Cielo Paraiso golf community in Boquete, Panama
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.