Scouting Panama’s “Hidden Valley”

We have boots on the ground in the mountains of Panama…

Panama has been a key destination on my global beat for decades. This country offers lifestyle and investment possibilities unlike anywhere else in the world…

The beating heart of this country is its fast-growing, ever-evolving capital, Panama City.

One of the wealthiest cities in the Americas, Panama City sports the world’s 25th biggest skyline, beating out L.A., Miami, and Beijing to name just a few. This is a global center of trade, finance, and culture—a city emerging as a new Singapore or Dubai.

But Panama is also much more than its chic, cosmopolitan capital…

Panama City boasts one of the world’s most impressive skylines. This city is a global center of trade, finance, and culture.

Look to the coasts of Panama, in destinations such as the Pacific Riviera, and you’ll find stunning white-sand tropical beaches and modern resort communities.

Then there’s the other side to Panama, one that often goes overlooked…its stunning highlands.

Throughout Panama’s mountain ranges, you’ll find charming towns and villages that offer breathtaking views, affordable living, exceptional hiking, and year-round temperate climates.

Panama’s charming mountain towns offer breathtaking views and spring-like temperatures throughout the year, perfect for spending time outdoors.

There’s a growing appetite for milder-climate destinations like these. The next generation of migrations want the sun…but they’ll also want temperatures and a landscape that are conducive to being active and outdoors. So, certain mountain towns in Panama have been seeing an influx of new residents and buyers.

One of my scouts, Oliver Lovett, lives in Panama. So this week, I asked him to investigate some of the best destinations for temperate living in Panama’s highlands.

He began his scouting trip in one of the most popular mountain towns among expats, Boquete, located close to the border with Costa Rica in the province of Chiriquí.

Oliver sent this update from the road…


Ronan McMahon, Founder, Overseas Dream Home & Real Estate Trend Alert

P.S. I’m about to bring my Real Estate Trend Alert group an incredible new members-only deal in Panama City. This is a chance to snap up a luxury condo in a landmark building in one of the world’s great international cities…and the potential gains are enormous. I figure on uplifts of over $297,000 eight years after delivery and income of $36,000 renting long term. Stay tuned…more details coming very soon. In the meantime, here’s a sneak peek of a developer’s render…

Views from this landmark community will be outstanding as will the amenities, including a 50-meter lap pool, waterfront park, gym, bistro…and more. (Renders shouldn’t be considered final, but give you a good idea. Not a RETA member? Learn how you can join here.)

Scouting Panama’s “Hidden Valley”

By Oliver Lovett

The gated community of Valle Escondido, or the “Hidden Valley,” is appropriately named. Although it’s in the heart of downtown Boquete, you could drive past it and never know it existed.

I was completely unprepared for the sprawling luxury community I found inside…

The community of Valle Escondido in downtown Boquete.

Valle Escondido is home to a vast resort and residential community. The resort—Valle Escondido Resort, Golf & Spa—boasts 39 rooms and a nine-hole executive golf course. In the residential area are 175 homes.

This is a hidden enclave of the wealthy. Prices here run into the millions.

I was shown around by Joanne Hatch, a local broker. She pointed out the mansion where a Hollywood executive lives, and the private helicopter owned by one of the residents.

Even on the low-end, the homes here are not small or cheap.

Joanne showed me one of the more affordable homes available—a spacious two-bed, two-bath condo spanning 2,200 square feet, with a terrace for soaking up views across this hidden valley. It’s listed for $390,000.

It all speaks to Boquete’s emergence as a sought-after mountain destination…

This two-bedroom home in Boquete’s “Hidden Valley” is on the market for $390,000. Listing here.

I last visited Boquete more than three years ago, and I was amazed at how much has changed since then. There’s a brand-new upscale supermarket on the edge of town, and dozens of new restaurants and bars have sprung up. Boquete might now have the best culinary scene in the country outside Panama City…

Many of these establishments are aimed at wealthy expats, and they look to be thriving. The bars and restaurants were buzzing with music and lively conversation when I visited, and a constant stream of cars made their way up and down the main street.

Boquete has always been popular with retirees. But since the pandemic a younger demographic has started arriving too. Some of these are work-from-anywhere folks…others are looking to start a business or reinvent themselves.

As a result of this influx, real estate prices in the town have been pushing higher.

To find value now, you need to look outside downtown Boquete. This means either going into the hills above, or looking for opportunities on the highway that leads down to the city of David, which is about 50 minutes’ drive away close to Panama’s Pacific coast.

I visited Boquete Canyon Village, a master-planned community about a 10-minute drive outside of Boquete, on the road to David. The community sits close to a deep canyon, and benefits from spectacular views across the valley to the mountains beyond.

