The first time we went to the Bocas del Toro region in Panama, we went to ”Up in the Hill”, a homey family-owned outdoor cafe on Bastimentos Island. It’s a hidden gem because it’s uphill and a bit out of the way to get to, but not a hidden gem because all the locals (and guidebooks) know about it and there are signs marking the path up to this farm-cafe.
When we returned to Bocas Del Toro on our Round-The-World Travels, with fond memories of this farm-cafe, we made an effort to trek up to this cafe again for lunch. With a slogan of “good things come in trees“, Up in the Hill is about a 15 minute walk uphill, more if it’s muddy and you are watching your step.
Since our first visit, not too much has changed in their small vegetarian menu.
Menu items are around $8USD with options including homemade granola, pancakes, eggs with toast, veggie burger. Definitely get the egg sandwich, which is made with organic eggs from the farm and comes with fresh-picked katuk leaf. How fresh? I literally saw one of the young boys in the family picking them from the katuk bush in the garden.
Alternative health drinks, priced at around $3USD each include lemongrass tea hibiscus and mint tea, a hot golden milk (made with fresh coconut milk, turmeric and honey), cacao tea (brewed with cacoa shell and water), kombucha, fresh lemonade and farm fresh juice.
Up in the Hill is also the maker behind of Pure Tree Natural Body Products, which you may have seen for sale in Bocas Town. The first time we visited, I bought their natural insect bite relief, as well as coconut oil for gifts back home. To keep their garden, there are signs discouraging the use of chemical repellents like Off Repellent.
After walking up to Up in the Hill, visitors can take a 25 minute trail down to Wizard Beach. We did this muddy trail the first time, and were rewarded with a beautiful secluded beach — Wizard Beach — shared only with a few surfers. Unfortunately, I have no photos because we left our valuables with the folks at Up in the Hill.
If you’re looking for a chill and healthy light lunch, and don’t mind a small hike uphill, Up in the Hill is worth the boat ride to Bastimentos Island. They also offer an organic farm chocolate tour for $25USD.