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Kathya de Chong of Alto Boquete Condominios – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Boquete sign, Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingBoquete is almost a bilingual community.
You will always find help from locals or foreigners to speak Spanish or English.  Panama's official language is Spanish, but Boquete, being a well-known destiny for retirees, the locals have learned to deal with non-Spanish speakers and of course local Boquete residents try to get into the mood by educating their children to be prepared for the English-speaking market.
In my opinion, this should be considered one of the benefits about considering living abroad, language is always one of the most shocking differences for expats and here you won't need to worry about it.
But please be nice! Don't feel like it is local's obligation to understand and speak English... in fact, it is your obligation to speak or try to understand a little Spanish :) 
Alberto Socarraz of Panama Vida – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Boquete Jazz & Blues Festival – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingIn Boquete, if you only want to deal with expats, then yes you can get by with just English. The local Panamanian community does understand a lot of English. They are not necessarily conversational, but they know the basics. If you are looking, for example, for bread or milk or eggs or if you want to pump gas at the gas station, they understand that sort of thing, but on a conversational level, if you only spoke English, you would be dealing with more expats than locals.
Within the community of Boquete, there are several groups and forums that you can become involved in. There are always things going on. There are bread- making classes. There are knitting classes. There are hiking tours. There are groups of expats that get together on a weekly basis to do different events. It just depends on how involved you want to be and how adventurous you are. A lot of people come here not necessarily to be involved with a lot of expats because they would rather try to be involved with learning the Panamanian culture and learning the Spanish language. At the end of the day, it just depends on your lifestyle, what your end goal is as far as coming here and where you feel comfortable.  
(Poster for the Boquete Jazz and Blues Festival on the slope of Volcan Baru, pictured.)
Georgina Chanapi  of Lucero Homes, Golf & Country Club – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
The Story of Spanish – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingIn Boquete, you can get by with just English. Many expats who come here have small booklets with basic Spanish words. Before they travel, they know many Spanish words like compra, bano and many other Spanish words. You don’t have to be fluent in Spanish when you are in Boquete because many people here speak English.
Spanish is the national language here in Panama, but you will find many English speakers. If you don’t speak Spanish, you are not going to be lost. It is not like when you go to Swiss Park in Switzerland where people only speak German or Swiss-German. It’s not like that here in Boquete because we have many English speakers here. You are not going to have any problem.
But still, I suggest that you try to learn common words like donde (where), como esta (how are you?), hola (hello), bano (bathroom-- that’s important!), comida (meal), adios (goodbye), and gracias (thanks). Expats should learn these basic words before they come to Panama or to go to any Spanish Country.
(A history of the Spanish language worldwide, pictured.)
Lola Braxton of Services Toby – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Spanish is the language most spoken in Boquete, as well as it is in David, which is the closest large city to Boquete, less than 40 minutes away by car. In David there are only a few places like restaurants where the people at least try to speak English, although the people here do try to speak English the best they can, and the expats also try speaking what Spanish they know.
Roger J. Pentecost of Boquete Valley of Flowers Condos – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
You can get by in Boquete even if you only speak English, but it will be beneficial if you know some Spanish. Margaret (my wife) and I hardly speak any Spanish and we got by very successfully for quite a few years and we still do.
Many Panamanians speak English. If the customer service centers of utility companies like Cable Onda (a cable service company) or the electric company calls you on the phone, you will often hear someone in the background who speaks English.
Restaurants and hospitals, especially the hospitals in Chiriqui, make it a point or at least prefer to hire staff who know how to speak English. Most of the doctors in Chiriqui speak some English because they received their education in North America or in other places that speak English.
So you can get by in Boquete with just English, but if you know some Spanish, then good for you, because you will find it even more helpful and it will help get you in more with the Panamanians.
Penny Barrett of Fundacion Bid 4 Bouquete – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account

The language that is widely spoken in Boquete is of course Spanish because Panama is a Spanish-speaking country. However, because of the large settlement of expats in Boquete, there are a lot of jobs that require Panamanians to learn some English. That has attracted English-speaking Panamanians from other locations to come to Boquete. There is a high concentration of English-speaking Panamanians in service jobs such as hotel clerks, waiters in restaurants, and clerks in the stores.

When you live in Boquete it is better if you learn some rudimentary Spanish. There are two very good Spanish language schools here. You can certainly get by with just basic Spanish. You can survive without it but it does not enhance your life here if you do not know any Spanish at all.

Vannessa Solano of Activentas, S.A. – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account

If you speak to the locals in Boquete, they would normally speak Spanish but there are a lot of people who speak English as well. You do not have to speak fluent Spanish but you should at least know some basic words in order to get around. Speaking even just a little bit of Spanish will help you a lot, most especially in the open-air market. You will get what you really want if you know a little Spanish. You will get around without speaking a lot of Spanish by using some hand gestures and body language but it helps a lot if you know at least some Spanish because that way you know what the locals are talking about and you will not feel awkward.

Frank Stegmeier of Rio Encantado – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
The question of what language is spoken in Boquete reminds me of the guests that were arriving at our tourist place.  When they got to the airport in David, they told me they could not understand the dialect spoken there.  When I told them it was Spanish, they exclaimed, “ That can’t be!  They use the U.S. Dollar and don’t speak English”?  Well, that is an extreme example of what some tourists expect.
Frankly many ex-pats here in the Boquete area do not speak any Spanish and they get along OK.  But seriously, it’s best to learn basic communication. Here there are Spanish schools with one-on-one instruction or in groups.
Linda Jensen – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
In Boquete, you can get by just speaking English.
I speak just a little Spanish.  If the person speaking Spanish to me speaks slowly enough, I can manage.
When you go to a store and the clerk speaks to you in Spanish and they can tell by the look on your face that you don’t understand them, they will very kindly turn their monitor around to show you how much to pay, or they’ll write it down on a piece of paper and hand it to you.
I have encountered zero problems getting anything done in Boquete.  For example, just the other day, I need to have a paper laminated.  I don’t know how to say “laminated” in Spanish, so I go in, point to what they have, they respond in Spanish, I say “si”, and we do our transaction.  I can do my transactions at the dry cleaners or other places with no problems at all.  The locals in Boquete understand enough English and there are enough gringos here that you can just walk in off the street to any place and get what you need.
If you speak slowly, many of the people here can understand you.  Many times, if you write the word, they will understand it.  This is what I do, for example, when I go to the pharmacy—I just write what I want, in English, on a piece of paper, and they know exactly what I want.  (Maybe it’s my Southern accent that keeps them from understanding when I just talk.)
Most of the schools in Boquete have English classes now.
All legal documents in Panama are in Spanish, which is why, if you don’t speak Spanish, it’s important to find an attorney or a translator when you need one.  
Dianne Heidke of The Boquete Handbook – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
The language spoken in Boquete and the rest of Chiriqui is Spanish...obviously! Many of the locals also speak a bit or a lot of English and they are used to fumbling attempts by the extrajeros ( foreigners). Learn a little espanol before you come, it will be appreciated.
Dianne Heidke - The Boquete Handbook
Renate Jope of Panama Premium Real Estate – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
The language most often spoken in Boquete, Chiriqui Province is English and the Indians speak their own language.
Boquete has a high number of expats from all over the world, and yes most of those, incluing Canadians and Americans will speak English, you can definitely get by.....but then again, like just about everywhere in Panama, the local population does not speak English unless they had a higher education level.
It is best to try and learn some Spanish, or else you will miss out on understanding the locals and their culture.  In the future there will be a lot more English spoken, as the young kids are now obligated to take English in school from early on...

If you're interested in Can I Get By Just Speaking English in other places, look here...

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