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Published: September 7th 2017
Israel, our Coffee guide
In front of the building that houses the coffee operation.
Geo: 8.77457, -82.432
Well we got up good and early yesterday (5:30 am) to make the two-hour drive to Boquete and our 9 am appt to tour a 5-hectare coffee farm and then our 1 pm zip line adventure. Lots of road construction that slowed us down a bit but didn't make us late, we arrived in plenty of time to find the offices to check into for of our tours, same company for each but they had several storefronts to serve all the clients using them.
We met up with Israel, our coffee farm guide, it was just Jim, myself, Barb, Paul, and another couple. Dan and Kath decided to explore Boquete and find some gardens to wander through and bird watch, we met up with them later for the zip lining. Our guide drove us up some VERY steep roads for about 15 minutes from downtown. As you'll see from the photos this was not some shiny factory with warehouses, etc... Really almost a one man show with some help, he made much of his equipment from scavenged parts, washing machine, old cars, etc, extremely creative and industrious a real Panamanian McGiver! Very interesting tour, we actually roasted some
beans, in a roaster made out of parts from a car light and other parts and heated by propane. Israel roasted them, light (Americana), medium ( French), and dark (Italia). All the same, eans just differing roasting times, he explained that the Americana actually had the most caffeine and the darkest had the least but was most acidic, didn't know that. They grow several different varieties of coffees, including Geisha, at $350 per pound, and this farm has been declared the 2nd best in Panama! The whole thing was very interesting and took about 3 hours.
After returning to town we found a quick bite to eat down the road at "Coffee & Cacao"' Jim and I ordered hummus chicken wraps and hot chocolate, Barb had a veggie pita, and Paul had a burrito and said it was fantastic. Good prices, good service, and great tasting, wonderful combination. Then we were off to meet Dan and Kathy at the zip line office. Our new guide picked up our group and we drove up the mountain for about 30-40 minutes in the back of a covered truck with padded benches along the sides :-/ we were part of a group of
Barb looking at the coffee plant flowers.
The scent was like jasmine, smelled wonderful.
about 20 the oldest of whom is 78 years old! He was the dad of a family group on a tour with Travalgar and he had his wife and 7 kids and spouses on the tour, 5 of the kids and spouses were zip lining, another couple on the tour are from Post Falls, Idaho, 15 minutes from our cabin, small world! The last couple of people were two cute Panamanian girls that were a bit shy. Part of the drive was on a gravel road and very steep so we were sliding around quite a bit, an interesting introduction to our seat neighbors...
After making it up the mountain, all the while enjoying amazing views of the jungle and surrounding mountains we were fitted with the safety gear, watched a demonstration on the "how's" of what we should and should not do, we then signed away all rights to sue, etc...;-)
We were then driven even higher up the mountain after being told that at the first platform it will be our last chance to "back out", until the 10th platform, and if you want to it is a 30 minute walk back to the lodge from the 1st one.
The Idaho couple went first, then Paul, Barb, myself, Jim, Kath, then Dan. Behind us came the large family group and bringing up the rear were the young girls. Looking out over the vast expanse made me question the reasons behind strapping on nylon strips connected by carabiners but then all reason aside I agreed to be shoved off the platform! No going back! Wheeee! Totally enjoyed myself and I think everyone else did too, one gal from the other group had a bit of regret and dropped out and walked back after getting to the 10th or 11th platform. The actual zip lining didn't take that long, I think there were 12-13 lines total but at the half way point we all had to join back up as the guides then had to leave the first half and zip on down to the last half for us to continue, we had to wait for everyone again towards the end so that took a bit of time with the number of people we had, but it was a great experience and I would totally do it again. The couple from Idaho mentioned that there is a zip line in Wallace,
Idaho so we'll have to check that out this summer!
We eventually made it back to the town of Boquete at about 6ish pm, had a nice dinner at "Big Daddy's" highly recommended on Trip Advisor, 3 of us had had the "Black & Blue" fillet mignon with blue cheese, etc on top, a couple had fish tacos, and I don't remember what the 6th had. Got back in the car and were back in Las Lajas by 9:30, checked emails and turned in fairly soon after that :-)
Will post some photos, great day and great company to travel with. I am feeling very blessed to have such a great experience!
Love to all the family!
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Such a cute picture of them :)
What a neat experience. You look like your having a blast!