“Your top retirement place in the world is El Valle, Panama? That’s so funny, it’s insane. It’s a town with nothing there. Why even pick one that is three hours from Panama City? Pick one that’s eight or nine hours. If the idea is to be stuck out in the middle of nowhere, pick the Darien. I would bet my last Balboa cerveza that Kathleen has never even spent any significant amount of time there. This is the best joke I have heard lately…thanks!” – Bob S., Panama
The El Valle of which we write and which we so heartily recommend, dear reader, isn’t three hours from Panama City. It’s but an hour-and-a-half away, which is why it’s the choice of so many in-the-know Panamanians who keep weekend homes here…so they can get out of the city. And that’s the point–to get out of the city…while remaining, still, nearby enough to take advantage of the infrastructure and services it offers. Remember, the until-now recognized #1 retirement haven in this country has been Boquete…which is an eight- or nine-hour drive or an in-country plane ride away from the capital. But that hasn’t kept this little mountain town from developing into an important expat center. No question…mountain living isn’t for everyone. But, all things considered, a small, safe, friendly mountain town…with great weather and an affordable cost of living…within an hour-and-a-half drive of a capital city that is a banking, travel, business, and trade hub…in a country that is a tax haven and that boasts the world’s best program of benefits and discounts for foreign retirees? That’s no joke, dear reader. That’s the world’s top retirement haven.