New members of the Panama forum, introduce yourself here – 2016

Hi all,

Newbie on the Panama forum? Don’t know how to start?

This thread is for you ;)

We invite you to introduce yourself on this topic, to share with us your expat story if you are already living in the country, or to tell us more on your expat projects in Panama if you are planning to move there.

It will enable us to help you better but above all to wish you a warm welcome.

Welcome on board!

PD : The thread New members of the Panama forum, introduce yourself here – 4th quarter of 2015 continues below!

My name is Joseph Ennis, am married to a Panamanian and we have 2 kids born here. We have a Spanish school for foreigners. I started this school 14 years ago. We've always promoted the vital importance of knowing at least some Spanish (more is better!) for anyone attempting to live in Panama. I am Canadian and I traveled to 51 countries before deciding upon Panama. I love El Cangrejo and wouldn't live anywhere else in Panama. So that, of course, is where we have SpanishPanama, the language school right on Via Argentina.
So, unlike a lot of expats here, this is my work life right here in Panama! My vacation life was spent traveling prior to 2000. I first learned Spanish at schools in Antigua Guatemala and Quito Ecuador and this planted some of the seeds to my life here.
Panama has lots going for it as you will read about on the internet but there's lots of things to watch out for. At our school we try to give a good cultural understanding as well as Spanish learning. That's why our teachers also come from other careers (published authros, real estate, business, law, arts and culture etc) and interesting backgrounds as well as Spanish.   xxx

Moderated by Bhavna 2 years ago
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Hello Everyone!

I was hoping to meet new people while practicing basic Spanish. I am an English Speaker and have learned many Spanish words, but I have yet to be able to construct sentences in public. I believe this would be a great opportunity to get together have a coffee or two and chat without having to pay for tutors or classes.

I can host here at my house out in front of the pool during the week. I am in the area of Panama West, 5 minutes from Coronado, at "The Village" complex.

All levels of Spanish speakers are welcome :)

Let me know if you are interested.

Hi, my name is Kevin Greenan. My wife Lee and I live in Seattle Washington and are about to visit Panama for the first time to begin our research for a retirement location. We are looking in Chiriquí province primarily, in the Boquete area as well as down in the Boca Chica area. We're just starting to learn rudimentary Spanish and are looking forward to getting connected to others in Chriqui to understand the expat experience.

Hello everyone,

I am a retired Coast Guardsman, having served several places, from Europe many years ago to Micronesia about ten-twelve years ago. Like many in Texas, I know a few words and phrases in Spanish, and could probably survive for a short time, but I am a linguistic cripple and am really interested in learning customs and folkways in Panama.
Thanks everyone for allowing me to join in the discussions!

Hi Joe, I too am nonEnglish poor, so I'll be following this thread for ideas.

My name is Stu and my wife and I are thinking of retiring in Panama.  Having never lived in another country before we don't really know were to start, so I am sure there will be many questions.

Hello, All..I am VonKarin and my dog is Miss Dolly. I'll be visiting Boco del Toro in April as the first leg of my journey to decide whether to move to Panama when I retire (as soon as possible!). 

Does anyone know if there are folks living in tiny houses down there? I am looking at building one and driving it down. Would appreciate input. Thanks. Von

My wife and I made our first trip to Panama in January to see the reality on the ground beyond the marketing from International Living and other travel sources. We we re in Chiriqui province, splitting our time between David, Boquete and the Boca Chica area (Bocas del Mar hotel and looking at homes in the Rincon Beach Estates development.
-the people were great. Very welcoming and understanding of our minimal Spanish
-the region was generally beautiful, as was the weather
-Bocas del Mar in Boca Chica is a great spot (although a bit challenging for my wife who has difficulty walking )
- the Hotel Ciudad de david was very nice, with large modern rooms, a very accommodating staff and good food.
- Boquete was a lovely town and we were there during the flower and coffee festval. The road from David made the trip easy

-Construction on the Pan American Hey between David and the turn off to Boca Chica more than doubled the projected travel time
- you should really rent a SUV to navigate many of the side roads, espacially the one leading to Boca Chica
- we shopped for groceries in David and didn't really see the huge savings we'd read about online
-wider spread concern for safety (bars on most windows) than we expected
- Rincon Beach estates is far more remote than advertised, although there are signs of pending development in the region that may result in better roads and more local ammenities
Overall, we really enjoyed ourselves and plan to come back, probably during the rainy season to experience that time of year. We are looking for recommendations for other parts of the country to consider for retirement . We don't want to be too close to Panama City since we're looking to stay away from urban crowds.

