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Jackie Lange of Panama Relocation Tours – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
The house in Boquete, Panama a tour guest of Jackie Lange is house sitting – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe overall cost of living in Boquete depends on what kind of house that you live in. When I first moved here I paid $600 a month for rent for a little 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom house. That was all-inclusive; furnished, all utilities included, but it was only about 1,200 square feet.  There are other people who live in a gated community in a 5,000 square foot house and their cost is going to be more.
 
After talking with hundreds of people who live there, I would say that, including rent, the average person spends about $2,000 a month if they do not live in a gated community.  If they live in a real fancy house, it’s got to be a lot more.
 
Personally, I purchased the rental property so, without a mortgage, my actual cost now is closer to $1,000 to $1,200 a month. That’s for groceries, eating out a lot, health insurance, car insurance, setting money aside to put new tires on my car once in a while, cellphone, electricity, internet, everything.
  
The cost of living in Dallas, Texas, where I’m from, is more than double the cost of living in Boquete.
In Boquete, I don’t even have any property taxes at all on the house I purchased and I won’t for another 13 years, but I paid about $4,500 a year in property taxes for my house in Texas.  This is not to mention the $400 electric bill that I had in Texas because it was so hot you had to have your air conditioning running. My electric bill here in Boquete runs about $22 to $25 a month.
 
So the savings are really big in some areas when you live in a place where you don’t have to spend a lot on heating and air conditioning and you pay zero in property taxes. My water bill in Panama is only $60 a year and that includes trash collection. My water bill in Texas was about $60 a month, not including trash collection.   All these are big differences.
 
(House in Boquete, Panama that a tour guest of  relocation specialist Jackie Lange is house sitting, pictured.)
John Gilbert of PanamaKeys – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Gilbert family prepare papaya for breakfast, Volcan, near Boquete, Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe overall cost of living in Boquete is very good because electricity and water are affordable. Due to Boquete’s climate, there’s no need for air conditioning and heating, and water services can cost as little as US $100 a year. Water in Boquete generally costs $12-$18 a month, while electricity costs $50-$60 a month.  But that’s when you take out the actual place that you’re going to live from the equation, because rents vary far and wide. You can pay as little as $500 or as high as $5,000 a month for rent in Boquete.
 
Relative to the overall cost of living in Boquete, it’s 10-15% cheaper than Central Kentucky in food and entertainment, and 25-30% cheaper in electricity.
 
In Boquete, you have a lot of options when it comes to restaurants and supermarkets. Some examples are the Romero and the Super Baru (name of the volcano), which is one of our local grocery store chains in Panama that’s getting ready to open up here in Boquete. There’s also the open market where vendors sell fruits and vegetables. 
 
There’s also a store that many people frequent in Boquete called Deli Baru, that does a very good job of catering to the expat community’s taste. There are a lot of international foods available at Deli Baru. Deli Baru has done so well that they’re now expanding and creating a full-sized grocery store right here in Boquete, making it more convenient for everyone who lives inside the Boquete Valley.
 
For a retiree couple in Boquete, the cost of living consists of approximately $200 - $400 a month for food if they eat out several times a month, around $100 for electricity, $20 or less for water, and whatever their rent costs. 
 
When you compare and contrast the cost of living of Boquete to Frankfort, Kentucky, which is where I’m from, and you like to go out and eat, you’re going to find that the choice is very favorable in Boquete. That’s because there’s a lot of mom and pop restaurants in Boquete that cater to an international consumer. 
 
In Boquete, there are great Italian restaurants, little sandwich shops, pizza and family restaurants, and nice restaurants to go out on a date. There’s also a food fair in Boquete that really offers something for everyone with prices that are routinely cheaper than what I would find in Central Kentucky, where Frankfort is. 
 
In Boquete, buying prepared food costs more than if going to the farmer’s type markets. Although a lot of communities throughout Central America still don’t have an American-style grocery, Boquete has been blessed to have American-style grocery stores where you can find the kind of meat and seafood you like along with the boxed and branded commodities that you’d be familiar with in the US and in Canada. You’ll also easily find fresh vegetables and fruits in Boquete. In fact, I haven’t found any place better than here in Panama to get fresh fruits and vegetables, and many of the fruits and vegetables that I enjoy now are ones that I was never familiar with in Frankfort, so it’s been a blessing in that regard. Panama is an awesome place for fresh fruits and vegetables.
 
If you’re from Frankfort, Kentucky, you can definitely afford to live in Boquete. There are places in Boquete where you can get a burger and some fries for US $5-$7, and that already includes your soda. These prices are a very good value proposition for people when, in the US they’re eating at Chili’s or Apple Bee’s and spending $12 - $13 for a hamburger.
 
(Gilbert family prepare papaya for breakfast, Volcan, near Boquete, Panama, pictured.)
Evander Smart – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Smart shoppers look for real estate south of Boquete, in Alto or Bajo Boquete. I'm not impressed with Boquete at all. It is somewhat better than David, but that's not saying anything. If you use Boquete as a shopping/entertainment center and not a life hub, you'll save a ton. Kind of like living in Manhattan versus living in Brooklyn.
 
If you are single, you can realistically live on $500 USD a month, and eat out at least one meal a day. This is about 25-35% of what it costs to live in New York City, where I grew up and lived for 30 years.
 
Evander
Giselle Leignadier of Hacienda Los Molinos – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Double waterfalls in the cloud forest  near Boquete, Chiriqui, Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe cost of living in Boquete is fantastic; it’s cheap! The cost of living in Boquete is cheaper compared to the cost of living in the US or even compared to the cost of living in Panama City. Boquete is in the Chiriquí Province and Chiriquí is like the supermarket of all of Panama. We have cows, vegetables, fruits, and all of those go to Panama City, so we have better prices at the supermarket here. In Boquete we have the option to buy from the supermarket or from the open-air market where the producer has the products, so it is cheaper. 
 
The electricity here in Boquete is cheaper because you do not need air-conditioning or heating because of the nice weather. That saves you a lot of money, too. For a couple, in a single-family home, your electric bill will be US $80 per month at a maximum. Water is around $20 per month, maximum. Propane gas costs $80 for the 80 pound-bottle, which lasts around 5 to 6 months for a couple. There are also smaller tanks that cost $8. Propane is cheap because it is subsidized through the government. The smaller propane tanks last for around 1 or 2 months. If you get your Pensionado Visa, you will get a discount on your bills.  
 
(Double waterfalls in the cloud forest  near Boquete, Chiriqui, Panama, pictured.)
Alberto Socarraz of Panama Vida – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Playing golf in Boquete, Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingIn the whole Chiriquí province, not only in Boquete, since we are located in what is considered the bread basket of Panama, the cost of living in general is about 20% to 25% less than it would be in Panama City just because of the ease of being able to get locally grown produce at your local market. The healthcare system here seems to be a little bit cheaper. The transportation system and everything in general here in Boquete is at least 20% to 25% percent less than in Panama City. Compared to the US, the cost of living here in Boquete is 30% less. I have various clients who are able to come down here and actually live off their social security or their retirement very comfortably.
 
On an average monthly basis, one could live comfortably with a budget of US $1,500 a month per person and that would cover rent, food, and even going out, whereas, in the US, there would be no way a person could even come close to that number. A couple could live comfortably with a budget of around $2,000 a month.
 
Tomatoes in the US cost about $2.50 a pound, while here in Chiriquí, it's about 60 cents a pound. Produce is a lot cheaper here. Here in Chiriquí, if you walk into a doctor's office here for a consultation for $30. If you go to a doctor in the US for a consultation and you don't have insurance, then it's could cost you $200. It is hard to compare apples to apples or oranges to oranges, so what I wrote is meant as a general guide.
 
(Pictured: one of the many golf courses in Boquete, as an example of where you can live less expensively and enjoy more amenities.)
Georgina Chanapi  of Lucero Homes, Golf & Country Club – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Issued in 1941 by Arnulfo Arias, President of the Republic of Panama. Banknote showing conquistador Balboa (1941) – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingWhat you pay for things in Boquete depends on several factors. If you are Panamanian, you will pay substantially less because the people who you are dealing with, also know that you are Panamanian, so they know that you are not going to pay as much as an expat. How much you pay will also depend on your location.
 
