Rent is not all that cheap in the beautiful mountain area of Boquete because it is a very popular place to live. While gringos come and go (literally, many only stay a few months out of the year), rents continue to escalate.
The best way to find a place to rent (it is suggested you rent a while before you purchase a home) is from word of mouth; online rental searches; friends; the publications and real estate offices all over town. Many restaurants and businesses have a bulletin board with listings, most have pictures.
It is easy to do an online search. BestPlacesInTheWorldToRetire.com (this site) is very helpful; look under the tab to the left for real estate or rentals. Others are Vivun and Craig's List. Just enter key words such as "Boquete" and "Panama Rentals", which will bring up many places to see actual costs.
Tour homes and read the list of amenities, use the maps to see the locations and all of them have a phone number so you can get more information.
The cost of our first rental was $900 a month. Too high, no hot water, very old and stained furniture. It was clean and cleaned daily by the manager. However "suicide showers" are not reliable and as the name implies not too safe either! So we gave notice and found a much more American style and sized place. Our condo is in wonderful location and has two bedrooms, two bathrooms, closets, a nice kitchen and our favorite is the large tiled patio. We rented it form the owner for $750 and took a 12 month lease.
I have seen beautiful photos of condos in the valley nearer town that rent from $1,500 up for a large furnished condo in private gated community. Close by there is another condo community where a few months ago a large, well designed one bedroom one bath could be rented for $800 a month and that includes utilities and cable. A duplex, new and unfurnished in a rather undeveloped area ( you would want a vehicle) was shown to us for $800 a month. It had two bedrooms, two baths and was around 1,100 square feet in size.
Ah, but don't think all rentals in Boquete are so expensive. You can get a decent place to live here for $300 a month. And if you want to live like a native; it is a lifestyle that may not include hot water throughout the home, no window screens or reliable appliances, you can live dirt cheap.
Expats often leave for extend stays and will lease their homes out for that time period. Some even will pay you to stay in their home to help protect it from sitting empty and becoming a target for robbery. There are some beautiful homes here in Boquete.
Doing your homework is the key to finding a comfortable place to live that fits your individual needs. Some people want to be in the middle of everything while others enjoy a quiet location, a garden setting , or golf, views or privacy. All of it is available here in Boquete from low rent to high and all in between.
With our rent rate $750 we still live for far less than we did in the states!