Connecting service (change of planes) is available from LAX to Panama City on Delta, American, Continental, Mexicana and TACA. Restricted round-trip fares begin at $611. Aeroperlas provides daily flights from Panama City to David for about $110 round trip.
To call the numbers below from the U.S., dial 011 (the international dialing code), 507 (country code for Panama) and the local number.
WHERE TO STAY
La Montaña y el Valle - The Coffee Estate Inn, Partedo 4-014, Boquete, Chiriquí; telephone/fax 720-2211, www.coffeeestateinn.com. Rates are $90 per cottage per night for two people plus local taxes. Cottages have a well-furnished bedroom and bath, living room, small kitchen and terrace.
Hotel los Establos, 720-2685, www.valleescondido.biz/losestablos/index.htm, is just outside Boquete. It has four rooms and two suites. Rates begin at $90 April 16-Oct. 31, $110 Nov. 1-April 15.
Hostal Mozart, 720-3764, e-mail email@example.com, is about five minutes from the center of Boquete. Rooms begin at about $26.
WHERE TO EAT
Boquete has several restaurants, with offerings as diverse as pizza and Mexican, but we took our meals at La Montaña y el Valle; entrees are $9-$13.
El Explorador has a cafeteria and is an unusual place to stop. It's full of flora, fauna and fun, unexpected "artworks."
WHAT TO DO
Horseback excursions can be arranged in the nearby preserves and national park.
Guided hikes with the affable Danny Poirier are available year-round; contact him via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or telephone (626-9354 in Boquete).
White-water rafting on the Chiriquí and Chiriquí Viejo rivers can be arranged through Chiriquí River Rafting, 720-1505, www.panama-rafting.com.
TO LEARN MORE
The best Web site for Panama information is www.panamainfo.com. The best guidebook to Panama is Lonely Planet Panama. To speak with someone, contact the Consulate General of Panama, 3137 W. Ball Road, Suite 104, Anaheim, CA 92804; telephone/fax (714) 816-1809.