Some things in life are best kept secret.
Like when you have a friend who works at the movie theater who can sneak you in for free. Or when you find that perfect, undiscovered fishing spot where you can easily catch your limit and then some.
Similarly, when you start to think about retiring, you may find people whispering “Panama” in your ear.
Panama is one of Central America’s best kept secrets.
Its natural beauty is amazing and you can live like a king on a very modest budget.
There are many reasons why Panama is quickly becoming one of the world’s top retirement destinations.
Most first time visitors are often wide-eyed at the amount of modern high rises and skyscrapers in Panama City. Almost everyone agrees that Panama City is the nicest city in all of Central America.
A comment we frequently hear from people is,
“Wow! Panama is not the third world country I thought it would be!”
Panama City is Truly a Cornucopia of Experiences.
It offers Spanish colonial ruins to explore, excellent museums, beautiful parks, a breathtaking skyline and an immense infrastructure of hotel, restaurant, convention and banking facilities.
- A bustling center of finance and trade, with approximately 120 banks doing business.
- Innumerable shops filled with the world’s finest merchandise. Merchandise that is cheaper than many other places. This is thanks to low import duties and brisk business in these shops.
- The Panama Canal, of course. Make sure you see it when you visit.
- Wide four lane roads,
- Familiar fast food restaurants,
- Spacious air-conditioned shopping malls
- Lush nature preserves both in the city and close by.
Diversity of Places to Live
There are many places in Panama where the sun shines every day. There are also places where it drizzles every afternoon. There is Panama City, of course. But there are also a wide range of towns, villages and rural areas in which to live.
One of the the biggest choices is whether you chose to live at the beach or in the mountains. In Panama, that decision will determine if you will live in a sunny and drier place or a cooler and rainier place.
Below is a glimpse of 3 top places to retire in Panama.
Boquete, A Mountain Town
“Boquete is one of the top five places in the world to retire“.
According to the AARP, Fortune Magazine and others.
Boquete has about 20,000 inhabitants. It is nestled between mountains on 3 sides and a beautiful river runs through the town.
The mountain areas around Boquete are known for
- Bird watching. The Boquete area is overflowing with both bird and wildlife. You can see the famous Quetzal here.
- Coffee Growing. Some of the best coffee in the world is grown here.
- Great gardens. The vegetation is lush and grows with almost no effort.
- Rainbows. Lots of rainbows because of the rain. It drizzles almost every afternoon, esp. in Boquete. These afternoon rains are called Bajareque.
- Cooler temperatures. Usually in the mid-60s into the 70s (Fahrenheit), so not exactly cold.
- Boquete Jazz Festival. This is an annual event that is getting bigger and better every year.
- Boquete Flower Festival. A very popular annual event.
Tourism attractions include spectacular mountain views, world-class rafting and kayaking, golf, coffee farm tours, birdwatching, hiking, horseback riding, rafting, and a zipline canopy tour.
Quite a few ex-pats have retired to Boquete over the last 10 years or so.
Which means that there are a greater number of restaurants, stores, and events that are geared for both the ex-pat and local community than in many other parts of Panama.
Puerto Armuelles, A Beach Town
Less than 2 hours away from the mountain town of Boquete, you will discover the beach town of Puerto Armuelles. Both towns are in the delightful Chiriqui province.
Puerto Armuelles is the only true beach town in Panama. It is the only town right on the ocean. There are resorts, villages, and of course, Panama City that are on the water. But this is the true beach town on the water.
And not just any town, but a town with a sense of place, a unique history, and look.
Puerto Armuelles is a wonderful and unique place to live
- It is a town that Chiquita Banana built in the 40s, and 50s.
For that reason, many of the houses in Puerto are classic tropical wooden stilt houses. A very inviting home.
- It is a town of many distinct neighborhoods. Each with its own look and feel.
- A beautiful park right on the water
- Puerto is strung along the Pacific Ocean shoreline.
- This means it has more beach front available than most communities.
- Its beaches are wonderful, both in and out of town.
Chiquita Banana left Puerto Armuelles about 10 years ago. The economy tanked. Prices plummeted.
Now the economy is ramping up.
- The Government is building a 4 lane road from InterAmericana to Puerto Armuelles
- Negotiations are underway for a new banana company to revive the nearby plantations.
- Every day it seems like there is a new project under construction, foreigners looking at property for retirement or investment, and many signs of a renewed economy.
- It is a great time to pick up some bargain price beach front property before prices start to catch up with the invigorated demand.
Another new development that will give a boost to Puerto, and all of Chiriqui, is the expansion of David’s Enrique Malek Airport to allow international flights! Very soon an international airport will be only an hour plus away from Puerto Armuelles. Flying from the Houston to David is just around the corner!
Puerto Armuelles is a wonderful beach town. It is also Panama’s biggest secret yet.
Bocas Del Toro, A Caribbean Island Life
The Archipiélago de Bocas del Toro consists of six densely forested islands, scores of uninhabited islets and Parque Nacional Marino Isla Bastimentos, Panama’s oldest marine park.
Bocas is very much a Caribbean Island Paradise.
Life in Bocas
- Boats are central to life in the islands of Bocas.
- Amazing variety of bird and wildlife is right at your doorstep
- Snorkeling and fishing opportunities abound
Bocas has been a popular tourist and retirement destination for some time now. For this reason, you will find some delightful resturants and activities that target tourists or the local ex-pat community.
As you may know, in the tropics there is only 2 seasons; the rainy season and the dry season. In most of Panama, the dry season is from December – March. Bocas does things alittle differently. The dry season in Bocas occurs twice: Once in September and October, and the second in May and June.
Much of life is different in Bocas del Toro. It is a wonderful island life.
Cost of Living
A huge perk to living in Panama is the cost of living.
Panama has one of the lowest costs of living in all Central and South America.
- Your water bill in Puerto Armuelles Panama will never be more than $7.10 a month. No matter how much water you use.
- Monthly mortgage payments can be as little as $400 a month,
- Extremely nice, upscale rentals can be found from $550 to $1,200 a month.
- Local farmers markets are on virtually every street corner. In these markets, you can get fresh fruits and vegetables for mere cents on the dollar.
Panama offers Pensionado Visas to qualifying expat retirees.
Pensionado Visas Offer Great Cost-Saving Perks
- 50% discounts on hotels and ticket to movies and many other events.
- 10% discount on prescriptions
- 10 -25% discounts on health care, phone, electric and many other services. Too many to list here.
- A Pensionado can buy a car every two years, free of import duty.
- A Pensionado can bring in $10,000 worth of personal goods one time with no import duty.
You qualify for a Pensionado visa if your pension is at least $1000 a month ($1200 for couples). A pension can be from Social Security or other government or private pension.
Panama was one of Central America’s best kept secrets.
Now Panama’s secret identity as an affordable tropical paradise is slowly leaking out.
Powered by Facebook Comments