A nickname like the Valley of Flowers and Eternal Spring is pretty hard to live up to. But the area around the small town of Boquete, high in the green mountains of the Chiriquí province in western Panama, certainly does. This bustling town of around 20,000 sits at an elevation of just below 4,000 feet.
Boquete, a small highland town in the Chirquí Province of Panama, has everything a retired expat could want. Those who live here enjoy a low cost of living, a year-round spring-like climate, and breathtaking 360 degree views of coffee planted hills and greenery.
At the southeastern tip of Panama’s Azuero Peninsula is an up-and-coming beach community that has become a favored spot for surfers, beach-loving tourists, and entertainment-seeking expats.
Las Lajas is the favored beach among expats in Chiriquí. An easy one-hour drive from David going east on the Interamerican highway brings you to the San Felix intersection. Here you turn right and head towards the ocean. Thirty minutes more and you will find the two-lane road ends at the shore. The small village seems abandoned as you drive along the rough road.
With a skyline that wouldn’t look out of place in Miami or Dubai, Panama City is the epitome of a modern metropolis. Impressive towers overlooking the Panama Bay are home to many well-heeled locals, as well as an ever-growing community of expats.
The sky is a piercing blue, with a few wisps of white that could hardly be called clouds. Small boats and yachts bob in the marina, and birds and bees swoop and buzz around the trees and flowered hedges that line the walkway.
A country with surprisingly varied landscapes, Panama is so much more than its modern, cosmopolitan capital city. There are mountain towns boasting cool climates, pine-covered hills, and sweet, Swiss-style cottages framed with bright bursts of bougainvillea.
In 2005, I left my job in the cruise industry and decided to try my luck in Panama. I had a wonderful group of international friends—some from the Americas, and others from as far off as Australia. And I told them all to come visit me in Panama sometime. To my surprise, many of us actually did keep in touch and visit each other. I remember a girl from Venezuela asking me how come there were so many U.S. products on the shelves here.
My wife, Suzan Haskins, and I were married in Costa Rica 14 years ago and have been back for business and pleasure almost every year since. We also lived in Panama in 2006 and, like Costa Rica, have returned nearly every year for International Living events, editorial trips, and vacations. So it is inevitable that...
In this video, International Living Panama editor Jessica Ramesch talks about her cost of living in Panama City, Panama. Though it’s possible to live (and spend) like a millionaire here, Jessica says it’s easy to live the good life, even if you’re on a budget, like her. Your cost of living can be low in Panama but you can still buy the same groceries as back home.