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.