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Anne-Michelle Wand of United Country Bocas del Toro – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account

Bocas del Toro Panama boats in shallow water tied to dock with ocean – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe economy in Bocas Del Toro this year is great. In fact, the economy in all of Panama is great. The last update on the economy that I read recorded a 6.5% growth. Tourism is up; everybody's businesses are doing well.

Businesses in Bocas are primarily geared towards tourism and real estate. It is still a matter of "season" and "off-season." It may be slow right now but it will pick up this winter. Last season everybody had a great season, we have a great weather, business did well, and we are all doing well. Everything is booked from December to April. If you come here to look for a cheap apartment during season, you will not find any, unless your friend is passing it on to you. However, it you come here during off-season, especially right around August, you can find more places to stay in. It is wise to come off-season, if you are looking for a long-term place to rent.

I would say tourism in Bocas is based on three major aspects. A big part of the economy is tourism. Next is real estate, and then the local businesses. There are a lot of local businesses in Bocas. The local businesses cater to the construction trade such as lumber stores, hardwood stores, and places that sell sand and dirt. Then, there are the regular stores, grocery stores and department stores that sell all the stuff you need every day to live. There are also tourists’ stores that sell souvenirs, and restaurants and bars. All of these contribute a significant amount to the economy in Bocas.

J. Stephen Crabtree of Careening Cay Resort inc.
Coral Coast Cristobal,S.A. – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
 
Bocas del Toro waterfront – Best Places In The World To Retire – International Living
The economy in Bocas is by and large booming because of the increase in tourism and the influx of energetic people who are expanding the availability of things to do here rapidly.
 
This last season saw the busiest yet!
 
I have been here over 8 years and we have gone from 4 cabins in our resort to 12 and expanded our restaurant 4 times.
 
Boats by a dock in Bocas del Toro, Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International Living
A quick look at the expanding skyline shows progress.
Ian Usher of House Sitting Magazine – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
The economy of Bocas del Toro on the Caribbean coast of Panama, just across the border from Costa Rica, is very interesting.
 
Bocas del Toro map, Caribbean coast Panama, near Costa Rica – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe map to the right shows the location of Bocas del Toro, in the north western part of Panama.
Confusion sometimes arises, as the name Bocas del Toro refers both to the province of Boacas del Toro and to the archipelago of Caribbean islands that form part of the province. Further confusion can also occur as the main town on Isla Colon is also called Bocas del Toro, or is often simply referred to as Bocas.
 
The province of Bocas del Toro spreads over 4,500 square miles, and includes main towns of Almirante and Changuinola. The Bocas del Toro archipelago has nine main islands and countless smaller ones.
 
The area's history is closely tied to the banana industry, and in the early 1900s The United Fruit Company began large scale banana production in the area, using Bocas Town as their base of operations. At one point around 1920, the population of the town was estimated to be around 20,000.
 
Bocas del Toro was one of Panama's most prosperous regions, but a banana blight killed off huge amounts of banana trees, and the company ceased operations in the 1930s and Bocas del Toro slipped back into relative anonymity.
 
There is still a thriving banana industry here now, Chiquita being one of the big players in the area, moving huge amounts of product through the port of Almirante.
 
In the Bocas del Toro archipelago tourism is now starting to take hold, and Bocas Town is an interesting and eclectic mix of higher end hotels and cheap backpacker hostels. Bocas is still a firm favourite on the backpacker circuit, but recent developments show that the area is a place on the move.
 
Property here is very affordable, and the tropical living conditions coupled with a low cost of living prove to be a draw for many expats from the States, Canada, Europe and beyond.
 
Food and other commodities tend to be a little pricier in Bocas del Toro than in other areas of Panama, as we are at the end of the supply chain, and everything has to be brought in by boat or plane - yes, there is a little airport in town, a sign of the growing prosperity here.
 
Socially there is a very interesting mix of people here. There are many Afro-Caribbeans, most descendants from original workers in the early 1900s for the banana companies. Alongside them there are regular Panamanians, local indigenous indians, a small expat community, and the tourists and backpackers.
 
It all makes for a colourful, exciting and vibrant place, and gives an encouraging feeling of a healthily developing economy.
 
Bocas del Toro waterfront, Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International Living
The picture to the left shows the bustling Bocas del Toro waterfront, where new hotels and bars seem to be springing up on a regular basis.
 
Come on down and take a look at this vibrant paradise.

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