In 1991 Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age
of 38. Now, into their 3rd decade of this
financially independent lifestyle, they invite you
to take advantage of their wisdom and experience.
Billy and Akaisha Kaderli
After staying a few days in
Panama City, we made the decision to move on to the mountain town of Boquete,
about an hour taxi ride from David.
But first, we had to get to
Tocumen Airport from our hotel.
Our alarm went off at 4:30
am and we quickly showered, ate some breakfast and went downstairs to wait for
our taxi to arrive. Unfortunately, the driver with whom we made previous
arrangements did not show up, so we stepped outside and flagged another one
down. Easy enough as there are hundreds of taxis in the city!
Billy bargains for a $20
fee, and when the driver found out what time our flight was leaving, he drove
muy RAPIDO to get us there on time.
We check in, go downstairs
and outside, through security to domestic flights and when we arrive, they are
Our flight from Panama
City to David
We flew from Panama City to
David, a very short domestic flight. Grabbing our bags, we go outside the
airport, and our friend,
Chris, is there to meet us. He flags down a taxi and
bargains for $3 each to have him take us to the bus station, just 15 minutes
Here we grab the yellow
school bus to take us to Boquete, about an hour ride from the station. We mention that we
would like the Trecer Edad (also called the Jubilado) price and this bus ride costs us $1.20 each. Taking a
taxi to Boquete would have been $40 or more.
The main road in Boquete,
where Sugar and Spice is located
Our friend arranges with
the bus driver to drop us off at Sugar and Spice, a favorite restaurant in town,
and from there we make our way to the hostel where we had made reservations to stay.
Unfortunately, the price we
had previously agreed upon was changed at the last minute, and the WiFi
connection was less than favorable.
So out on the street we go,
looking for a room in Paradise.
I feel confident because I
have a list of 7 places where we could stay, but one after the other is a
disappointment. The price is too high, the WiFi doesn't connect, or the rooms
I remind Billy to think
positive, we'll find just the right place.
Voila! A hotel with
everything we need!
We walk into Boquete Suenos
Del Rio and this perky lady comes down the hallway. We get to chatting with Itza
right away, discussing the rooms, if there is WiFi, hot water, firm bed and we
begin to ask about prices. With our Trecer Edad discount, we get a room for $25
This room has a great bed,
full bars on the WiFi connection, a ceiling fan, a large volcanic stone bathroom
and shower, desk/table, wardrobe closet, flat screen TV and a little view of the
So we set up housekeeping
and go outside to see what the town might offer.
Ngäbe indigenous tribe
There are indigenous people
living in Boquete and the surrounding areas. Apparently, there are seven
different tribes in the country of Panama, but the ones who live in Boquete and
the Chriqui Provence are the Ngabe. The women wear these brightly
colored tent style dresses called naguas with rick-rack trim around the
necklines and waists. The men and boys tend to wear western clothing.
In our experience, the
Ngabe were shy, kept to themselves and were surprised when we spoke to them. We
didn't find them nearly as interactive with us as the
Small fruit and
Near the upscale western
market in town called Romeros, and near the Plaza are some local fruit and vegetable stands. You can get
most anything you need here at these stands, and prices are very reasonable,
lower than in Romeros.
Corner van/taxi stop
At the Plaza you will find
taxis and the school bus from David will drop you off there. The van/taxi stop
you see above serves a different area of town, going up into the mountains.
We took a van from here to
go up to Finca
Lerida for a delicious brunch. The price of the 20 minute ride
was under a dollar.
Houses in the mountains
Many of the Expats who live
in Boquete choose to live on the mountain sides which have spectacular views of
Boquete has dozens of micro
climates that are distinct from each other. Some areas are cooler, some are wetter, some are
drier and hot. Choosing a place to live, one must consider these micro climates,
especially before making a purchase.
The Quebrada Bajo Grande
There are no shortage of
rivers that wind
through Boquete town. The sound of rushing water is common place and it's
refreshing to see this clean water stream.
We might mention also, that
the tap water in Boquete (and in most of Panama) is potable. We have not
utilized tap water as our drinking water anywhere for decades. This water
here in town was sweet and clean. It felt really odd for us to be drinking right
out of the tap!
Boquete has coffee
plantations all throughout their mountains
Panama is an ideal coffee
producing environment with high elevation, volcanic soil, the right balance of
moisture and sun in a tropical highland climate.
It's easy to find a coffee
tour, and some tours run almost $40USD.
The coffee in Panama seemed
to be a very light flavored style. We are used to living in coffee country,
since we have lived in Guatemala for several years now. The coffee in Guatemala
seems much bolder with fuller body and flavor.
