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To Find the Best Climate in Panama: Head for the Hills

To Find the Best Climate in Panama: Head for the Hills

I’m often asked by IL readers where you’d find the best climate in Panama. Though I’m a city girl through and through, I’ve often wished Panama City had been situated in the highlands.

Here, “perfect” temperatures in the 70s° F make life easy and brisk. But alas, to enjoy the delights of the most modern city in the region, you must satisfy yourself with the sultry city heat. I’m well accustomed to it, but I also look forward to and enjoy immensely my trips to the highlands. For this is, without a doubt, where you’ll find the best climate in Panama.

Though there are many highland towns worth mentioning and wandering through, three in particular have become popular expat destinations:

Boquete: Number one best climate in Panama

Boquete, located in the province of Chiriqui, has often been called one of the best retirement destinations in the world, primarily because it offers Panama’s best climate.

In fact, AARP The Magazine just named it, once again, one of the top three places to retire in the world (and the number one place to retire in the Americas). An excellent infrastructure and growing expat numbers have literally put Boquete on the map.

First-time expats are drawn in by the community, which is active and provides a supply of English-speaking friends for those who are still struggling with their español.

Boquete’s location offers more than a year-round spring-like climate, though. The town is close to the provincial capital of David and the province’s pristine beaches. A domestic airport in David offers quick and easy flights to Panama City. Fancy a visit to the Caribbean islands of Bocas del Toro? They’re just a few hours away. But Boquete offers so much fun, you may not want to leave. There’s always something going on and outdoor activities are abundant…from horseback riding to rafting.

Cerro Punta: A cloud-forest climate in Panama

If you’re looking for a place where you’ll want for nothing, no matter what happens in the outside world, Cerro Punta is it. At an altitude of about 7,000 feet, it’s Panama’s highest settlement. In this region, some 875 farms produce 80% of Panama’s fresh produce, fresh spring water runs pure and clear, and some homes use solar power and wind mills to generate their own energy. Want to live off the grid? This may well be the perfect place to do it.

The many Swiss-style chalets here may come as a surprise, but settlers from Europe came here in the first half of the 1900s, and intermarried with the local population.

Now the area has it’s own unique character—Panamanian with a hint of European. Perhaps another plus to living here: the area’s residents are known for their long life spans. It could be due to a combination of the “eternal spring” climate and the many cancer-fighting cruciferous vegetables that grow here. Maybe that’s why Panama’s elite prefer Cerro Punta to the beach for retirement and vacation homes.

Volcan: The perfect climate at half the price

Volcan offers the same perfect climate as Boquete, but with a different set of perks. Want the best climate in Panama at a fraction of the price? Head to Volcan. You won’t find a large expat community here, but many expats feel it’s the next big thing. They are buying property, content to live in a quiet mountain wilderness and “wait and see.” The infrastructure is basic but leaves nothing to be desired, with cable television and Internet readily available.

Usually a few degrees cooler than Boquete, Volcan is a place for eating strawberries and cream…enjoying sightings of hummingbirds and the legendary quetzal…sitting by the fire in the evening, sipping a sweet organic wine made by your neighbor.

Here you could live out your retirement in serenity, stretching your dollars so far, worry will become a distant memory. Hearty “farmer” meals can be as little as $1.75…monthly gas for cooking and more $2 a month…a bulging bag of fresh organic vegetables less than $8. At these prices, every day is a day to splurge.

Editor’s Note: Panama is not only the most sophisticated offshore haven in the Americas, with some of the cheapest beachfront in both the Caribbean and on the Pacific Coast, but it also has the best retiree benefits in the world. Learn more about one of the world’s top retirement destination in our just updated Panama: The Owner’s Manual.

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