“Destination shopping” is a novel concept for Bocas, but Up in the Hill (cell 6607-8962 and 6570-8277, www.upinthehill.com , 8 a.m.–dark daily) is worth the effort. And the effort is considerable: As its name implies, it’s up on the hill above Old Bank , about a 15-minute walk that begins in residents’ backyards and junk piles and continues through a secondary-growth forest.
You’re rewarded at the top by a welcome breeze, lovely views of the ocean and surrounding islands, and a friendly welcome from the young expat couple (he’s from Argentina, she’s from Scotland) who live on a farm up here with their small child. They’re the makers of Pure Tree products, all of which are made from natural ingredients found on the farm.
These are available in stores around Bocas, so don’t come up here just for that; however, there are lots of pluses. One is a tour of the farm and an explanation of how the plants and fruits are used. With a day’s advance notice, they can prepare lunch (US$10/person).
There’s a rustic but clean cabin (US$70 s/d) with an outside shower, composting toilet, kitchen, and spectacular views on the edge of a cliff; be sure to check out the bird’s-eye view of Silverback , Bocas’ best surf break.
To get to Up in the Hill, face the police station (with one’s back to the ocean) and take the path that starts to the right of it. Then follow the signs up the hill. The trail continues down to First (a.k.a. Wizard) Beach , making this a nice place to take a break.