Boquete, Panama is a true gem of a town and one that has been on the map for people looking to relocate to Panama, or more specifically to retire in Panama. Boquete has lots of things to offer for people of all ages, and all budgets, whether living there full-time, part-time or just passing through and visiting. To get to know Boquete is to get to know Panama’s heart and soul. It is a town filled with a rich history, surrounded by natural beauty, and gushing with local culture, and the collective culture of the people who have adopted it as their new home. Boquete, Panama is far enough from the hustle and bustle of Panama City to feel like another world, yet close enough that getting there from the capital or even from another country is not hard at all.
If you’re looking for a quiet yet vibrant, beautiful, small town in Panama with a cooler climate than the rest of the tropics, you’ll find your place in Boquete, Panama. To illustrate why Boquete, Panama is such a popular destination for Panama relocation and Panama retirement, let’s take a more detailed look at the town, its surroundings, and its people.
Boquete at a glance…
Boquete, Panama has a population of around 30,000 people, but you wouldn’t know it by just walking through town. Most of Boquete is spread out through the foothills of Volcan Baru (the Baru Volcano), directly to the west of the Caldera River. Boquete, Panama is just north of the city of David, which is the country’s second-largest, and a hub city for the western part of the nation. Traditionally, Boquete has even been used as a suburban or weekend home destination for people in David, although in recent years that has given way to more permanent residents, or seasonal foreign residents. Boquete is still a highly popular vacation destination for Panamanians from all over the country, particularly those who are looking to escape the heat in the mountains.
The “downtown” of Boquete, Panama itself is quaint, small, and adorned with many artisan retail stores, cafes, and restaurants. It runs right along the river, and is very walkable all year-round. Outside of the town center, you’ll find that people live a relatively rural life. Locals and foreigners often prefer to live a bit out of town due to the space and serenity of the mountains, as well as the privacy it provides. While the downtown area does also have residential properties, it is mainly used for day-to-day commerce, government, community events, and some smaller hotels. Because the entire Boquete area is pretty rural, you’ll find that most people live on small country roads, and there’s only one main road that goes in and out of town to David.
Nature and Boquete, Panama
Nature and climate are two of the biggest draws to Boquete, Panama, particularly for foreigners who choose to retire in Boquete, Panama. Due to its altitude, the town has a cooler climate than practically anywhere else (that’s inhabitable) in the country. Average temperatures in Boquete are around 10-15 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than Panama City, and 5-8 degrees cooler in Celsius. It is common to have entire months where the temperature doesn’t get higher than 75F or 24C in Boquete, Panama, and without the heavy humidity that many areas in Panama receive, it’s quite pleasant both day and night.
Outside of the pleasant climate, people flock to Boquete because of the natural surroundings that are omnipresent wherever you go. It’s not uncommon to see dozens of Panama’s wild animal species on just your first day, many times on your property, or even in town. There are also dense forests surrounding the town with some incredible hiking trails, river rafting, mountain climbing, and the famous Baru Volcano which has a microclimate and ecosystem all on its own. It’s not hyperbole to say that when you live in Boquete, Panama, you are living in nature because you truly are. Tropical birds, capybaras, sloths, and even monkeys are never more than a stone’s throw from your door in much of Boquete, and that’s how people like it.
The economics of the world’s best coffee in Boquete, Panama
The economy of Boquete, Panama is derived from a fascinating combination of all of its natural resources, plus conveniences. The main industry in Boquete is agriculture, however not far behind is tourism. Both tie into each other almost intrinsically, and both are in high demand on a national level. While some high-altitude agriculture in Boquete revolves around fruits and vegetables for commercial distribution, the real agricultural money-maker in the area is coffee. Coffee from Boquete, Panama is considered to be some of the world’s finest. In fact, the Geisha coffee beans from Boquete are routinely ranked #1 in the world by both price and taste from world coffee experts and competitions.
The economics of coffee in Boquete rely heavily on supply and demand. There are no mega farms or coffee plantations in Boquete, but rather mid-sized and independent growers. Sure, you’ll find some coffee plantations that mass-produce, but not at the volume as in some other countries. What this does is drive up the demand. Boquete produces high-quality coffee that is in high-demand and made with traditions that date back longer any of us have been alive. You can find artisanal Boquete-grown coffee in shops all over the world, as well as more standard supermarket coffee from Boquete in every grocery chain in the nation. People who live in Boquete, or visit Boquete, Panama will soon become coffee connoisseurs, as it’s part of the cultural and economic fabric of the whole region.
Tourism in Boquete, Panama
Tourism is another big economic driver in Boquete, and one that has been growing at a rapid pace over the last five years. What was once more of a vacation spot for Panama’s wealthy on weekends and holidays has turned into one of the biggest draws for international tourists in the country. In fact, many people have Boquete as their main destination for tourism in Panama, or as stop #2 after a few days in and around Panama City. This could sound like a net negative to some, but rest assure that Boquete is not overrun by tourists in a negative way.
