Panama is a smart choice for expats who want it all—in a country that really wants them. Located in the interior of Panama, Boquete is popular with the expat crowd, who enjoy a close proximity to pristine beaches and the growing city of David, along with expansive mountain views, and an affordable cost of living.
Here are five good reasons you will want to become an expat in Boquete.
Most notably, Panama lures expats with one of the world’s best retiree residency programs. The Pensionado or Pensioners’ Program makes it easy for retirees to get residency here. The potential value for a pensioner on a budget is huge, as Panama offers a host of discounts to all its retirees. The long list of discounts includes reduced fares on movies, theaters, sporting events and other public events; discounts off transportation, hotels, even electric and other utilities, and much more.
Legal and application fees for the Pensionado visa are relatively inexpensive, particularly when compared to the money-saving benefits. Plus, the Pensionado program awards residency for life.
Boquete is known for its expat community. Rated by the AARP as one of the world’s best retirement destinations, Boquete first began to attract an expat crowd in early 2001 and has continued to grow into a viable expat community. An hour’s flight from the nation’s capital of Panama City, Boquete is dotted with small cottages, one after another… Swiss-style cabins with magenta and coral bougainvillea spilling over their walls. No wonder Boquete is known as Panama’s flower capital.
Expats in Boquete will tell you their health has improved… not because they’ve done anything special, but because the place lends itself to healthy living. It’s easier to walk here than to drive. Everything is close and everyone is on foot.
There aren’t fast-food joints on every corner. But the market carries fresh ahi-grade tuna and sea bass and shrimp every day. And they’re a mere fraction of the price you’d pay back home. Baked with juicy tomatoes or slices of fat Boquete oranges, dinner for four will run you about $10.
You’ll meet painters and photographers and jewelry-makers here. The expat community has helped infuse Boquete with the arts. This quiet village now has a yearly jazz festival and an English-language theater troupe.
There’s much to do for lovers of the great outdoors, too. Boquete is the kind of place where you can go white-water rafting or hiking or birding…every day. You can have your own farm and livestock… grow rare orchids and bromeliads… pick limes and bananas from your very own trees. The land is rich and fertile, the climate is perfect. You can can even bird watch from the comfort of your home.
True, Boquete is known for its misty rain— called bajareque—as much as for its coffee and orchids. You can’t have one without the other. During the rainy season, from May through November, there will be afternoon showers… or downpours. But you see the sun most every morning.
Panama ranked 8th on The Worldwide Cost of Living Survey, which is released twice a year by the EIU and compares hundreds of prices across 160 products and services, including items such as food, drink, rentals, utility bills, schooling costs, and household supplies. If you decide to buy a home in Panama, it is possible to live well, on less. Just be forewarned, if you bring along a lavish U.S. lifestyle to Boquete, your cost of living might be higher than you might expect. However, if you are willing to eat like a local, you can dine out for $4, get a glass of wine for $3, and enjoy an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables for $10 a week.
Here, paradise comes at a price…but it’s a bit more economical.
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