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John Gilbert of PanamaKeys – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Megan  Gilbert celebrating with her friends, Boquete, Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe economy seems to be very good in Boquete. One of the things about Boquete is it is a tourist-driven community, so it’s more transient than some other places that I could tell you. Oftentimes, you’ll see restaurants come and go in Boquete whether because the people are changing the motif of their own restaurant, or because they sold their restaurant.
 
Boquete feels touristy because there are always people coming and going in Boquete. It also feels exciting because a lot of the tourists in Boquete are younger. It’s always exciting because we’re always meeting new people, and it also drives Boquete’s service-oriented economy. 
 
Boquete is full of restaurants and Panamanian souvenirs. What I appreciate about Boquete are the different international things that you see. We go into an Italian restaurant and it’s not just an Italian restaurant that’s run by your buddy whom you grew up with in Kentucky. The Italian restaurant’s cook is someone who has relocated here from Italy, and offers authentic style Italian food. It’s the same for German food, Chinese food, and of course, Panamanian food here in Boquete. The Mexican food here in Boquete is true Mexican food, and I really, really appreciate that. 
 
A lot of stuff that we would appreciate is American- your burger and fries, your sandwich shops, all of which are American style and are just very good and very affordable. 
 
Here’s the thing about the economy. If you were to sit down today and talk to a Panamanian, they would tell you that the economy is suffering. That is not the truth. The truth is from 2010 – 2015 Panama has enjoyed an average growth rate in their gross domestic product of 7.8%. In 2016, Panama enjoyed a gross domestic product of a little shy of 5%, which was 4.8% for the year, and which is two and a half times greater than the United States, and 2 and a half times greater than the European Union, both of which were at 1.9% in 2016. 
 
So the Panamanian economy is coming along quite nicely, and Boquete is a huge beneficiary of that because there’s been so much infrastructure expansion in Boquete. Over the last 18 months, we’ve had a 4-lane, American-style road that was built from the beach to Boquete. 
 
There has been so much growth in Boquete that the government is now putting in a form of sewer system. The water system, the potable water is excellent in Boquete, and has been improved n over the last 18 months. The government officials in Boquete realize the expansion that they’re being blessed with, and they’re growing along with it so that the services don’t suffer later.  
 
(Megan  Gilbert celebrating with her friends, Boquete, Panama, pictured.)
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Wee-Yiong Fung of Prestige Panama Realty – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
 bulls with a yunta, yoke, Boquete, Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe economy in Boquete is rural because most of the people are farmers who plant crops such as onions, coffee, potatoes, and sweet peppers and some of the people raise cattle or horses. Only a few people have their own business in Boquete. So the economy in Boquete depends on tourism and farming.
 
The economy in Boquete is growing fairly slowly, but it's making progress. In the past, most of the people in Boquete would travel to David to work, but now Boquete is getting more and more jobs because they are building more hotels, restaurants, and houses everywhere. Even the government started to build more infrastructure for the people to move to Boquete.
 
A farmer using the traditional method of using his bulls to plow his field, Boquete Panama, pictured.)
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Lissy Lezcano  of Lissy Lezcano Attorney & Mediator – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
volcan_baru ranger station – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe economy in Boquete is growing. The tourism industry is getting more people to come to Boquete. There are now a lot of restaurants in Boquete and there is very low unemployment there, too. There are lots of new buildings, houses, and gated communities being put up in Boquete recently. 
 
If you have the money to open a business in Boquete, you will find it pleasant because there are a lot of business opportunities there. People are buying and businesses are thriving and the unemployment rate is getting lower, so that’s a sign that the economy is growing. Boquete is a small place. Most of the businesses in Boquete are geared towards tourism and services. 
 
If you were to open a business in Boquete, you would most likely be servicing the expats and the tourists because Boquete has an expat and tourist based economy. Most of the agricultural industry is located in Volcan, which is another one hour away from Boquete by car. 
 
(Visitors ride ATVs in Volcan Baru Park, pictured.)
 
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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
Caldera Hopt Springs, Boquete, Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingBoquete is doing pretty well. There is an influx and outflux of folks as people come and test it, and there are people who stick around and there are those who don’t, but every time I turn around, there is always a nice feature that comes up. For example, there is a roller skating rink that is going to open up and it is going to be used as a skating rink, but other times, it will be used as a dance hall, and other times it will be used as a banquet hall. It is really thoughtful how they put it together, so that it will be multi-functional.
 
There are a number of absolutely fabulous spas here in Boquete.  My wife belongs to a spa here and she just loves it. She gets a small whirlpool to herself. You have to make your reservations, of course, but it is high-end stuff and it is not expensive.
 
The economy in Boquete is pretty good just the way the economy in the whole of Panama is pretty good. They just got their credit rating upgraded and the Panama Canal expansion looks like it is going to be finished next year. It is becoming more and more sophisticated. Panama City is a very sophisticated city.
 
Panama has the largest number of international business corporations in the world only after Hong Kong. In the maritime industry, I think Panama has the most number of ships registered in the world. Almost every business that you can imagine has operations here. The internet connection is very good, the businesses are growing even more because there is now more sophisticated infrastructure.
 
