“Let’s Do the Time Warp Again” in Boquete, Panama!

Blog by Manzar Lari

Yes, you fans of Rocky Horror Picture Show, here in Boquete, Panama, have truly entered an alternative universe. The importance placed on time in the U.S. or other industrialized nations is almost non-existent in this country. People are not running from one commitment to another and feeling overwhelmed.

As expats we hear a lot of the locals tell us “tranquilo” (calm down!) if we come across as quite intense by their standards. It takes some time to get into their rhythm of doing things. Since we own a Bed & Breakfast and half (or more) of our guests are visitors from other countries, we usually need to have things fixed, cleaned or prepared on a much more of a definite timelines since our guests’ expectations are different than a typical Panamanian’s. This can cause some issues. The “tranquilo” thing doesn’t always work for us (as a business) even though we try our best to get into the groove with the local norms on a personal level.

A typical expat moving here as a retiree may actually be able to incorporate the laid back lifestyle much more easily than we have because of our special circumstances. Joyce & Scott, our new Boquete transplants, keep giving us information about their experiences and adjustments with their new surroundings as compared to the Bay Area where they lived for decades:

We are really in a time warp sometimes. Not only are we retired, but we are retired in Latin America (the land of “Manaña”), in Panama (which is sometimes more “manaña” than other places) and 7- hour drive from any sense of business and commerce in Panama City. In our little mountain hamlet, sometimes, as someone in our hiking group said this morning, knowing that the day ends in “y” is all you need!


Some days it seems like we slog through the entire day to get one thing accomplished. Other days, like today, it seems like a HUGE victory to find out where we can buy a regulator for the natural gas tank for the BBQ. We’ve been trying to find that thing for weeks, and finally succeeded.

The whole time warp thing was exacerbated to me this afternoon when I walked into the knitter’s and crocheter’s group. One of the women said that she hadn’t been keeping track of the news, but only was wondering if the US was at war with North Korea yet? Everyone assured her, that as far as they knew, some hours previous to our meeting, we were not at war. Then the group got down to the more serious discussion of what to do about Panama’s latest restriction on importation of medications from the US, what types and colors of yarn went together well and who was traveling to where in the next few months? There was an interesting little side argument between a couple of the US women and an Australian about whether medications are more expensive in the US, Australia or Panama, but it lacked any fire of intensity.

In our little time warp, today we forgot to go to an event downtown this evening. We forgot to go, because the evening was so lovely that we walked down the street to sit and chat with neighbors on their front porch for an hour or so. It was lovely. I couldn’t help feeling like we were really in a time warp—instead of spending a couple of hours on my Friday evening slogging through traffic on the highway stressing about work and politics, instead I was missing a dance by sipping wine and discussing life for a leisurely evening.

One of the appeals for either visiting or moving to Panama is the laid back and happy attitude of the locals. They truly know how to have fun and they are really welcoming of visitors and expats to their community. It is especially true of the people of the Chiriqui province where Boquete is located. Most expats we know have embraced this lifestyle and by all accounts seem to be much happier as well.

Let us help you relax and do the tours and activities you want according to your timeline! Please check out our “Exploring Boquete” tab on our website and book directly with us for your upcoming vacation. See you soon!

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