Is Boquete the World’s Happiest Place?
Gallup, the respected international polling organization, interviewed 1,000 people in each of 148 countries throughout the world to measure people’s happiness with the results released in December 2012. Panama incredibly earned the distinction of the number 1 happiest place in the world.
Fast forward to 2014 and Panama does it again. In a new 2014 Gallup project, Panama once again placed first of 135 countries in Well-Being. This has led to headlines like “World’s Happiest Country: how did Panama overtake Denmark?”
An astounding result was that no other country came close. Panama had a score of 61. Our neighbor, Costa Rica, came in second with 44 – a full 17 percentage points behind Panama. Number 3 of 135 Denmark got a 40 by the way. How did this happen?
Panama’s people have a wonderful outlook on life. Panamanians are, as a group, a happy people. The warm feelings and positive emotions toward life shared by the Panamanian people are reflected in their welcoming nature toward newcomers. This positive spirit and zest for life can’t help but rub off on those living among the local people. Primarily this is about the Panamanian culture; an intrinsic characteristic that supercedes economics. However, there is also sense of optimism in Panama buoyed by the increasing good fortune of the Panamanian people. With a booming economy, improvements in infrastructure, low unemployment and increasing wages, the people have additional reasons to feel good about their lives. That forward motion can be felt throughout Panama and likely adds to the already good feelings.
Boquete, the happiest place in Panama
Boquete is a particularly happy place in Panama. Being out of the heat of the lowlands, the lack of traffic, the many restaurants, the fun of being a tourist destination with enjoyable things to do, and the small town warm spirit of the people are some of the factors that make Boquete a happy place to be. We can’t imagine a happier place in Panama. So, with Panama the happiest country in the world, and Boquete, the happiest place in Panama, perhaps Boquete is the world’s happiest place.
Nestled in a cool and verdant valley, Boquete in the Chiriqui Province of Panama is a deeply beautiful mountain community blessed with year-round spring-like weather, incredible views around every corner and warm people with a rich culture. Boquete boasts a growing number of amenities including excellent restaurants, spas, hotels, shops, supermarkets, gyms and endless opportunities to experience the natural wonder of the region.
Boquete is thought by many to be the best place to live in Panama. The unique and comfortable climate, natural beauty, many amenities, great local people and proximity to beaches as well as a medium sized city make Boquete a sought after international destination.
Boquete has been identified by highly respected organizations as one of the best places to retire to in the world. AARP said that “The mountain village of Boquete offers something close to heaven for American retirees.” when they did a recent magazine feature on the top 4 retirement destinations in the world. Fortune magazine named Boquete one of the top 6 destinations to retire in the world and Boquete has been featured in countless publications such as the LA Times, New York Times and Time Magazine.
One of Boquete’s great appeals is its scenic diversity. As you drive about the region you encounter varied terrain, even great variation in plant life due to the many microclimates and range of altitudes. Turning a corner, the scene sometimes changes from tropical mists, breezy with rainbows to bright, sunny and calm. The views can be majestic mountains in one direction and deep vistas across plain-like terrain all the way to the ocean in the other. From many vantage points, you can see the water of the Pacific ocean and the islands of the Gulf of Chiriqui. From downtown, drive 20 minutes descending through Alto Boquete on the plateau between two enormous canyons and over a glorious river into the Caldera region of Boquete to find warmer weather and hot springs. Go just ten minutes up the hillsides in several directions to discover lush fields dotted with coffee plants, winding mountain roads with unbelievable views and pure streams sparkling in the sunlight while rainbows dance around overhead due to Boquete’s bajareque mists.
Boquete’s center of town is at 3,400 feet though as you enter the beginning of Boquete you start at a much lower altitude and steadily rise until you reach the heart of the valley. Towering above the town is Panama’s highest peak, Volcan Baru, a gorgeous mountain thick with tropical trees.
Close to the Beach
We love to take day trips to the beaches below Boquete. We often leave after breakfast and are back in town by dinnertime. There are several fantastic options. Choose from quiet tropical islands with coral reefs and white sands, long stretches of beach ideal for body-surfing under the palm trees and parrots, or sipping margaritas in the oceanside pool at a resort while watching the pelicans fly overhead.
So Happy – Could Boquete be the Happiest Place on Earth?
Blessed by such beauty, cool weather, great amenities, smiling people and easy access to Panama’s most lovely beaches and tallest mountains, Boquete is truly a happy place. If Gallup is right, maybe the happiest place on earth.