Retire in Boquete, Panama

Retire in Boquete, Panama

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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!

Photo By arvind grover via

Zoom in and out on the map below to see the region and attractions!



Cheryl and her husband have just recently retired and live in the Pacific Northwest. She has been enjoying her herself by traveling around the world, playing with her grandchildren, and she frequently volunteers in her community. There is certainly never a dull moment with Cheryl. She cheerfully co-founded RetireBook and wants to share her energy, hoping that it inspires her readers to live life at its fullest.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. terry

    Love what you guys are doing here. The tax question is always at hand whether domestic or international. ( Income and property) Could you begin to include those on your descriptions?
    There seem to be a number of us on the cusp of retirement that ,being tired of owning anything, are considering the nomadic lifestyle; those thoughts would be welcome as well.
    Thanks for what you do,

    1. Cheryl

      Hi Terry. Thanks for your comments! We have been traveling lately and the newer posts are coming. Panama is really attractive to me – the only income tax is on Panamanian sourced income, so if you leave your investments in the US, there is very little tax at all. When you buy a house there is no property tax for 20 years. Twenty years for a retiree may not even apply for you.
      We try to include tax information for the countries we list – and sometimes it’s like wading through mud to get a clear picture. Why are taxes so complicated?
      This week, we are heading back east to see Fall in New England! And, in the spring, we are going back to Thailand (for a wedding!) and will give you an update on that retirement option.
      After three years of retirement, I still can’t believe it. They send me money every month for no work!
      Thanks again, Cheryl

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