reserve overseeing the Baru Volcano, all while enjoying world-class coffee varieties.
- Finca Café Eleta: Take a guided tour of the farm and taste specialty coffee nearby the World Heritage Site, La Amistad International Park (PILA), known for its rich and abundant biodiversity.
- APRE: The Asociación de Productores de Renacimiento (APRE) is an association of 75 member farms located in Renacimiento, where local farms are helped with processing and distributing their coffee nationally and internationally. Although the association doesn’t offer tours, they do assist with setting up member farm tours.
- Boquete Tree Trek: Choose from a guided farm tour, coffee tasting, or a special tea tour unique in Central America, or the ultimate adventure with one of the farm’s 12 zip lines or six suspension bridges.
- Café Kotowa Finca Cristal: Delve into the Geisha coffee process or visit the farm’s two-decade-old Rum Cellar. Nature lovers can also experience the farm’s Hanging Bridges trail and Zipline.
- Café Ruiz: Pick from several packages at the century-old compact coffee plantation, where you can learn about artisan ways and the history of coffee, community, as well as sustainability and biodiversity efforts.
- Finca Don Pepe: Tour the oldest farm in the region, founded in 1898 by the Vásquez family, known for creating incredible coffee varieties like Geishas, Caturra, Catuai, Pacamara, Borbon, Typica and Java, which you can taste and buy on the premises.
- Finca Elida: Witness sweeping views of the estate by taking a tour through the family’s Geisha plantation and processing plant, best known for housing the most expensive coffee in the world for two consecutive years as well as achieving the highest scored coffee at the “Best of Panama” to date.
- Finca La Milagrosa: With a coffee in hand, take a tour of the diverse plantations and discover how the farm uses recycled car parts and computers to create their own coffee roasting machines.
- Finca Lerida: Tour the first farm to export and introduce Panamanian coffee to Germany in 1929, taking a close look at every aspect of the coffee production process. The farm even offers the ability to stay overnight.
- Finca Princesa Janca: Enjoy a tour of the plantations and a coffee tasting session or explore the farm’s on-site museum documenting the family’s rich history as it relates to coffee and Panamanian politics.
- Hacienda Mamecillo: Choose from various activities from coffee tasting and guided tours of the farm’s vegetable nursery, to mountain biking, rappelling, and trekking throughout nature to find five waterfalls, 300-year-old trees, and unique biodiversity.
While coffee roots run deep in the Highlands in the Chiriquí Province, the area is also known as the land of flowers. A place where mountaineers, bird watchers, and travelers passionate about indigenous culture and natural attractions can partake in numerous experiences from Panama’s three Heritage Routes: Green (unique biodiversity), Blue (ocean wonders), and Cultural. Visitors can explore La Amistad International Park that has more than 600 bird species. They can visit the Ngäbe and the Buglé people, two of Panama’s seven indigenous communities, or hike the highest peak in Panama, the Baru Volcano, to witness views of both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.
Panama has been open to international visitors since October 2020. Those looking to visit the Chiriquí Province can reach the Highlands by car (a 7-hour ride from Panama City) or take a short (less than one-hour) domestic flight to David, Chiriquí, followed by a 45-minute car ride to Boquete or Tierras Altas.
To learn more about the Panama Highlands region and coffee culture, please visit discover.visitpanama.com/coffee.
To learn more about Panama’s Cultural, Green and Blue Heritage, as well as the experiences around it, please visit https://visitpanama.com/things-to-do/.
For the latest information on Panama’s health and safety protocols for international visitors, please visit https://www.visitpanama.com/information/travel-guidelines.