Boquete is a popular destination for those searching for a relaxed, scenic getaway in Central America. Nestled in the mountains and known for its coffee plantations and outdoor activities, there are a lot of things to do in Boquete. However, as with any destination, safety is a concern for many of you. So, if you want to know if Boquete, Panama is safe to travel to in 2023, keep reading!
In this post, I will explore the safety situation in Boquete and provide information and tips to help you have a safe and enjoyable trip.
We were really lucky to spend a few days in Boquete and completely fell in love with the place. Even though it is a small mountain town located in the western region of Panama there are so many fun activities to do and the good thing is it is generally considered a safe place to visit. During our time in Boquete, we felt extremely safe traveling around.
The local tourism industry has made every effort to ensure Boquete is a safe place for travelers, including providing information on safety and security and working with local authorities to maintain a safe environment. The town also has a strong ex-pat community, which provides a sense of community and support for visitors.
Whether you’re planning a solo adventure or a family vacation, we felt Boquete is a safe place to travel. However, as with any destination, you should still exercise caution and take necessary safety precautions. This guide will help you stay safe and have a memorable trip to a beautiful part of the world!
Boquete, Panama is generally considered a safe place for families to travel to. The crime rate in Boquete is relatively low compared to other places in Panama, and violent crime is rare.
That being said, you should always be careful and mindful to take safety precautions to ensure your family’s safety and well-being. For example, it is a good idea to stay in reputable accommodations in Boquete, avoid displaying wealth and keep an eye on your surroundings.
I would say that Boquete is a safe place for solo female travelers. Although we visited as a couple, I did leave the hotel alone at times and felt safe. The locals were friendly and welcoming to us, and they are generally respectful of women travelers.
As with any place you visit as a solo female traveler you should still exercise caution and follow some simple safety tips. These include dressing conservatively, avoiding walking alone at night, drinking responsibly, and using reputable transportation. If you can, it is also best to go on hikes in a group to remain safe in case of any accidents.
Hiking is the main reason for visiting Boquete as the landscape is stunning. There are plenty of trails to explore and beautiful waterfalls to find, however, I want to mention how crucial it is to hike in groups and never go alone.
There are several reasons for this, although the main one is that if you injure yourself you will need someone to get help. Another reason is that there is safety in numbers.
Sadly, there is a story of two young Dutch girls going missing in Boquete in 2014. Although ruled as a hiking accident there is evidence to suggest foul play and something you should be aware of if you plan to visit Boquete.
Unfortunately, there is no Uber service in Boquete. Uber operates only in Panama City and a few other cities in Panama, but not in Boquete. However, there are other transportation options available in Boquete, including taxis, buses, and private drivers.
You’ll be able to pick up a taxi from the town center where they usually wait around the main plaza. Your hotel will also be able to arrange a taxi for you. Private drivers can be arranged for day trips or airport transfers while buses are the most affordable transportation option.
We traveled around Panama using the local bus network which surprisingly was quite good and reliable. We came to Boquete from the small village of Playa Venao and although overwhelming at times it was quite a fun experience to navigate around the country on local transport.
In general, drinking tap water in Panama is not safe. Tap water likely contains bacteria, parasites, or viruses that can cause illness. We always used filtered water, and I recommend you drink bottled or filtered water too!
Bottled water is widely available in Panama, so you won’t have problems finding it. However, single-use plastic is never good for the environment so you could consider purchasing a water bottle with a filter for your travels. We use the Grayl Purification Water Bottle which is excellent and I have heard Lifestraw is also a good alternative.
When you are purchasing bottled water, we all have to at times, it is critical to make sure the seal is intact so be sure to check that. It is also a good idea to use bottled or filtered water to brush your teeth and when cooking. Another good tip is to avoid ice in drinks that may have been made with tap water.
If you practice sober traveling, you must skip this section.
Otherwise, the answer is yes, it is generally safe to drink alcohol in Boquete.
Boquete actually has a lively nightlife, especially on the weekends. Drinking alcohol is a common part of the local social scene so it is a nice way to interact with locals.
There are a handful of bars and lots of restaurants that serve a variety of alcoholic drinks, you should try the seco which is a Panamanian rum and if you like beer there is even a microbrewery in Boquete!
Of course, you must drink responsibly and avoid excessive drinking if you want to remain safe in Boquete. Drinking too much alcohol can increase the risk of accidents, injuries, and other safety issues. Be aware of your surroundings when drinking, particularly at night or in crowded areas so you don’t become a target.
