Hiking the well-known Sendero Los Quetzales between Boquete and Cerro Punta (10km; 4–6hr at a moderate pace with stops) can be done in both directions. The trail, which allows you to travel between the Highlands’ two principal settlements through stunning scenery, is immensely satisfying, especially as it avoids a lengthy bus journey up the mountain from David and down again. There are trailheads at El Respingo, near Cerro Punta, and Alto Chiquero, near Boquete.
Starting from Cerro Punta you get more downhill walking, though this is much more difficult and slippery after rain. From Boquete there is more uphill, though only the last section is very steep – and it is easier to climb than descend after rain. In this direction, you also get into the forest earlier and are therefore more likely to see quetzals.
Note that, due to the large numbers of visitors combined with floods and landslides during the rainy season, the trail has been closed several times over the years. A guide is highly recommended, and you shouldn’t attempt the hike after very heavy rain since the river you have to ford will likely be impassable.