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Boquete, Panama

Population: 20,000

Weather: Temperatures in the 70s year-round; dry January-April

Getting there: No direct flights. Flights from L.A. to Panama City take 6ƒ¦1/2ƒ§ 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

Pros

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

Cons

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

Resources

* 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

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