Boca Chica, Panama

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Reviewed by Kathleen Peddicord

Kathleen is the Live and Invest Overseas Founding Publisher. She has more than 30 years of hands-on experience traveling, living, and buying property around the world.


Boca Chica, Panama | Everything You Need To Know

Boca Chica, Panama, is on the opposite side of Bocas del Toro, on the Pacific coast of Panama.

Part of the Chiriquí province, Boca Chica is a small fishing village with similar amenities to the more well-known Bocas del Toro. However, it has a quainter and more relaxing appeal.

A short distance from the town of David, Chiriquí, Boca Chica has beautiful beaches, offers access to excellent seafood, and you can live in a wonderful laid back atmosphere on a great budget. Meanwhile, Boca Chica is becoming a popular tourist destination, it is still a great investment opportunity.

Here is everything you need to know about Boca Chica, Panama.

The Cost Of Living In Boca Chica, Panama

The cost of living in Boca Chica, Panama, is cheaper than other destinations in Panama. And, when compared to Panama City, or other popular expat destinations such as Coronado or Boquete, Boca Chica is cheaper in an already low expenses country.

On average, a single person can expect to pay around US$1,000 per month.

A family of four will pay up to US$2,000 per month. Your monthly expenses will be geared towards rent, utilities, and groceries.

Any entertainment or leisure costs will be added expenditures. On the other hand, non-essential activities in Boca Chica and Panama can be very cheap, and sometimes free.

Your monthly basic utilities (water, gas, electric, air conditioning, etc.) will only set you back US$40 to US$50 per month. B

ut, expect to pay more or less the same price for your monthly internet bill, making utilities in this part of the world not only reliable, but extremely affordable as well.

Rent in Boca Chica, Panama, comes at a very low price and that means amazing real estate opportunities. But, some of the real estate offers in Boca Chica might require a little bit of tender loving care.

However, they are ripe for the taking and in great locations.

A single person living in Boca Chica or around this area of Chiriquí can pay anywhere from US$200 and US$700 per month. A family of four would end up paying anywhere up to US$2,000 for a bigger place.

Depending on where you want to be, the level of comforts you require, and what you are looking for, you could end up paying next to nothing for a place to live.

And, if you are looking to buy in Boca Chica or the surrounding areas and be a part of a relaxed beachfront and tropical community, then you can find 2-bedroom apartments for as low as US$199,000.

Of course, you can also find much bigger pieces of land with big acreage for millions of dollars. It all depends on what your plans are and whether you want to live in Boca Chica, or invest in the area.

The rest of your main expenses will be spent on groceries. You’ll find good options in Boca Chica, but for most of your groceries and imported international products, you might want to go to David, the capital of the Chiriquí province.

Expect to pay anywhere between US$300 and US$500 per month on groceries. But, if you are okay without eating eccentric foods and can enjoy the local diet, then your monthly grocery expenses will drop considerably.

We highly recommend owning or renting a car. So, add to your budget gas expenses.

The current gas prices in similar areas in Panama are US$3.80 per gallon.

Other expenses include amenities or day trips, depending on the things you want to do during your stay in Boca Chica. For example, a good and reliable fishing day trip for one to four people costs upwards of US$220.

While you are in Boca Chica, Panama, you can find other things to do and not all of them cost money.

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Apartment Or House Ownership Budget (For A Couple)

ExpenseMonthly CostsNotes
MortgageNot included here as too variable.
HOA Fees
Property TaxesUS$120For a home worth US$400,000 at 0.5% annually.
TransportationUS$170Car ownership: US$100 for fuel plus an average of US$60 per month for maintenance, tires, etc.
GasUS$2For cooking. A US$5 tank lasts about 3 months.
ElectricityUS$50With air conditioning in bedrooms.
WaterUS$5
Cell PhoneBundled with internet.
InternetUS$40For local cell service and unlimited data.
Cable TVUS$20.99For a plan that offers 100 channels.
Household HelpUS$250US$15 for an 8-hour day, 3 times per week.
EntertainmentUS$489Eating out twice a week at a mid-range, local restaurant: US$70.

Local drinks twice a week at a nearby watering hole: US$50.

Movie theater trip twice a month: US$9.

(Ticket price for a senior: US$2.25; regular ticket price: US$4.509; snacks: US$6.)

