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An Expat Talks about Living in Boquete, Panama

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Boquete

How long have you lived there?

6 months

What activities, clubs and organizations would you recommend to newcomers to help them meet others?

At first I shunned the gringo/expat organized weekly meeting, the Tuesday Morning Informational and Networking Meeting. All the people were of retired age, I'm not. Then I started going, I found I had things to say and others had things to teach. they soon published a small book of the meetings minutes with recaps of many speakers. I learned many valuable things and shared opinions and even changed some opinions. We bonded, we drank local coffee, we bitched and moaned and rejoyced together. seek out such groups and see what you can learn or contribute to them.

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In terms of religious, racial, economic and cultural diversity, are the people of this city or town diverse? Are they accepting of differences? Describe.

This is a coffee town. The labor is provided by the Indians - the Nogobe Bugle. Women and girls wear traditional dresses and men wear rubber knee boots. They have their own places to shop and gather as do the gringos and its all good. Nobody minds or is wary of other social groups. Most gringos are well aware that we are just visitors, its thier country and the best we can do is learn, adapt, and be good members of the community. Contributing to the community is a good thing, trying to change someones way of life is a bad thing. Know the difference.

What are the main industries in this city? What types of career opportunities commonly exist? How do most people find new jobs?

Coffee is the big industry here and its some of the best in the world. Tourism, real estate, building, development, adventure, are a few of the biggies. Career opps and jobs for gingos are almost non existant. You basically have to make your own way or bring a job, career, or business with you and then employ locals to work at it. The laws are strict and pretty much say- Panamanians first

In general, what are peoples' priorities in this city? For example, do lives revolve around work, family, socializing, sports, etc.?

The locals work hard and have lots of festivals. They honor the old folks, thier heritage, and way of life. They take time for coffee, for conversation. They are more then willing to show you and teach you and help you to find your place in their society. If you even try to speak spanish they admire you for that and even try thier hand at English or apologize for their lack of. Everyone says hello, waves, nods, gives recognition, an old fashioned thing that I missed in the U.S.

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If a friend of yours was thinking of moving to this city or town from far away, what other advice would you give them.

Be prepared to change your life. Leave behind all your pre concieved notions of how it should be, what you need, want, and must have to get by. EVERYTHING is different, embrace it, learn from it, apply what you can to your life but don't come here with demands, strict ideals, uptight lifestyle, and the idea that you are going to save a third world culture from itself. I find the opposite is what happens, it saves you from yourself and what ever madness you left behind.

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Comments about this Report

guest
Sep 20, 2010 16:00

My husband and I are both 60 and researching retirement in Panama. We are drawn to Boquete at this point, but definitely are open to other places. Any advice we can get is most helpful. Thank you! Linda

guest
Nov 30, 2010 18:38

GREAT ARTICLE!!! With that kind of attitude you gain the respect of the locals. It is good if the gringos can pick up on that right away. I lived in Peru for 2 years and it really made me feel good to be received by the people there. You run into a few bad apples but for the most part the people are decent and hard working.

guest
Mar 15, 2011 11:09

Recently returned from Panama. Met a Canadian in Las Lajas who said the Gringos have ruined Boquete, with their big homes and SUVs. He also mentioned a recent confrontation between "visitors" (read GRINGOS), and the locals about the local customs. Sounded like rich white folk trying to change the native's habits. Supposedly, a sign was posted reading,"NO MORE FU#####G GRINGOS"

raje7
Jun 28, 2011 16:57

i love the part about saving them from the third world culture i originally thought i was doing so and in doing it saved me from mine Thank you

guest
Oct 25, 2011 17:26

This is an excellent brief review of how to succeed early in a new environment. I am moving to Boquete in 2012 and I lived several years in Costa Rica. It's important to remember we are their guests; it is their country; respect the culture.

guest
Feb 8, 2012 11:47

Good info. My wife and I are nearing retirement age and will be visiting Boquete in the very near future for a month to see what retirement would be like there. We speak some Spanish and are working on becoming better at it. I am wondering if anyone would have any idea of what approximate costs would be for rentals in "safe" areas for a 1-2 bedroom apartment or condo in the Boquete area. Also, how can I find out health insurance costs for us as well as knowing if pre-existing conditions would be a problem? We lived in Costa Rica for awhile but the more i read about Boquete/ David and hear from friends the more intrigued we get. Thank you.

guest
Mar 6, 2012 16:03

I don't know who wrote this but they are "right on " Hopefully all will embrace the good advise and information. From a Panamanian citizen who was born in the Canal Zone and has spent considerable time vacationing in Boquete from the United States.

guest
Jul 5, 2012 17:21

Although we are retired, I enjoyed very much what he had to say about the community, it was very informative.

jco1283
Oct 26, 2012 18:13

I will be in ares next week ....stay in touch for get together. renting a cottage in Volcanite for 6-7 months

guest
Feb 18, 2013 09:23

Thank you for sharing. My Husband and I are planning a visit soon to scope out things in Boquete. I have been following the blogs on Boquete since 2007 dreaming about the day we can just pick up and move. We have already rid ourselves of the stuff. We have a entrepreneurial spirit with loads of experience in a lot of areas. Where is the best place to stay that would allow us to walk to everything?

guest
Feb 18, 2013 19:53

There are lots of places to stay. We stayed at Kalima Suites. They are right in town and have decent apartments for rent at a reasonable price, last time I checked. Then you can scout out a more permanent place to stay from there.

guest
Apr 17, 2013 10:05

I will soon be 65 and currently live in Houston but don't really like it and can no longer afford it. I'm thinking of moving to Boquete. Can I bring my 2 cats with me?

