Even though I’ve been coming to Panama and doing tours 5-6 times a year for more than two years, I didn’t move here full time until one year ago.
After each tour, I’d stay an extra week to explore the Boquete area more. I studied the information at www.BoqueteWeather.com to determine which areas got the most and least rainfall. There are many different micro-climates in the Boquete area. If you’re not careful, you’ll be living in the clouds most of the time and have little sunshine and more rain than other areas.
Originally, I really thought it would be great to live close to Boquete. Then I could walk to the grocery store and restaurants. but after 4 or 5 visits to Boquete, I realized it is noisy in town. The noise starts before the sun comes up and lasts until midnight. Especially during a fair or special holiday, the really loud music can go on all night long. So, I decided to live further out.
Ever time I came to the Boquete area, I rented a car then drove around to see what different areas where like at different times of the year (rainy season vs. dry season) and at different times of the day. Of course, I talked to a lot of expats to find out where they lived and what they liked and didn’t like about the area where they live.
All this information helped me narrow down where I wanted to live.
One year ago today, after a tour, I rented a car then set out to look at 10 fully furnished rental properties. I got the leads from www.BoqueteNing.com, Craigslist.com Panama, flyers posted at restaurants or grocery stores and word of mouth referrals. I’d already been warned NOT to use a real estate agent or property management company to find rentals because they jack up the prices too much.
I was not really looking to rent anything YET. I just wanted to compare what you got for $500 a month, $700, $800, $1000 and $1200 per month. I’m not the gated community type so I skipped any houses for rent there. Of course, I’m always gathering information for future tours too.
There was huge difference. Some houses were dark and dingy inside. Some were in an areas where the breeze was so strong it just about knocked you over. Some houses had a chopped up floor plan with no flow. Some had tiny rooms with low ceilings. Some had neighbors so close you could hear them talking.
When driving around, I saw a For Rent sign (in English). The owner was there so I took a look. The house was not much, but it was only $200 per month… furnished! I passed.
About 2 in the afternoon, the day before I was to fly back to the United States, I saw just what I was looking for. Actually, as soon as I drove down the driveway, even before I saw the inside of the house, I knew the property was perfect. The property is on about 2 acres with a lot of landscaping including banana plants, coffee, and other fruit trees. Flowers were in full bloom everywhere. There are two other casitas (small houses) on the property so I had neighbors but they were not too close.
The house is small, only 1,000sf with 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. It has a large open living, kitchen and dining area with vaulted ceilings and plenty of natural light. It has a small fireplace and a great patio with a spectacular view. There was a stacking washer and dryer and plenty of storage. It even came with pots, pans, plates, silverware, towels and sheets. $600 per month with water and basic TV included. I’LL TAKE IT!
Oops… just one little problem. My husband was not with me so I had to break the news to him that I rented a house in Panama. He needed to hurry up and retire, we needed to sell our house, get rid of a lot of stuff and get back to Panama as fast as possible.
Luckily, he was ready to ditch the job so the timing worked out great. Two months after I signed the lease we were living in paradise. On every tour, we visit my little casita so you can see what you can get for $600 per month.
See my view: