New members of the Panama forum, introduce yourself here – 2017

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 – 2016 continues below!

Hi thanks for letting us sign up for the Panama forum.
We are a married english couple 60 years young and we want to move to the Boquete area after visiting there in November 2016, loved the people and the area.
We are hoping to move at the end of 2017 early 2018.
We are moving from Spain and speak a little spanish.
Would love to get all sorts of information regarding moving to Panama, the process of pensionado etc.
We met lots of lovely americans,canadians and Panamanians while we were there but nobody from England.

Hi Elaine. Your best bet and most efficient way to proceed will be to establish contact with a Panama lawyer practicing in this area. There are numerous threads here giving personal recommendations for a reliable lawyer (I can recommend mine as well). The lawyer, if any good, will set out in detail what you need to assemble in terms of documentation before going to Panama and will process your application for a reasonable cost (less than $2,000).  In the meantime you can get a lot of info by finding an index to the topics and browsing.

Why leave Spain for Panama? Does Brexit mean a change to your eligibility?

Thanks for your advice, it is very helpful. We will contact a lawyer once we are sure which dates we will be going to Panama. We may need the name of your lawyer nearer the time if thats ok.
Lol, we find that after 12 years we would like a change and the weather here is too hot in the summer and it is getting colder in the winter months now. The houses are not built for the cold.
We want a more even climate that Panama seems to have. We visited Boquete and loved the tranquility it gave, the people were lovely and everyone was friendly.
It's just time for a change now.

lol...I move to Arizona for warming winters, however the winters are colder than I like, and the summers are indeed to hot. I really hoping I like Panama with no drama

We would like to find out where the best places are to buy furniture near the Boquete area. We have been to the city of David, didn't really find anywhere in the city itself. Looking for something a bit more modern than traditional

Hi there,
We are a Dutch/Colombian couple with two young kids looking to relocate in Panama and maybe start a small business there in the future. I am an artisinal bakery expert and would like to know if there is a market for high quality bread and pastry products in Panama. We speak our languages and travelled a lot all over the world. We would like to live in a latin country with a nice climate and be close to nature, but also have a modern city nearby.

you will be very frustrated opening such a business
as long as people from north america are ridden with these gluten intolerance lies
and many other allergies they claim to have
maybe you remember the fat free, sugar free and cholesterol free craze era
panamanians will never appreciate your products

Although Sugar n Spice in Boquete seems to do very well with their NA style breads. No doubt they need to rely on expats for a customer base for those kinds of products, and where else but Boquete will you find such a concentration? Same in Colombia - all bread products are super-sugary, so much so you can't even toast the bread without it burning.  Having said that, throughout Colombia there is a "bakery" style restaurant on every corner. All sweet stuff like croissants and corn bread balls.

further more bread prices are regulated in panama

here some information for toast lovers … acrylamide

My advice is; Don't do it! You will depend from expat market which is less and less everyday....

Hello everyone!  We are a couple from Southwestern Ontario Canada who adore latin american countries, Cuba has been our go-to for 14 years. We plan to live part or full time in a beach front home once we sell our business in 5-8 years.  BUT feel we should begin spending the money we pay now each year on vacations into our own little Panamanian style beach house, (instead of someone else's pocket) between now and when we come to live.  We prefer simple, quaint and cute style houses, that may even need a little TLC on our part, since we actually love to do that. 
We prefer an area that is not yet packed with condo buildings etc. Something more "up & coming". We are considering the coast east of Pedasi area (around Playa Uverito etc) and also Puerto Armuelles.  lol keep in mind we love Cuba and would buy there if we could, so we are super simple folks :)

We are coming for a visit in April.

We welcome any thoughts, suggestions of areas or mention of homes for sale we should look at to get a feel for the area and its values for dollars spent.

