The Other Face of Panama

By Lee Harrison

If there's any complaint that I hear about Panama, it's that the country is mainly for beachgoers... that it's too hot and humid here to enjoy anything but the ocean and the sand. In fact, I normally prefer weather that's a bit cooler to what's typical along the coast here.

I found such weather recently, in Boquete, which to me is the "other face" of Panama.

Boquete is a small town of 20,000 people about 30 minutes from the city of David. Boquete is in a lush, green valley that's situated at an altitude of around 3,200 feet in the province of Chiriqui The area is noted for its dramatic hills, rushing mountain streams, lush green forests, and cooler weather.

People come here to enjoy the peace and tranquility of this semi-rural setting, to fish and hike in beautiful mountains, to enjoy the relaxed pace of village life, and perhaps take advantage of the many entrepreneurial opportunities here.

This valley is popular with expats--there's more of a boom going on here than anywhere I've seen in Panama. Planned communities are springing up all over, and the lots seem to be selling like hotcakes, according to an unofficial poll taken at a few of the local bars.

The one community that I liked in particular was called Hacienda Los Molinos, which is located about 10 minutes from Boquete, and only 20 minutes from David--an advantage when it comes to being near real-world city amenities and first-rate medical care. Los Molinos is different from many of its competitors because of its huge property, rolling green hills, and large, spacious lots. The common areas are artfully landscaped into a park-like setting, with benches, well-maintained walkways, and even small lakes for waterfowl-watching and strolling. The piano bar overlooks a rainforest gorge which drops a dramatic 300 feet on the edge of the property and features a silver-thread waterfall tumbling down from high on the opposite side.

The houses here attracted me as much as the environment, and there are several models to choose from in contemporary, tasteful designs. They have large, open plan construction including high ceilings and spacious open kitchens. The interior fieldstone work is magnificent, from the fireplaces to the stone showers in the bathrooms.

Prices at Los Molinos start at around $43,000 for the lots and $122,000 for a two-bedroom, 1-800-square-foot home. Condos start at $132,000. Yes, you'll find cheaper development communities near Boquete, but I found their small lots and cookie-cutter construction to be out of sync with the lush valley and with North American tastes... not so at Los Molinos.

For more information on Los Molinos, please contact Jorge Conte directly at:

About the Author

AS International Living Panama International Living's: Panama: The Owner's Manual

International Living's Panama: Owner's Manual is your guide to buying in Panama. Panama doesn't just have some of the cheapest beachfront in the Caribbean and the best retiree benefits in the world, but is also the most sophisticated offshore haven in the Americas. Here, your bank account secrecy is protected by law.

Click here for more details or to order Panama: Owner's Manual.

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Comments about this Article

oldsalt1942
Jan 9, 2012 11:41

If you're making it to Los Molinos from David in 20 minutes you must be speeding like crazy. It takes at LEAST TWICE that long on a good day without any "Transitos" stopping everyone around Los Anastacios.

AliRichards
Dec 12, 2012 12:10

This is a great article but I am taking it all with a grain of salt when I read that the author works for International Living and seems to be profit motivated. I wish someone would write an article without this type of motivation. The end of this is followed up with the real estate company you can contact. It all sounds like one giant advertisement. Anyone living in Boquette or the other areas mentioned have any thoughts about living there without mentioning a real estate ad at the end of the article? Is Boquete still thriving? What's the crime like? What's the ex-pat community like? The medical care? The climate? The flora and fauna???? Has it been over run with gringos or is there a good balance between ticos and gringos? These would be very helpful insights if anyone has any. Thanks in advance. Ali

guest
Apr 8, 2013 10:38

When were these prices calculated? They seem quite low!

duffbob
Apr 10, 2013 01:35

LOL, have to agree with you after spending the month of March driving through-out Panama. Prices are higher than International loving and the cost of living is much higher than what they quote. If you eat locally grow food it very inexpensive. But you want artisan breads etc. it costs $$ so much more. A tube of Maybelline Mascara is $16.00. Be sure to visit and check out the costs of everything that is important to you.

Last updated on: Apr 10, 2013

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