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Boquete: Cool Mountain Gem of Panama

Even before the Panama Canal, Panama had a reputation as a crossroads of peoples and cultures. Located at the narrowest point of the Central American isthmus, Panama was a nexus of trade routes for the pre-Columbian natives of Central and South America. Early accounts from European settlers describe a diverse, varied, and colorful society.

Much has changed for Panama since that time, but its role as a multicultural crossroads has stayed the same. After decades of economic decline, political intrigue, and conflict with the U.S. and other nations, Panama has reinvented itself as an economic leader in Latin America. One of the implications is that thousands of expatriates now live in Panama, enjoying the rich variety of this small country, its relatively low cost of living, and its excellent infrastructure. For those seeking affordable retirement in Latin America, but who don't want to feel too detached from the kind of lifestyle they knew at home, Panama can be an excellent choice.

Many expatriates choose to live in the nation's metropolitan capital, Panama City. With its gleaming high-rise skyline, Panama City paints a striking portrait of Latin American modernity, and offers easy access to shopping, transportation, entertainment, and health care. Still others live along Panama's Caribbean or Pacific coasts, where condo developments and beachfront communities welcome retirees and foreign nationals.

Yet, for those preferring to live somewhere cooler than the hot coast, at a more relaxed lifestyle than that of bustling Panama City, purchasing Boquete Panama real estate is an ideal solution. Located in the cool mountains of Chiriqui province, Boquete is about 60 miles from Panama's border with Costa Rica. Initially, the area became popular with tourists for its natural beauty and biodiversity. Boquete is situated in a high-altitude rainforest, and coatis, monkeys, and hummingbirds are all native to this lush area. Temperatures generally hover between 70 and 80 degrees year-round.

Today, Boquete is home to about 19,000 people, a vibrant arts and music scene, and a large retiree/expatriate community that comprises about 14% of the area's population. It's a small enough community to feel relaxed, peaceful, and safe, and to experience unspoiled nature during the daytime and see bright stars at night. Yet it's large enough to boast banks, a community center, hotels, and museums.

There are many different Boquete Panama real estate options, suited to many tastes and income levels. Golfers will love this area, which features an excellent course with a neighboring residential development. Modest, contemporary homes in good communities can be found for under $100,000 to $200,000. Those looking to spend a little more can find imposing hillside villas with views of the ocean or Baru Volcano, Panama's highest peak.

The cost of living in Panama is no longer at rock-bottom, but most couples find they can live well on a modest budget. Retirees receive extra incentives in the form of deep discounts on entertainment, travel, medical care, and even their home's closing costs. Regardless of age, however, living in Boquete offers enough incentives of its own: a relaxed, healthy lifestyle that still provides great value for your dollar.