Thanks all :)

Thanks for the input. I'm sure the glutenfree paranoia will pass, as already many scientific reports show it is not true. Bread, how it is supposed to be made without additives, sugar and fat remains one of the most healthiest products we can eat.  Great nutrional value and lowest on CO2 emissions comparing to other food. I agree most Panamanians won't buy it and we depend on expats. I think there is also a concentration of expats in the Coronado area that could be big enough as well as in Panama City.
Not sure investment is profitable, and market is big enough. It might be better to focus on one type of product both expats and Panamanians would buy.

Hi, My name is Clint, 48 and I moved to Volcan Panama from Virginia in August of 2014. I obtained legal residency with my wife and 12 year old son under the Friendly Nations Visa.

We  are glad that we did. The perpetual traveler border crosser is now required to exit the country for 30 days every 6 months as of the rule change 2 weeks ago. This has caused problems for many expats who used to do 3 days outside the country to re validate their visa.

I am looking for small investment opportunities into sound businesses ideas that will create a modest return. We have a couple properties that are providing us with income.   

Thanks to the wife being a former airline employee I can fly to Panama City for around $30 (cheaper than driving).

Hello. Im new here and i like to enjoy this forum and meet nice people :)

my name is Lourdes and i'm a lawyer from Panama.

Hello folks.
I am a South African who is looking to relocate.

I do have some funds to my name but I do not have an official pension (and not enough funds to set up my own unofficial pension which would be large enough to qualify for pensionado visa).
I would be happy to look into the Friendly Nations visa (my country is on the list), however up to now the work I have done has been in the television industry - the kind of job where you have to be where the work happens.
I have recently completed qualifications in Financial management and would be happy to work in this field but I'm the first to admit I lack work experience.
I also used to be a scuba instructor so perhaps I could do something in this field?
Anyway I guess this post is to say "hello" and if someone has thought on whether I can in fact get the Friendly visa under these conditions I would like to hear them!


Hi everyone if there's any interest to move to the Morillo area, feel free to drop me a message. I have a contact in Panama (Canadian) who is selling off various houses. In addition, any help with moving I am sure he can assist with your queries seeing as he has gone through it before.

Hi everyone! My husband and I run a successful advertising agency, serving to local and international clients based in Puerto Rico. Due to the critical political climate in the US (PR is a colony of the US), it's mounting debt and the crisis in PR (that just declared bankruptcy) we a have growing sense or urgency to relocate as soon as possible. Panama is one of the destinations on our radar. We speak fluent Spanish, so that is not an issue and have already contacted a lawyer in Panama City.
My concern is the fact that I am trying to distance myself from the dangerous political and economic climate in the US (20 trillion in debt and a market that can burst at any moment) and Panama it's a dollar based economy. Is the COL really lower? How is the overall experience with investments and economic stability, since they depend on the dollar?

We are a young Canadian family of 4 seriously looking into moving to Panama, ideally around the Coronado area. We have two children ages 5 and 10 and our Goldendoodle. We are traveling to Panama City this June to get a better feel for the different towns surrounding both the city and Coronado. We are looking for insider advice on...
1. The best mountain communities within a short drive to either Panama City or Coronado that offers: Affordable housing 4 bedroom with spacious property, safe community, local markets, family friendly, welcoming to English speaking expats...

2. We are looking for a reputable Realtor to tour us around the different areas in June when we arrive for the week to visit.

3. Tips/ Advice for location and getting settled in with kids.

4. A lawyer that we could meet with in June in regards to applying for our Visa.

Any help is appreciated!

Kristen? Hi, I'm Kristin!
I'm no help on anything though except a lawyer. Marcos Kraemer. if I remember correctly.

Thank you! :)

Hi Kristen,
We are on a similar path!  Canadians with 2 children and pets seriously investigating relocation in 2017 to Coronado.  Are you planning on obtaining entry under the Friendly Nations Visa?  The lawyer we've engaged is Mayra Lamboglia de Ruzzi.   May I ask which part of Canada you are from?

