I've been researching places to retire for about a year.  Boquete is the only place I feel drawn to.  Haven't visited yet.  September or December for my first visit?

I'm a counselor, faculty with an Energy Medicine Institute and teach yoga. Do y'all think there's some interest/need for in Boquete?  Love what I do and want to keep it up very part time. 

Thanks and I'm so looking forward to meeting the Boquete community!

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Thank you Hil, Jim, Nena and John,

I now have a better idea, and assume there is sun most mornings?  Warm rain does make a huge difference!  Do y'all get out in the evenings then and go to dinner or do other things?

Another question: I'm a single woman, used to being independent and going places, including hiking on my own at times (I do live with and would bring a big dog).  Is this going to be pretty safe.  I don't wear expensive jewelry or carry expensive things.  Would I need to live in a gated community?

Gated communities seem to have a little more security and better water. You are not safe alone at night at all. I have many panamanian women friends because my wife is panamanian. She tells me the real deal and horror stories that happen and why they happen. Reality is; trust your judgement. Things are a little different here especially not so good police protection and the court systems.

There are plenty of single women that live in the Boquete area and not in gated communities  and have no problems at all.

There are also hiking clubs. I see several women in this area taking their dogs out by themselves. you don't have to be in a gated community to be safe here. Just take the same precautions that you would back home.

The biggest problem women face here is lack of support and domestic abuse by the other gender.

There are predictable fear-mongers  on Ning.

Of course people go out at night. Not everyone lives in fear. The town is loaded with restaurants for an after dark dinner. There are also darkly lit, off the beaten track places you would be wise to avoid at night. 

I'm very tired of the "if you want to be safe, live in a gated community" mentality. A small portion of expats live in gated communities. If you are a fear-based person, you probably won't feel safe anywhere.

Panama has been rated as one of the top retirement locations for at least the nine years I've lived here.

Boquete is tranquilo, safe, beautiful, and filled with local Panamanians, who are the sweetest, friendly, and most helpful people I've had the pleasure to know.

You could spend the rest of your life searching for the "perfect" place to retire. Boquete is close enough for me. 

Thanks Richard.  The more research I do the more truly lovely it looks!

One canadian murdered near caldera, one american woman shot and survived near Potrerillos(she lived alone) (she moved back to the states after a long recovery), one american man shot in volcancito and all within the last three years. Many other robberies etc etc etc. Just some facts sarah you can make sure your living conditions are safer than the USA for your own good. And yes foriegners in Panama are watched more closely by criminals since most Expats have more money than criminals. Reality is fleeting with some people. I had one house broken into and robbed of a 10 speed bicycle, 2 cell phones, heirloom watch, a laptop and they tried on my clothes and took the ones that fit them and left the others piled on the floor and this was in a gated community with razor wire all the way around the property on top of the fence. Not trying to scare you off. I just live in reality. Better to be safe than sorry.

DFear-momgering. You can go to almost anywhere in the world and there will be a history of crimes committed. Panama and Boquete are safe places to live. If they weren't why would Panama be on the list of best places to retire? Since living here I've met three different couples who moved here from Costa Rica. I asked them why. They said because of the cost of living and that crime had gotten so bad in Costa Rica. That surprised me. If there is a crime free place to live I don't know of it.

hil, I'm sorry to hear of the loss of your heirloom watch. At least you didn't have your kids taken from you, like in some less civilized countries.

Sarah, these central american countries(Third World;Costa Rica, Panama etc etc) can not be compared to the U.S. as far as security is concerned. Too much corruption in all parts of the government including the police system.The American embassies in all of these third world countries put out alerts on crime and unsafe areas to travel. I am on the list through emails. You can get on the Step Alert Program for good advice from the Embassies. The police force here is not sufficent enough for your protection. You have to take care of yourself. The three murders I mentioned before of Expats-----were all Markers and targeted. CRIME STATISTICS IN PANAMA CAN NOT BE COMPARED TO THE USA. AS A MATTER OF FACT; THERE IS LITTLE TO NO CORRECT STATISTICS IN PANAMA MOST OF THE TIME----WHEN A POLICE REPORT IS FILED ON JUVENILE CRIMES. THESE JUVENILE CRIMINALS WORK FOR ADULTS BECAUSE THE ADULTS KNOW THEY CAN NOT PROSECUTE THE JUVENILES "MOST" OF THE TIME AND THE ADULTS ARE NOT CAUGHT. THE REPORT IS THROWN IN THE TRASH BECAUSE THERE ARE NO LAWS FOR JUVENILE CRIMES (MAYBE MURDER). THERE HAVE BEEN SOME CHANGES IN THE COURT SYSTEM LATELY. WE WILL SEE. IF YOU ARE A HEALTHY MENTAL PERSON, YOU WILL KNOW THE DIFFERENCE ONCE YOU LEAVE PANAMA CITY, PANAMA AIRPORT AND HIT THE GROUND IN DAVID AND TRAVEL TO BOQUETE THAT THIS IS NOT THE UNITED STATES AT ALL. I'LL  END WITH THIS, YOU WILL SEE FENCES AROUND "MOST" HOUSES WITH RAZOR WIRE AND AN EXTRA METAL DOOR AND METAL WINDOW FOR PROTECTION. I DON'T REMEMBER EVER SEEING THIS IN THE USA. THIS IS DONE FOR A REASON AND IT IS NOT BECAUSE YOUR HOUSE WILL BE SAFE WHILE YOU ARE IN IT OR AWAY. 

YOU ASK GREAT QUESTIONS AND THAT IS THE ONLY WAY TO FEEL SAFE WHILE YOU TRAVEL AND MAKE YOUR DECISION.

SO FAR, EVEN AFTER HAVING MY CAR BEING BROKEN INTO AND MY HOUSE ROBBED----I INTEND ON STAYING. IT'S A GREAT PLACE TO TRAVEL "FROM" (WE DO TRAVEL IN PANAMA AND INTERNATIONALLY A LOT) BECAUSE OF THE AIRFARE. THERE IS A LOT TO DO AND SEE IN PANAMA. A LOT OF SPANISH HISTORY HERE. 

AGAIN; NOT TRYING TO SCARE YOU AWAY. A LOT OF EXPATS IN PANAMA KNOW THE REALITY OF THE DIFFERENCE IN PANAMA AND THE USA. IF YOU CAN DEAL WITH IT, YOU WILL ENJOY IT HERE. I HAVE SEEN OVER 50 EXPATS LEAVE FOR A NUMBER OF REASONS IN THE LAST YEAR. 

IT IS BEST TO STAY HERE FOR SIX MONTHS OR A YEAR AND GET YOUR FEET WET AND YOU CAN DECIDE. THEY ALL CAPS IS FOR A BETTER UNDERSTANDING AND VIEWING.

Wow Hil all caps is fear-mongering on steroids. We are perfectly capable of understanding and viewing in lower case. No one wants to be yelled at. I have seen very few houses with an extra metal door. Same with razor wire. Extremely rare. If I felt a need for razor wire, I'd move. If you want to be woken up at all hours of the night get a barking dog.
Don't believe everything you read. Boquete and most surrounding areas are safe, assuming you take common sense precautions. Otherwise it wouldn't be rated one of the top retirement destinations for at least the past ten years. Thousands of expats live in and around Boquete. FYI, the further out from Boquete the more affordable it is.
Some locations ARE more dangerous than others. I feel as safe here as I did in the USA. Remote and dark areas with no neighbors Are going to be more dangerous for the obvious reasons. Get to know your neighbors. Outside light motion detectors are a wise investment. Bars on windows are the norm in most all of Latin America and many other countries in the world, including many parts of Europe. Where there is poverty, there will be crime. I would be more concerned about water quality than crime. Some type of filtering system is definitely advisable. For a short term visit bring a Brita for drinking water.
As far as when to visit I too would recommend coming during the rainy season- May through December. I would avoid November- the height of rainfall.

I’ve never really understood gated communities.  If a place is that dangerous that you feel you need to live in one, why would you go? If that’s not the reason then it must be because you don’t wish to attempt to assimilate and only want the company of your fellow countrymen, which ironically is one of the major gripes held by a certain few about immigrants in their own countries.  In this case you’d be better off staying at home wouldn’t you?  If you have only immigrated for climate reasons and have no interest in the culture or the people of the area you want to spend the rest of your life in again, why would you go?

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