Hi Guys , Laurel and Rod here we are 54 yr olds from Canada and we are embarking on our third trip to Panama later this month. We will be settling in the Altos Del Maria area and using this as home base for this trip ,we hope to find our Shang gra la. this time out! Our first trip was to Santa Fe and our second trip was to Boquete,Bocas, We really enjoyed all three area,s but haven,t found that slap in the face yet that says your here.While on this trip we will be looking at el Valle and Capira and would like to get up to the big lake if we get a chance, this trip is just over a month long. The only problem we are having right now is finding affordable car rental. Thanks to everybody for helping us feel at home on this site!

We had our exploratory trip last month and experienced much the same things as you and your wife. We did end up loving Panama and will relocate to Boquete in a few months. Here are some other things we found:

--Right, the gro stores in David did not offer the savings trumped up in some publications. Even on local brands. I think, from what I've read on the blogs, savings is to be found, but not always obvious. The local produce and meat, naturally organic, really appeals to me.

--restaurants-- we learned there are local places and gringo restaurants. Local places have better prices. During high season some of the restaurants use a different, more expensive menu.

--Networking--Rentals, recommendations on how and why of various moving details. The expats that are currently in Panama were most helpful to us and we will use their advice along the way. Hopefully, one day we will be in the position to help out others. Keep reading the blogs and contacting folks privately. We found it to be our best resource!

Good luck!
Kim & Bill
Hoping to call Boquete home soon

Well I'm making the leap to retire to Panama (October 1, 2016) and I'm coming "site unseen"!
I found an affordable condo rental in Gorgona Beach for a 2 year lease.  I'm getting concerned that Panama is a whole lot more expensive than has been represented!! I have some medical expenses I am now wondering how to budget, I'll need some transportation (car rentals seem high) and as a single woman I'm now a little concerned about saftey.  Panama has been represented as very safe.  My preference is the beach areas and I'm finding that it is extremely costly!
Any insight as to how to manuver these things would be greatly appreciated!

yvespanama :

Well I'm making the leap to retire to Panama (October 1, 2016) and I'm coming "site unseen"!
I found an affordable condo rental in Gorgona Beach for a 2 year lease.  I'm getting concerned that Panama is a whole lot more expensive than has been represented!! I have some medical expenses I am now wondering how to budget, I'll need some transportation (car rentals seem high) and as a single woman I'm now a little concerned about saftey.  Panama has been represented as very safe.  My preference is the beach areas and I'm finding that it is extremely costly!
Any insight as to how to manuver these things would be greatly appreciated!

You mentioned you are going to Panama "site unseen".

I think most expats here would say the same, that it is best to visit one or more areas of a country before deciding where to live.  That way, you can "see for yourself" how things are and not need to depend on what you've been told.  Are you hooked into the rental you talked about?  Perhaps you should visit the place before moving into it.


beach means scorching hot, day in, day out. That in turn (in my mind anyway) means full-time air conditioning (costly), energy-sapping heat, tourist pricing. In the mountains you have perfect weather mid-70s, not high 80s) and a one hour drive to the beach. But if you fail to make an exploratory visit before making binding decisions, you deserve what you get. Be smart and listen to those who have been there.

Hello all - My husband has been talking about moving to/living in Panama for years. We traveled there in October 2015 and both of us really enjoyed our trip. We visited Coronado, Bocas del Toro and Casco Viejo. We look forward to our next visit and hope to visit Boquete, David and maybe San Blas. This is a beautiful country so we'll enjoy the process of narrowing down where we may potentially live.

Hi all!! My name is Kimberly and I relocating to Panama from New York this year. I am excited to be going as a young expat. I have been to Panama a few times already and I am looking to visit once more before my big move. Would love to share some tips and advice with everyone who is or has experienced the move and transition, especially when it comes to finding work before I leave. Would appreciate any help anyone could provide.


Hello everyone,

Welcome to  :)

@ Kimconway7, do not hesitate to create your own threads on the Panama forum so that you have precise answers on your move.

You may create a thread for each question you have.

All the very best

Hola, me llamo David. Have been to Panama three times in the last three years. Follow blogs, Hi Kris, Holly. Have 6-7 books on the subject of moving to Panama. Being 62 I'm not quite ready to move and plan on doing so when I qualify for the pensionado Visa. So have most questions answered. So for now loving Charleston S.C. and loving my yearly visits to Panama. Travel solo because everyone I know doesn't quite get expatriation. It would be fun to meet up down there at some point however. Ciao for now. David.

Hi, everyone, I'm Whitney. I'm looking forward to moving to Panama ,in about four years. Need to know if it's possible to get long term rental leases?dont want to move every two years or so

My Name is Jack, I joined that outfit today!

I need to inform all new comers to be very careful when driving here on the highways around the 15th and 30th of each month.
Driving speed  is limited as posted and should you pass that limit during this period , you'll notice more cops than usual. They will stop you.
I am sure you know why? think about it. What's going on , on the 15th and the 30th of each month?
Hahhaaaaa Now I know that you have put 2 and 2 together.

