Volcan, sunny days and starry nights

David Dell

By David Dell

Table of Contents

Volcan, Panama, with its sunny days and starry nights will be become the number one preferred retirement destination in this country. That is my prediction, and it’s based on several factors and observations throughout the two years that my wife and I have lived here.

Shopping and restaurants.

Within the next few weeks Volcan will see the opening of three new restaurants. On March the 16th The “Republic of Texas,” Tex-mex restaurant will open, complete with live music. (I know that for sure as I am going to be the live music.) Michael Farenthold, the Texan-born owner and chef is going to make this a great, affordable place to eat spicy and wholesome back-home cooking.

Saturday March 10th, sees the re-opening of the octagonal restaurant that used to be the Country Kitchen under the new name of “Café Montana.” Mike, the new chef and owner has done a great job of decorating the place and is making it wonderfully cozy - something that we really need on those “odd” rainy nights.

On March 16th, the “Brisas Place” restaurant opens. This restaurant has a great bar and a very romantic walled-in patio, ideal for those warm starry evenings. The chef used to cook at the prestigious Bambito Hotel, so you can be sure that the food here will be top notch.

New furniture and Hardware store.

Volcan, was always spoiled for choice when it came to supermarkets and hardware stores, much to the envy of our sister town of Boquete. Now I see ground breaking in the center of town on a new furniture and clothing store. There seems to be an air of confidence in the town- this is manifested by number of new homes and businesses being built. So why is there this sudden boost in what used to be the forgotten-child of Panama?

Proposed bambito Hotel

Three major developments starting

Three major developments are either underway or in the advanced planning stages. These will boost the locally economy but unfortunately, for the locals, it will cause a rise in property rentals and home costs. The locals that already own their homes, will of course benefit from this along with the existing ex-pat homeowners. Unquestionably, Volcan is going to grow and inevitably, there will be changes, hopefully those changes will be for the better.

I think people are becoming more savvy in their purchase of retirement homes – they are not buying the hype any more. A lot of people pass through our town and stop by to say hello to us at yourpanama.com. Over the last year and a half there has been a consensus of opinion about Panama and its retirement places. More than 90% of the people we speak to, say they would never live in Panama City. They cite the traffic noise and pollution as being the main reason.

Surprisingly, about 80% say they do not like Boquete, because of what they regard as the excessive over-pricing of property and claustrophobic feel of the town. I must commend our visitors because they have done their homework and have carefully checked out most, if not all, of the main retirement destinations. Another common thread is that after traveling through many of the low-lying communities, they find the alternative climate of the Panamanian mountains to be absolutely wonderful.

I will admit that El Valle does come up as a popular destination, the majority of people who have been there - like it. The only draw-back they say, is the long drive into the valley. So why do I think Volcan will be the main choice for the majority of retirees? First and foremost, because we are the most affordable place to retire in Panama. You can still buy a decent retirement home for less than $50,000, and for less than $90,000 that home can come with a spectacular view. (just check out our Realty Bargains on the home page.)

Our crime is relatively low. Compared to the average North American city, we are almost a sleepy back water. Affordability is another point. A few miles up the road from Volcan is Cerro Punta- the bread basket and garden of Panama. This is where the majority of fresh produce comes from, so understandably, right here on the doorstep, things are cheaper. How cheap? You can still buy lunch here for less than $1,50. A liter of very palatable red wine will set you back $2,00 and a liter of locally made Gin is just over $3,50.

Sunny days and starry nights.

At the moment the weather here is wonderful. Even my wife has finally accepted that it’s warm. If you don’t wear a hat or sunscreen you can get burned in a very short time. If you have reached the point in your life when you have finally begun to stop and smell the roses – Volcan is for you. My 14, year old Schnauzer is having some old-age problems, specifically his kidneys are wearing out. This means we have to take him on walks during the night. The upside of this is that we get to experience the wonder of looking up at a celestial display that rivals anything on Earth. Free of the light pollution and the noises of the city, this 4,500 foot mountain plateau affords you a view of the Cosmos that is a tonic for the spirit.

If the pressure of life is wearing you down, if you just can’t take the government B.S any more, if your dollar seems to be shrinking with each passing day, then take the cure – its called Volcan. It’s not paradise, but it’s the closest thing you’ll find, this side of heaven.

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