Preparing To Retire To Mexico…Top Mountain And Beach Retirement Choices In Panama
“I just want to say thank you, Kathleen, so much, for all the help and encouragement you have given me over the past year. Based on the information and the basic reading material you have supplied, I have made the decision to retire in Mexico. I leave July 3. I know I will enjoy it, because I am an adventurer. All I needed was someone to provide information on what it is really like to live in a foreign country, and that’s what you’ve done. I will now use the invaluable info that you have provided on how to pack and what to pack for the move, for example. That was a real problem for me until you advised what to pack and what to give away.
“I will keep you posted on this new phase in my life. Look for reports from my new home.”
— C. Ancrum, United States
Congratulations on your decision, dear reader. Please do stay in touch. We’ll look forward to hearing from you from the road.
“We would like to take this opportunity to thank you so very much for the recent Live and Invest in Panama Conference last month, Kathleen. Our minds are still reeling with all of the information presented. All of the presenters were very knowledgeable about their respective fields. We also enjoyed talking with the other ‘expats-in-waiting.’
“We live in the snowy part of Washington State. Last year was very snowy and cold. Needless to say, we would love to spend at least our winters in Panama instead.
“After the conference we spent a little (and by that I mean too little, only another six days!) time visiting areas around Panama City and El Valle. Although our Spanish is at best rudimentary, we were able to talk with people. We ate great food, saw incredible sights, and were able to appreciate a bit of this wonderful country.
“We are going to stop in Panama again in December, but only for a day while our cruise ship is docked. We definitely plan to return and to spend more time in the country, though. Next time, we want to see the areas around Boquete and the area you wrote about recently, Santa Fe.
“Do you have any other suggestions? We’d like to rent before buying.
“Thanks again for all of your hard work in putting together the conference. For anyone considering a move to Panama, attending your next event should be on their must-do list.”
— Mike and Diane D., United States
Santa Fe is my current top pick for retirement off the radar here in Panama. It’s a beautiful, safe, friendly, super-cheap little town that’s ideal as a part-time retirement choice.
Boquete, on the other hand, is home to an established expatriate community, as well as little restaurants and shops and other infrastructure that helps to make day-to-day life more like what the average retiree might be used to “back home.” The downside to Boquete is that it can be rainy and chilly, depending on the season, and, as it’s become increasingly discovered, it’s also grown relatively expensive.
If you want mountain living, El Valle, Boquete, and Santa Fe are the top choices in this country. For beach living, the most common choices are the beach resorts nearby Panama City. I’m not a fan. The beaches aren’t great, and the costs (for rentals, for example) can be high, because you’re competing with Panamanians from Panama City, who escape to these nearby beach areas every chance they get.
My favorite beach pick in the country is the west coast of the Azuero Peninsula. Still undiscovered and undeveloped, this is virgin coast, dramatic and beautiful. An infrastructure is emerging. The main beach road is paved. Electricity runs the length of the coast. You can get cell coverage at certain points. You can have satellite Internet for about US$200 a month. And you can spend the night at Robbie’s Cabanas de Torio for US$24. The electricity may go out. You may not have hot water. But the company is congenial and interesting, the beach is but a few minutes away, and the food in the restaurant is fresh and tasty (dinner costs about US$4 or US$5). I highly recommend it.