Hi Kristen,
We also want to move there with 2 small children. Maybe you can take a look at the mountain town of Chicá, about 15 minutes from Coronado and 1 hour from Panama City. Perfect climate (Coronado is too hot for me) and beautiful nature (very green). We have bought land on a development where we are going to build at the end of this year. It's in a gated community with big beautiful social area. For good schools you will have to go to Coronado however. The developer is Dutch/Panamanian and if you are interested I can send you his website and contact information. They can guide you around and they also have a small office at the gate, but I think it is only occupied in the weekends.
regards, Laurens

My plans are to build a small expatriate enclave on my property in Santa Rosa (past Conception). The property is a small farm on a river with a great  view. I intend to sell what we grow in farmers markets on weekends and perhaps you could do the same? I wouldn't open up a store until you understand the market.

Hola! We will be neighbors! I am buying in Santa Rosa st the end of the month

Bienvenida a la hermosa Chiriquí!

My name is Glenn. I am 55. I can converse in Spanish OK. I read it fluently, and watch Spanish TV. I want to go to Panama or Costa Rica - next year. Perhaps next summer. I am retired by the US military. I would have to purchase healthcare. I could come back to the US for some - I am a writer - but not successfully published yet. I do that full time. I keep feeling pulled out of the USA - for months now, many. I lived in the Philippines in the USAF - but I feel that would be really - a very difficult move even though it is maybe more affordable. My income is good, not rich - but by foreign standards is high. I am thinking Panama City area - or the beach. Any info would  help. I can go as I am single and don't have to talk anyone else into this.

Is there any info in particular that you are looking for? Panama is a small country but there are lots of options. A lot of beach loving people end up in the Pedasi, Las Tablas areas, or you might look at Coronado area, on the beach but not that far from the city. Myself, I don't want to deal with the big city pace and expense but of course that's where you'll find the best of restaurants, shopping, health care, entertainment, etc. You won't find beaches there though, just yucky mud flats.

I love living in Panama! (we are in David, Chiriqui). Maybe come and try it out for a little while? How great that you speak a lot of Spanish. That's helpful, and you'll be able to talk with the locals who are super nice people.

Hi Everyone. I'm currently living in Canada, but looking into the prospect of one day living in Panama. I will be heading down to Panama at the end of August to tour the western part of the country and take in a feel for the various communities. Any suggestions or tips for a first time trip would be greatly appreciated.


I read Spanish fluently. I was told if I moved to a Spanish-speaking country it is likely I would be fluent in about six months. Verbs are the hard part of Spanish - once they're mastered I read, the language is mastered. In English it is more pronunciation. I would likely want to live in Panama City or near to it at the beach, so I am no more than 20 miles away. I know beach property is expensive. I see condos in Panama City are steep in price. Though I can afford more - I do not want to pay more than $1,000 a month in rent - so I can do other things. I would be bringing three cats too, if that is OK.    Glenn

I will likely make a trip in the next year. I am also thinking Costa Rica, but I hear that is more laid back - and I would want to live in a more developed area, as I am single right now. I am thinking Spain, Ecuador, Costa Rica and first - Panama. I would not mind the Philippines, but it is SO far away from the USA and healthcare would sort of be an issue I think, even with a V.A. in Manila. I was stationed in the Philippines - and I would love to go back there too - maybe I need to do some traveling in the next year to make a decision. I am looking forward to others' posts on where to go and what to do about renting in Panama. I do not want to buy right away.

I can understand other people's concerns about the USA debt. However, as former Vice President Dick Cheney said when it came to war spending "the debt does not matter." To older people his age - it may not. I think as long as the U.S. stock market is soaring - the debt will NOT matter. Maybe transferring the dollar to Euros might be a plan. Would it help? I think personally, the USA's problems that may become financial have more to do with possible new wars starting - like with North Korea, which may be inevitable. I doubt even if there is an economic crisis in the USA that overseas living would suddenly skyrocket. The USA Congress does not seem much on spending right now - so hopefully the USA debt will not matter - but who can see three, four years down the road? I am 55 - many thought it would matter two decades ago or more - and it did not. Expenditures to Social Security, etc. are likely to continue - but the main issue is if even if the U.S. dollar is devalued with say, Japanese or European currency - would it be devalued with developing countries like Panama? Many think not.