One thing which can sometimes be a problem is counterfeit alcohol which can make you really ill. Therefore, purchase alcohol from reputable retailers and avoid purchasing cheap or suspicious-looking drinks.
Even though we believe Boquete is safe to travel to, with any destination, crime can happen. As such, being informed of potential safety risks and taking necessary precautions is key.
The most common crime in Boquete is petty theft and scams however more serious crimes can and do happen. There is quite a large issue with corruption and bribery in Panama and Boquete isn’t an exception. One thing which residents have noted concern with is property vandalism and things being stolen from their homes and cars.
With the above in mind, ensure you aren’t flashing money and valuables such as expensive jewelry. If you’re renting a car in Boquete make sure you don’t leave valuables on display and don’t do anything illegal to attract attention.
If you do find yourself a victim of corruption here are some safety tips to follow. Be prepared mentally before you travel and speak your native language if being questioned, insist on paying any fines at the police station, and remain respectful even if they are trying to con you.
The safest part of Boquete is generally considered to be the town center, particularly around the main plaza and along the main streets. This is where most of the hotels, restaurants, and shops are located, and it’s a bustling area that is generally well-lit and heavily trafficked.
Yes, I would say it’s very safe to walk around Boquete during the daytime, especially in the main areas of the town. We felt that Boquete was a small, peaceful town, and walking was a great way to explore the area and enjoy its natural beauty.
Most of the popular hikes are also pretty safe with marked trails to follow. We did multiple hikes and went in a group of four with some friends and also as a couple along other trails and felt safe the whole time.
A good safety tip is to let people know where you’re going and when you expect to return. We told our hostel where we were going and spoke to a local lady near the start of one particular trail which was quite long. She told us to stop by her house on our return so she knew we were okay.
I would suggest you don’t walk around at night in Boquete, particularly in isolated or poorly lit areas unless you are in a group. This is the same advice I would give to anyone traveling overseas or even at home in certain places. It’s much safer to be with people after hours so avoid walking alone at night.
Additionally, it’s important to be mindful of the terrain and weather conditions when walking around Boquete. The town is situated in the mountains, and some areas can be steep or slippery, if it is dark you might not be able to see properly.
Boquete is no stranger to natural disasters. Its location near the Pacific Ring of Fire makes it prone to seismic and volcanic activity, while its position close to the coast of the Caribbean Sea puts it at risk of hurricanes and floods.
The rainy season, which runs from May to November, increases the vulnerability of Boquete to landslides, with heavy rains triggering several incidents in the past.
As a result, the town has experienced several natural disasters in recent years, including earthquakes, landslides, and floods, causing extensive damage to the town’s infrastructure and affecting the lives of its inhabitants.
For those of you visiting Boquete, there are safety concerns as significant damage to infrastructure and disruption of transportation can occur making it difficult to access and leave the area.
In addition, even though local authorities have taken steps to improve disaster preparedness there is a lack of adequate response measures in place which could increase the risk of harm to you during a natural disaster.
As with any trip you take it is essential to remain vigilant and follow standard safety tips. Here are a few suggestions to remain safe in Boquete:
Some other useful tips for traveling to Boquete include keeping copies of your passport, learning basic Spanish, wearing appropriate footwear for hiking, and using plenty of insect repellent and sunscreen!
Panama is a beautiful country with stunning views, rainforests, and tropical beaches. It’s got a rich history, culture, and is full of wildlife, all set in a clean and green environment.
In my opinion, Panama is worth visiting, especially if you’re an adventure seeker who loves nature or someone traveling with pets as Panama is one of the most dog-friendly countries on the continent.
However, I should note that Panama may not be the best destination for those on a tight budget or planning a backpacking trip. But if you’ve been dreaming of a holiday to Panama or the country is a destination you’ve been wanting to explore, I definitely think it is worth the cost.
In conclusion, the answer to whether Boquete, Panama is safe to travel to is yes. Boquete is generally considered a safe destination for tourists, with a low crime rate and a friendly local community. We felt safe in Boquete and recommend it as one of our favorite travel destinations.
However, as always happens with traveling, it is vital you take the necessary precautions and are familiar with your surroundings. Also, make sure to use the standard safety measures mentioned above.
By following these safety tips, you will enjoy a safe and memorable trip to Boquete Panama. One of the safest countries in Latin America!
Abigail Dalton runs Igoa Adventure.
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