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Home > Panama > Destination > Retiring in Boquete

Retiring in Boquete

Boquete, Panama in recent years has become a world hot spot for those considering retiring outside the United States and Europe. Many people have been drawn to the town and its surrounding area by the great weather, inexpensive prices and Panamanian government policies that are very favorable to those wishing to relocate.

Below you will find some of the articles written over the past few years that have exalted Boquete as a “retirement dream come true.” They have appeared in every variety of publication and we have provided links where appropriate.

If you have ever thought of retiring outside the United States you should certainly consider this wonderful place. A great way to do this is to come for a visit; study for a few weeks at our Boquete language institute and live with a family. You can learn the language and at the same time get to know the culture. Prior to and during the time you are at our language institute, we can put you in touch with local associations and agencies that can help you decide if this is the right place for you. Before you move anywhere, you need to spend some time and try a place on for size and we can help.

Pensioners seek paradise in Panama mountain idyll
Perched on a volcanic plain in the highlands of western Panama

BOQUETE, Panama, May 31 (Reuters)—Perched on a volcanic plain in the highlands of western Panama, Casey Koehler’s luxury mansion looks like a slice of prime Florida real-estate beamed down to Central America. Diamonds flaring in his Rolex watch, the Michigan-born retiree sits on his porch in the resort of Los Molinos and lists reasons for retiring to a country most Americans his age remember best as the scene of a 1989 U.S. invasion. “It’s 77 to 82 degrees every day, and it’s spectacularly beautiful,” said Koehler, 65, who moved to Panama last year. “This house cost me $230,000. In Florida it would be $1.5 million.”
By Mike Power, Reuters - Wednesday May 31, 2006

Paradise Found: Where to Retire Abroad

Fortune magazine’s 2005 Retirement Guide selects Boquete as one of the 5 best places in the world to retire.
By Ellen Florian Kratz, July 2005

Los Angeles Times, February, 2005
In Panama, American retirees finding more paradise for less

Boquete, Panama—Golf course manager John Sutton had enough of lawyers, telemarketers, and the US government. So the San Diegan and his wife took early retirement, sold everything they owned, and moved to Panama.

The Suttons, who bought a house here last summer, exemplify the wave of American retirees who want to get away from it all—far, far away. Each month, about 20 new ones turn up in this remote coffee-growing town in the mountains of western Panama, buying houses and starting new lives. It is the latest hot spot in Central America, a region that over the past decade has attracted increasing numbers of US retirees. “Boquete gave us the opportunity to have a great, comfortable lifestyle,” said Sutton, 50, who with his wife, Dinah, had put $5,000 down on their new house without seeing it. Other US retirees are making similar moves, attracted by Panama’s favorable tax treatment of foreigners, the relatively low cost of living, the lush surroundings, and the eternally mild climate.

New York Times, February 2005

Since 2001, once sleepy rural towns like Boquete, which AARP’s Modern Maturity magazine named one of the world’s best places to retire, have seen real estate prices rise as much as fivefold as developers transform farmland into high-end developments like Valle Escondido, a gated golf-course community where half-acre lots now sell for $100,000 and more. Prices in coastal areas like Bocas Del Toro, on the Caribbean Sea, have also skyrocketed, and a restoration under way in Panama City’s historic Casco Viejo neighborhood has drawn foreigners eager to get a piece of its 330-year-old history.

Yet despite the price increases, property here remains a fraction of what one would pay for similar real estate in the United States. And with enticements like a 20-year suspension of property taxes to those who build houses or renovate in a historic district, and an income tax hiatus for those starting some small businesses, the opportunities are appealing not only for those seeking a place to retire but also for entrepreneurs.

The Wall Street Journal, June 2004

“The quality of life, the cost of living is a lot better” than the U.S., says Mr. LaFoley, 56 years old, who owns a shopping center in Massachusetts. Countries like these are rolling out the welcome mat to Americans with a variety of financial incentives. The LaFoleys, for instance, are in Panama on a pensionado visa similar to what is available in Honduras, which lets them live there after proving they have $500 a month apiece in income. Panama also lets retirees import a car tax-free every two years, import $10,000 of household items tax-free, and buy property tax-free if it is the owner’s only home. A century ago, Americans took over this country to complete and run the Panama Canal. In 1989, we sent in troops to arrest national leader Gen. Manuel Noriega, now in prison in Florida for money laundering.

These days, Americans are threatening to take over Panama by more peaceful means: We’re retiring here by the score. The biggest industry in Boquete, a town of 4,000 people located in an impossibly beautiful mountain valley full of whitewater streams and year-round tropical blooms, seems to be selling retirement homes to Americans. Prime ridge top lots with a view of 11,400-foot Volcán Barú can be had for $100,000; you can buy a modest home in ticky-tack developments south of town for $40,000. The government is cooperating in this new invasion by giving 20-year property tax exemptions to new houses built by foreigners, which largely means Americans, Canadians and Europeans."

A Budding Affection for Boquete, Los Angeles Times, November 2002

On the mountain town of Boquete : “Far from the monotony of the historic canal, this endearing and little-known town in the cool, lush Panamanian highlands boasts a wild bounty of colorful flora, fauna and scenery. A contributor to the San Francisco Chronicle, my hometown newspaper, wrote about a Panamanian Shangri-La in the cool highlands of Chiriquí where there were rushing trout-filled streams, a lush mountain rain forest, abundant orange groves and coffee plantations, and a picture-postcard town chockablock with flower gardens. This idyllic place, the writer went on to say, was known only to the well-to-do of Panama…we too had become smitten with the place.”

Modern Maturity Magazine, 2001

“If you love tropical lushness and don’t need big-city stimulation, this lively little community near the Costa Rican border may be calling your name. The town's many European and American expats appreciate the stable political scene, the mercifully modest cost of living, the clean air, and the outdoorsy opportunities: river rafting, tennis, and golf. Boquete is tucked into a fertile landscape of coffee plantations and orange groves where you can escape the heat of the lowlands. Boquete, Panama ranked as the fourth best place in the world to establish a second home—a rating based on safety, beauty, infrastructure, weather, health care and low cost of living.”

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