Small tips if you want to buy in Bocas del ToroMarch 23, 2019
Bocas del Toro has become in recent years, and by its own merits, a tourist destination known and demanded all over the world. Its pristine beaches and exotic landscapes conquer people from all sides, but it is the local atmosphere and the warmth of its people that is turning this small group of islands into an increasingly international community. There are many advantages that people experience when they arrive in the archipelago, and not only in terms of quality of life or entertainment, but also when making an investment and choosing Bocas del Toro as a place of residence. We had the opportunity to speak with Mark Johnson, owner of Paradise Found Real Estate, who has been able to provide us with some very valuable information on how it works and what is the current situation for the acquisition of a property in Bocas del Toro.
One of the things that we have been able to confirm is the increase of investors interested in acquiring a property in the archipelago. Either for residential or commercial use. “Since 2014 we have seen a steady increase every year in the demand for property here. Last year was a record year for Paradise Found Real Estate and this year looks like will be better.” says Mark. In addition, the origin of investors is increasingly diverse, coming from all over the world. “Over the past 5 years we have seen a lot more Europeans, South Americans and Australians looking for property” comments Mark in realtion to the main investors, Americans and Canadians, and adds, “about 3 years ago I had my first Panamanian buyer, and since then I’ve dealt with three others. Would love to see more Panamanians investing in properties here”. As mentioned above, Bocas del Toro has one of the most spectacular natural environments in the world, and therefore, a diversity of flora and fauna that is admirable and that must always be respected and taken care of. Bearing this in mind, there are different characteristics that make Bocas del Toro, a very interesting place to acquire a property. Mark has explained some factors that should be highlighted, “For purchasing property Foreigners have the same rights as Panamanians except they are not alIowed to own property on the borders of Costa Rica or Columbia” In addition, there is no difference in acquiring a property for commercial or residential use. However, there are certain land uses that do need some permits or an environmental study. “For commercial projects like hotels, an environmental impact study will be needed. Also for building over the water, you will need to apply for a concession and have an impact study as well”. This point is very relevant, since we consider vitally important the existence of good regulation on land use. Even more so in a place where certain types of constructions can cause irreversible damage to the surrounding ecosystems.
He has also explained to us the different types of properties that can be acquired. In Panama there are two types of properties, titled, with an operation similar to that of the USA or Europe, and properties with the Right of Possession. Most properties in Bocas del Toro are of the latter type, but … what does this really mean? “Rights of Possession property is where land is available under rights granted by the government of Panama for the use of the land. There is no time limit for the use of the land as long as you do possess the property and improve it in some type of way. Building a house, using it for agricultural purposes or commercial use are just a few ways to show possession”. Without a doubt, Bocas del Toro can be a wonderful place to start a new project, or enjoy a quiet life surrounded by nature. However, it is important that everyone with the idea of living in the islands, take into account the limitations that can lead to living in a place surrounded by wild nature and that does not have the infrastructure that we can find in our countries of origin. It is therefore essential that we all be aware that to live in Bocas del Toro, we must have a plan to live sustainable and being respectful of the environment. In this way we will develope this community, always in harmony with the impressive nature that surrounds us. From Bocasdeltoro.com we want to thank Mark Johnson for the collaboration at the time of writing this article and the entire community of Bocas, local and foreign, that together are making these islands a better place, achieving goals and objectives that allow us to dream about a Bocas del Toro free of plastics, with a sustainable growth plan for all, and a community whose main priority is respect for the land in which we live.