What you may see, smell or hear in Boquete, Panama, that you most likely won’t anywhere else!

Blog by Terry Richmeier

So, I was sitting in the office today and heard the sound of hoofs clanging! I paid no attention as this is a normal and frequent ritual that happens in front of Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast. Then it occurred to me that this is NOT a normal daily occurrence in most people’s lives. So, I thought I would write about the different things you may encounter here in Boquete, Panama.

Now that I’ve heard the hoofs of the horse coming down the road, I jumped up and headed directly for the door to snap a photo. Darn it, too late!  I will have to be ready tomorrow and try again. Several days have passed before I could capture the horse and rider but here they are:

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In Boquete, Panama, horses are a way of life and owners seem to take great pride and care for their horses. It’s not unusual to see horses riding up and down in front of the bed & breakfast. Nor is it difficult to spot riders downtown either. In fact once a year, there is a horse parade of over three hundred horses and this takes place in downtown Boquete, Panama. And you can see little ponies every weekend for kids to ride.

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Another bit unusual item in Boquete neighborhoods is the sounds of Rooster’s starting their serenade all hours of the morning! Once you w4are here for a while, you become immune to the sound.  Many people in town raise roosters and hens in order to have food on their table. The roosters can be sold for $9.00 a rooster and the sounds can be heard from near and far throughout the valley!  Roosters are a source of income as well as a way to fertilize the hens and are a major part of the ambiance of Boquete!

Then there is the indigenous butterfly that has see-through wings. An amazing creature that is small in stature and is quite w5unusual.  An amazing snapshot to capture with your cell phone or camera! In order to see these butterflies, you may have to walk up a mountain or two but you will find it all to be worth it.

While you are out climbing the mountain, keep an eye out for the resplendent Quetzal and a sloth or two. There is also the Cotamundi  and a Howler Monkey that you may encounter. In fact the country of Panama is home to 218 mammal species, 226 species of reptile, 164 amphibian species and 125 animal species found nowhere else in the world. Panama also boasts 940 avian species, which is the largest number in Central America.
Read more: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/panama/wildlife/animals#ixzz45F9MnZX4

 

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Now, I want to tell you about the smells in the morning and afternoon here in Boquete and at Casa de Montana Bed & Breakfast. As the bed & breakfast is located just 6 houses away from the roasting plant of Café Ruiz, you will come across the smell of fresh roasted coffee w7twice a day. Once in the morning and once in the afternoon. I’ve been around a lot of people who tell me that they don’t like coffee but love the smell of coffee being roasted! It is an amazing smell and for myself, I find that I’m drooling from the smell of the roast. This makes me want to have another cup of the rich coffee that we serve for breakfast!

Another smell that we get here at Casa de Montana Bed & Breakfast is the smell of wood burning in the evenings around dinner time. Many people here in Boquete, Panama, do not have a stove or even electricity and so they start a bonfire and get to cooking up their dinners. The smell is never too strong but just a slight reminder of times of camping and sleeping out w8under the stars! I get nostalgic about days gone by of my childhood in Colorado.

We have never lived in a place (or even visited one) where there are huge rainbows on a daily basis! Boquete is one of those places. Usually the day starts out bright and sunny. Suddenly a light misty rain develops (called Bajareque by the locals) and it sweeps the whole valley. The rain is so soft and misty that one can walk out in it and not get wet! Shortly afterwards a rainbow (sometimes two!) starts to develop across the valley. Within half an hour there is a huge rainbow with beautiful vibrant colors visible across town from all different vantage points. I have taken dozens and dozens of photos of the rainbows over the years and I never get tired of them. Our guests find this phenomenon mesmerizing. One day my partner was driving along the Bajo Mono loop and saw that there was a rainbow very close to him. Before he knew it, HE WAS DRIVING THROUGH THE RAINBOW! This kind of stuff doesn’t happen every day. And no, in case you are wondering, he did not find a pot of gold!