I viewed a new three-bedroom home there listed for $315,000. The house has been built and finished to a good standard. The master bedroom and kitchen area are both spacious, and an outdoor terrace offers stunning views out across the countryside, as you can see in the walkthrough video below…

This three-bedroom home in the master-planned community of Boquete Canyon Village, just outside of town, is on the market for $315,000. Click on the private link above to view the video now.

Homes are more affordable outside of Boquete’s gated communities…

The neighborhood of El Frances is about 15 minutes’ drive outside of Boquete, off the mountain highway that leads down to David.

It’s a quiet, rural area where chickens are free to roam the quiet bumpy roads, and the fields are dotted with cows, goats and horses. Most homes have gardens full of fruit trees.

This is also where you’ll find the International School, a reminder that Boquete isn’t your typical Panamanian mountain town.

Joanne showed me a charming one-bedroom house with high ceilings and off-grid capabilities. The home sits on nearly two and a half acres of land that includes fruit trees and a stream which runs through the grounds. The owners have invested time and effort into landscaping the grounds, including bridges going over the steam and rock walls that border the land. The home is listed for sale at $274,000.

This one-bedroom home comes with two and a half acres of land and a landscaped garden. Listing here.

The prices in Boquete show this town has been discovered. It’s chic…cool…an expat haven… The cost of living here is still affordable, and owning here would be a good lifestyle play for the right person, but it feels like the moment to buy in for investment gains has passed.

It got me thinking about the “next places” in this region…

While chatting with Joanne I asked about some cheap listings I’d seen for beach real estate in the town of Puerto Armuelles, two hours from Boquete and right on the border with Costa Rica.

Puerto Armuelles was once one of the most prosperous cities in Panama. Large parts of the city were built by the Chiquita banana company, which used to operate in the area.

During its heyday, Puerto Armuelles would host visiting presidents and other foreign dignitaries. There was an international airport used by the likes of PanAm. Then it all fell apart…

In the area around Puerto Armuelles, the mountains run right down to the ocean.

After a dispute with trade unions, Chiquita left in 2003, ending a relationship of nearly 80 years. With no jobs, the city was plunged into a depression and real estate values fell through the floor.

It seemed like Puerto Armuelles might never recover, but just before the pandemic, there were intriguing signs that Puerto Armuelles could be making a comeback. A new road was built to Puerto Armuelles. A deep-sea pier for cruise ships has been proposed. And there’s a new beachfront promenade.

Wealthy expats from Europe and North America have reportedly started buying up real estate and land, yet oceanfront real estate here is some of the cheapest in Panama.

I’m driving down to Puerto Armuelles to find out more.

Afterward I’ll be scouting mountain towns closer to Panama City…places like Anton Valley, Altos del Maria, and Cerro Azul.

More details to come on those in Your Overseas Dream Home later this week…

Ronan says: I first visited Boquete in 2004 and was utterly charmed by it. One of my first memories is of traffic being halted to allow a sloth to cross the road. It took an eternity. No one cared. I certainly didn’t. I was too absorbed in the stunning natural beauty I could see around me…

Brightly colored birds ducked and dived. The foliage was an explosive green…a color I hadn’t seen before. (That says something coming from an Irishman.) Then there was the climate… The sun was warm and the evenings cool.

Boquete is a great lifestyle opportunity for anyone looking for this type of weather, vibe, and foliage. And for those of us who are regular visitors to Panama City for business and investment, it’s a great weekend retreat.

Places like Boquete highlight how much Panama has to offer outside its world-class, vibrant capital city. There are beaches, islands, rainforests, highlands…hiking, fishing, golf, birdwatching… And yet too few people know about all that this country has to offer.

While Panama is world class in many domains, it’s hopeless at promoting itself as a tourist destination. But for those of us in the know, it just means we can visit special places unincumbered by the crowds we see in so many other destinations overseas. And Boquete is for sure one of Panama’s special places.

Your Daily Dream Home

Mealhada, Portugal


This detached house was extended and modernized at the start of this century.

The kitchen contains a pellet stove and is located on the ground floor. One step down you’ll find two bedrooms and a bathroom equipped with a shower, sink, and toilet.

Adjacent to the house is a shed with a washing machine connection, and there is a cellar beneath the house. Three rooms have air conditioning units that provide both heating and cooling.

The garden boasts views of the Serra da Estrela mountain range and features fruit trees and two large tiled terraces, one of which has a barbecue.

The house is move-in ready and will be sold with most of its contents included.

Click here to find out more

Remember, we don’t make money from any listing shared here in the Your Daily Dream Home section. We have no dog in the fight. We’re just sharing cool properties we’ve found.

I haven’t visited this property or done due diligence on it. If you’re interested in the listing, you should hire an attorney and do your own due diligence.

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