Panamagal
Apr 17, 2013 11:19

I don't have pets but many of my friends do and Yes, you can bring your cats, there is a relatively short quarantine and you need a vet report and proof of up to date shots. My friend brought her two cats and her dog last year. I can find out more detail if you would like.

guest
Apr 21, 2013 21:38

IS there any chance you could email me? We are visiting in Dec and would love to ask a few questions to someone who knows the area! - thanks! Michele

guest
Apr 22, 2013 10:20

queenana
Jul 16, 2013 20:26

well said. absolutely the right city for us.

lindajof
Jul 30, 2013 19:05

Are all the Ex-pat meetings on Tuesday morning? I'll be there in December 2013 ..and would Love to meet this group for insights to move there in 07/14

guest
Nov 26, 2014 17:03

Visiting Boquete in November 2014 and would love to meet up with expats in this community. Where is the Tuesday meeting held? Are they any other expat gathering places?

guest
Nov 26, 2014 17:03

Visiting Boquete in November 2014 and would love to meet up with expats in this community. Where is the Tuesday meeting held? Are they any other expat gathering places?

guest
Nov 26, 2014 17:03

Visiting Boquete in November 2014 and would love to meet up with expats in this community. Where is the Tuesday meeting held? Are they any other expat gathering places?

Schuttzie
Jan 5, 2015 07:27

This is a very good post. When you go to live in another country you certainly must be open to their culture and be respectful as we are visitors to their country. We have expectations of the way things are "supposed" to be but we need to learn that there is another way to doing things and we can do without most things we are accustomed to. That is why we left the rat race to begin with, I assume, to live a different more real lifestyle. Live life and enjoy!

marly7466
Feb 19, 2015 07:57

I do believe you've got it, friend! and you're bound to make many more. I hope to see you in Boquete when we move there in April 2015. You definitely summed it up well: Be prepared to change your life. Leave behind all your pre conceived notions of how it should be, what you need, want, and must have to get by. EVERYTHING is different, embrace it, learn from it, apply what you can to your life but don't come here with demands, strict ideals, uptight lifestyle, and the idea that you are going to save a third world culture from itself. I find the opposite is what happens, it saves you from yourself and what ever madness you left behind.

Kencounts
Apr 25, 2015 13:17

We will be visiting in June. We are primarily interested in retiring in Boquete. Can anyone tell me where the Tues. morning meeting is? We will be staying at the Panamonte. Thanks

randyhou
Nov 28, 2015 06:59

I will to be in Boquete in Jan 2016 and would like to stay in a local Hotel where I can meet Expats and enjoy there conversation about the area. Do you have any suggestions on where to stay. Randy

Cigna Expat Health InsuranceExpatriate Health Insurance

Get a quote for expat health insurance in Panama from our partner, Cigna Global Health.
Get a Quote

Guide to Living in BoqueteGuide to Living in Boquete

11 expats talk about what it's like to live in the beautiful mountain town of Boquete, Panama. From the Tuesday Market at the BCP to group hikes and drinks at Mike's Global Grill, expats love living in Boquete.

Healthcare in PanamaHealthcare in Panama

Expats have differing opinions about healthcare in Panama. Many advice against public hospitals and healthcare, but some recount good experiences. This article covers public vs private healthcare, cost of healthcare, obtaining prescription medications and much more.

Restaurants in BoqueteRestaurants in Boquete

Support your favorite restaurants in Boquete as they recover from the pandemic. Submit a free listing for them on Expat Exchange to help spread the word about them to the expat community.

Moving to Boquete

An expat who moved to Boquete, Panama talks advises newcomers to find a short-term rental to have time to explore without committing to one place. She has found that rental prices in Boquete are about a fourth of what they are in the US.

Moving to Alto Boquete

An expat in Alta Boquete, Panama talks about choosing Alta Boquete and making the move there. She talks about what to bring and what to leave behind, one moving company to avoid and other recommendations.

Living in Boquete

A retiree in Boquete, Panama talks about life in Boquete. She explains that it's easy to meet people in Boquete through the newcomers' club, Tuesday Market at BCP and through numerous volunteer activities. She cautions anyone coming to Panama with intention of working to make sure that you can legally work in Panama before making the move.

Retirement in Boquete

An expat retiree in Boquete, Panama offers some insight into the best way to retire abroad there. Includes information about cost of living, health care, finance, and more.

Culture Shock in Boquete

An American who moved to Boquete, Panama encourages newcomers to arrive with the attitude that you are willing to make adjustments to your expectations and keep in mind that things will be different than you expect, you'll thrive here!

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