The decision to leave Canada was pretty much made for the Duthoits. “I worked with an office cleaning business in Toronto,” explains Lisa. The stress of work and the cold weather were taking a toll on her health. “We realized that my health was much better in a warmer climate,” she adds. That’s when Nathan and Lisa decided to move to Panama.
While the main element they were searching for was better weather, there were many other factors that convinced Nathan and Lisa that Bocas del Toro was the place for them to be. This beautiful archipelago sits placidly in the Caribbean Sea just off the coast of Panama, and is home to a large expat community.
“The warm weather and slower pace of life drew us here,” says Nathan. “Also, this place allows us to do volunteer work, and is a great place for surfing.” In fact, many world champion surfers come to Bocas to ride the waves, and at 6 a.m. Nathan joins this large surfing community on the water before he starts work.
Of course, the perfect destination also provided Nathan and Lisa with the perfect home. “We live in an apartment above the office of the local marina. Our neighbors consist of retirees and expats that live on their boats,” says Lisa. Since the marina is on a point separated from the main town, this spot gives Nathan and Lisa privacy and tranquility at all hours of the night and day.
Something Lisa loves is the fresh air, and being able to leave the windows wide open day and night—even in the winter—is a huge plus to this property. “There are French doors on both sides of the apartment, each with views over the water,” she explains. “We have one large balcony on the front overlooking the marina, and a smaller balcony on the back which looks over the sea. We converted the bedroom into an office for Nathan, since he works from home, and our bedroom is in the loft.”
Their rent is $749-a-month and includes water, electricity, and a boat slip in the marina. With direct access to the water, Nathan is able to surf to his heart’s content, and Lisa has taken up paddle boarding.
Town is a five-minute ride away in their Panga motor boat across the beautiful Caribbean waters. There, Nathan and Lisa have access to modern restaurants, comfort foods in the grocery stores, and plenty of places to spend a night on the town. If they don’t want to travel so far, there’s a restaurant right below their house in the marina, and even a floating taco restaurant just a ten-minute paddle into the calm sea.
“When we visit Canada now, we get caught up in that pace of life all over again,” says Lisa. “We have a moment where we realize: Wait, where are we running to? Here in Bocas, life is simpler, and we invest more time enjoying nature instead of spending time indoors. We spend less money, and get a lot more vitamin D.”
“Everything is slower here,” Nathan agrees. “That’s Bocas style!”
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