On the contrary, the increase in tourism has been done sustainably, with eco-tourism surging, and nature and culture being focal points for visitors. In fact, tourism has done so well that it is not uncommon for tourists to relocate to Boquete, Panama after a few visits, once learning just how high the quality of life is, and how warm and welcome the community is to newcomers. Tourist dollars also drive new business growth in construction, hospitality services, transportation services, logistics services, and foreign investments in Panama. Many people who want to start a business in Panama choose Boquete for these reasons, as well as the comfort and lifestyle the area provides them.
Another great advantage of tourism in Boquete, Panama is that the market is diverse when it comes to offerings and prices. You’ll find that for such a small town, Boquete has a huge variety of tourism-based amenities and activities at nearly any travel budget. From luxury spas and resorts to simple hotels and locally-priced eateries, you’ll find it in Boquete, Panama. Adventure tourism is big, with ATV trail rides available, rafting, zip-lining, and hiking right at your fingertips. However, you can also find slow-paced tourist offerings like meditation retreats, remote/rural hotel stays, and coffee tours to satisfy a different demand than adventure tourism. Whatever you’re looking for, outside of a beach or big city, chances are it’s available to you in Boquete, Panama.
Relocating to Boquete, Panama
Foreigners have loved Boquete, Panama as a relocation destination for quite some time now, and that demand looks to keep steady for many more years to come. There is a great real estate market in Boquete, as well as many lifestyle options that appeal to foreigners on a fixed income, or those who choose to start a business there. Relocating to Boquete, Panama is a lot easier than you may think, because there are so many great resources to help you make the move. Panama has many great visa options for full-time residents, as well as investor visa and retirement visa options.
The cost of living in Boquete is much lower than comparable markets in North America and slightly lower than Panama City, Panama. The cost of living in Boquete, Panama is a bit higher than many of the country’s other rural areas, but the value and convenience of living there are unmatched nationwide, which is why the demand to live there is so high. You can expect to pay anywhere from $800-$2,000 a month for a well-located rental apartment or house in Boquete, Panama. From a buyer’s perspective, you can expect to pay $250,000 – $750,000 for a good-sized home with some land in Boquete as well.
Owning a car will make life very convenient in Boquete, particularly if you live outside of town. It’s not necessary in all cases, though, as there are many taxis and taxi services that will take you where you need to go for very reasonable fees, safely and securely. It’s important to factor in your proximity to town or the highway when choosing where to live while relocating to Boquete, Panama. Driving at night can be dark (rural setting), and conveniences like grocery stores, restaurants, and medical centers are found exclusively in town.
For a full guide to relocation to Panama, check out our eBook.
Retiring in Boquete, Panama
The most common demographic of foreigners who choose to relocate to Panama are retirees. Panama even has a specific foreign retirement visa available to people who go this route. Retirees in Boquete will find that the comfort, convenience, and quality of life there is unlike any other town of its size in the region. It’s temperate, the cost of living is manageable, there is a relaxed pace of life, and there is a vibrant community of other retirees to help make you feel at home. Panama even has a federally mandated “retirement discount” which ranges from 10-50% off certain goods and services, scaled by the government. Panama also uses the US dollar, which many on a fixed retirement income favor due to budget management.
Because Boquete, Panama has been so popular with foreign retirees for so long, many services in the area are specifically tailored to meet their needs. Unlike a cookie-cutter retirement community in the US or Canada, these services are woven into the cultural fabric of the town, and part of its culture. You won’t feel as much retired as you feel like you are on a permanent vacation, and this is something retirees in Boquete, Panama cherish about their community. For retirees who want to visit family outside of Panama frequently, they can take a short flight from David to Panama City’s international airport with a very short connection, and prices are reasonable for the connecting tickets.
Many retirees also call Boquete home for just part of the year, and fitting this dynamic into your budget is not as difficult as it sounds, believe it or not. Seasonal residency in Boquete, Panama is very common, and retiree resident visas will accommodate for the seasonal travel, should you choose to do so. The months of December to May are the most popular for seasonal residency in Boquete, Panama, with the world-famous Flower and Wine Festival marking peak season in February.
Learn more about Boquete, Panama, and all it has to offer!
To learn more about visiting, relocating to, retiring to, or starting a business in Boquete, Panama, check out our website and blog here at POLS Attorneys. You can also read online or download our FREE eBook that gives you all the info you need to successfully relocate to Panama. There is a great community of foreigners that live in Panama or travel to Panama often for tourism, and once you’re here, you’ll find both they, and locals, will be more than willing to share their love for Boquete with you at each step along your journey.
For more info, or to reach out with any questions, comments, or concerns, contact POLS Attorneys here.