Because there were coffee
plantations everywhere, we expected to
see many cafes with lively music, pastries, WiFi and maybe a juice bar or deli with
salads and wine by the glass, filled with people who wanted to people-watch,
chat you up or work on their computers. We were quite surprised to only see a
cafe or two, and none of them offered music of any kind. Sometimes we were
served coffee in paper cups (!) instead of porcelain mugs or china, and sometimes,
the coffee was instant Nescafe.
I can't tell you how
surprised we were by this. We were smack dab in the middle of coffee country!
If you wanted a cappuccino
or latte presented in ceramic cups with access to WiFi, one needed to go to a
restaurant, not a cafe.
Cafe Kotowa is located at
Plaza Estables and sold the famous
Gesha coffee by the brewed cup and beans by the ounce. At $10 an ounce, it is a very
expensive cup. With all the hoopla we saw over this brand of coffee, we expected
something impressive when we had our sips, but the taste seemed rather thin,
more like tea.
Everyone is different and
we are certainly not experts, but for the price, we'll pass. We thought the
in Vietnam was
Travel agencies offer
shuttles to other hotspots in Panama
A fair amount of travel
agencies are located in Boquete and one can find shuttles to the coast, tours
for adventure, horticulture, coffee, and even bee plantations with honey
A view of the ever-present Caldera River
Arriving in Panama during
the rainy season, the Caldera River was flowing strongly during our stay
there. The tropics generally have a dry season and a rainy season, so it did not
deter us from traveling to Panama during October. We had experienced rainy
seasons before, so no big deal.
However, we met with more
rain than we had expected. Sheets of water fell from the sky and you could not
see across the river or see the mountains in the background. The rain made a
thundering sound when it hit the earth, it was raining so hard!
An upper end hotel on
the side of the mountains of Boquete
Walking around the area was
pleasant with green green everywhere and exotic plants. Often we would see high end hotels and Expat homes nestled in the
Panamanian food tends to be
rather generic tasting with no outstanding spices or signature flavors. There
were various choices of restaurants that wanted to offer something different.
Gourmet foods were available in the grocery stores to purchase.
Mamallena Hostel and
Hola Panama Travel agency
Mamallena (Ma-ma-YAY-na) is
a popular hostel which also offers beer at a very good price and charges no tax.
Besides rooms, they have tours available too. Hola Panama Travel agency is
right next door, and the Plaza is right across the street.
Activity and tour board
These prices are all quoted
in USDollars. You can get to the islands on the Caribbean coast, go to Panama
City, the City of David or to the David airport.
Being in the tropics there
is always a selection of cold beers from which to choose. This one is Panama
Lager, but Billy says he preferred the Balboa beer.
Barber shop in town
Here is the local Barberia
in a wooden building painted in Caribbean colors. A shoe store is right
The Post Office
There is no door-to-door
postal delivery in Panama. There are also no addresses as such for the Postal
worker to find your home or business.
You can obtain a post box
at this Post Office and have your mail delivered there. For more information on
living in Panama,
The main street in the
center of Boquete
The center of town has a
two lane road with off street parking. Mostly, buildings are one after the other
on a flat road leading out of town to the upper area of Boquete situated more in
After having lived in
Panajachel all these years, Boquete town looked tame. Panajachel has wildly
colored murals, buildings in distinctive colors, boutique grocery stores, tuk
tuks running everywhere and the Maya walking the street in their hand made
colorful native dress. Boquete looked like it could be a small town in the U.S.
We think that is part of
the charm that the Expats prefer, because it looks familiar. Also, English was spoken in
many of the restaurants and menus could be had in English as well.
On the right side of this
photo is a blue sign advertising El Sabroson #3. Local food is purchased here
cafeteria style for breakfast, lunch and dinner. For about $2.50 - $4.00, one
can be completely full from a varied menu.
Mountain side charm
The charm of Boquete is the
mountain scenery. Everywhere you look, the hills snug in closely.
Travel agency and a
Travel agencies are
everywhere. Habla Ya is the very popular Spanish school in town. They advertise
that you will speak Spanish almost immediately.
The famous mountain
mists of Boquete
After the rainy season
there is a semi-dry season in which mists come down from the mountains on a
daily basis. This is called Bajareque and is the "season of rainbows." The mist
is like a fine rain and feels like a light breeze. Rainbows can be seen in these
mists several times a day. Locals say it's enchanting.
Sports gear for sale
Chiriqui is the province in
which the town of Boquete is located. Here you have a fine embroidered ball cap
A selection of hats made
It seemed that wearing hats
in Panama was very common place. Between wanting to shade your head from the
heat of the tropical sun, and keeping the rain off, there was always a reason to wear a hat.
May as well be stylish!
stories and photos of Panama, click
About the Authors