Weather: Temperatures in the 70s year-round; dry January-April
Getting there: No direct flights. Flights from L.A. to Panama City take 6¦1/2§ hours, then it's a 30-minute flight to the town of David and a 30-mile drive to Boquete.
Healthcare: Small clinics in Boquete; Panama City has good facilities, including a Johns Hopkins-affiliated hospital.
What $250,000 will buy: Three-bed, two-bath house with volcano view, community pool, tennis courts
Hundreds of U.S. retirees provide an instant support network
All foreign income tax exempt
15-year property tax breaks
Big senior discounts on domestic air and bus fares and hotels
Economy based on the U.S. dollar makes financial transactions easy
Land title disputes common
30-day tourist visas can rush house-hunting
Finding specialized local medical care can be difficult
Water shortages in dry season
* Boquete Community Forums, online discussion groups: www.boquete.org
* Panama Insight, website with visa, real estate and travel info: www.panamainsight.com
* Panamanian Tourism Institute: www.visitpanama.com/eng/index.php