For expats, the cost of living will depend on how much you are used to paying and how much you are wiling to pay for certain things. Another thing that would make a difference is that if you live in a gated community, where foreigners live, you will pay more. 
 
( A banknote showing conquistador Balboa (1941), issued in 1941 by Arnulfo Arias, President of the Republic of Panama, pictured.) 
Penny Barrett of Fundacion Bid 4 Bouquete – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
In Boquete, owning and driving a car is probably about the same as it is in the US except your insurance is a lot less here than in the US. Panamanians tend not to sue, so the liability part of your insurance premium is a lot less than it is in the US.
 
House or apartment rentals are about the same as it is in the US or they may even be a little cheaper. The cost of food is about the same as it is in the US. Eating in high-end restaurants will cost you about the same amount but eating in a Panamanian-style restaurant is a lot cheaper. You can get a decent meal in a Panamanian-style restaurant for only US $3.
 
The things that you would save on here in Boquete are insurance and utilities. We do not have heating or cooling expenses because of the climate. I pay $6 per month for gas and that runs my stove, hot water, and clothes dryer. I have the computer running the whole day and the TV most of the nights and my electric bill is around $35 per month. The garbage collection fee is $20 per year. I pay for that every January. I buy a year’s worth of water in January as well and that is also about $20. A haircut for women ranges from $3 to $5. Men in general, pay $3 for a haircut. These things are a lot cheaper here in Boquete than in the US.
Philip McGuigan of Chiriqui United, an Association of the leading humanitarian organizations in the Chiriqui Province of Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
While everybody’s circumstances are different, I can give you some rough baselines for the cost of living in Boquete.
 
In Boquete for US $800 a month in rent, you can get a nice unfurnished home with two bedrooms, an office, two bathrooms, living room, dining room, kitchen, laundry and porch on a quarter of an acre lot.  At this price you would probably get a dishwasher, washing machine, dryer, refrigerator, and a large water tank system.
 
Utilities are reasonably inexpensive in Boquete. The average electric bill for a house like this would be about $45 a month.  Water is about $36 a year (you read that right; per year), and garbage pickup is about the same.  A person living in a home like this would probably spend $5-$8 a month on propane gas.
 
Since I believe that beer is a currency, my favorite benchmark to calculate cost of living is the cost of a bottle of beer. I can buy a really good bottle of beer here in Panama for 50 cents (Balboa, my favorite).
 
We have a lady who comes in once a week and cleans our house. We pay her $5 per hour.  
 
Yesterday, diesel fuel cost $1.01 per liter and 91 octane gas cost $1.14 per liter in Boquete.
 
A salon quality hair cut costs $7, including tip.
 
When I go to a tipica restaurant (usually cafeteria style) in Boquete, the average cost for lunch is between $3.50 and $4.50. 
 
A more upscale lunch with table service would run between $6.75 and $11.00, including tip. There are a number of even more upscale restaurants to choose from where lunch will cost a bit more.
 
The foregoing prices include only tap water to drink.
 
As an indicator of how many good restaurants there are to choose from in Boquete, my wife and her buddies go out for lunch once a week. There are so many great choices sometimes it will take six or eight weeks for them to return to one of their favorites.
Linda Jensen – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
The cost of livnig in Boquete is a little higher than many other locations in Panama where there are fewer ex-pats. The economy is affected by the influx of foreign money. As much as it helps the economy it hurts the local and indigenous people by causing prices to rise. Thus we are seeing the two edged sword of the ex-pats hurting themselves as well by causing prices on goods, services, and produce to rise beyond the affordability of many of the people who lived here all their lives.   
                                            
 Bakery in Boquete – Best Places In The World To Retire – International Living
For my husband and I, we enjoy our lives. Nothing fancy but we shop local and in David (the closest large city) and we eat well. Our condo rent is about the same as it would be in many small towns in the USA. However we have less appliances, our electric bill has never exceeded US $40 per month in the past year. We purchase a tank and half of gas a month so that is less than $10.
 