Good luck


Just the facts Ma'am.


Kim and Chuck from Illinois. We're trying to learn as much as we can about becoming expats. Looking towards retiring to Panama Ina few years. Any and all advice welcome. We are thinking about Las Tablas.  We are going to visit for a few days in February 2017.

Hello! My name is Annj, I'm from Philippines. I'm planning to go there is Panama to visit my partner and her family as well. And if I would be lucky enough, I want to have a job there.

Thank you guys!

Hi everyone, My name is Patricia and my husband Carlos and I are looking to purchase a bed and breakfast in Playa Uverito, near Las Tablas, we are hoping to be down by the end of October and start our new adventure there.  Any help, insights, advice about moving down would be great.  We just sold our home which was just south of Barrie, Ontario, Canada and looking forward to our new life.  We were down in July to check the B&B out and the towns around the area.  We do have animals and would like to know how to get them here inexpensively as well as bring a few things but not all of our furniture and what the best way to do that would be.  I look forward to making new friends with the expats in the area and would love to hear from you.  Thanks so much!!

Welcome Panama Dweller We are Laurel and Rod From Midland, currently in La Laguna Panama

Hi Laurel and Rod, so excited to see someone from near Barrie. How close is La Laguna to Las Tablas, and do you know of the B&B we are wanting to purchase?

We liked the one in Pedasi thats for sale what is the b and b called in Las Tablas

My name is Nicola Lewis, I was born to a Panamanian mother and Jamaican father. That makes me half, half. I have been living in Panama for two years and seven months now, recently bought my house.
I live here with my eleven years old son.
I read and write and understands Spanish but hate to speak it! I work in an English environment, so I haven't got much time to practice speaking Spanish.
Panama has been great! It's biggest drawback is the traffic! Horrible!
I have to get on the bus three or four hours ahead of my schedule time to reach work on time...
The Metro is currently in expansion mode so this will fix the issue...2019 completion of the train.
Life is good here! My spouse is Nigerian and he will be coming home is affordable here...beautiful!!

Hi. I´m Ricardo, Army vet living in Panama, La Chorrera to be exact. I´m a licensed English/Spanish interpreter with over 20 years of U.S. Federal (DoJ) / U.S. Military (JAG, DCSOPS) / U.S. local state (VA, TX, CA, FL and NY) experience as well. Now, all that experience doesn´t mean that I´m expensive!!! quite the contrary. If you need a licensed, readily accepted translation, if you need a face to face (while you´re in Panama) or an over the phone interpreter for a meeting, a medical visit, conferences, etc. you can count on me. ***

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Ditto on the bus situation! Hi, I´m Ricardo, new to this forum. I read you work in an "english" environment. I´m looking for work, can you give me any tips?

My hubby (Brad) & I (Susie) have purchased a place in Boca Chica (Chiriqui)!  We were looking for a place to retire in a couple years as the USA is getting nuts!  We had no plans on buying when we visited last year as we were also checking out Belize, Costa Rica, Columbia, Ecuador & Nicaragua.  We absolutely fell in love with this country and have been back several times since we purchased last year.  Every time we visit we get more and more comfortable with the country.  We feel completely safe when we visit.  Can't wait till we are finally able to sell our home here in Texas and move there!!!!

I agree that learning Spanish is crucial.  I am planning on moving to Panama at the end of this year and have hired a tutor to help me out with my Spanish which is very poor at this point.  I'll have to look you up when I get there!!  ;)

Is there a best place (maybe fairly central) to stay while investigating the various places that have been mentioned on this forum when I come for a visit in a few months??  Also, when you come for a visit do you need anything other than your passport?  How do you line up a hotel or B&B?  Any advice would be very welcome!!!  Thank you!

I see your reply about learning Spanish. Maybe it just took a few minutes to show up?

Thanks for the information is good to know. I will be there next month for 2 weeks hoping it resonates with me. I need warm weather at all times. I'm retired need to learn some Spanish I'll look your school up.

We have warm weather! Panama is very good at providing warm weather.
School? Not me, but I know someone..  I thank her every day for my ability to communicate. I hope you enjoy your time here.


Carneal :

Thanks for the information is good to know. I will be there next month for 2 weeks hoping it resonates with me. I need warm weather at all times. I'm retired need to learn some Spanish I'll look your school up.

Thank you very much Kristn, I appreciate your responses

Hi David, I'm solo as well. I'm 63 retired and ready  to relocate and I have not visited Panama yet.
I will next month Feb. 7, 2017 for two weeks. Hope it resonates with me if you by chance will be there we should meet



Hi Kim and Chuck,

I am originally from Illinois also. I will be in Panama Feb 7, 2017 for 15 days,
If you guys are there at that time it would good to meet and exchange info. or just meet????

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