Embracing the Boquete Lifestyle: Costs of Living in 2024

Located in the Chiriquí region of Panama, in far western Panama, Boquete is a popular town among expats. The area is known for its majestic mountains, lush green trees, and colorful flowers. The simple fact that you can enjoy these breathtaking views daily would be plenty to gain the attention of anyone thinking of making Panama their home. However, Boquete offers much more to foreigners than simple, natural beauty.

While it may not be the cheapest town in Panama, expats will be pleased to find that you can lead an extremely affordable lifestyle here. Whether on a tight budget or not, you can make it work in Boquete. We’re going to look at several very different monthly budgets so you can see that the cost of living in Boquete can meet most people’s financial needs.

But before we get into the numbers, let’s first examine why Boquete is such a popular choice for expats and retirees.

Tim said, “Panama is where stress comes to die. Living a Panamanian lifestyle certainly put us on a path of lower stress, lower blood pressure, and fewer complications.

Reasons to Live in Boquete

Boquete has excellent weather and spectacular scenery. You won’t need an air conditioner in most Boquete locations. Rents range from $500 to $2500 a month.

You can live in a fancy gated community with many amenities, like golf, tennis, and a spa.

valle escondido panama
Valle Escondido, a gated community in Boquete

Or you can live in a residential neighborhood with primarily Panamanian neighbors. There’s something for everyone.

Downtown Boquete is called Bajo Boquete. Several residential areas exist, such as Alto Boquete, Jaramillo, El Salto, Alto Lino, Volcancito, Los Naranjos, Alto Quiel, Palmira, etc. See the map below to familiarize yourself with the different areas in Boquete. The map is from CasaSolution, a premier real estate company in Boquete.

Even though Boquete is more expensive than other highland towns, affordable housing options are available. The most affordable options are found by being “boots on the ground” and talking to people! You won’t find them advertised on the internet.

If you’re considering settling in Boquete, you may want to know why many expats love living in the Boquete area.

Excellent Location

Boquete is conveniently located and has all the amenities you need for a quality lifestyle. It has several grocery stores, two department stores, 50+ restaurants, doctors, dentists, and hair salons or barbers. Fruit and veggie markets are in multiple locations. There are several banks, a wine store, and a few gyms. Live music is at multiple venues several times a week.

Sendora Plaza, Boquete Panama

Plus, you’re close to David, which has even more amenities. David, the third largest city in Panama, is just a 40-minute drive south from Boquete. So, you can easily make a day trip there for whatever you need. David has electronic stores, larger grocery stores, furniture stores, two private hospitals, a large public hospital, two malls, several shopping centers, and many restaurants. David also have a large Pricesmart store which is similar to Costco.

The airport in David has four daily flights to/from Panama City. These 40-minute flights give quick access to international flights out of Tocumen International Airport.

And, while you may love living in the mountains, Boquete isn’t that far from the coast for an occassional beach day. The Gulf of Chiriquí is probably the closest option, allowing you to drive just an hour to beautiful beaches that line the coast.

las lajas beach panama
Las Lajas Beach

Active Community

If you want to get involved in the community, you’ll find plenty to do in Boquete. There are many events to attend or maybe even help organize! Boquete is also known to be somewhat of a cultural hub in Panama. So, if you’re an artistic person or simply looking to get in touch with your creative side, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to do so. From drawing classes to art exhibits, you’ll be able to enjoy a rich cultural life in Boquete.

With such a large expat population in Boquete, locals and expats often work together. Making Panamanian friends is an excellent way to practice your Spanish and learn more about the culture.

There are many volunteer opportunities in Boquete, too!

expats in panama

Perfect Weather

One of the main reasons foreigners pick Panama as a place to retire is the better weather! Many retirees look for “better” weather than they may have experienced in their home country. Most are looking to avoid cold, dark winters that mean waking up to a snowed-in car or icy roads.

Coming from Texas, I wanted to live where I’d never need an air conditioner again.  I found what I was looking for in the Boquete highlands.

The climate in Boquete is often referred to as “eternal spring.” Depending on the elevation, daytime temperatures are usually in the mid- to high 70s, with nighttime lows around 60F. January temperatures are about the same as July. The only difference is the dry season vs. the rainy season.

Boquete experiences a dry season (January to April) and a wet season (May to December). However, the wet season is pretty mild initially, with rain only a few times a week and in the afternoons. October and November tend to get the most rain, and it will likely start raining at about 2 pm.

