A Retreat From Chaos
Consider an escape to the mountains of Panama for you, your family and your assets.
Before we begin to discuss the specifics, let’s talk about the word “retreat”. Often used in a negative way (perhaps confused with “surrender”), according to Webster it actually means “an act or process of withdrawing especially from what is difficult, dangerous, or disagreeable”. It can also describe “a place of privacy or safety”. With that in mind, let’s have a look at a possible option for your personal getaway…
What About Panama?
First, some of the things that Panama is not. The concept of an offshore financial hideaway is a thing of the past. Under the guise of drug enforcement and money laundering, and using the “carrot” of a free-trade agreement, the US government is sniffing around anywhere in the world that there is money to be hustled. Talk about a true “addiction”! No, you won’t be invisible here, but you will cast a smaller shadow. For starters, land here can be held in a corporation, which insures privacy and ease of transfer to heirs or future buyers. You also have the same property rights as local citizens. Move some of your assets while you still can!
So what does a new life in the cool mountains of Panama have to offer? A few of the pluses include a stable democracy with no military, excellent and affordable healthcare, low cost of living, low crime rate and mild temperatures every day of the year. The air and water is clean, and life here is simple and slower.
Far away from the politics and bustle of Panama City and the Panama Canal, our little jewel is at the western end of the country, close to the border with Costa Rica. The hills are famous for a mild climate and the source for the majority of the country’s produce (coffee from the village of Boquete is world-famous). A quiet, private lifestyle is easy to find, yet Panama’s second-largest city (named David - dah-veed) is nearby for supplies. There are dozens of micro-climates in the area so you can choose a property that is most comfortable for you. Most land above 400 meters elevation (1300’) allows a year-round lifestyle without heat or air conditioning. Get off the grid!
The terrain is rolling hills up to the steeper mountains (like inactive Volcan Baru) near Boquete. Contrary to what many think, the Pacific-side of the mountains is not jungle but more pasture-like. Horses, cattle and livestock thrive. There is ample rain in our “green” season, but it usually arrives in the late afternoon, for a short (siesta) time.
The People of Panama
Panamanians are hard-working, quiet and tolerant. The ethnic makeup is about 75% Latin, 15% indigenous, 8% Anglo and 2% Chinese or “other”. There are an estimated 1000 ex-pats living full-time in Chiriqui province. The main religion is Catholic, but the actual practicing percentage is not huge. Here in Chiriqui, tattoos, piercings, graffiti and rap music are very rare. The teenagers actually smile and wave, rather than hide behind hoodies and headphones. You will want to learn some Spanish, especially helpful outside of the larger cities.
Infrastructure and Finance
The education system is good, not great, but improving. Infrastructure is strong and the healthcare is excellent and affordable, with many US-trained doctors. Panama is the financial heart of Latin America and excellent growth and stability continues.
There are direct flights to Panama City from everywhere in the world. The plane ride is about six hours from Los Angeles, and three hours from Houston or Miami. It is then a six-hour drive, or 45-minute flight, to David. The airport in David has just been expanded and direct international flights are expected soon.
The Bottom Line
The cool mountains of Panama offer an excellent place to live in comfort, away from the ever-growing shadow of Uncle Sam and his European allies. You can own titled land here and be left alone while you pursue the lifestyle that you choose. The people are friendly, and you and your garden will thrive. Come on down, have a look, and consider securing a positive economic future for you and your family. Sure, those dark clouds may pass, but just in case…