A local family moves to Boquete

Blog by. Maria Isabel Zapata


panama. aptm mariaWhen my husband first told me he was thinking about moving to Boquete my first reaction was: What in the world are we going to do there? I thought of Boquete as a small village with nothing to do. I had different plans for us in the city, and even though I wanted a change, I never thought of Boquete as that great change. We were living in a small apartment, my father in law, my husband, my two kids, my two dogs and me! Beautiful view of the city but too expensive for what we could pay and not enough space.IMG_1436

So my husband decided I should come and stay for a few days in Boquete. We arranged to come for Christmas and spend it with his partner, so I could meet him and see where my husband was going to be spending most of the time.

It was a long 7 hour drive with the kids, I would have preferred to come by air. We arrived late in the night so all we wanted was to sleep. It was so nice and different to wake up with the twittering birds and a nice cup of coffee.

My expectations were not high but as soon as I got to Boquete, everything in me changed. Everything was so calm and people were nice and polite. The weather was perfect, and my kids were so happy. Just driving around town and seeing the beautiful gardens of Boquete made me feel at peace.


IMG_1446The berries! Oh I love berries! It was a little difficult to find fresh berries in the city. So it was a great thing for me to be able to have fresh ones. I specially loved the strawberry and cream tarts from a German bakery. The owner makes the cream fresh and by hand. I have to confess that every now and then I can’t resist the temptation and I have to have one.IMG_1465

I met Debra on this trip and spent Christmas with her, Pascal and friends. I have to say that they made me feel like at home, and my kids were so incredible happy. My husband so calm, that I just didn’t want to leave. Trust me when I say, that’s how you will feel here at Casa de Montaña.

We went back to Panama City and decided to definitely move to Boquete. It was a sweet and sour decision for me. I loved Boquete and couldn’t wait to move, but I sure was going to miss my girlfriends and it was hard for us to leave my father in law, since he didn’t want to move with us. I decided to see my friends for one last time since we were moving soon


We already knew where we were going to live, since we were taking Pascal’s old house. If you decide to move here and don’t know where yet, here at Casa de Montaña we have an over view tour of Boquete, in which you can see the different neighborhoods. We can also help you set up an appointment with a realty company here in Boquete.

I was really excited about moving, but there was something else I wanted to do, which was to find some volunteer work to get me out the IMG_1804house and spending a few hours a day with adults. I’ve been a full time mom for the past 3 years and now as my children would be in school it would be the perfect time to do something on my own. That’s how I found out that Manzar and Terry where looking for someone to volunteer in the office part-time.   Debra suggested it would be a good opportunity for me to gain some new skills in the tourism industry. How amazing was that! I felt like everything was in the right path and went ahead and set up a skype interview with Manzar and Debra.

So now it was time to pack, and let me tell you… you never know what you have until you have to move! It was a kind of stressful moment, but even though my kids were wondering why everybody was packing their toys and what were we doing, they behaved so well they even helped us pack!

You might wonder what made us take the decision to move here. We wanted a change of life. Better quality for less cost. We really got tired of the city and small apartment. We wanted a nice house with a garden where our dogs and kids could play, and not have to worry about the cars passing by. Being here on Christmas made us realize this was the place.

IMG_2361Finding school for our kids wasn’t too difficult either. We wanted a place near Casa de Montaña, so that I could go pick them up after work. We found this little place called Aprendizaje Divertido, just a few blocks from here. The teacher was lovely and the kids there looked happy. We didn’t look for anything else and decided right away. Since my little baby is only one year old and has always (and only) been breastfeeding, it was a hard adjustment for her not to be with me for half a day. The teachers were so lovely and understanding of her feelings, it helped her feel better and now she is very happy. IMG_1874

Moving here was the best decision we could have made for our family. We now live in a house with a garden and fruit trees. My dogs can be free and they even have little furry friends around the neighborhood they visit (without our permission!)

We have breakfast outside every Sunday morning, and there is so many things to discover here that we never get bored. So far we have visited Volcan, Janson’s Coffee farm and Cerro Punta. We go for walks around town every time we can. We love visiting the gardens, being able to have a cup of coffee with a beautiful view, but most of all we love the great quality of life our kids are having here.

Come and stay with us at Casa de Montaña! I assure you, you won’t want to leave!

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Helping Others!

Blog by Terry Richmeier

Helph OtherYes, our main job is to take care of you while you are staying here at Casa de Montaña. We want to make sure that you have the best experience possible and that includes the people that we partner with to set up tours, breakfast and our social hour.

And, with that said, we also want you to know that we are involved in our community as well. Our entire team is dedicated to spending our time, talents and money working with different non-profit organizations. If you are interested in volunteering for a day or two (or more?) while you are visiting Boquete, please let us know. Here is a current list of what we are involved with:

1 Amigos de Animales (Friends of the Animals). This program raises money that is used to spay and neuter dogs and cats in Boquete and the surrounding Chiriquí regions. With many of the animals, they do not have homes or owners and are still a part of our surroundings and neighborhoods. Amigos de Animales has a staff of veterinarians who will volunteer their time to spay and neuter these animals. They also provide this service for furry friends of our local Panamanians and Ex-Pats alike. When possible, they ask for a $10.00 donation to cover the costs of supplies, anesthesia and all other expenses. Over the past several years, the quality of life for our four legged friends has increased dramatically! We have attached the website here to learn more: http://www.fadab.org/

2. A partner to Amigos de Animales, ARF (Adopt, Rescue, and Foster), it does an amazing job in finding the owners of their new pets. We witnessed a motherless kitten that was less than three weeks old that was rescued and fed every two hours for several days straight. The end results were astonishing! We’ve attached their website to learn more: http://www.arf-boquete.com/

3. Another area that we are involved in is Buenos Vecinos de Boquete (Good Neighbors of Boquete). This program is similar to a food bank. Money is raised to buy food from a local vendor at a largely reduced price. This food consists of very basic staples such as rice, beans, oil etc. Several of the locals do not have a stove to cook on and will cook on an open wood fire. Others are handicapped and are in need of more support from the outside community. This program connects with another program called “The Handicapped Foundation of Boquete” (which also receives donated food from Buenos Vecinos de Boquete). Casa de Montaña has volunteered to fill bags of food and our staff has helped deliver the food donations to the people who are in need of it. Many of our staff, being raised in Boquete, are familiar with the families and feel that this is a great way that they can support their community. Casa de Montaña is also going to be part of the efforts to raise money for supporting Buenos Vecinos de Boquete. The cost for providing monthly food rations is currently at $360.00 per family per year. Here is the website for Buenos Vecinos de Boquete with more information: http://www.buenosvecinosdeboquete.com.pa/

Side Note: Here is an article of thanks that goes out to those who support the Handicapped Foundation of Boquete. http://vive-boquete.blogspot.com/2014/05/news-boquete-fwd-thank-you-from.html

There are many more volunteer opportunities in Boquete and as Casa de Montaña strives to deliver an even better experience for you during your stay, we could help arrange for some volunteer opportunities for you if you have an interest. Our community would welcome your support and you could become a part of our community during your visit, leading to a much richer and fuller experience of Boquete!

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