 

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You will also hear many different sounds of birds that you don’t normally hear elsewhere. One of my favorites, and at first most confusing, is a bird that sounds like he is whistling at you because you are so gorgeous! You know that sound your loved ones makes when you dress up really nice and they are stunned at how nice you look?!  For me, at first, I thought someone was whistling at me. I would look out the bedroom door and window and wonder who the heck that is. Not seeing anyone. It took me a couple of days before I knew that it was a bird!

Have you ever watched a couple of great big ox’s walk in front of your home with a farmer behind them taking them to the field to work? Or have a hen run across the road, jump your fence and end up walking right into your bedroom? Well, we have! And it’s a joyous thing to get these extra sights, smells and sounds along with the usual, daily, neighborhood children playing and people just stopping by to say hi!

We really look forward to you coming and staying with us at Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast to experience these extra sights, smells and sounds for yourselves!

 

 

Indigenous creatures and animals that surround Boquete, Panama

Blog by Terry Richmeier

Over the last several weeks, Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast has been encountering many of the wild life that lives and surrounds the mountains and valleys of Boquete Panama.

Starting with the ever so clever Cotamundi, an indigenous animal. Manzar witnessed a bit of “feeding frenzy” when he happened to stop by at the Boquete Visitor Center recently. Here is a video where you can see this relative of the Raccoon family:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Y9SdTf4i9c

Also indigenous is the Glass Winged Butterfly. Often missed unless you take a tour guide with you, these amazing creatures are just one of many different species of butterflies in Boquete, Panama. The transparency of its wings results from the combination of three properties: first, from the low absorption of the visible light by the material constituting its wings, second, from the low scattering of the light passing through the wings and finally, from the low reflection of the light impinging on the wings surface. Adult Glass Wings can be found from Mexico through Panama and down to Colombia. They can migrate great distances and have been documented as far north as Florida:

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Then, there is the Respondent Quetzal! This bird is a must see while in Boquete, Panama! The males are filled with color and this indigenous bird is hard to spot unless you have a tour guide to find them for you. They can even make interesting noises to help attract and locate the bird. You can literally be sitting under one and never see it. It is found from Chiapas, Mexico to western Panama and it is well known for its colorful plumage. The resplendent quetzal is Guatemala’s national bird, and an image of it is on the flag and coat of arms of Guatemala. It is also the name of the local currency (abbreviation GTQ).

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You will find many other animals and creatures running around the outskirts of Boquete, Panama as well. From Toucan’s and Monkeys to the Scale-crested Pygmy-tyrant and the Golden Frog and snakes and many many more!

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The Elusive Sloth • Boquete, Panama’s Pre-Historic Resident

Taken from http://boquetesafaritours.typepad.com/boquete_mountain_safari_t/wildlife-update-boquete-panama/

Central and South America provides a home for a living pre-historic mammal. The very strange looking and odd behavior Sloth has its ancestral roots dating back 35 to 40 million years ago. They are very shy and live almost entirely in the tree tops. Their dwindling numbers are directly attributed to the de-forestation of the rainforest and the encroaching human habitat.

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While you are on your hike, be sure to look down at the ground as well! There are some amazing creatures that roam the grounds. You will see just a glimmer of yellow on a dried up leaf. Look closer, it may just be the most amazing little insect. Or you may see a very rapidly moving green lizard! Take a look as they will surprise you how amazing their colors are.

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Yes, indeed as everywhere in the world there are poisonous creatures as well. It’s always best to keep your distance from animals you are not sure of and remember that they attack when they are fearful and feel threatened!

Here at Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast we want you to know that you are coming to an amazingly colorful and tropical place! We want you to see all that Boquete, Panama has to offer and can set up a tour guide to take you safely to see these creatures and animals alike and to enjoy the amazing Indigenous and other animals that surround Boquete, Panama.

Contact us through our website at: www.casademontana.com or view our Exploring Boquete page for more information on setting up a tour guide.

