US Expats living in Panama

Hi US Expats living in Panama..  I just wanted to ask why you decided on Panama and why did you leave the USA? Was it mainly cost of living? Or, was it always your dream to live in Panama? With all the places in the world to live what brought you to Panama over other countries in Central America or in SE Asia like Thailand? Just doing a survey to understand better...

P.S. I'm not interested in anyone's political views about the US... the main topic question is why you chose Panama over other second world countries. Thanks again...

I always knew I was going to leave the country since my early 20s. How I came to Panama was I married and Panamanian and I took her back home.......path of least resistance.

I, like manyhere am a refugee from Costa Rica....Went there first and lasted 10 yrs before I decided I had had enuff.......Of the tedious cumbersome bureaucracy and obnoxious taxes, not to mention a shameless den of theives.  Well, so many years later it would seem that Panama is catching up to Costa Rica in too many is not the bueno, bonito y barato pais that it was when I first got here........And altho despite so much economic growth and new prosperity, it seems that there has been an increase in crime.....But the cops are working and catching them most of the time........If youre grandfathered in, you can still live cheap here.....but if youre a newbie, and paying the current entrada, then dont be surprized if ends up costing you a lot more than you is beautiful and diverse as is costa Rica, but culturally leaves a lot to be desired....Dont expect to like the music, or the noise factor or the way people drive, or most of the food either.......You have to carve out your own little niche here, or just move to Boquete and call it a the price....

BTW,  Anybody coming down soon to take a look? Stay here at my house for free, just pay utilities and feed the dog........So I can take a break.....Im in the cool highlands of Chiriqui, not far from Boquete and about 35 min from David. Views to infinity..........

I have been reading the Panama forum for several months now because I had an interest in staying there, but the more I read the less interest I have. Now, I'm wondering what's the big attraction... To me, it seems like there are lots of warnings on the forum and I'm thinking maybe it's really true; the hassle and cost of visas, having to use lawyers for everything, the crime & corruption, the problems opening bank accounts, the language barrier and the buying of real estate and getting ripped off, etc. It doesn't sound like paradise to me or what you read about on International Living...

Also, it doesn't appear to be that many Americans on the forum, at least not many responded to this posting. It seems like there are lots of Canadians who announce their intentions to move to Panama. I just wonder if they really ever move and if they are happy there.

I have a former colleague from Edmonton, Canada who I worked with for a while who was supposedly buying into a condo complex being built in the Coronado area, but when I emailed him a few months ago and asked about it, he only referred me to a real estate agent and did not elaborate on whether his unit was ever finished and available for rent. After reading the property warnings on this forum, I hope everything worked out ok for him but I didn't want to email back and ask just in case it didn't.

I wish everyone well who's living their dream in Panama. I will keep it on my list, but will also look at other places in CA.

Don't believe a lot of what you read in International Living. They are a for profit business. But, don't believe there is only negativity here either. Some of us are really happy.

The cautions about buying real estate are very valid. Things are different here. Live here for a year or two before buying, if at all, and only buy something you can see, not a glossy brochure that may or may not become reality.

The language barrier is also real. Do not believe IL when they say English is widely spoken. It may be in some areas with many expats but in general, no.

We needed a lawyer for our residency and he did an excellent job. We haven't needed him since. Opening a bank accout (before we were residents) involved some time and documents and like many things here, it wasn't as fast and simple but it wasn't awful either. We have not experienced any crime or corruption beyond the occasional taxi driver trying to overcharge.

We have lived in David for almost five years. We live a fairly simple life, rented house, brought minimal stuff, learned Spanish, and I have never been so happy. I love the people here. They are so kind and friendly, love to laugh, generous, and they don't judge you. I think the country is gorgeous, I love the warm tropical climate, the birds, bugs, exotic fruits, always something new and different to learn about.

But as you can see in the forum, this doesn't work for everyone for a variety of reasons and there are potential pitfalls to avoid. It's a different language, culture, and way of life which I happen to love, but drives others nuts. Well that's my $.02. Good luck. I hope you find something that works well for you. Oh, and we are from the US.

@ Zeus.wmo
Belize is the best choice in CA
specially to buy property
english speaking
property taxes are nearly zero
no squatter rights
deeds are guaranteed by the government
easy immigration
no lawyers needed
nowhere is perfect

Can we ask John McKaffee about Belize maybe? Hahahaha.........Might have its advantages, but very small and very limited and the city there is a black hole from what I can gather.......

@ dumluk
watch the movie:
Gringo: The Dangerous Life of John McAfee (2016) FULL DOCUMENTARY MOVIE
it's free on youtube
then you know who McKaffee really is and what he was doing in belize

south of belize is fine
you can travel around until you find the perfect spot

I love your response. It seems very balanced. We are Americans from Arizona & just beginning to explore our options... but we are conscientiously reading the good, the bad & the ugly - and recognizing the truth is somewhere in between. I think because of our current proximity to latin countries, we have a taste of what we may be in for. We plan to do a tour next summer, and take the advice about renting for awhile before buying. Thanks for the balanced insight, and congrats on your adventurous retirement! It sounds divine to me!

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