Cielo Paraiso golf com­mu­nity in Bo­quete, Panama

Calgary Herald - Calgary Herald New Condos - - Front Page - MARTY HOPE

Refugees from the big city Toronto rat race de­cided it was time to pull up stakes and set­tle down some­where else — the only ques­tion was, where? It turned out the an­swer was in the moun­tain vil­lage of Bo­quete in Panama.

About a decade ago, Colleen and Raideep Lal de­cided they’d had enough of the bigc­ity rat race of Toronto.

It was time to find them­selves a new life — but where?

“We were look­ing for a life­style change and we trav­elled ex­ten­sively and were very me­thod­i­cal in terms of how we looked at dif­fer­ent places,” says Cal­gary-born Colleen Lal. “Panama scored very high in terms of our wants and needs.”

It took 18 months of re­search­ing other lo­cales in the Caribbean and South Pa­cific be­fore the Cana­dian cou­ple de­cided to put down their new per­sonal and busi­ness roots in Panama — ac­tu­ally in the moun­tain vil­lage of Bo­quete.

Tucked into the hill­side and with great views of the Baru vol­cano, the vil­lage is known to pro­duce some of the sweet­est or­anges and rich­est cof­fees in the coun­try.

“We just fell in love with the lit­tle town, so we bought a lit­tle cof­fee farm,” says Lal, whose hus­band died this sum­mer of a heart at­tack.

Not only did Colleen carry on with the cof­fee farm, but ad­vanced the vi­sion her hus­band had for a re­sort devel­op­ment.

Cielo Paraiso (Span­ish for Par­adise in the Sky) is well un­der­way, with more than 15 homes com­plete, all in­fra­struc­ture in place, and an 18-hole golf course fin­ished and ready for play in De­cem­ber.

“That was a happy day for us, see­ing the golf course com­pleted,” says Lal.

Cov­er­ing some­thing like 230 hectares, Cielo Paraiso will have 62 du­plex vil­las, 54 con­dos, 60 home­sites and 15 town­houses when built out.

“There’s so much to love about Bo­quete and Cielo Paraiso — the vol­cano and the Tala­manca moun­tains, and the ocean,” says Lal.

Bo­quete has long been a favourite vacation des­ti­na­tion for Pana­ma­ni­ans be­cause of its moun­tain cli­mate.

More re­cently, Panama is en­joy­ing in­ter­na­tional recog­ni­tion as trav­ellers from around the world dis­cover the coun­try’s beauty.

For six straight years, Panama has been rated as one of the top re­tire­ment havens in the world.

While re­tirees still make up a good per­cent­age of Cana­di­ans, Amer­i­cans and Euro­peans spend­ing at least a part of each year there, younger buy­ers are get­ting in on the act.

“The in­ter­na­tional buyer mar­ket is chang­ing,” says Lal. “It used to be the 55-plus crowd who bought down here, but to­day we have 35-year-olds look­ing to get their foot in the door of sec­ond-home or vacation home own­er­ship.”

Peo­ple shop­ping around for just the right prop­erty, in the right cli­mate, have solid choices in Cielo Paraiso.

To date, about half of the 60 home sites that have been re­leased are be­ing sold at prices start­ing in the mid-$100,000 range.

The con­dos that will be of­fered will range in size from 1,000 to 1,500 square feet and will be priced from the low $100,000s, while du­plexes mea­sur­ing 1,600 to 2,400 square feet will start in the high $100,000 range.

As an added ser­vice, Cielo Paraiso has a rental pro­gram for own­ers who want their homes to bring in in­come when they aren’t there.

One of the homes be­ing of­fered in the 232-hectare Cielo Paraiso golf com­mu­nity in Bo­quete, Panama. The project’s name is Span­ish for ‘par­adise in the sky.’

Colleen Lal, right, has car­ried on with the vi­sion for the Cielo Paraiso devel­op­ment in Bo­quette, Panama, cre­ated by her late hus­band Raideep Lal, left, who passed away this sum­mer.

The golf course will be ready for play in De­cem­ber.

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