There are 21 microclimates in Boquete. One area may have warmer or cooler weather than others, more rain or sunshine, or more wind. For these reasons, we encourage you to rent for at least the first year you are in Panama so you can decide if the microclimate where you live is acceptable.

Downtown Bajo Boquete is at 3500 feet, Alto Boquete is at 4000-foot elevation, and some other Boquete areas are at 1800 feet or as high as 5000 or 6,000 feet.

At sea level, it’s about 90F (+/-5). For every 1000-foot increase in elevation, the temperature drops 4 degrees. Using this formula, you can determine the elevation where you should live to experience the weather you prefer.

Rainbow in Boquete
Rainbow season is in the dry season when Boquete gets a mist called Bajareque.

Fresh Food

One perk of living in Boquete is the fresh produce you’ll enjoy. The region is known as Panama’s “breadbasket,” meaning it supplies the country with much of its goods. Some of the best foods are grown in this region, from coffee to vegetables. And since you can buy most of your produce locally, it’ll also be cheaper!

If you want to get into gardening or already have a green thumb, you’ll enjoy living in Boquete. The region is prime land for cultivating fruits and veggies. So, if it’s your priority, look for houses with gardens where you can pass your time pruning flowers or tending to your tomatoes.

veggies grown in panama
From Jackie’s Garden in Boquete

Upfront Costs to Move to Panama

Determining your budget when moving to Panama is essential. Knowing what you must spend each month will help determine where to live in Panama.

Some areas are much more affordable than others. For example, the cost of living in Volcan or Santa Fe, other highland towns, is about 30% less than in Boquete.

Another thing to consider is the upfront costs of moving to Panama. There will be costs for getting a visa, security deposits for a rental, perhaps buying a car, getting health insurance, and more. Getting pets to Panama will be an extra expense if you have pets.

See this article about the costs of moving to Panama. There are things you can do to reduce the upfront costs, but there are things that will increase them, too.

What Does it Cost to Live in Boquete?

One of the most critical factors regarding relocating is the cost of living. Moving to Panama can reduce your living costs depending on where and how you live.

If you’re looking to move to Panama, you’re probably intrigued by the low cost of living it offers compared to the U.S., Canada, and many parts of Europe. While Boquete isn’t necessarily considered the cheapest place to live in Panama, especially since it’s so popular among expats, you can still live comfortably on a budget!

Rentals are available from $500 to $2500 and everything in between.  Some people cook at home most of the time.  Others enjoy eating out four to five nights a week.  Some eat out at Fonda (Panamanian restaurants), where it’s $5 a meal, and others prefer fine dining restaurants for $20+ per meal.  If you frequent the daily happy hours at bars and restaurants, it can substantially increase your living expenses.

While you can get almost everything you need or want in Panama, shopping at several stores may be required. Some prefer to just order from Amazon which can increase your living expenses. Online shopping can increase your monthly budget.

Debbi said, “There is no way we could live this kind of qualify lifestyle if we stayed in the United States. Even though we’re not retirement age, we were able to retire early because of the lower costs of living in Panama! We really do LIVE BETTER for LESS in Panama!

To illustrate the range of monthly budgets available in Boquete, four families shared their monthly costs of living.

(NOTE: For privacy, these people asked me not to show a photo of their house, so I am sharing other photos)

Monthly Cost of Living #1 (for a single person)

Rent/Mortgage: $550
Utilities (electric/gas): $6 gas ($0 for electric, it’s included in rent)
Internet, cable:  $0 included in rent
Cell phone:  $23
Groceries and household supplies: $400
Meals out: $20
Gas for car: $10
Car maintenance: $20
Car insurance: $13
Medicine/supplements: $10
Other health expenses (doctor’s appointments, eyeglasses, etc): $150
Clothing and shoes: $20
Donations: $100
Housekeeper twice a month $60
Set Aside for Travel $60
Total monthly expenses: $1,442

Rental House in Boquete
$550 rental Boquete

Monthly Cost of Living #2 (for a couple)

Rent: $1,025
Electric and propane: $57
Internet and phones: $148.80
Groceries and other household supplies: $975
Eating out: $150
Pets (food, medicine, etc.): $175
Spanish lessons: $100
Self-care (clothes, pedicures, vitamins, etc.): $300
Gardener: $60
Housekeeper: $90
Exterminator: $15
Online Shopping Shipping: $100
Mail service: $15
Medical costs: $500
Taxi: $125 (they do not have a car)
Amazon, eBay, Etsy: $250
Recurring payments (apple, Microsoft, etc.): $66
Misc/Other: $500
Total monthly expenses: $4,651.80

