“Kathleen, I’ve heard that Boquete is expensive. If we want a very inexpensive destination near Boquete, but not in David, where would that be?”
–Mark T., United States
Volcan is very nearby Boquete but more affordable.
More affordable still and offering a comparable mountain setting and climate is Santa Fe in Panama’s Veraguas Province. If highlands living is what you’re after, I’d take a look at this town. It’s one of the most affordable parts of this country. A couple could retire here on US$1,000 per month. A reasonable budget for a couple living in Boquete today would be as much as twice that.
Boquete has developed into a bona-fide retirement destination, home to one of the most established expat retiree communities in the world. More infrastructure, more services, and more amenities mean an increased cost of living.
Santa Fe, on the other hand, is still an off-the-radar choice. Life here would be simple, and your neighbors would be Panamanians, not fellow expats.
You could live in Boquete without speaking Spanish, but I wouldn’t recommend it in Santa Fe.
You could bring many aspects of your current life with you to Boquete, including, for example, shopping in big-box stores and U.S.-style supermarkets, which are available in nearby David. Not so in Santa Fe.
Would you prefer to live among fellow expats, importing your lifestyle with you? Or would you enjoy living among the locals, adopting their habits for eating, shopping, and filling your leisure time?
That’s the choice you’re making. There’s no right or wrong answer. It’s a matter of priorities and preferences.
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