It is said that there is no heating or air conditioning needed if you live in Boquete. The reality is that this is mostly true and it greatly reduces the cost of maintaining a home.
However, the full answer is dependent on which microclimate in Boquete you live in and primarily at what altitude.
Boquete’s altitude ranges from about 1,000 feet where it borders Dolega to 11,397 feet at the peak of Volcan Baru, Panama’s highest mountain. Residential areas are found up to around 7,000 feet. Boquete’s downtown is at 3,400 feet.
In Boquete’s downtown, the eternal spring is evident. It is rarely very cold or very hot. The average temperature is about 68 degrees. It rarely gets below 60 at night and is usually in the high 70s during the day. At times it can dip into the high 50s at night and is often in the low 80s during the day, but doesn’t go over 85. For many, this is ideal weather. Ceiling fans and breezes are happy solutions for particularly warm afternoons and evenings are snuggle up comfy. Some enjoy the warmth of indoor or outdoor fireplaces in the evening.
Perhaps 1 in 20 new luxury homes near this altitude have wall unit air conditioning. They don’t need heating.
That being said, as you ascend further into the mountains to the wondrous heights of areas like Volcancito, Jaramillo, Alto Quiel and Bajo Mano, there are those who find some evenings chilly and for those who are particularly sensitive, even cold. A small space heater can be more than enough to offset the coolness, though they are rarely evident.
As you descend from downtown through Alto Boquete towards David, the air steadily warms. Once you reach 2,000 feet or below, the afternoons can be a bit warmer as are the evenings. Still, it’s not too hot or cold. But, perhaps 1 in 3 new luxury residences in these areas have wall air conditioning units to offset the occasional hotter afternoons.
It’s not until you hit about 1,200 or 1,400 feet that most people would require air conditioning.
Microclimates can also be a factor, but altitude is the biggest one.
The financial consequences are meaningful. Gas and electric bills in Boquete are small in comparison to those you find in nearly all of the U.S. and Europe. That’s not necessarily due to a lower per kilowatt cost. It’s because of the fantastic weather.
The no A/C savings is not limited to gas and electric. A hidden savings is the cost of air conditioning maintenance and replacements. Most A/C systems require coolant, service, parts replaced regularly and full replacement every 10-15 years. Many medium or large new homes outside of Panama also have two units – especially on two story homes. A new quality air conditioning unit in more affordable areas of the U.S. for example runs about $5,000-$15,000 installed depending on the needs of the home. Buy an 8 year old home and get ready to pay big within the next few years. No need to worry about this predictable major expense in Boquete.
Residents and good real estate professionals can help you to identify the environment, microclimate and altitude that is best for you.
For more information about the areas of Boquete, here is a great Boquete map from Casa Solution: Map of Boquete Panama
Lloyd and Sandra Cripe maintain an excellent resource on Boquete weather with the help of volunteers. It has everything you could possibly want to know about Boquete weather: http://boqueteweather.com/index.htm