GroceriesUS$600Basic items, but also shopping in David twice a month.
Gym Membership
Medical AppointmentUS$55US$3 to US$4 for a GP visit. US$50 for a specialist.
TOTALUS$1,801.99

Apartment Or House Rental Budget (For A Couple)

ExpenseMonthly CostsNotes
RentUS$1,500Two-bedroom, comfortable apartment in a desirable part of town.
TransportationUS$170Car ownership: US$100 for fuel plus an average of US$60 per month for maintenance, tires, etc.
GasUS$2For cooking. A US$5 tank lasts about 3 months.
ElectricityUS$50With air conditioning in bedrooms.
WaterUS$5
Cell PhoneBundled with internet.
InternetUS$40For local cell service and unlimited data.
Cable TVUS$20.99For a plan that offers 100 channels.
Household HelpUS$250US$15 for an 8-hour day, 3 times per week.
EntertainmentUS$489Eating out twice a week at a mid-range, local restaurant: US$70.

Local drinks twice a week at a nearby watering hole: US$50.

Movie theater trip twice a month: US$9.

(Ticket price for a senior: US$2.25;

regular ticket price: US$4.509; snacks: US$6.)

GroceriesUS$600Basic items, but also shopping in David twice a month.
Gym Membership
Medical AppointmentUS$55US$3 to US$4 for a GP visit. US$50 for a specialist.
TOTALUS$3,181.99

Penny-Pincher’s Budget (Bare Minimum Costs, For A Couple)

ExpenseMonthly CostsNotes
RentUS$700Basic one-bedroom rental in the cheapest part of town (still desirable).
TransportationUS$70Using taxis locally and the colectivo and bus to David.
GasUS$2For cooking: a US$5 tank lasts about 3 months.
ElectricityUS$35Just fans, no air conditioning.
WaterUS$5
Cell PhoneBundled with internet.
InternetUS$35Limited data.
Cable TVUS$15.74For a plan that offers 52 channels.
EntertainmentUS$140
GroceriesUS$450Shopping at local stores, buying seafood fruits, and vegetables from the trucks.
TOTALUS$1,452.74

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Best Things To Do In Boca Chica, Panama

There are plenty of wondrous things to do in Boca Chica, Panama. So, if you are familiar with Bocas del Toro, then you know what to expect. Boca Chica is much smaller, and much more relaxed.

Since Boca Chica is home to a slew of bays and is on the coast, the things to do are related to water activities. If you are looking to surf then you can still find great surfing spots, just be prepared to drive a little more compared to Bocas del Toro.

Here are the main things to do in Boca Chica, Panama.

Fishing in Boca Chica, Panama

Boca Chica is known for its wide variety of fishing opportunities with plenty of fish to catch. For example, you’ll usually find tuna, snapper, and marling off of the coast. Also, you can charter a boat, or join a fishing tour group to look for the best fishing spots.

Kayaking in Boca Chica, Panama

The calm waters of Boca Chica make it perfect for kayaking. There are plenty of natural wonders to explore, and kayaking throughout the bays will give you a great opportunity to spot some local wildlife.

You can either rent a kayak yourself and meander at your leisure, or take a guided tour and raise your chances of seeing animals and the best spots in the mangrove forests.

Snorkeling in Boca Chica, Panama

Not only are the waters in Boca Chica calm and welcoming, they are also a translucent blue.

The clear waters in Boca Chica make the setting an ideal place for snorkeling. While exploring the coral reefs and the marine depths of Boca Chica, you’ll most likely be able to spot plenty of colorful fish, sea turtles, and octopuses.

Between the jungle on the coast and the waters around Boca Chica, there are never ending natural wonders to behold.

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Whale Watching in Boca Chica, Panama

Boca Chica is one of the best places to go whale watching in Panama.

Humpback whales migrate to the warm waters on the Pacific Coast of Panama from July to October. So, you can take a boat to go see them from a closer look if you wish. On the other hand, you would most likely be able to see them from the coast line at some point during your stay in Boca Chica.

Islands Near Boca Chica, Panama

There are a number of small islands near Boca Chica that make for great day trips. Enjoy the white sandy beaches, swim in the crystal clear waters, and enjoy a picnic on the islands. Out of the many islands near Boca Chica, there is Isla Bolanos, Isla Gómez, Isla Mono, among others.

Beach Activities At Boca Chica, Panama

With Panama being a tropical destination with amazing beaches, it makes sense that one of the main things to do in Boca Chica is hang out and have fun at the beach.

The beaches at Boca Chica are perfect for sunbathing, reading near the water, swimming, and just generally relaxing. For instance, you’ll find places to rent umbrellas and chairs, and you can also partake in beach sports such as volleyball and soccer.

If you are looking for a beach with better waves for surfing, then you will need to take a little drive (30 to 60 minutes) from your main base camp in Boca Chica.

