The lights of the city glistened and twinkled in the distance under a cloudless night sky as our select group gathered on a rooftop bar in the historic area of Panama City known as Casco Viejo.
One of the biggest reasons expats move to Panama is the cost of living. I can include myself in that group. Most expats I know have moved to Panama because of the affordability of maintaining the lifestyle they want.
Tucked away and hidden off the Pan-American Highway in David, several country roads lead to new housing developments. These smaller developments are quiet, have great views, and a laidback atmosphere.
I love living in David, the capital of the Chiriquí province, so much so that I have never considered moving anywhere else. David has a population of 164,000, making it feel like a small city with nice friendly locals that’s easy to get around, but also with all the amenities of a larger city.
The biggest attractions of Panama’s highland towns are obvious. They have cooler climates than other parts of the country…and the expats who live here enjoy a laidback lifestyle surrounded by beautiful scenery.
Lying in western Panama, Chiriquí province is home to towering mountains covered in cloud forest stretching down to the Pacific Ocean’s pristine sands. Exploring Chiriquí and finding new hidden places is a passion for me—I’ve been doing it since making my home in the provincial capital, David, four years ago.
Healthcare is a concern for most expats thinking about moving abroad. As I get older, I’m aware that at some point I will need good healthcare. When I was looking into moving to Panama, I wanted to make sure that the country could provide me with quality healthcare I could rely on for any healthcare concern or issue that may arise.
As the housing market in David continues to grow with the city's current population of over 163,000 residents, there is now a housing shortage. Recent analysis suggests that over 60,000 new homes are expected to be built in the next two years in areas just outside of David to accommodate the shortage.
"While I loved the U.S., I find day-to-day life here is less complicated," says Barbara Rabkin, who teaches art from her home in Boquete. "Boquete is a small town. I can live more simply here. I spend much less time in a car, and most things I need are within a few miles' radius."
In the morning, after grinding and brewing a fresh pot of local Panamanian coffee, I set up my laptop on my front porch. From here, I have an unbeatable view of Volcan Baru, Panama's largest mountain, its highest peak rising above the clouds.