Planing to move in Panama in December

Hi everybody,

Me, my wife and my kid are planning to move in Panama in December.

We are 35 years old from Québec. Our spanish is poor but we are willing to learn.

Our setteling plan is fisrt to go there and find a professionnal activity (money is not an issue), in order to improve our spanish, meet people, get to know the country.
We could do some housesitting, caretaking, gardening, work in the tourism or service industry in exchage of a place to stay for the family.

I will first go there alone in mid November, in order to prepare our arrival.

The goal of my pot is to meet people who already made the move to share some informations, and maybe meet in November.

So anyone who is available for a chat, or to meet me there, please contact me.

thank you all

Where in Panama do you plan to go?

Do you speak English? From your post it looks like you do. Your lack of Spanish will limit your options, but there are enough people who speak English in areas where there are expats so you can manage (Panama City, Coronado, Boquete, etc) 

If you want Spanish classes, check out

Have you researched the legalities of working here? House sitting or volunteering in exchange for a place to stay should be OK, but work for pay is more complicated.

I happened across a website once. I wish I could remember what it was, but it connected volunteers with people needing workers, mostly hostels and farms. Has anyone else here heard of something like this?

Thanks for your answer,

My English is not perfect. I'm better in speaking than writing.
I speak very basic spanish.

We don't know in witch area we want to settle, we are open. The only important thing for us is not to be too far from an hospital or clinic where they could take care of our 1 year old son if something happends.
Our preference would be to avoid Panama City. We are more nature and small town people.
Boquete, Volcan, Coronado, Vale de Anton, Chitre peninsula, Chiriqui, Portobelo looks like good choice for us. I will confirm that during my travel in November.
The first place we will settle won't be definitive. If once there, we have opportunities (work or activities) anywere else, we can move if it's safe.

The setteling will be in two steps:
First find a place were I could have an activity that will aloud us to learn the country (langage, people, opportunities an traps...).
If we like it, after one year we plan to invest in tourism industry (Hostel or condos) or real estate.

The legal aspects is not a problem, we already have a lot of informations. The tricky thing will be to choose a good lawyer not to get screwed.

Do you think it is an easy thing to meet people (locals and expats), once there, that could give me the best advices, on places to stay, places to avoid, and work opportunities ?
Where is the best place to go to meet such people ?

Thanks again for your quick answer.

Panama City was too much for us too, so we chose the second biggest city which is David.  There are four hospitals here, two private, one public, and one for mothers and children, and anything else you would need for daily living. Boquete and the mountains are a short drive north, and the beach is a short drive south. I think Chiriqui is stunningly beautiful, and we appreciate that all the produce is grown here so it is available every day.

For you? Coronado on the beach, lots of expats, nice but expensive. I'm not sure what medical care is readily available there.
Chitre area is possible, a growing city with a lot going on, and beautiful beaches to the south but except for Pedasi, more Panamanian feel and less English spoken.
I don't know Valle de Anton but I hear it's beautiful but a small town. Check out how far you would have to travel for medical care.
Boquete might be a very good possibility. There are lots of expats there, lots of opportunities to meet others and get involved in all sorts of activities. It is so beautiful, and there is a very good road that will get you down to David in 40 minutes.
I love the Volcan area too, but it is more Panamanian with less English spoken though with the growing number of tourists that visit this might be changing. It's on the other side of Volcan Baru from Boquete so it also has the gorgeous mountain scenery, and it's big enough to have shopping and basic needs, but it's farther from David if you need hospitals.

You might consider the climate too. Coming from Quebec you might find the lowlands unbearably hot, and you'd be more comfortable in the mountains.

Are you on Facebook? There is a large group there - Expats in Panama. It's a great place to ask questions and connect with some other expats. You can probably find smaller groups also for specific areas that interest you.

Lawyers, yes, be cautious. I have heard stories. We worked with Marcos and were extremely happy with him.

I'll be away for a while, returning about Nov 11th so if you are in my area after that, let me know and we can get together for a chat.

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