Thursday, September 10, 2015

Build a Retreat in the Best Off Grid Community in Panama

There are a variety of reasons to consider building your family retreat on the isthmus that is Panama.

Here are some of the top ones:

1) The weather - While many parts of the U.S. are experiencing drought conditions, the northernmost mountainous regions of Panama enjoy cool breezes and plenty of rain.

Panama experiences few if any cyclones or hurricanes, because of its location between the two larger land masses of North and South America. The one and only time one of these bad boys made landfall in Panama was in 1969, hurricane Martha. It did some damage, to be sure, but nothing like what the East Coast of the U.S. gets clobbered with every single year.

If you are planning to build a retreat somewhere out of the U.S., building your home where the weather is conducive to growing a solid crop of organic fruits and vegetables without the huge expense of chemical fertilizers, is ideal.

2) The economy in Panama is vibrant - While America and much of Europe are struggling to keep from collapsing, the country many are calling the 'Singapore of Central America' is doing quite well, thank you.

Panama's debt to GDP ratio is low compared to other Latin American countries and way below Japan, Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal.

GDP growth for 2014 was a robust 6.6%, down a bit from the highs of the previous two years, but still quite good in comparison to other first world countries.

Panama's unemployment rate (4.1%) is low too. As a matter of fact, American businesses are having difficulty finding qualified employees to meet the growing demand.

Starting an online (or local) business of some sort, or getting an internet phone-based position, would be ideal for maintaining a reliable income stream while living in paradise in your on or off the grid retreat.

3) Lawful government - While you would certainly not want to find yourself in a jail in Panama, the government there appears to operate with a high level of transparency and fairness. A thorough search for the best country in which to build a retreat would certainly have to include a country who's government respects the rights of its citizens.

According to a recent (2015) report from the U.S. State Department:


The law prohibits arbitrary arrest and detention, and the government generally observed these prohibitions.

The law prohibits arbitrary interference with privacy, family, home or correspondence.  
There were no reports of politically motivated disappearances.

There were no reports of political prisoners or detainees.

There were no reports the government or its agents committed arbitrary or unlawful killings.

The constitution prohibits torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

The law prohibits police from detaining suspects for more than 48 hours without judicial authorization, but permits the detention of minors for 72 hours.

The law provides that all citizens charged with crimes enjoy a presumption of innocence and have the right to counsel, to refrain from incriminating themselves or close relatives, and to be tried only once for a given offense.

The constitution provides for freedom of speech and press, but there were some attempts by the Martinelli government between January and June to impede the media's freedom of expression. (note: He's gone and the new President seems to be making some positive changes)

The government did not restrict or disrupt access to the internet or censor online content. There were no reports the government monitored private online communication without appropriate legal authority.

The law provides for the freedoms of assembly and association, and the government generally respected these rights.

There were no government restrictions on academic freedom or cultural events.

The law prohibits discrimination based on race, sex, gender, disability, language or social status. (but the government did not always enforce these prohibitions effectively)

Not all in this official report was rosy, to be sure. There were some reports of discrimination, corruption and ignorance of the law among police in rural areas. And as mentioned above, most of these rights are bestowed on citizens not necessarily on visitors.

If you are looking for a small organic farm for sale, and you are searching for the perfect place to build a retreat, the mountains of Panama are pretty hard to beat.

How does Panama compare to your home country?