We can’t very well talk about retiring in Panama with out pointing you towards Boquete (Bo-ke-te). In the northern hills, about 40 miles south of Costa Rica, you will find this hilly little town with a huge expat population. At almost 4,000 feet, Bouquet is much cooler than the rest of Panama and often enjoys weather in the 60’s F up to the 80’s. There is a little river in the canyon and some spectacular views of the valley all the way to the ocean. A dormant volcano sits nearby with great hiking trails. Those who retire in Boquete, Panama have fallen in love with this little piece of paradise!
A town of about 20,000, Boquete is estimated to have about 3,000 foreigners from all over the world, but primarily from the U.S. and Canada. Not all are retired as many young families with children have also immigrated due to the low cost of living. The expat community has formed a jazz festival (March) and a little theatre group.
Watch this little video tour taken by an expat who is happy to show us the landscape, amenities, and roads around this very nice little town.
The town offers friendly people, markets, dozens of restaurants, banks, hotels, churches, a library, internet, and pretty good roads. The hilly landscape is home to coffee plantations, banana trees, citrus trees, and all manner of beautiful flowers and plants. The birds and wildlife are a treat for the eye. Watch for cows in the road!
While many of the locals speak some English, it is advised to learn popular phrases and at least 100 words.
The cost of living in Boquete is higher than Puerto Armuelles and much lower than Panama City. While meals are a whole $3.00, rentals in smaller furnished casitas run in the $500-700 range. You can get a two acre mountain estate with a view and 3 bedrooms for $1,250 US a month. Another single family furnished home with 3 bedrooms on the outskirts of town is $850 a month. Rentals are furnished, most come with maid and yard service, high speed internet, and cable TV.
Remember that if you decide to build or buy a home, Panama has no property taxes on homes less than 20 years old. You can find homes in the $150,000+ range and the golf course homes or condos are quite a bit more. This is a very popular destination.
Boquete is 60 miles from David (Da-veed) which is the closest big town with an airport and much more shopping. It is on the Pan-American Highway that runs through central America to Panama City. The regional and quite modern hospital is in David. There is a good medical clinic in Boquete. (And, get this.. are you sitting down?…they make house-calls!)
We just love Boquete. Come for a vacation, a winter escape, or a lifetime. What a great little town!
Zoom in and out on the map below to see the region and attractions!