Boquete is not a big town but it’s pretty spread out. Most people coming in don’t realize that it’s a lot more spread out than it would appear from most people’s initial impressions.
There are a number of gated communities versus regular developments versus neighborhoods here. Here are some of the main areas:
Valle Escondido is the gated development within which you can purchase or rent any kind of property that you can imagine—townhomes to condos to single family homes.
I’ve been told that years before my arrival, Valle Escondido is the community that put Boquete on the international map. They have a hotel, restaurant, event center, a bar, a spa, a pool, and all kinds of facilities there. They have an organic garden, they have a 9-hole golf course, a miniature golf course, and they have gated areas where only the residents can get in.
The price for the single family in Valle Escondido can range anywhere from half a million dollars and up. There are condominiums that are probably $250,000 to $350,000 for a 2-bedroom, 2-bath type homes.
Valle Escondido has a lot of events. They have an amphitheater where they hold the Boquete Blues and Jazz Festival every February. They also have weddings, if somebody is interested on renting out the hall. If somebody wants a room for the night, they have a hotel. People can stay there for one night or more and it’s about 10 minutes from the heart of downtown by walking, although it’s hidden. You don’t really know Valle Escondido is there unless somebody directs you to it. It’s in a valley and it’s very green and really manicured.
Los Molinos is similar to Valle Escondido and it’s also gated, although it’s not right in the heart of town. I would say Los Molinos is about 15 to 20 minutes drive on Boquete-David road going towards David. As a result, it’s a little bit warmer there and flatter. It’s on a canyon with a couple of waterfalls so you can see the expansiveness of the whole area and you have a good view of the Volcan Baru, the only volcano we have.
Los Molinos has a bar, a restaurant, and a hotel. They have an event center just like Valle Escondido.
Los Molinos is a little bit warmer, probably about 5 degrees warmer on average, because they are lower on elevation than Boquete. In general, there are many similarities between Valle Escondido and Los Molinos is that Los Molinos is more affordable. The larger homes average about $350,000 to $400,000. Some of the 2 bedroom / 2 bathroom, 1,500 square feet condominiums could sell for a couple hundred thousand dollars right on the canyon.
Brisas Boqueteñas is another “sort of” gated community. I haven’t figured if it’s gated or just a development. It’s on the same Boquete-David road, just a few miles before you get to Los Molinos. Brisas Boqueteñas has a lot of single family, smaller homes. The prices are in the low $200,000 range for most of them. Some of them are right on the canyon, which might cause them to be worth a little bit more. It has a mixed community more with Panamanians and expats living there, unlike Los Molinos and Valle Escondido, which has mostly expats.
Brisas Boqueteñas is just single family homes. They have a neighborhood watch. They’ve had some break-ins in that area because they are right next to the highway and so in that development a lot of the people have bars on the windows and doors.
Springs Boquete is off of the Alto Lino Loop, in the Alto Lino area, in a very mountainous area. It has probably 20 to 30 homes, so it’s not a very big community. It’s not really a community; it’s more like a development where somebody bought the land, subdivided it, sold parcels, and people have built their own homes using their and own designs. Springs Boquete has high-end homes typically ranging from between $400,000 to $800,000 depending on the size of the home and its amenities. They still have lots available for approximately $150,000 to $200,000 just for the lots. These lots are not big, but they are in a great location, with a great view of everything, including the surrounding valley and the volcano in the distance.
Lucero is a gated golfing community that’s a little bit remote from Boquete; about a 20 minutes drive. Lucero is special in its own right because it has an international level golf course that is absolutely stunning. They don’t have as many homes there; if I had to guess, maybe 20 or 30.
Lucero is a much larger area than Springs Boquete. Just over a year or a year and a half ago they paved the entire road from Boquete-David all the way to the Lucero entrance, which is about a 12 to 15 minute ride. This has made Lucero more accessible, so people are building there. The road wasn’t paved well for the first 4 or 5 years since they opened and I think they suffered because of it.
Lucero has some huge homes and they are also building some townhouses and apartments. Recently, they have some tree houses that they rent by the night. If somebody wants them to build a tree house for them, they will be able to do that.
Boquete Canyon Village (which it used to be known as Montanas de Caldera) is located about 4 or 5 kilometers once you turn on to the Caldera road off of the Boquete-David road. Recently, they sold about two thirds of their lots for what I hear is about $55,000 to $75,000 each, depending on the size of the lot.
In the past, there was an issue with Montanas de Caldera in that a couple of homes slid into the canyon. They also had some management issues. Now, from what I hear, they have much better management and more people are starting to build homes there. It’s a nice, gated community.
There are neighborhoods like Jaramillo where a number of expats live where they have coffee farms. There is also Volcancito and Santa Lucia, which have a number of properties available to either build or rent homes. Volcancito has some coffee plantations and fincas (ranches) as well. Volcancito is mostly regular, single family homes, and they also have some coffee plantations in that area as well. Santa Lucia is a nice area for young couples with families to raise because the prices are pretty reasonable and it’s located close enough to town.
Jaramillo is a huge area on the other side of the river from downtown that is quite mountainous. A lot of people who live there have a lot more property, bigger homes, and a number of expats have decided to have coffee plants and do some small coffee farms. They produce their own coffee, package it, and sell it. There are a number of people who have some coffee plantations both in Jaramillo and Volcancito.
Jaramillo is a pretty large area that is quite mountainous. There’s Jaramillo Abajo (Lower Jaramillo), Jaramillo Centro, and Jaramillo Arriba (Upper Jaramillo). People who live in Jaramillo have huge properties and driveways and typically, big homes. Some of their homes include coffee farms or plantation fincas where they produce their own coffee.
In order to grow, coffee plants need to be at least 3,000 to 6,000 feet elevation above sea level, and most of Boquete is between 4,000 to 5,500, so we are an ideal location for coffee and there’s usually coffee everywhere.
(Manzar Lari visiting Lucero Homes and country club, Boquete, Panama, pictured.)