A New Beginning in Boquete, Panama

I moved to Panama in July of this year, after having already experienced a year of life abroad. For this move, I chose the mountain town of Boquete, known for its perpetual spring weather.

On arriving here, I was immediately awed by the gorgeous and majestic mountain views throughout the city. I chose to rent a small house in Alto (Upper) Boquete, which puts me on a mountain with panoramic views all around me. The weather is a steady 70 F to 75 F by day, and 60 F to 66 F by night. I go sleeveless during the day because the sun is always warm and bright, and add just a light windbreaker or sweater at night.

Bajo (Lower) Boquete is the town proper. Here, you will find lots of restaurants of all kinds—to please any palate—and price ranges to suit any budget. There’s everything from good old-fashioned hamburgers and pizzas to excellent international fare and seafood places. There’s also good and nutritious canteen style food for the budget-minded, like myself. I regularly treat myself to a full lunch with meat, two vegetables, and a drink—all for under $5.

The town has three large grocery stores, a department store, and various specialty and clothing shops. You don’t have to go far to find whatever it is you’re looking for.

There’s also a large and active expat community. The expats have formed a theater group that stages a play every few months, with low admission costs.

Expats were also involved in founding, and are still involved in running, the famous Tuesday Market in town. The Tuesday Market has fresh, organic produce; farm-raised meats; homemade cheeses and dinners; and many handmade crafts. Expats and locals alike participate in the market, and another real attraction is the variety of handmade arts and fabrics that are produced by local craftspeople.

The Market is also the place to go to find out any and all information about current happenings, meet people, and just have a good time. I go faithfully every Tuesday for my fresh produce, and to say “hello” in a relaxed, fun atmosphere to folks I don’t normally see. In addition, the large city of David is only a 45-minute, $1.75 bus ride away for other shopping. Many expats make their way to David once or twice a month, either driving or taking the bus.

On any given day, I will either go to town and have a meal, shop, or visit friends…or sometimes I do all three. The shuttle costs $1 to ride to town. A taxi back home will be $2 to $3. Other days, I will take long walks on the mountain with my dog or sit on the patio enjoying the sun and breeze. It’s always good weather for a cookout, and most homes have a nice covered patio that they use as a second eating area.

There are several microclimates in Boquete, depending on the elevation of where you live. Some are warmer, some windier, and some have more rain than others. Therefore, it’s good advice to rent before you decide on a permanent place to live.

I am happy to have chosen Boquete as my place to settle, and have already met many friendly and helpful neighbors. I’m certain I will be happy here.

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