When we plan our budget we include any of our credit card and insurance, medicines, maid, rent, utilities, taxi cabs, meals out, shopping and miscellaneous spending, and it comes to a around $1,600 a month. Some months less and a few it is a bit more. We live a comfortable life for two gringos who arrived with a total of eight bags, two large and the others all smaller in December 2012.Boquete side street view – Best Places In The World To Retire – International Living
 
We laugh about the "Panamanian price" and the "blue eyes price" but it is true in many businesses. Still as Pensionados we get discounts on a number of things.Produce at  vendor near Romero Supermarket in Boquete Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International Living 
 
When shopping you will find prices are similar to the USA on household items, clothing, shoes and higher on cars, furniture and appliances. It is still cheaper to buy new than ship it all over here.San Francisco Plaza Boquete – Best Places In The World To Retire – International Living
 
You can live a comfortable life on less than $1,600 a month. I think Boquete is a wonderful place to live. Come for a visit and stay for a lifetime!
Paul McBride – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Generally speaking, the cost of living in Boquete, and throughout Panama, is 25% to 30% lower than most places in the US and Canada.
 
For example, fresh food costs are usually much lower that you'll find in the US.  A week's supply of fresh fruit (like avocados, pineapples, bananas, passion fruits, watermelons and papayas) and vegetables (various kinds of lettuce, local potatoes, onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, squash, bell peppers etc) for two people runs us around $9.
 
Chicken and pork are also very reasonable and fresh fish is an incredible deal.  A pound of fresh, sushimi grade yellow fin tuna is just $4 at the local market.
 
Anything you buy in a box is going to be similar in price to the US and Canada.
 
The price of gasoline is about the same as most places in the US and a bit less expensive than Canada.  The exception is diesel fuel.  Diesel is less expensive than gasoline in Panama and many people (including expats) drive cars and trucks powered by diesel.
 
Energy costs are very low in Boquete since our climate is mild and we usually don't have the need for heat or air conditioning.  Cable TV and Internet service runs around $68 a month for the full cable package (with premium channels) and a 1 MB internet connection. 
 
Car and home insurance is less expensive than the US and Canada and, importantly, property taxes are very low and many homes don't pay any property tax at all.
 
All in all, Boquete is a very reasonable place to live and you'll find that your living expenses will most likely be significantly lower than what you pay in the US and Canada.
 
Roger J. Pentecost of Boquete Valley of Flowers Condos – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
If you don't own a finca and horses, the overall cost of living in Boquete is quite reasonable! My six plus years here have been very affordable. Utilities are affordable, water-sewer-trash removal are cheap enough. Gas for cooking and heating water runs about $7 dollars a month. Electricity is usually around $25.00-ish a month.My horse by my barn in Boquete, Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International Living
 
We eat a healthy diet and dine out often but it doesn't break the bank. Of course owning more than one vehicle, the horses, having a pool and hired help does dent the budget. However since I am in construction I necessarily need transportation. Hauling horses to events and picking up items for building requires me to be on the roads a lot, and gas runs an average of $4.50 a gallon.  I dare say it still doesn't cost anywhere as much as say in Canada or the USA.
 
People tell me who rent from me that they spend upwards of $1,200 to $1,500 a month and live comfortably. Those who pay up front for their homes, it costs them about half as much. I do believe that amount includes food, health insurance, transportation, dining out and miscellaneous spending.
 
People save money on taxes. For instance there is 15-20 year tax exemption if you purchase a home.  Medical insurance is cheaper. Many people invest up to $800 each to apply for the Pensioner Visa and that entitles them to many discounts as well.
 
One couple I know find they are able to easily save $300 a month living here, and not scrimping. They told me it was difficult to make ends meet in the small rural town in Texas they moved from on $2,500 a month. I hope you come to Panama and check out the savings. One big savings is that here in the mountains there is no need for expensive air conditioning or heat. Now that is a popular reason so many people move here.
View of Boquete Panama from the mountains – Best Places In The World To Retire – International Living
 
 

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