More than thirty farmers in Chiriquí are successfully venturing into tourism as an alternative to the agricultural sector, as a way to increase tourism in the region, handle the current crisis and increase their assets.
The majority of the farms are dedicated to raising thoroughbred horses, dairy cattle and beef cattle, and growing vegetable products. Most are located in Renacimiento, Remedios, Dolega, Boquete, Cerro Punta and Bugaba.
Roberto Castrellón, general manager of the Isleta Agro Resort & Marina which is dedicated to breeding Creole livestock of Spanish birth, said that he decided to become an agritourism farm because its activities fit perfectly into the Rural Tourism program, which has helped make the business become more profitable.
La Isleta is an agritourism farm that covers 70 hectares with special characteristics. It provides local and foreign tourists the opportunity to enjoy paradisiacal landscapes, kayak, ride horseback, go boating, visit beaches on nearby islands and observe the diversity of birds and wildlife. "In fact, we are growing, because the restaurant also helps us offer a more complete service to visitors," he added.
Alejandra García, regional promoter of agritourism in Chiriquí for the Ministry of Agricultural Development (MIDA), indicated that "the activity provides an economic alternative for farmers, by allowing them to receive additional income to supplement their main work. This activity improves the rural economy on farms."
"The Tourism Authority, together with the Ministry of Agricultural Development, has an agreement to transform traditional farms into agritourism farms, and so far 10 farms have achieved approval of the quality assessment that is required in order to promote them in other countries," expressed Anabella Palma, regional director of the Tourism Authority in Chiriquí.