In the fall of 2017, my husband and I, traveled from Northern Ontario, Canada to check out living abroad in Boquete, Panama. We were exploring the opportunity of living in Boquete, Panama for an extended period of time.
1. Boquete, Panama
Boquete, Panama, a beautiful quaint town of 20,000 people is located in the province of Chiriqui, Panama is located 3900 feet above sea level. It is a 35-minute drive up the Cordillera de Talamanca mountain range from David (pronounced Daveed), Panama’s second-largest city and 37 miles from the Costa Rico border. David is the capital of the Province of Chiriqui, with 150,000 people and a major airport.
The weather is dry season and wet season, with very little variation of temperature, but very very humid.
2. Panamanian Population.
The population is made up of three main indigenous peoples, several other spanish speaking native Panamanians, Chinese, British, French and Americans who arrived years ago to build the Canal.
The US dollar is the form of currency used for most transactions. There is a Panama Two dollar coin , a one dollar coin, a fifty cent pice as well and quarters, dimes, nickes and pennies, as well as all the US coins.
4. Mail and packages
Most anything you need comes from the USA. People have set up accounts to recieve packages and mail at Depots that specialize in getting you what you need from the United States or or whereever you are from. I takes a couple of weeks to get what you order, somethings two months.
You can get general delivery mail to the Post office that is in the centre of town. This is a picture of it below with the mail boxes outside.
Post Office in Boquete, Panama
5. What is life like for the locals
Boquete is in the lush green rain forest mountain highlands on the Caldera River and is surrounded by agriculture. Most of it is coffee plantations but there are vegetables, fruit, dairy, and meat farms too. Chickens and roosters run around everywhere in this third-world country that is predominately a Spanish-speaking Catholic country.
Horses are the pride and joy of most families here.
6. Self sufficient
Most families have chickens, goats and or a cow or two, and grow their own basics. Many families are at least three generations living and working together.
Food, for the most part, is fairly plain. Corn, rice fish, and chicken are the staples. BUT you will find many, many different coffee brands and they are all very good. Baked goods are not good because the flour is different.
8. Coffee, coffee, and more coffee
Coffee fincas, which is defined as farm, ranch, or plantation, are very prevalent in Panama, especially in the western mountainous areas. The world’s number one coffee at all the big worldwide coffee competitions comes from this area. It is called “Geisha”.
There are numerous very good specialty coffee here and each has its own nuances and flavors.
9. Get your “calm” on
The one thing that is very evident in Panama is laid-back, in no rush lifestyle. Nothing moves fast. You will often hear people asking when they can expect an answer or a service to be completed or even when a project will be done and the response is “manana”. This means tomorrow but tomorrow could be the next day, or three days or longer. It is not definitive at all and makes you get your “calm” on because that is the lifestyle. That certainly helped us relax and enjoy life more.
We are now back to Canada
When I started this blog we were in the middle of returning to Canada. As I mentioned above the cost of the exchange on our money was getting to be prohibitive. We decided to not waste more money.
Would I ever go back to Panama? Most definitely. It is a beautiful third-world country with fabulous people and traditions, beautiful beaches and countrysides, hiking trails, and interesting creations of nature to visit, and don’t forget the fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and poultry.
We left with 4 large suitcases, a personal bag each and carry-on each and returned with the same.
We were given a bed, linens, some basic dishes and table and chairs. We have purchased a few things like a television and a comfy chair. I am not in a rush to aquire “stuff” just to have it and nor am I willing to spend a lot of money on furniture and such.
Follow my blog as I decorate and acquire the basics.
I would love to hear yours thoughts, ideas and suggestions as this adventure continues.