Real estate in Panama has been booming for several years now. The latest wave of buyers are middle and upper-class Venezuelans, who are coming to Panama in large numbers to escape the uncertainties of life under Hugo Chavez. In fact one thing I love about Panama is the diversity of the population here. For a small country, you routinely meet people from many nations.
I also appreciate the warmth of the Panamanian people, and the sheer physical beauty of the landscape.
One problem is knowing who to trust. It's best to seek referrals and recommendations from people who have successfully made the move.
There is a scarcity of large, established real estate firms or real estate listing websites in Panama. But there are a few. Today I was looking at the website of encuentra24.com. Their website is in both English and Spanish, which is handy. They have some good Panama real estate listings, along with general Panama classified ads. They have listings for condos or apartments in Panama, vacation rentals, and development properties all over the country. Check out the cool real estate map of Bocas del Toro on their website.
Bocas del Toro is a group of islands on the Caribbean side of Panama, near Costa Rica. These islands are beautiful and idyllic, with incredible diving, snorkeling and fishing opportunities. If you are contemplating buying real estate there, however, be aware that public service infrastructure (electricity, water, garbage service, etc) ranges from poor to non-existent. The most successful ex-pat settlers in Bocas are do-it-yourself types who are comfortable living off the grid: solar power, water cachement, garbage composting, etc.
As for me, I love the cool highlands of El Valle, but it certainly would be nice to have a little beach condo as well. We can only dream.