Petunia. Impatient. Orchid. Or one of some 30,000 other plants. It is the Boquete Flower and Coffee Fair, one of Boquete’s major festivals. This Festival, currently happening, has in the past drawn up to 100,000 people over a 10-day run but, due to Covid, it is drawing a smaller crowd this year. However, I couldn’t tell that from all the people and traffic in town.
Boquete is Panamá’s flower and coffee capitol. There is a large plot of land along the Caldera River which runs through town. Planting for this January Fair begins in May and the plants can be viewed for a few months after the Fair. In mid-April there is a smaller fair exclusively for orchids, as that’s when they are in bloom.
This Fair began in 1950 and ran sporadically until 1971. In 1970, Boquete was hit with a major flood, wiping out about one-third of the city’s homes. Following some much-needed infrastructure to prevent future flooding, the city declared that this Fair would run every year.
Scattered both within and alongside the Fairgrounds are about 200 vendors and businesses selling handmade articles and temporary open-for-business commercial centers. The latter includes the coffee makers, offering their products for on-site tastings and take-home bags of some of the world’s best tasting coffees. Boquete grows a lot of Geisha coffee which sells for about $1,300.00 a pound. Needless to say, I haven’t tasted much of this supreme product.
The flower arrangements are well planned and occasionally creative. Their beauty is spread over several acres with paths for wandering among the displays. The bridge crossing the Caldera River allows for an “aerial” view of some of the displays. Boquete is blessed to have this array of beauty to enjoy for months.