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Welcome to Eco-Horqueta: The Hidden Gem of the Western Volcán Barú

The Beginning of Our Story

Hello, I am Lorraine, an Estonian-Panamanian millennial who felt lost at 23, without a compass to guide me.

My father, Bruno, may he rest in peace, and my mother provided me with a life full of love and comfort. Thanks to them, I was able to study at the prestigious César Ritz Academy of Culinary Arts in Bouveret, Switzerland.

Upon returning to my country and feeling the absence of my father, and finding myself at 23 in the hustle and bustle of the city, with the same routine every day, talking to my friends about everything and nothing at the same time, the city began to be a heavy burden on my shoulders, and getting up every day became a nightmare.

lorraine lill
Snowy Woodland Trees

I decided to go to Estonia, my father's birthplace, and it was that journey that changed my life. While there, observing my father's culture and roots, I could sense how the country values nature and how families go to parks to enjoy it.

However, what had the most significant impact on me was seeing ancient trees in a forest very close to the city. I felt so small next to these trees, and at the same time, standing beneath their branches, I felt protected and received an immeasurable rejuvenating energy.

There, I learned about the strong connection that every human being can have with nature. Embracing and contemplating the vastness of a tree made me realize that I am a tiny being, filled with energy, relaxed, and contemplative about my entire life. I returned to my home country, Panama, and decided to leave everything in the city to move to a green and magical town called Boquete.

Starting the Eco Horqueta Idea

Boquete. A beautiful and mystical town that almost everyone who visits doesn't want to leave. Why? Simple. Because of its natural beauty and the rejuvenating energy emitted by the trees and the Barú Volcano.

Boquete is a town that has grown immensely in the last 15 years in terms of population, structure, and culture. This multicultural town is home to more than 20 different nationalities and has been ranked as one of the best places in the world to retire. These, among many other reasons, influenced my decision to move here.


Now, Boquete is 6-7 hours away from Panama City and about 20 minutes outside the center of Boquete town, so, literally! I moved to the mountains, without electricity, without WiFi, without drinking water, without a house, etc. I settled in a camping hut to be in contact with the Mother Jungle.

Horqueta is a quite remote village, about 20 minutes by car from the central hub of Boquete. It mainly focuses on traditional agriculture farms and coffee plantations.

As I inherited a small plot of land from my father that had been in complete regeneration for over 20 years, what was my biggest surprise upon returning? The trees that my father had planted were towering high, and that feeling of protection, love, and healing settled in my mind and body. This would be my perfect place!

Working the Land

In 2014, when I visited Europe, the ecological theme was part of the government agenda, and indeed, millennials were traveling to countries that embraced these concepts.

So, I read and studied this topic to see how I could bring it into reality.

I encountered several difficulties. For that year, Panama lacked laws that supported eco-friendly construction with Mother Earth, and I had to design the bungalows and the restaurant according to the requirements of the Municipality of Boquete.

On the other hand, I sought advice to produce organic goods and plant trees that would serve as homes for other living beings.

If it weren't for my time in Switzerland, I might think it would be impossible to build on a hillside.

Months passed in planning, and my idea was to build the cabins and the main cabin with rustic materials. It was quite an ambitious project, and my acquaintances and friends considered it crazy. You have to see it to believe it!

As the months went by, my mother moved in with me, and later on, María Jesús joined us. United with the sole purpose of reforesting, protecting, and caring for this land, we began creating trails, and as if by magic, nature and divine forces aligned to make this place a reality.

Family, friends, and volunteers from more than 10 countries came to help us!

Together, we spent several days of hard work, overcoming obstacles along the way, laughing, crying, arguing, enjoying, but above all, unconditionally supporting the idea. After 4 years of fixing roads, planting tires, growing plants and trees, harvesting fruits, laying floors and tiles, ceilings, tables, chairs, Eco Horqueta transformed into a reality!


The Pioneers of Team Eco Horqueta

Salma Al Adawi

Remy Almengor

Area Arquitectos

Alejandra Barría

Indalesio Boutet

Luis Castillo

Alejandro Carbonell

Seliano Conde

Estefani de Gracia

Andres de la Iglesia

Dejud S.A

Christophe Delgado

Steve Doolan

Janet Doolan

Gilberto Duque

Ferreteria El Dorado

Denis Gomez

Ivonne Gonzalez

Israel Guerra

Moises Guerra

Iradj Kermani

Hernan Landau

Miriam Landau

Félix Landero

Benen McAllister

Cecilia Mendoza

Elsy Mendoza

Darío Miranda

Juan Miranda


Juan Miranda

Federico Miranda

Enrique MIranda

Jeissel Miranda

Yeissel Miranda

Beatriz Miranda

Enrique Miranda hijo

Carmen Monroy

Violeta Monroy

James Monroy

Frederick Monroy

Geovani Monroy

Maria Jesus Navarro

Mihail Neamtu

Jose Ocando

Abdiel Pinzon

Christian Perez

Isaac  y Brenda Quiel

Jahir Quiroz

Jason Retz

Minoshka, Ninoshka y Jean Pierre Ramirez

Felipe Rodriguez

Casa Ruiz

Sr.. "Cholo"

Francisco Sanchez

Anna Schramm

Anthony Spatafore

Ovidio Urriola Constr.

Yara Van Schaik

Victoria Velásquez

Maritza Villalaz

The Process

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