Hiking and looking for quetzals in the national parks are the big activities here, but there are a few other outdoor possibilities. White-water companies are headquartered in Boquete, on the other side of Barú, but they can usually pick clients up here for trips on either side of the mountain.
Cerro Punta produces the finest horses in the country. Visitors can arrange rides on much more modest steeds for around US$5–6 an hour. Los Quetzales Lodge and Spa (tel. 771-2182 or 771-2291, fax 771-2226, www.losquetzales.com) charges US$8 an hour, with an extra US$5 for a guide. The hotel also rents mountain bikes for US$5 an hour.
Genover Santamaria is a friendly, reliable local guide who works with Los Quetzales Lodge and Spa. He specializes in long hikes, including ones to the summit of Volcán Barú (US$80 for two people) and Sendero Los Quetzales to Boquete (US$40 for two people). He’s also available for multiday treks. Ask for him at the hotel.
A good guide is essential on wilderness trails, particularly up Volcán Barú. But for nearby, less rugged destinations, it’s simpler to make arrangements on your own than go through a guide. This is especially true of visits to Finca Dracula, which supplies its own tour guides for a fraction of what third-party outfits charge.
© William Friar from Moon Panama, 3rd Edition