Exploring Indigenous Communities in Boca Chica, Panama

There is a vast history and culture in Panama, and Chiriquí is one of the best places to discover the Indigenous communities of Panama and their traditions.

The nearby Ngäbe-Buglé communities offer a unique cultural experience. They are the largest of the five Indigenous communities of Panama. Plus, you can learn about their traditional way of life, taste their cuisine, and learn how to make their local handicrafts.

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Retirement In Boca Chica, Panama

Retiring in Boca Chica is a great idea if you are looking for a very relaxed and affordable lifestyle.

Simple amenities are available in Boca Chica, and you will be able to enjoy the fresh air, welcoming people, and great climate all year round.

Your budget in Boca Chica will stretch further than other places in Panama.

Between the affordable housing options, entertainment that won’t break the bank, a great community, and a perfect tropical paradise, you will enjoy a great retirement in Boca Chica, Panama.

Infrastructure in Boca Chica is great for such a small town.

You get all the essential amenities on a budget, plus you can go fishing, kayaking, snorkeling, and island hopping whenever you want. The bigger city of David, Chiriquí, is only an hour away.

Meanwhile, Panamanian government has started rehabilitation works of the Pan-American Highway, which reaches the coastal area of ​​Boca Chica. This includes the design and construction of a public pier in Boca Chica.

Panama’s Visa Information

Most importantly, if you are looking to move full time to Panama and live in Boca Chica, then as a retiree you will have access to a host of discounts on a Pensionado Visa. The discounts can be applied to healthcare, entertainment, and transportation.

The process to get a visa in Panama is fairly simple, and there are plenty of options available to fit your particular situation. That being said, if you are just planning on staying in Panama on a Tourist Visa for up to 90 days (which can be extended an additional 90 days).

The Pensionado Visa, which you can get if you can prove that you have at least US$1,000 per month in income, are older than 18, and are retiring to Panama full time, is the visa with the most benefits.

And if you’re interested in other options for the Pensionado Visa, you can also look into Student Visas, Work Visas, the Friendly Nations Visa, and the Investor Visa. Feel free to explore all your options for moving to Panama.

Being Safe In Boca Chica, Panama

Boca Chica is considered a safe and peaceful town. Plus, it’s a great place to discover within Panama. While Boca Chica is a safe place to be, follow general tips for safety.

When wandering around, keep an eye on your valuables and be aware of your surroundings.

Stay alert and don’t leave your belongings unattended, try and travel in pairs and avoid isolated areas.

Also, learn basic Spanish, and respect the local customs and traditions.

When using transportation, use official taxis only and discuss the price of the fare before departure. Otherwise, just enjoy your visit to Boca Chica, Panama.

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Weather In Boca Chica, Panama

Boca Chica, Panama has a tropical climate. The weather in Boca Chica is generally warm year round.

The temperature in Boca Chica usually ranges from 75°F to 90°F (24°C to 32°C). With regards to humidity, the area consistently sticks in the high ninetieth percentile throughout the year.

Boca Chica is a warm, welcoming, and comfortable place to live in. The weather is great, even during the rainy season.

The rainy season runs from May to November, and you can expect a couple of storms throughout the months. Most importantly, Boca Chica is still a great place to live no matter the time of year.

Boca Chica, Panama, FAQs

Is Boca Chica, Panama Worth Visiting?

Boca Chica, Panama, is definitely worth visiting. If you enjoy outdoor activities, a relaxing atmosphere with a natural backdrop, and crystal clear waters on amazing beaches, then this is the place to visit.

What Is Boca Chica, Panama Known For?

Boca Chica, Panama, is known for its natural beauty, crystal clear waters, natural beauty, including its beaches, and lush vegetation. It is a great destination for outdoor activities, among like surfing, bird watching, ocean and river sports, and fishing. Boca Chica is also known for delicious seafood and friendly locals.

Is Boca Chica, Panama A Good Place To Retire?

If you are looking for a laid back lifestyle in a setting with a lot of nature and ocean coast, then retiring to Boca Chica, Panama, is for you. The Pensionado Visa supplies great benefits for retirees, there is a great expat community already set up in Boca Chica and the neighboring areas, and you will be able to live out your dream retirement plan on the coast.

Why Should Americans Move To Boca Chica, Panama?

Americans should move to Boca Chica, Panama, if they are looking for a relaxed lifestyle in a great setting. Also, Panama uses the U.S. dollar, so it makes using your money that much easier. On top of that, if you are looking for a real estate investment opportunity, then Boca Chica is worth looking at.

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