Please look at our specials and book a special package while you are here as well. We look forward to your visit!

Boquete – Home of the Resplendent Quetzal!

Blog by Terry Richmeier

 

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From time to time we have some guests who stay with us at Casa de Montaña that get an opportunity to find and enjoy viewing an indigenous bird called the Quetzal without actually searching for it. Others do come in search of these birds on their trek through the trees as they are hiking. The guests are not always lucky enough to find this elusive bird. The bird only shows itself to a chosen few!

Gorgeously plumed Quetzals live in the mountains of Central America. The bird was sacred to the ancient Maya and Aztec peoples, and royalty and priests wore its feathers during ceremonies.

The resplendent Quetzal is an aptly named bird that many consider among the world’s most beautiful. These vibrantly colored animals live in the mountainous, tropical forests of Central America where they eat fruit, insects, lizards, and other small creatures.

During mating season, male Quetzals grow twin tail feathers that form an amazing train up to three feet (one meter) long. Females do not have long trains, but they do share the brilliant blue, green, and red coloring of their mates. Male colors tend to be more vibrant.

Resplendent Quetzal pairs use their powerful beaks to hollow holes as nests in rotted trees or stumps. Inside, they take turns incubating two or three eggs—though males have such long tails that they sometimes stick outside the nest.

Young Quetzals can fly at about three weeks of age, but males do not begin to grow their long tail plumes for three years.

Manzar and Terry spotted two iridescent blue Quetzals their first time in Boquete and have never seen another one since. At the time, they felt that this was a sign that they were both supposed to move to Boquete, Panama, to start a new chapter in their lives.

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Recently we had some guests who stayed with us that were on the Quetzal tour and hike. They went without and guide and felt very disappointed that they did not encounter this amazing bird on their hike. During a small resting period, a man came passing by and they spoke to the man about their disappointment. So, the man looked at them then looked up in the tree above them and then told them to look up! Right there above their heads was the resplendent Quetzal that they were looking for the whole time!!!

So, if you are ever here in Boquete, Panama. Try to get a tour guide if you are bird watching and would like to see this beautiful bird. At Casa de Montaña, we can assist you in giving you a map to the Quetzal Trail, or set you up with a tour guide as well. If you want to venture out on your own, remember, you may need to just look up into the camouflage of the trees and spot “The Resplendent Quetzal”!

 

 

Boquete’s Green Season – A time to cleanse your body and soul!

A view from the guestroom window

A view from the guestroom window

It is not a surprise to us that some tourists prefer coming to Boquete during the Green Season when it rains the most. We thoroughly enjoy this time of the year as well. The color green is much greener! Come to think of it, ALL colors seem to be so much more vibrant. The peak rainy months are September and October. In the U.S. it’s starting to cool down and there is always the possibility of snow in the Mountain, Upper Midwestern and Northeastern states. Here in Boquete, we enjoy both the Green and the Dry seasons and that’s all we have to be concerned with.

We tend to start the morning with the sun shining brightly in the sky. Around 11 AM, the clouds begin to roll into the valley over several hours (we took pictures of some of this happening, out of the window of our guestrooms, the other day). Then around 2 pm, it starts raining with a wonderfully soothing cool breeze. The perfect time to sit on the back porch, enjoy some coffee or cocoa or even a nice glass of wine and watch the rain fall to the earth and create the “purifying green” that we get to enjoy here year around.

DSC00657What’s also very nice about September and October is that you can plan to do the zip line tour, coffee tour, quetzal walk and any other tours in the mornings when it rarely rains. There are fewer tourist here and there seem to be discounts available for those who plan on having an adventure here at this time of the year. Also, in general there are greater varieties of blooming orchids and flowers here as well.

For those of you who especially enjoy having some time to read a book, sit and watch the rain and just have an incredibly slow relaxing time, this may just be the months of the year for you to come down and visit us!

Blog by Terry Richmeier

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