Finca Lerida Lodge
Finca Lerida Lodge is located on the skirts of Volcan Baru, the tallest mountain in Panama, just 6 miles north of Boquete. Known to be the first Panamanian coffee plantation, Finca Lerida is steeped with rich history, innovation and remarkable nature. Coffee tours, forest hikes and bird watching captivate the days while charming Norwegian-style suites and world-class dining entertain at night.
Finca Lerida Lodge Review
AdventureSmith Explorations’ Finca Lerida Lodge review includes a detailed description and photo gallery. Our adventure travel experts can help compare Finca Lerida with other Panama land adventure lodges.
Choose Finca Lerida for its unique history combined with modern day elegance. The Norwegian architecture fits charmingly into the surrounding forests and exudes an era of invention, exploration and a love of coffee. Original coffee roasting techniques were invented on these grounds, spread around the world, adopted and are still used today. Mountain charm, an intricate trail system and epic bird watching are just some of the highlights at Finca Lerida.
History at Finca Lerida Lodge
Finca Lerida’s reputation is as old as the first coffee that Panama exported to Germany back in 1929. The quality coffee produced inside this exceptional plantation made its international buyers realize that there was more to Panama than just its Canal. In 1911, a Norwegian engineer working on the Panama Canal named Toleff Bache Mönniche traveled to the High Lands of Chiriqui looking for clean, fresh air to recover from malaria. After sailing 7 days in a little vapor boat along the Pacific shore and riding a horse uphill for many hours to the skirts of Volcan Baru, he arrived in a unique spot in the world: Finca Lerida.
In 1924, Mönniche retired from the Panama Canal and moved with his wife to Finca Lerida, where he built his house completely by hand in Norwegian countryside style. There, he began the first coffee plantation by gravity in Panama and designed and patented the “sifon,” a device made to separate good beans from the bad, which is still used worldwide by many coffee plantations. Mönniche’s old processing plant still processes coffee of excellent quality and is in fine working order at Finca Lerida. In 1929, Finca Lerida exported to Germany its first shipment of Panamanian coffee. Thus began Panama’s high reputation as one of the best quality exotic coffee producers in Europe.
Dining at Finca Lerida Lodge
Professional chefs design an international yet traditional menu enriched with their own creations, incorporating fresh ingredients and savory seasonings into fine cuisine. Seafood, meats, pastas, soups, gourmet sandwiches and local dishes are served amid this little paradise. Dine in the restaurant and terrace at an elevation of 5,200 feet above sea level, where winds off the Caribbean and Pacific oceans mingle. The coffee shop emanates a special aroma of coffee tradition, lined with adornments and souvenirs and with service steeped in diligence and kindness from a professional staff.
Activities at Finca Lerida Lodge
Activities at Finca Lerida include bird watching, coffee tours and hiking.
Ecological paths lead through the coffee plantation and tropical forest of Boquete. This is the most accessible region of Chiriqui’s High Lands where the beautiful Quetzal bird can be seen thanks to the conservation of the forest and the Aguacatillo tree that provides the Quetzal with its favorite fruit. Most of these trails go deep inside La Amistad International Park, where more than 500 species of American Tropical birds can be found. Finca Lerida offers a printable birding list to take on every excursion, making this place a birder’s dream.
Dive into coffee culture and learn to better enjoy this legendary aromatic drink. After a tour like this, a cup of coffee will never taste the same! The tour begins in the fields of Boquete where three vital, influencing factors are at play: the soil, micro-climate and varietal genetics all affect the coffee’s quality. Learn about the history, origin, qualities and secrets of coffee handling, as well as the history of Finca Lerida and Toleff Bache Mönniche’s coffee legacy. In the second phase of the tour, learn about coffee production all the way from a ripe coffee cherry to roasted bean.
End the tour at a tasting table, where the long, intense and complex coffee process ends. Find out whether or not a whole year’s work produced a quality coffee. Participants may taste different varieties of coffee and learn how to distinguish between different taste tones. Instruction will be given on how to prepare a good cup of coffee by learning about water temperature, time, toasting and grinding and different brewing methods like using devices like the electric coffee maker, French press, drip brew, boiling, etc.
Hike on more than 6 miles of well-marked, professionally designed trails through nearby primary and secondary forests, where a variety of exotic animals and vegetation make their home. There is no guide and the trails can be easily hiked by both amateurs and experienced hikers. Choose to hike to an impressive waterfall or appreciate one of Panama’s most impacting views from a different vantage point. Finca Lerida borders Amistad National Park (PILA), a natural reserve protected both by Panama and Costa Rica that has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Accommodations at Finca Lerida Lodge
Finca Lerida has 21 finely decorated rooms: one historic, six suites, four standard and eleven deluxe. All rooms are non-smoking and feature a 42-inch LCD TV with satellite cable channels, in-room safe, deluxe toiletries featuring Damana products, Wi-Fi internet and phone service.
Historic Suite, Casa Centenario
Named “Casa Centenario” and built in 1908 by Toleff Monniche, the Historic Suite took 10 years of hand labor to complete. This historic home features a living room with chimney, dining room, family room, library and a second floor with a relaxing antique atmosphere.
Six suites include a family room with a fireplace and luxurious bathroom with Jacuzzi and shower. The excellent location is great for taking in some of the best views of the property. Chimney Mountain suites have either one king bed or two queen beds.
Each Honey Mountain deluxe suite has its own terrace, complete with a comfortable hammock to enjoy the breathtaking view of the mountains and coffee plantation sites. Rooms either have one king bed or two queen beds.
Standard Vintage Room
Surrounded by gardens, Standard Vintage Rooms were built as guest houses in the 1920s, offering a vintage atmosphere with Scandinavian décor in every detail. Rooms either have one king bed or two double beds.