glennrussellm1 Panama uses the dollar and it's tied to the US dollar so it could be affected by economic conditions in the US. I'm not a knowledgeable one to talk with though. Look up Bob Adams on youtube. He has a website, retirement wave, and now he has been making videos on a variety of topics. He studies that business aspects and opportunities in Panama so you'll find some of that. There is also a busy Facebook group - Expats in Panama. Many of those people live in the city and can answer questions on about anything. There is a search feature in the group too, to look for past discussions. You can bring pets into the country but there is a process. I think there is a business, maybe golden frog? that helps people with this. Or you can look up the requirements and manage it yourself.
As for Spanish, I'll bet you will be able to communicate. My verbs especially in past tense are a mess sometimes, but people still seem to understand what I am trying to say and thankfully, I'm better at understanding them every year.

Western part? Chiriqui? Of course Boquete is a big destination. it's cooler in the mountains, you can get by without Spanish, and there are lots of expats and activities. David is a fair size city with everything you need for daily living (we live there and love it) but coming from Canada you might find it too hot. There are beaches south of David (La Barqueta, Las Lajas, Boca Chica) if you want waterside living, Volcan in the mountains on the other side of the volcano from Boquete, and many smaller towns all over Chiriqui. But, for a week unless you want beaches, i'd spend a day or two in David, few days in Boquete, and possibly visit Volcan.

Briferg :

Hi Everyone. I'm currently living in Canada, but looking into the prospect of one day living in Panama. I will be heading down to Panama at the end of August to tour the western part of the country and take in a feel for the various communities. Any suggestions or tips for a first time trip would be greatly appreciated.


I am new to this blog and interested in moving to Panama. I am a young retiree, who loves health, good company, wine, exercise, fine dining. At this time, I am considering a trip to Panama City (in the near future). Currently living in the USA (east coast) and will like to explore all areas of the country of Panama (although I enjoy the cold and mountains, I want to have the ability to have the city not too far away). I wish you all a great day!

Hi All,

   My name is Jeff Cold.  I spent four years in Panama as a kid shining shoes on the street and later lived in southern Ecuador for a few years as a young man.  I'm a university professor teaching Information Technology and am nearing retirement.  We live in Orem, Utah at about 4,000 feet elevation so I was thinking about the Frances area or Boquete.  My wife is a face painter and has been traveling the US, Canada and Holland (2nd time will be in October).   It's very likely we will make a visit next summer.  I'm reasonably sure I know what to expect, the huera wife not so much.


Hi Everyone,

As I consider Panama for retirement, I have some questions and would appreciate any assistance. I know I must visit several areas of Panama before deciding to move, but here are the questions: first, should I try to work on "pensinado" paperwork outside Panama? Second, which airline is the best one to fly to Panama (Spirit, COPA?). Thank you so much!

Hello members I'm Bobbie and I trying to travel to Panama City for me and my wife to get some good dental work done we are new to this site and would like a helping hand. Thanks

There are some documents for residency that are much easier to get while you are still in the USA. I'd visit first though to be sure it looks like it will work for you, and then when you move return with the documents. A lawyer can explain your options and the requirements is a good one.
Airline? For me, whomever will get you here for a decent price, preferable not in the middle of the night. Copa is excellent. People complain about Spirit but I've flown with them and it was fine. They all pack you in like sardines though and let you off in the same airport.

Jerry4usa :

Hi Everyone,

As I consider Panama for retirement, I have some questions and would appreciate any assistance. I know I must visit several areas of Panama before deciding to move, but here are the questions: first, should I try to work on "pensinado" paperwork outside Panama? Second, which airline is the best one to fly to Panama (Spirit, COPA?). Thank you so much!

Great! Thank you again!

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