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.

living abroad in Boquete Panama, map of Panama

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.

Boquete Panama on the Caldera River

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.

3. Currency

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.

7. Food

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.

Return from Panama

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.

  1. Living in Boquete, Panama looked like a wonderful adventure and I am sure there are lots of travelers interested in your experience in Panama.

    For people interested in travelling or settling to this destination, your website would provide extensive information born from experience, which is the best advice anyone could ask for.

    Very informative website. 

  2. Hi, It sounds like a very great place to go and visit. I really like nature, and something like this A Unforgettable experience. Being surrounded by the mountains like that, and such a small number of people residing there. It sounds like great place to relax and connect with nature.

  3. Great stuff, are you living here today? it looks like a paradise!! I would love to have a life like this and just live my life as I want!

    How are the people and how is the money down there?

    I do not know where I want to move but I Really want to move 

    • Andreas, no not there anymore – back in Cold Canada lol. We came back because the exchange rate was killing us. Panama uses the USD and currency exchange was very high when we were there. For anyone with US dollar income it is very reasonable. It is definitely paradise though. 

  4. I am not one for travel, and I am a homebody.  Your article brought to life a place I will never see.  I loved the imagery, the pictures and the breakdown of the different areas you researched.  You outlined the steps you took and the process very well.  The interesting facts about Panama was a nice touch.  Best of luck and lots of happiness in your life abroad!

  5. Hello there,thanks for this article it would be of great help to the public as it has been of help to me.i have a lot about this particular place but I haven’t read so much detail about it,I swear it’s worth visiting on a vacation as there’s a lot to see especially the sea and monthain view.

    • Thanks, Feji ben, It is a kind of paradise that everyone would benefit from experiencing. I will return someday but first on to other locations.

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