Monthly Cost of Living #3 ( for a couple)

Rent $695
Utilities (electric/gas): $6 for gas. Electric included with rent
Internet, cable:  $0 included in rent
Cell phone: $23
Groceries and household supplies: $400
Meals out: $20, mostly at fondas
Gas for car: $10
Car maintenance: $20
Car insurance: $25
Haircuts and mani-pedi: $35
Health expenses (doctor’s appointments, eyeglasses, etc): $50
Medications/supplements: $20
Housekeeper twice a month: $60
Misc shopping, clothes, shoes, household: $50
Netflix $10
Amazon Prime and orders and shipping $50
Total $1474

Monthly Costs of Living #4 (for a couple)

Rent $1800 in a gated community
Utilities (electric/gas): $10 for gas $0 for electric (included in rent)
Internet, cable, phones: $0, included in rent
Cell phone $50
Groceries and household supplies: $500
Meals out: $200
Gas for car: $20
Car maintenance: $20
Car insurance: $40
Medicine/Supplements:  $20
Health insurance: $235 for two people
Clothing and shoes: $50
Housekeeper twice a month $80
Personal Care (haircuts/ mani-pedi) $50
Amazon orders and shipping $100
Total  $3175

valle escondido rental
Valle Escondido 3-bedroom furnished rental

Something for Everyone

As our sample budgets, taken from four households in Boquete, Panama, show, this town can accommodate varying lifestyles. If you’re on a tight budget, you will be able to find something that meets your needs. If you aren’t so concerned about your budget, you can also enjoy many luxuries at affordable prices.

Boquete is a beautiful place to live. There is plenty of natural beauty to enjoy and a welcoming community to join.

The most important aspect of relocating to Panama is understanding your personal finances and budget. Once you know what you can spend monthly, you can find something that accommodates your needs and preferences!

If you’re looking for guidance on your move to Boquete, or anywhere else in Panama, we can help!

Since 2010, we’ve helped thousands of people move to Panama the RIGHT way!

There are three ways we can help:

1. See details about our all-inclusive 6-day, 7-night Panama Relocation Tours. We’ll visit the most popular places to live in Panama to help you find the perfect place for you! You’ll see rentals every day, meet immigration lawyers, visit a hospital and pharmacy, meet expats who live in the area, and so much more. It’s like a rolling seminar to help you learn everything you need about moving to Panama!

2. If your sights are set on a particular area or climate, our Private Tours are the best way to learn the most about the area in the least amount of time.

3. The Online Panama Relocation Guide is a home study course that is updated monthly to help you have a smooth, hassle-free move to Panama.

Either way, you’ll have access to reliable contacts like immigration lawyers, honest real estate agents, insurance brokers, and car brokers, as well as plenty of insider tips on relocating to Panama. You’ll also get access to our ongoing support.

Come See How You Can
LIVE BETTER for LESS in Panama!

boquete panama
Bajo Boquete

Jackie Lange

Jackie Lange is the founder of Panama Relocation Tours and lives in the highlands of Boquete Panama. She has helped thousands of people relocate to Panama.

Reader Interactions


  1. Andre Mare (South Africa) says

    Thanks Jackie, this is a really useful tool. I never realised that there are so many options in Boquete itself.

    It would be nice if you could do a similar exercise for Volcan, Altos del Maria and Valle de Anton.


    • Jackie Lange says

      Hello Andre. I’m glad the article was useful. I will do similar articles for other areas after I collect the data. You will not find prices that low in El Valle de Anton or Altos del Maria

  2. Anthony Hilaire says

    Hi Jackie. Please send me more informations. You got my attention. Thank you

  3. Gwen Holt says

    I saw an ad of a young woman selling new homes in Boquete. Looked like a sub division, $80 to 120,000. Do you know about these & where are they? Gwen

  4. Robb Levinsky says

    Hi Jackie, i’d like to meet you in Boquete and discuss your excellent program, is that an option?
    RObb Levinsky

    • Jackie Lange says

      Hello Robb. Thanks for your interest in Panama Relocation Tours. Please send preliminary questions to [email protected]
      and let me know what date(s) you will be in Boquete.

  5. Steven S Manina says

    We are looking for tour dates in Feb. of 2025, which haven’t been published yet. Do you know when those dates will be scheduled and published?
    Thank you

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *