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Where to live in Panama.

Hello, I have been looking into moving out of the States and live somewhere in South or Central America. The best I came up with is Panama next to Costa Rica and Belize. Thinking of renting an apartment by next fall and becoming an Xpat. I can’t believe I’m even considering this but it does seem to be right for me since I’m divorce with no tie-downs. I’m hoping to gather some valuable information on this site. I am Italian born but raised in NYC and was marred to a Venezuelan so I am familiar with Spanish Culture a little.
The first question I have is where to live? Not sure if I want to live in the country or a big City like Panama City. I was interested in knowing is there other Cities like Panama City but not as Big but still have a good City life close to the beach?

Any and all information will be greatly appreciated, thank you.

Try Cerro Azul, about 35 minutes outside of Panama City. Very convenient to Tocuman. Cooler due to it's elevation as well.

I cannot think of any large towns "on the beach". Actually I prefer the mountain towns of El Valle, Boquete, or Volcan for the climate. Nothing is too far from either the Carribean or the Pacific in PA.

Thank you Hunter I will create a new topic base on finding people that live in Cerro Azul and see what kind of feed back I get.

Enjoy your day

Hi, I'm thinking of moving to Panama eventually and would like to live in an area that has many Xpats. I don't need to live right on a beach but would like access to a nice one within a 20 mile or so distance.  I am trying to learn Spanish and hope to learn more about the culture.  I visited the Panama Canal a year ago but since I was on tour with a cruise line I was unable to spend any time with the locals.  Is there a blog site where I can actually chat with people originally from USA who live in Panama now?  I want to blend in the the local community once there but know it would be much easier if I already knew some people there.  We love meeting people so hope to meet some new friends very soon.  Oh, I'm MJ and my life partner is Jim.  Early 60's.  Living in FL right now.

Hi - My wife and I are planning on moving to Panama in the Fall. I am coming down in September and will be looking to rent a house for the first year. We would prefer either a beach area -- such as Coronado -- or the mountains -- such as Boquete. Can anyone recommend where I can look online for rentals?

Always rent first!  We are moving down too and will rent for a year or so before making a final decision.

Hello,,,
Is there anyone already there who can let me know the cost of living there in a rural setting as opposed to a city - and where best to find an agent for a small place to rent? I've been told that outside the Zone and ex-pat communities, one can live well for about 1,000 a month. Is this true>
Thanks (and hope to see you soon)!
Leslippe

Hello....
Great to hear about so many people jumping into this adventure of moving down to Panama. Coincidentally we are moving in September, and is Hub,Wife and Kid.
We are getting first to Panama City. Can anybody recommend a good place to rent that is affordable and a community of Expat living there.

Thanks a million.

Wow, I want to answer everyone's questions, but so many people are interested in moving to Panama. Ok, so if you're planning to live in the city, the areas with the most expats are going to be Costa del Este, San Francisco, El Cangrejo, and Punta Pacifico. Unfortunately these are the most expensive areas too.

For beach communities, you're best off going with Coronado. Again, pricey.

The most popular expat area in all of Panama, other than in the city, is Boquete, up in the hills, where the weather is great. There are a lot of Americans though, so you have to ask yourself, are you moving to Panama to be in a little version of America, or do you want to go more local?

Anyway...here are two great sites for finding rentals in Panama.

encuentra24.com/panama-es/clasificados

On that page, up in the right hand corner, it will say Pais: en/de.  Choose en and the site will change to English.

Another good one, but it's in spanish, you'd have to keep clicking translate on google is:

compreoalquile.com/

I personally like this one best, but the other one, encuentra24 has all sorts of things. You can shop for a car, a house, video games, whatever you want in Panama.

Lastly, you can use craigslist. Just go to google and type craigslist panama panama (panama 2x or you'll probably go to Panama City, Florida). Prices are usually pretty high on craigslist) Encuentra 24 and craigslist can also be used to find jobs here in Panama. 

Good luck.  Hope this helps.

CMichael is absolutely right. However, I think you can still find affordable rentals in the beach community of Coronado or San Carlos. The mountain communities of Cerro Azul,
Altos del Maria and El Valle are also nice and not as far from Panama City as Boquete. These places are relatively tranquil, if you want city action, then Panama City is where you want to be. Also take into consideration if you´re not in Panama City, then you´ll definitely need a car.

We are looking for REAL information about the possibility of retiring in Panama. We now live in the USA just outside a town of 25,000 people, counting part of the university population. Very livable, quiet, and nice, and surrounded by mountains. We are looking into Ecuador, Panama, and Belize as possibilities. We don’t know Spanish. How much of a downside is that at first? Is there much English spoken in mountain towns. We have heard about Boquete, but want to know if there are other mountain towns with good climate, a hospital, and close to an airport. Are there other mountain towns that are “better” than Boquete. (I am an artist.) We are also looking for safety, vitality, quiet, plenty of inexpensive cafés/restaurants/coffee houses that serve espresso, high speed Internet, good retirement packages, etc. We are looking into Cuenca, Ecuador as well and want to know if anybody can recommend Panama over Ecuador or visa versa.

We would be looking to rent a furnished apartment or condo with high speed Internet, hot water for showers and washing machine, drinkable water (can be alternatives we are willing to live with though), peace and quiet, beautiful views of the mountains, good weather, enough places to eat or go to so that there are enough good places to go that we don’t get bored with the same places over and over and might as well be home instead when they get to be boring.

So, we would like to know if there actually are furnished apartment rentals fairly available, what draws people to Boquete or other mountain towns nearby—what good, bad, or ugly aspects? We anticipate slower resolutions to everyday life experiences such as banking, electricity, Internet, tech support, being without a car if possible, and whether the savings of living there for 4-6 months at a time (or full time) would still offset the roughly $3,000 airfare for each back and forth visit to the US to see family.

Could you tell us more about exactly what drew you to Panama and let us know when/where expats meet so we can meet and ask our questions once we’ve been there, how to find a reliable rental realtor or contact who helps with this, how to avoid being misled or ripped off, etc. Did you consider other countries such as Ecuador or Belize (English is a definite perk)?

We live in very rural mountains now, a 20-minute car ride to town, even for groceries. There is nothing where we live but some other houses that are quite far apart, so we have a great deal of privacy. We would love to have the beauty and quiet, PLUS good food and scenery, good weather, and new sights and people, and a bit of privacy. We are mostly homebodies and amuse ourselves at home. We are not consumers or shoppers, but do so like our Netflix capabilities to watch excellent TV series. Also we are not nightlife people or bar hoppers. What is the weather like year round in mountain towns or beach towns? If there a reason to choose one over the other in regards to weather, humidity, storms, insects, safe food, etc.?

We would like to know the closest airport and hospital. Which gets to the question of beach towns. My husband and I both grew up near the beach but usually prefer the mountains. Can you recommend beach towns that have more than two restaurants, but a village type of setting with more to do? Also, weather, insects, crime, and other considerations are questions we ponder. Are the mountain towns of Boquete and others nearby better living conditions than the beach towns? If there is anything else you could tell us about the reality of living in Panama in general, or Boqueete (or one of the other mountain towns) in particular, we would really appreciate it. We want to make sure we are not off in fantasy land. We are looking for Paris, Switzerland or Aspen at one-quarter of the price. Is this what we will find in Panama, or is this just how Panama is represented by people selling things? Are there bugs or other menaces we should know about? Crime? Healthcare? Learning the language?

We are thinking of visiting in May/June and aren’t sure how long to stay, since we’ve come to realize that we only want a beautiful mountain town or beach area that has the amenities we want, without poor weather, crime or lack of health care. How is the healthcare, in Boquete or other mountain towns? DonPanama mentioned the mountain towns of Cerro Azul, Altos del Maria and El Valle are also nice and not as far from Panama City as Boquete.  But, he said we’d need a car. Just how far is Boquete from an airport (David?), hospital, or places to find furnishings and grocery stores? Can one get away being a slow learner of another language? Are there specific “neighborhoods” to look at that are quieter, newer, more modern conveniences with up to date plumbing/electricity, but still in walking distance of cafes and coffee houses? Can one get good espresso or just plain coffee? What things are surprises as far as costs or differences in what you expected? Are the significant downsides to moving there permanently versus half of the year? Is there a good travel route for exploring even the cities we are thinking of visiting?  Where do we fly into to begin our exploration? Even if Boquete is where we should settle, we thought we should use our exploratory trip as a vacation also and see other areas Panama or neighboring countries once we have spent the airfare to get to Ecuador and/or Panama and Belize. We now live just outside a town of 25,000 people, counting part of the university population. Very livable, quiet, and nice, and surrounded by mountains.

We would be looking to rent a furnished apartment or condo with high speed Internet, hot water for showers and washing machine, drinkable water (can be alternatives we are willing to live with though), peace and quiet, beautiful views of the mountains (or beach), good weather, enough places to eat or go to so that there are enough good places to go that we don’t get bored with the same places over and over and might as well be home instead when they get to be boring.

So, we would like to know if there actually are furnished apartment rentals fairly available, what drew you to where ever you are in Panama—what good, bad, or ugly aspects? We anticipate slower resolutions to everyday life experiences such as banking, electricity, Internet, tech support, being without a car, and whether the savings of living there for 4-6 months at a time (or full time) would still offset the roughly $3,000 airfare for each back and forth visit to the US to see family.

Could you tell us more about exactly what drew you to where you live and let us know when/where expats meet so we can meet and ask our questions once we’ve been there, how to find a reliable rental realtor or contact who helps with this, how to avoid being misled or ripped off, etc.

We like the sound of prices for almost anything there. Are there issues about tainted food or water? We also want to make sure we get hot water, and have reliable Internet service and reasonable phone or Skype ability. We are mostly homebodies and amuse ourselves. We are not consumers or shoppers, but do so like our Netflix capabilities to watch excellent TV series. Also we are NOT nightlife people or bar hoppers.

My husband and I both grew up near the beach but usually prefer the mountains. Have you been to Salinas or other beach towns that have more than two restaurants, but a village type of setting with more to do? Is Coronodo the place to be, because it is just the best place beach town to be in Panama? Please list any beach towns and if there are weather issues, storms, bugs, humidity, etc.

If there is anything else you could tell us about the reality of Panama in general, or Boquete/Cerro Azul/Altos del Maria and El Valle, or Coronodo in particular, we would really appreciate it. We want to make sure we are not off in fantasy land. We are looking for Paris, Switzerland or Aspen at one-quarter of the price. Is this what we will find in Ecuador, or is this just how Panama is represented by people selling things? Are there bugs or other menaces we should know about? Crime? Healthcare? Learning the language?

We are thinking of visiting in May/June and aren’t sure how long to stay. Are there specific “neighborhoods” to look at that are quieter, newer, more modern conveniences with up to date plumbing/electricity, but still in walking distance of cafes and coffee houses? Can one get good espresso or just plain coffee? What things are surprises as far as costs or differences in what you expected?
Is it better for just a couple of weeks to stay in a “hotel”? If so, is there a nice quiet one that is near enough the center of Cuenca to walk to safely? Are there some where the proprietors speak English and can help direct us? Can one walk in the dark? Are siestas part of the culture when shops and restaurants close down in the afternoon?

Since we live in the western US in the Rocky Mountains, so travel is expensive,. We will be going to Florida first to visit family, then on to Quito to explore Ecuador, then Panama. Any inexpensive routes or airlines that you know of for getting to Panama directly from the US West? It’s a long haul, but hopefully worth it. My husband may have another year left teaching at the university before we would be able to do even a partial year in abroad if we feel comfortable there. We aren’t sure whether to wait until he is finished teaching at the university and ready to actually retire or to come now to check Ecuador and Panama out, since we have to go to Florida anyway. So, you can see, there are many issues to consider, as most of you well know. Also, we have winter at least 7 months of the year, like the snow, but could see that perpetual spring could be very nice as we age (we are in our mid 60s) as far as walking and even having a garden or flower pots! However, where we live now is truly beautiful, so I should say the bottom line for us is that we are looking for the same quality/beauty of life at a quarter of the price and without third world problems. Are there any we should know about? If retiring to Panama is more hype than reality, you would be saving us a great deal of heart ache and money by letting us know now. The other issue is that we have children living all over the US who soon will have families. Are we going to spend most of what we save living in Panama buying airfares back to the states to visit family?

Since we plan to visit in May/June (if we do at all), we would like to meet some people who did what we are thinking of doing by retiring abroad. Oh, did you bring a translator with you and, if so, do you recommend one? How do most foreigners learn the language? Take classes, get CDs, tutor?

Are there nice, clean, inexpensive hotels where the proprietors speak English and can help direct us? Can one walk in the dark? Are siestas part of the culture when shops and restaurants close down in the afternoon?

My husband may have another year left teaching at the university before we would be able to do even a partial year in Ecuador if we feel comfortable there. We aren’t sure whether to wait until he is finished teaching at the university and ready to actually retire or to come now to check Ecuador and Panama. So, you can see, there are many issues to consider, as most of you well know. Also, we have winter at least 7 months of the year, like the snow, but could see that perpetual spring could be very nice as we age (we are in our mid 60s) as far as walking and even having a garden or flower pots! However, where we live now is truly beautiful, so I should say the bottom line for us is that we are looking for the same quality/beauty of life at a quarter of the price and without third world problems. Are there any we should know about? If retiring to Panama is more hype than reality, you would be saving us a great deal of heartache and money by letting us know now. The other issue is that we have children living all over the US who soon will have families. Are we going to spend most of what we save living in Ecuador or Panama buying airfares back to the states to visit family?

We thank any of you in advance who take the time to answer our questions. Also, let us know if we should consider somewhere else altogether! We are looking for good, clean, safe, affordable living in a beautiful place.

Nancy and Gary

We moved to Boquete just over a year ago from California. We drove down with 2 dogs and a cat.  It was an experience!  We love Boquete. Most of Panama is VERY hot. Boquete is pretty ideal temperature wise for us - usually in the high 60s to 70s. It does rain a fair amount, but there is also sun every day, so it doesn't get to me very much. We feel very safe here, haven't been lacking in anything. You can be as social as you want, there's always something going on. We have used the doctors at the clinic in Boquete a few times but have not personally used any hospitals. For airport. hospital, major shopping etc we go to David about twice a month. It is about 25 minutes away. As for rentals, there are always  furnished or unfurnished rentals available - houses and condos, in town or in the hills. We lie about 7 - 8 minutes drive up in the hills with a view of Boquete. It is private and peaceful. We also have 2 short term rentals on our property - a one bedroom apartment and a 2 bedroom, both with living rooms & kitchenettes. We grow herbs and veggies and have horses, chickens, dogs, cat a duck and geese.

David! We thought the same thing, wanted to be in a city but Panama City is just too much city. We have been here for five years and are really happy. It's a short drive to the beach or the mountains, we are close to Boquete and all the activities there, but everything we need is close by in the city. Chiriqui province is really beautiful, David maybe not so much but it's a working city of really good people. A lot of people say it's too hot down here but we live on the north side of town with lots of trees and breeze so we rarely use our air conditioner. But everyone's needs and preferences are different so come check it out and see how you feel. I have a blog if that interests you. https://blog.thepanamaadventure.com

Oops, I just realized that post is super old.

since years I have been asking myself this same question
the city is overloaded
what to do after you have seen all the malls
the outskirts are boring and trashy

Move to the country, live free and easy and go to the beach more..........

We might go down in Jan or Feb. Let me know (dumluk) if you're looking to escape for a while at that time.

Ok, will do Sunset..........we will keep it in mind.......

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CMichael... if we don't necessarily want to be in "little America" where do you recommend? For us, the thought of mixing with locals as well as international expats from all over is part of the adventure!

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