(Pictured, Caldera Hot Springs in Boquete.)
Paul McBride – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Highway from Boquete to David, Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International Living
Despite the global economic meltdown in 2008 and 2009, Panama’s economy remained strong with exceptional levels of growth during the last six years.  Much of the local economic growth has been the result of massive infrastructure projects throughout the country.  The expansion of the Panama Canal is the largest of these projects and there have been a number of significant construction and development projects in other areas of the country.
 
Here in Chiriquí Province, the government spent over $130 million expanding the highway that connects David (the capital of the Chiriquí Province) with Boquete.  This has had a major impact on the local economy.    There is also a nearly $1 billion road construction project currently underway to expand the highway from David to Santiago from 2 lanes to 4 lanes.
 
Economic growth in Boquete has also been good during the last six years.  Although residential construction suffered in the aftermath of the housing collapse in the US, revenues from tourism and agriculture have been steadily increasing.  With the housing market stabilizing overseas, we are seeing a resurgence of new home buyers in the area and home construction is once again playing a big role in the local economy.
Harry Hunt of ownboquete – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Locally, more and more we are seeing people move to Boquete, mostly from the new middle class in David comprised of business owners with enough disposable income to move their families to the cool climate of the mountains that is only a half hour commute from their businesses. The catalyst for this is of course the new highway that is starting to change things in many ways.
 
Downtown Boquete is seeing much needed building rehabilitation as more tourists and visitors need places to shop and eat and stay.  Several large properties have changed hands recently and condemned buildings are being removed and new steel frames are being erected.
 
The biggest change for us is the new restaurants we now have and the great food that is available, now there are enough people that business is steady and we won't have favorite places closing for lack of customers.  Right now the future is bright and life has never been better for those of us living here full time.
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Penny Barrett of Fundacion Bid 4 Bouquete – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Boquete probably has the best economy in all of Panama. There is very little unemployment here. In fact, it is sometimes difficult to get a construction crew together composed of locals. Often, the construction workers ride the bus into town from the outlying areas.
 
In my (mostly Panamanian) neighborhood, almost every one of my neighbors has built or remodeled their home in the past 5 years.
 
Of course, there is poverty in Boquete. However, unlike other areas of Panama we have developed some programs to alleviate the worst poverty. For example, every elementary age school child receives a hot lunch at his school every school day. There is a group of volunteers which delivers dry food to over 100 needy families every month. And families with handicapped members get special services through the Handicap Foundation.
 
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Robert Reichert of Cuesta del Sol Condominiums – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Operating Cuesta del Sol Condominiums I receive many enquiries from prospective buyers and renters and was recently asked by a client, who would like to relocate to Panama from Canada and can't retire quite yet, so would still need to work, "do you know if Canadians can work in Panama and how difficult it would be to find work".
 
This is question asked by many people before they move and my answer is the following:
 
Like you, many of us have similar desires; to retire in a nice tropical place. I spent all my life in Canada and some of it in severe climates like Manitoba and Alberta, so I know how you are thinking. Making a move to Panama and finding a way to survive, if you are not on pension can be a real challenge. To just ‘work’ here like you may now be doing in Canada is not all that easy.
 
There are laws to regulate immigration and restrict the types of ‘work’ available to such immigrants. In Panama businesses fall into different classes that define those available to nationals and to foreigners. Classifications for most of the common businesses; retail, services, restaurants, etc. are restricted for nationals. The classifications open to foreigners are in the areas of tourism related, import/export, manufacturing, consulting, etc. Recently Panama has opened up other professional categories, but in these cases, and in almost any other occupation you will require good knowledge of Spanish.
 
One way people get around this is with so called ‘underground’ enterprises. Computer, home-based, artistic, special skills, etc. We have clients into distribution of holistic vitamins, web based financial marketing, a writer for a niche market computer publication, friends who manufacture ceramic art on their property and so on. A well planned and researched cottage business has a good chance of success.  Just identify your special skills and look for the opportunities.
 

 
Oscar Peña of Mucho Gusto Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Dear reader,
 
Boquete has being growing very much in a positive way just in the last 4 years!
 
Boquete is still undergoing positive changes to make it better.  I have lived in Costa Rica and Panama and I'm from Colombia, so I have a perspective from many places in Latin America and I see Boquete as very promising.
 
Tourism is getting stronger every year, as is real state, coffee production and farming.  Any idea which involves a solution for any need here is a great opportunity to make business!
 
David (the much larger city that is very close to Boquete) has been renovating their airport and it will start receiving flights from Miami very soon, which means everything here is going to be much better and people can travel more easy without going to and arariving from Panama city. 
 
There are ups and downs like everywhere and it is not perfect but it could be if you come with the right attitude and good ideas :)
 
I am a small entrepreneur and I have been living here for 4 years.  I started my business with a good attitude and a great ideas and let me tell you my friend, it has being great experience! Come and check it out.  I hope this answer is helpful for you.
 
Oscar.
 
Allen Rosen – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
The economy in Boquete is doing just fine. It is less frothy than in the heady days of the land rush before the Great Crash of 2008, but that is to be expected. Panama as a whole is doing very well economically, and that includes Boquete.
 
There are lots of opportunities in Boquete and elsewhere for expats who want to start small businesses. I know of one young American who recently moved to Boquete and is starting a property management business. Others have invested in commercial real estate, opened used car lots, restaurants, bakeries, construction companies, and so on. 
 
Look around for opportunities. In Panama, they are sitting there right in front of you.

 

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