Boquete, Panama, Is it really cheaper to live here?

We did a post on our cost of living here in Boquete: … live-here/

Good reading - this and other topics on your blog!  Thanks for sharing.  I like the Cartagena blog too.

Thank you SawMan!

sailcompania :

We did a post on our cost of living here in Boquete:/

Hi J & S,
I read your blog last year and just read your post. Your blog is very well done. I am glad you are both enjoying your expat life abroad. I will share just a brief profile of myself, but what I really would like to ask if you wouldn't mind, is to share on a topic I am very interested in and that is "Why you decided to live and retire abroad?" I just wanted to ask you since you seem happy and well adjusted...

I decided to become an expat after watching "House Hunter's International" for years and then getting the fever to travel the world before getting too old. I'm very interested in learning the reasons why other US citizens decide to live and retire abroad and secondly, why did they pick a particular country in the world over others; example, close proximity to US, the cost of living, etc.

I became an expat in 2014 when I took an overseas work assignment. I retired from my company in July 2016 at the age of 59 1/2 after 40 years of service. I have lived in Bangkok since my retirement and have been traveling SE Asia. My next stop is Europe for a couple of years, then my plan is to make my way to S. America and C. America before going back to US about the time I reach Medicare age at 65. When I retired, my initial thought was to buy a condo in Coronado, Panama as a retirement home, but realized I wanted to see the rest of the world first. So, Panama may be the last stop instead, but only for a retirement home. I still plan to maintain a home in the US to be close to my kids & grandkids.

If you don't mind, please share when you have time either on open forum or PM me. I read thru your blog but didn't see anywhere you stated the reasons why you left the US to live abroad, if it was forever and why you chose to live in Panama over other countries.
Thank you so kindly, Wilbert

I’m not J & S (though they are friends) but here’s our thoughts on why we are here

kristc99 :

I’m not J & S (though they are friends) but here’s our thoughts on why we are here

Thanks so much Kris for the link and sharing your thoughts... You answered "the question" perfectly and your blog is really nicely done.


Hi Wilbert. Thanks for your comment, and we're glad you like our blog!

We see that our friend Kris also responded, and many of her reasons for moving to Panama are similar to ours. But here's our own answer to your two-part question of 1) why live outside the US, and 2) why Panama.

1. We chose to retire outside the U.S. mainly because we're adventurers at heart and we love to travel. Ever since we spent three years traveling on our sailboat in the early 2000s, we've tossed around the idea of living outside the country to experience other cultures and learn as much as we can about the rest of the world. We both truly believe that travel and new experiences broaden the mind, and help break down barriers between people.

Like Kris and Joel, affordability and healthcare were other big factors for us. We came from one of the most expensive locations in the U.S. (southern California) and we knew that we'd both have to work for many more years to sustain the lifestyle we had. We also have no confidence in the U.S. healthcare system, one of the costliest in the world. We wanted to grow old knowing we'd be able to afford quality healthcare. That is far from guaranteed in the U.S.

2. We fell in love with Panama in 2004, when we had an amazing opportunity to sail through the canal on our own boat. We were blown away by the sheer beauty of the country, and our research told us that it's a rapidly developing nation with a strong economy and growing middle class (still true in 2018).

We also love the microclimates here. We have a much lower tolerance for heat and humidity than folks who live on the coast (places like David and Coronado are HOT - there's no getting around it), so we chose to live up near Boquete at close to 3,000 feet, in the shadow of Volcan Baru. The climate is temperate year round here, and we can still get to the beach in half an hour or so. And the highlands of Panama, in the cloud forests, are absolutely breathtaking.

And one more thing: Panama is well-situated for easy travel back to the U.S., since we need to get there a couple of times a year to visit family. It's also a crossroads for easy access to any country in South America or the Caribbean. Since moving here three years ago, we've visited Colombia (twice), Cuba, Uruguay, Argentina, Ecuador and the Galapagos, Mexico and the Bahamas.

Kris is absolutely correct that you need to do your homework, and make a few visits here, to decide if Panama is for you. There are many expat-centric communities here and plenty of people who can answer any of your questions once you get your "boots on the ground."

Well, there's a very long-winded answer to your question! I know you didn't find exactly what you were looking for in our blog, but here are a few posts that address some of these factors:

All the best,
John and Susan

Moderated by Priscilla 8 months ago
Reason : no free advertising for your blog please

Dear John and Susan,
Thank you so very much for your thoughtful answer. It makes perfect sense now. Sometimes I wonder if you're supposed to just throw a dart at the map because there's so many places to consider, but now I know exactly why you left, why you picked the country & the area to live. It sounds like a wonderful place to live and the climate must be great...

I will definitely plan to make a trip to that area. I see there's an airport in David to fly into. Wish you all the best in the world...

Take care and thanks again... fellow adventurer...
Kindly, Wilbert

Yes, it's an easy flight from Panama City to David - takes about 40 minutes.

Keep us posted on your plans! And let us know if we can answer any other questions for you.

All the best,
John and Susan

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