Boquete’s Tuesday Market: Something for everyone!

Blog by Terry Richmeier

When you come and stay with us here at Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast, you will be served a different International Breakfast daily with most of the products coming from the Tuesday Market vendors. Along with that, if you are here on a Tuesday, we will encourage you to go to the Tuesday Market and check out all the different locally made and grown products it has to offer! The market is open from 9 AM to 12 Noon and is located across the small bridge downtown in the building known as the BCP Teatro. The market offers something for everyone. Our special favorites are baked goods by Mort’s Bakery, Gluten Free goods from Gluten Free Gold Bakery, designer “Chox” chocolate and Anna’s fresh produce.  While you are at the market, see what “Tuesday Talks” are about! Below is a story of Joyce Kinnear’s experience with the Tuesday Market and Tuesday Talks:

One of the things we like about living in Boquete is the Tuesday market. For us, it fills our need for a Farmer’s Market—enabling us to purchase organic produce, bagels, hummus, freshly made food from Germany, Hungary, and the Caribbean, and also filling our Trader Joe’s requirement for premade frozen food that we can whip up during the week. The fact that said food is tasty Thai, spicy Creole, or wonderful Indian is even better, since we lack restaurants for those and other spicy foods in the area.

We also enjoy most of the Tuesday talks. One of the women in the community spends a lot of time finding interesting speakers on a variety of topics of interest to expats in Panama, from attorneys discussing changes in laws, to geologists describing the potential actions of our local volcanoes, to so many other topics. Today, we listened to four Peace Corps volunteers in small villages between here and the Costa Rican border.

Two of the volunteers are with the part of the Peace Corps that works in education and English language education. Two others work on environmental issues. They all had interesting discussions about how they live and develop projects in small communities to enable people in those areas to access available assistance and increase community interactions.
Of particular interest to us was one young man who is working to improve the quality of home cooking fires among the indigenous. He has gotten grants from the Panamanian government to construct 14 units (and
is working on 20 more) that will reduce the amount of smoke put off by cooking fires in the home and thus reduce asthma related diseases, as well as improve local air quality.

Another young volunteer is working in a school of 700 students in Volcan, a town of about 15,000 near the border. She is doing many things, from teaching English, to teaching Science classes to leading student clubs and groups. Her school gave her a room and some assistance in developing the first library in that town or school. With funds she was able to get from her own meager stipend and local teacher’s equally meager funds, they have been able to start a library with about 20 books in a school of 700 elementary students.
She told us that among these low income (and many indigenous) students, reading comprehension is extremely low. Families are mostly illiterate, books are not around, and students never learn comprehension. The majority fail college entrance exams, because they are unable to pass tests at a fourth grade level. This volunteer is working with the local government, teachers and community to try to increase reading comprehension and improve future life potential for these students.

It was inspiring. Listening to the talks gave several people in the audience ideas for ways to assist the volunteers and local communities to help to enhance the lives of these students and their families.

This small town surrounded by the Mountains of Boquete, Panama is a wonderful place to gather anything from souvenirs to intellectual stimulation! Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast is extremely proud of our community, volunteerism, and the Tuesday Market. Come and stay with us and experience this special place!

Shopping for what you need (and want?) in Panama!

Blog by Manzar Lari

Our guests at Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast often ask us whether or not we can purchase everything here in Panama that we used to purchase in the U.S. One would think that it would be an easy question to answer but it isn’t for us. Our story is probably no different than most of the expats who move here. We have been in Panama for almost 4 years. We are used to a different way of living now. Unless it is something we absolutely need, we have learned to do without. We typically shop at the stores in David for household goods and some hard-to-find items. Sometimes we never find those items! We have a Mailboxes Etc account. We can generally buy something on and then have it sent to the Mailboxes Etc address in Miami and then they forward our package to the Boquete location of Mailboxes, Etc. It takes an extra week, but we do receive the package safe and sound at their downtown Boquete store. Oftentimes, we have friends pick up small things for us while they are on vacation in the U.S. We do the same for our friends when we are on vacation. I guess after living here for a while, either you learn to make do without certain products or you figure out a way to get them through other sources (for a higher price).

It is always interesting to see the settling-in process new residents of Boquete go through while they learn the rhythm and norms of their new culture and surroundings. The stories and experiences of our new Boquete residents Joyce and Scott continue:

So, I’m not a big shopper. Clothing stores are meant to be gone through fairly quickly, in my mind. I’m much faster than my daughter Amy and slower than my husband Scott. However, I am a bit crazy about garden and hardware stores. I find them very fascinating.

So, imagine the heaven of finding yourself in a country that does a lot of repair work. Lots of repairs are done for a variety of reasons—the weather is hard on things, people have less money to buy new things so repair the old, and some contractors are terrible and you have to fix things that were just built/installed. I’m sure there are more reasons, but all of this has resulted in hardware stores that sell absolutely everything you could ever imagine to repair anything you could have ever thought about.

Our closest hardware store is a large maze of aisles just filled with every screw, nail, and piece of plastic and little doo dad you could possibly imagine. Since the store is absolutely jam packed, all the way to the 20 foot ceilings, with stuff everywhere, new items can be placed absolutely anywhere you could imagine—and places you can’t.

For the hardware enthusiast, such as myself, this means that you can spend hours in the store, looking at each item and always find some new little gadget that will be useful for something or other. Oh man, it’s like a child let loose in a candy store for me.

Amy thinks I’m weird, of course….

The shopping adventures of Joyce and Scott continue from Boquete/David to Panama City:

Today we took a taxi to David for an early morning bus ride to Panama City. The taxi went well, but it was the most expensive part of our day. It wasn’t bad though. For a 30 mile drive to David, it was only $35. In David, we paid a little over $15 each for a 6-1/2 hour bus drive to Panama City and Albrook mall, which is right on the canal on the northern side of the City. It was a very smooth and easy drive for us. It didn’t seem as long as it might have, since as I’ve not been feeling well for several days, I slept most of the drive.

When we arrived in Panama City at the mall, we took a taxi to our hotel, which is on the old military base. It was such a short drive (only about three miles), that we decided to walk back to the mall after checking in.

The Albrook mall is the largest mall in Latin America, from what we have been told, and it is immense. I estimate that it is about a mile long and 2-3 stories. There are numerous large department stores, plus any number of other stores, including about every shoe store known to human kind. You could spend days in that mall.

We went into a three story HUGE department store that seems to emphasize inexpensive items. After our three months in the small town of Boquete with occasional trips to the mall in David, it was really a bit overwhelming to see so many items and so many people in one store! There were tons of things that looked interesting, but we were mostly able to restrain ourselves—fortunately for our pocketbooks!

So, apparently there are many more items of interest available in the malls of Panama City! Joyce has written above about Albrook Mall but there all sorts of other malls like Multiplaza Mall and Multi Centro Mall, for example. Many of the Boquete/David residents also make regular trips to Panama City for their shopping and dining needs. We do the same periodically. Plus it is great for a change of scenery as well. After the hustle and bustle of Panama City, it is always great to be back home in the cooler and quieter Boquete environment and familiar surroundings.

There is a new mall in David that is under construction and promises to be similar to the Albrook mall, only smaller. The main David bus terminal will be relocated from its current location to the new mall. From the looks of it, it is about halfway done. Maybe in a year or two we will be able to do most of our shopping there? Rumor has it that the best grocery chain (in our opinion!) in Panama, Riba Smith, will have a store there! We can’t wait. Look at the architect’s rendering of the David mall below:

Hope to see you down in Boquete soon. We have a lot more information available for you! Make sure you ask us about life in Panama when you come and stay with us at Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast.

Expats residing in Boquete, Panama, from many different cultures. Are we living in harmony with the locals? Come and see for yourself!

Blog by Terry Richmeier

At Casa de Montaña Bed and Breakfast, we have been in business now for 3.5 years and have discovered there are differences in each culture we have encountered! Differences that are neither bad nor good, just different. Here in Boquete, Panama, for example: you see the Indigenous women in their Mola dress and now we are starting to see more and more of the Indigenous men wearing western clothes. And the younger generation is now in shorts. Something that was really NOT acceptable for Panamanians several years back. I (Terry) myself spend my life here in shorts! This is not an isolated incident, and is just one example of many, as Panama is known to have so many different cultures living here. Are they coexisting in harmony without major problems?

Here is one experience from local expats Joyce and Scott Kinnear…..

Scott and I have lived outside of the US twice—once in the 1980s when we lived in rural far Western Germany and now we are living in rural Panama. We’ve noticed a large difference between the stereotypes with which we were and are viewed in these two experiences. I don’t know if these differences are due to locations, our own stereotypes about the people there, the difference in time or what, but it is interesting.

In Germany, we were told that Americans were too nice, too friendly, too ready to smile all the time (lots of white teeth) and far too naïve. We were not really accepted into our village until we discovered that our landlord was trying to cheat us by having the grandmother’s electricity plugged into our meter. When we figured that out and stood up to our landlord, the landlord and neighbors began to treat us as part of the community—inviting us to their homes and sharing drinks and food at the local beer fests.

On the other hand, in Boquete, we hear that North Americans (particularly US citizens) are viewed as too rushed, too pressured, too hurried and less friendly than the locals. This seems to me to be because things are very likely to not happen or happen much later than originally planned here in Panama, especially Boquete, and North Americans (used to time schedules and things being completed within a certain time of when originally agreed) tend to get a bit upset, even pushy when things don’t work out.

I don’t think we’ve changed that much over time, but it is interesting that what we hear about ourselves and our cultural background has gone from “too naïve and smiley” to “too pushy and demanding.” I wonder if the Germans and other Europeans who have moved to Boquete feel this difference even more than we do?

Anyway, bouncing from different cultural expectations is very interesting, as long as you stay flexible and calm. For a psychology major, it is always interesting.



For the crew of Casa de Montaña Bed and Breakfast, it is also very interesting. We can only recommend that you come and stay with us, and experience more than just the Latin American culture in Panama but many other cultures that are represented in Boquete, Panama at the same time! It make for great discussions and who knows, maybe even friends from all over the world. Contact Us and Come

Traditional costumes of Panama and some Central & South American countries

Blog by Maria Isabel Zapata.

I am a fashion lover.  It is my passion and everything about it lights my world and gets me so excited that I can’t get enough! I believe that the way we dress is the way we present ourselves to the world. It shows our personality, and our culture. Clothes really say a lot about us, and they can say a lot about a country too.  Which is why I think our traditional costumes are so important, they are our heritage and how the world sees us. Also, they are the easiest and most fun way to learn our history.

Being here in Panama has exposed me to even more varieties of traditional costumes. Panamanians are so proud of their “Pollera” that they take every opportunity they have to put it on and walk around proudly in it. They even get started at a very young age – my kids are having “baile tipico” classes at school right now and they look so cute!

So I thought, why not talk about the traditional costumes of the Americas?

This was a hard decision for me, since Europe and Asia have amazing traditional costumes, I would love to talk about them all! But it would turn out to be a book! So I will focus on the countries near Panama. Also, most of the countries have different type of costumes depending on the region (Caribbean, Andean, etc) so I picked the ones I found most interesting:


Honduran typical dress is really different because they have colors that vary a lot. It is their design that is able to make it unique and different from any other country. The colors of the costume of the woman vary a lot. You can choose from strong shades to soft and pastel combined with decorations that are present in both the skirt and the shirt. The fabric is highly decorated achieving a completely perfect and detailed look. Necklaces are a very important accessory for women of Honduras because they give tham a look characteristic of Central America. Women usually get a flat hat the exact size of their head to finish off the ensemble.

The men wear a completely white outfit that is characterized by being a little loose. The shirt can be decorated with some colored embroidery. Men wear elegant black shoes that highlight the contrast between the white embroidered outfits and the shoes.




Nicaragua’s “mestizaje costume” show the ostentatious Spanish influence in the garments of the villages. The woman wears a colorful skirt and sequined suit that fits the body, nicaraguawhich is also known as “luxurious Indian costume”. This is accompanied with a hat crowned with arrangements of feathers and a fan also of feathers. The man wears a white shirt with a dark coat decorated with sequins; a hat with the wing folded in front and with a red flower, plus several strips of colors falling backwards, and embombado underwear, white stockings and slippers.

nicaragua2The Peasant costume of Nicaragua is very different. These costumes depict two characters representing a man and a hard-working woman in the North of Nicaragua. The woman wears a skirt fitted snugly to her body, with a handkerchief in the waist, long sleeves cotona, handkerchief on the head, earrings and a pot of black mud in her arms. The man wears white long trousers, white cotona (or other light color) and a neckerchief, as well as a gourd for water and a Northern hat.





Costa Rica

The traditional costume for women of Costa Rica consists of a multi-layered dress. It is wide and with vivid colors. The hairstyle has braids and is decorated with flowers. Women wear sandals on their feet. As for men, there is generally a suit of basic finishes and without much adornment but in vivid colors. They use a scarf and a belt of the same color to finish off the ensemble.



Charros Mexicanos: The typical charro wears a tuck borough shirt with buttons, a bow tie, suede or Casimir pants, a sack, buttons made in alpaca and a “gala” hat. The pants have some variants: chaps, calzoneras, tapabalazos which are made of pelt or jargon. The more formal attire is tighter with silver buttons.
Sometimes they carry a short sack made of suede or casimir with frog closures of silver and a cotton shirt, usually white. Knitted in palma, the hat is lined with felt and is wide-brimmed and medium crown with four slits called “stoned”. In addition to this outfit, the charro carries also a belt, a sword, a gun, a rope, and spurs. The charro is covered with a striped wool zarape of many colors.

charros mexicanos fotos-semana-trajes-tipicos-mexico-charros

I particularly love his one. It is really beautiful and colorful and it looks like it has a lot of work done on it! The costume is eye-catching and elegant. For example, at the capital of the State, Tuxtla, you can admire all the variety of costumes that are used throughout the territory. An example of gala is the dress with wide skirt which is filled with flowers of different colors and they are hand embroidered with silk thread. Hand embroidery on black tulle, is completely handmade by Chiapas women who take pride in making their creations.

mexico traje tipico chiapas mexico


This is a special one for me since I am from Colombia off course! I remember when I was a kid and we had a beauty pageant at my school and I had to dress in the traditional costume. I also remember my school dance where we danced cumbia which is the traditional music of Colombia (plus vallenato and porro).


Colombia is a big country divided in 6 regions due to their climate, therefore the typical costumes can vary in every region. I am from the Andean region also known as “zona cafeteria” (coffee state), Antioquia to be more specific.

Theantioqueño” typical costume comes directly from the muleteer men, colonist of the XIX century and from the coffee picker women.

Male costume consist of the “sombrero antioqueño” which Is a  white hat with black ribbon; also the poncho or ruana depending on whether the climate is cold or hot; the “carriel”(man purse used by the peasants) , machete and “alpargatas” (espadrilles).
The female costume of the typical Antioquia consists of a long black skirt with some colorful prints, a white blouse and hat, all decorated with many flowers and embroidery.

343-trajes-tipicos-colombia colombia2



This dress’s name comes from a species of butterfly known as the Chapora, which migrates to the coffee farms in times of collection.

The woman’s usual attire is a scarf knotted to the head. The blouse has great Hispanic influence, it has ruffles in the chest, is white, with high collar and adorned with pleats, ruches, lace and embroidery. Blouses are usually short sleeves with lace at the fist; when the sleeve is long it has lace at the elbow. The skirt can reach 20 cm above the ankle, and is made of flowered cotton fabrics. At the bottom it has one or two ruffles and always uses petticoats and an apron.  The footwear is called espadrilles. Typically a woman has her hair in braids and tied with ribbons, with long earrings and a large flower in her hair. A basket complements the dress and is fastened to the waist. The basket was originally used to transitionally hold the coffee grain the chapolera collects directly from the branch of the coffee plant. The apron protects the dress of the friction of the basket and the humidity of the honey flowing from the ripe coffee grain.

chapolera manuela_reina_chapolera__1_




Peruvian men often wear the poncho and it has bright colors. There are many different kinds (depends on the region) and are used depending on its purpose. Although there are men who use it every day, typically they use it for special events.  It is also very common in Peru for men to wear hats with some special bands called “centillo”. They are colorful and very festive. The most popular hat is chullo which is handmade. It is knitted with lappets and tassels. The hat is made of alpaca, llama, vicuña or sheep’s wool. Pants are simple and made of alpaca, llama or sheep’s wool as well. The shirts are colorful and often have geometric ornaments and designs printed with animal drawings.
peru peru2

The main parts of the clothing typical of women in this country are ponchos, dresses, blankets, skirts, coats and hats. Each costume or piece of clothing differs greatly between one region and another, because this way they can show the peculiarities of each city or town. For example, people ascertain if a woman is from a village or town by looking at her hat or if she comes from a rich or poor family. Women tend to wear cloths in the shoulders, which are rectangular pieces of hand-woven fabric. Both men and women wear ajotas (shoes made from recycled truck tires) which are made at home and are very cheap


Panama’s typical costumes are some of the most elaborated and rich costumes. One such costume is called “Pollera”. It has several variations, depending on the region and the kind of festivities.  Here is a photo of it. Since Panama deserves its own blog, it is to be continued in a future blog…………..!!!

Here at Casa de Montaña Bed and Breakfast you get to know so many cultures, come and stay  with us and begin your cultural adventures!


So, you want to get married in Boquete, Panama?

Blog by Terry Richmeier & Manzar Lari


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Taken from:

Procedures related to marriage in Panama are not very complicated. You can get married even if you are not a resident of the country.

Panama ranks among the top destinations for expatriates wishing to marry abroad. If you want to also make your wedding a truly memorable occasion, Panama can offer what you are looking for. However, expatriates have to fill in certain formalities, although Panamanian citizenship or permanent residency are not mandatory requirements. Note that you must be at least 18 years old to be allowed to get married in Panama. We have been told that renewing your vows by getting married again in Panama is also a good way to cut down on red-tape and delays involved in getting one’s marriage certificate and related documents shipped and notarized and authenticated! Why not make a party out of it and “re-energize” your commitment to each other AND get your residency paperwork in order at the same time?!?! Win-Win!

Different types of weddings are celebrated in Panama: civil, religious or court marriages. However, gay marriage is not legally authorized…yet!


The request for civil marriage must be made at the marriage court, known as the ‘Juzgado in Turno Matrimonios’ at least three days before the scheduled date of marriage. Documents to be produced are:

  • a health certificate for each spouse issued by a recognized public or private physician within 15 days before the marriage
  • your birth certificate issued in your home country and authenticated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Panama
  • your children’s birth certificates if you have any
  • a certificate of celibacy issued in your home country during the two years preceding the scheduled date of marriage (check with your home country’s authorities before proceeding)
  • a divorce or death certificate in case of a previous marriage
  • a Panamanian identity card (if you are a resident) or your passport and visa
  • a statement signed by both parties by stating their wish to marry and mentioning their personal details such as their name, age, nationality, occupations, address, etc.

You will also need two witnesses who are more than 18 years and with whom you have no family ties. If they are expatriates, they will also have to produce their passport and visa attesting of their legality of being in the country of Panama.

If you are marrying a Panamanian citizen, you will not only be able to obtain permanent residency but you will also have the right to apply for a work permit. However, you are required to register your marriage in Panama. Moreover, cohabitation relationships may be pronounced as a “de facto wedding” provided you produce evidence as to the relationship’s authenticity.

Once all these procedures have been completed, you have to celebrate your civil wedding at the court of marriage in the presence of your witnesses. The judge will issue a marriage certificate after your wedding is formalized. Note that you can choose the date and time of the wedding.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Panama
Judicial Service of Panama

So, what culture do you come from? What are your traditions that you want to bring to your perfect wedding? Starting out, we want to include some cultures and traditions for that special day! Starting with a traditional Panama Wedding. There are as many different traditions as there are cultures. We are taking some of our favorites and our list is very small compared to what is available. These are taken from


Panama Wedding Traditions – It is customary for the groom to give the bride 13 gold coins during the wedding ceremony, which the Priest blesses. These are a symbol of the groom’s commitment to support his new bride.

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African Wedding Traditions – The Origins of weddings in Africa date back thousands of years and include the combining of two tribes into one family unit. Children marry as young as 13 to 15 years old and divorce is rare as marital problems are worked out on a family and sometimes community level.

Girls are trained from childhood to be good wives and even learn secret codes and languages that allow them to talk to other married women without their husbands understanding them.

Korean Wedding Traditions – Weddings often feature a fortune teller called a Kung Hap, who is called upon to foretell the couple’s future before they are married to determine whether they will live together harmoniously or not. This is especially important as engagement gifts for a traditional Korean wedding can total $40,000.

Filipino Wedding Traditions – Early customs required the groom to throw a spear onto the front porch steps of his fiancé’s home as a dramatic statement that she belongs to him.

In the past weddings lasted as long as 3 days with ceremonies performed each day, until the 3rd day when the couple would join hands and declare their love for one another 3 times. This was followed by the binding of their hands by a priest, who then declared them married.

Middle East Wedding Traditions – This is where the tradition of wearing wedding rings originated and at the wedding each guest is given five almonds that symbolize the five sacred wedding wishes of health, happiness, wealth, fertility and longevity.

It is common for a Middle Eastern wedding to feature five different parties including the engagement party, the party to celebrate the signing of the wedding contract, the Henna Party, Reception and Bridal Shower.

Italian Wedding Traditions – Considered the land of love, which is where the gold wedding ring first gained popularity. Italians also get credit for the first wedding cakes, as bread or cake was traditionally broken over the bride’s head to insure fertility.

A groom in Italy may carry a piece of iron in his pocket to ward off evil spirits and the bride wears a veil to cover her face and hide her from jealous evil spirits. Tearing her veil is considered good luck.

English Wedding Traditions – This is where the tradition of “something old, new, borrowed and blue” began with a nursery rhyme. Something old was a symbol of continuity, something new – hope for the future, something borrowed – happiness and something blue – purity.

The bride sews a good luck charm, such as a silver horse shoe of British Royal brides to the hem of their dress for good luck.

The traditional English wedding cake is a fruitcake, made up with raisins, cherries, ground almonds and marzipan. The top layer of the cake is the “christening cake” which the couple saves for the baptism of their first child.

German Wedding Traditions – At German weddings it is a tradition and considered good luck for the guests to bring old dishes to break. After the dishes are broken, the newly married couple sweep them up together to symbolize that nothing in their house will ever be broken again.

After the wedding reception the best man steals the bride and takes her to a local pub, where they drink Champagne until the groom finds them. He then has to pay for their drinks. Later on, friends of the couple block the exits of the reception hall with ribbons and garlands.

Mexican Wedding Traditions – It is customary for a white ribbon or rosary, called a “lasso” to be draped around the necks of the marrying couple during the wedding vows as a symbol of their union. As the couple leaves the church their guests throw red beads at them for good luck.

At a Mexican wedding reception guests form a heart-shaped circle around the newlyweds as they dance their first dance as husband and wife.

Jewish Wedding Traditions – Jewish weddings have many traditions, including the signing of the wedding contract by the bride and groom, which is called a Ketubah. It is then framed and hung in the couple’s home.

After the vows and seven blessings are read, the groom crushes a wine glass to symbolize the fragility of human happiness. A lively Israeli dance called the “Hora” is performed at the reception.


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These are some of many wedding traditions around the globe that are performed somewhere each and every day of the year. Even though wedding can take place any time in Panama, right now is the start of the wedding season in Boquete, Panama. This is a very exciting time for you to “tie the knot” and take the plunge! Here at Casa de Montaña we know and understand the stress and the costs that are involved in putting on a wedding. Give us a call and we can set up special prices for family and friends that will be in town for your wedding. We also have the perfect room for the lucky couple!

Panama’s president Varela – What is he up to?

Panama’s president Varela – What is he up to?

Blog by Andres Lay

Last week we told you about our Mayor here in Boquete, Panama, and all the work he has taken on and what he is planning to do in the following months.

Well, he is not the only one. Now we would like to tell you about the new President Varela here in Panama.


Some background about the President:

Juan Carlos Varela R. was born in Panama on December 12, 1963. He completed primary and secondary level education in the Javier College. He graduated in Industrial Engineering from Georgia Tech University, United States. He is married to a journalist Lorena Castillo and is a father of three children.

In the private sector he led the growth of a Panamanian company that has over 100 years of history, which has created thousands of jobs in our country, called Varela Hermanos, SA. There he served as a director since 1985 and executive vice president until January 2008. With a large social view from the private sector, Varela supported and promoted projects for culture, sports, education, folklore and the environment.

He was elected Vice President of the Republic of Panama in July 2009 and in just two years in office in the Government, he met the social promises made during the campaign, including Program 100 to 70, the minimum wage increase, the Project Curundú and the Universal Fellowship, among others.

On March 17th, 2013, Juan Carlos Varela became the presidential candidate for the Panamanian Party and on August 25th of the same year, he was proclaimed candidate of the Alliance “People First”, formed by the Panamanian Party and the Popular Party, with the support of independent sectors. On May 4, 2014, Varela was elected President of the Republic of Panama for the constitutional period 2014-2019

What he has already achieved:

  • The province of Colon started the complete renovation of urban infrastructure and recovery of abandoned historic buildings and sites of national interest. This plan will benefit over 25,000 people from Colon by building up to five thousand units of housing, which will be complemented by other infrastructure

  • The Government achieved the most important price reduction in the last 10 years – the implementation of the Emergency Price Control of 22 products of the basic staple foods. This program has helped to stabilize food prices in general, facilitating public access and affordability of these basic staple foods at reasonable prices

  • In order to improve the infrastructure of public schools in Panama, and ensure transformation of culture and learning, through the Ministry of Education, the government has launched a series of initiatives, including “My School First”. Varela has formed public-private partnerships to carry out effectively and promptly the structural improvement of over 3000 public schools. Also, 754 teachers of the different schools and universities, as well as English teachers in public schools, have traveled to the US and Europe to improve English language skills and improve their teaching methodology. Through Law 14 of August 8, 2014, Varela increased the financial allocation for the Universal Fellowship. The objective of this initiative is to prevent and counter the dropout of students with socio-economic problems and engage guardians of these students to get involved in the teaching process

  • Ensuring development with equity and justice, and social inclusion and participation of all Panamanians, Varela is updating the existing latrines at a national level and improving the sewage system and access to drinking water. Currently 150 districts nationwide have been counted as being part of this. In August this year, orders were delivered to proceed and accept five bids for the improvement of sewerage and water treatment nationwide. Varela’s goal is to improve the quality of life of more than 1 million Panamanians with the construction of 300,000 clean bathrooms.

  • In one year Varela has created more opportunities to prevent and combat crime. In his first budget, resources are allocated to assign the security forces that can work effectively throughout the country. The government is running the Safe Neighborhoods Program with more opportunities for young people, who are at risk, to reintegrate into society. This initiative is starting to get some results with decreased crime rates, homicides are down and gang deaths have been reduced.

What has Varela planned for in the future?

  • Over 5000 families already have benefited with 600 houses allocated to them in all of Panama. The goal is to build over 50,000 new homes during his presidency
  • The construction of the 2nd line on the Metro which will result in over 5000 additional job opportunities
  • Designing and implementing policies, projects and programs to establish equality of care for all groups with problems of poverty and vulnerability in Panama
  • Updating of the bridge of Las Americas
  • Renewal and enlargement of the Panamerican Highway – the David to Santiago segment
  • Construction of the new aqueduct and sewerage system in Boquete
  • The continuation of the Panama Canal expansion


These are some of the future plans the president Varela has for Panama. Even though some people do not like him or what he stands for, his government has been doing some good work by catching the people that have been involved in corruption during past administrations as well as the things mentioned above. We look forward to the next 4 years of his presidency and also to see all the improvement he has planned for Boquete.


It’s always good to know what is happening locally when you are going to visit another country, especially if you plan to move there. It’s important to know governmental beliefs, how the government is treating their people and how happy the people of the country are and whether or not it’s somewhere you would indeed like to visit. Boquete, Panama is one of those “happy” places. So come stay with us here at Casa de Montaña Bed and Breakfast and we can chat some more about the latest changes in Panama!

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