New members of the Panama forum, introduce yourself here - 1st quarter of 2015

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!

P.S : The thread New members of the Panama forum, introduce yourself here continues below!

Back on Track...My wife, Gail and I will be arriving in PC on Feb 10. Just in time for carnaval. Yes, we planned it that way. We were last in Panama about eight years ago during the "wet season". We chose several different areas to visit so we could eliminate down to our favorite. Well after almost a month we found that we could not eliminate any of the locations. We spent time in Panama City, Coronado, El Valle, Boquette, David and Bocas del Toro. We enjoyed and felt safe and comfortable everywhere we went. When we returned to the USA our plan was to work two more years until retirement and then sell our house and relocate to Panama. We worked...we retired...and then the housing market fell (we all know about that!). Before we knew it, we were foster parents for six "kiddos", so our Panama plan went to the back burner. A couple of years and we again decided to make the move. However, this time our kids had other plans and decided to bless us with another grandson, and then another granddaughter. We told them all, "dat's enuf". So, here we are arriving Feb 10. We will stay in PC until the end of Feb and then take the train to Colon and the new ferry to Bocas. We'll stay on Carenaro for a couple of weeks in March while we begin scouting the area for a retirement location. By the beginning of May we hope to have a better idea if Bocas is really what we're looking for, or not. We've followed the political and economic changes since our last visit. Although the cost of living has increased, I think there's still more "bang for your buck" and the more casual lifestyle we are seeking.

Hi thanks for the contact request. Your story sounds similar to ours except we made the move in 2010. Be sure and look us up when you get to Bocas, Anne Michelle Wand and Doug Marcy. We will be here until May 4 when we go to Colorado and visit the kids and grand kids.

Hi, Thanks for your reply. Gail and I hope to arrive in Bocas via the new ferry from Colon about 08:30 A.M. 03/01. Our first nine days are booked at Hotel Oasis Over the Sea on Carenero. I realize were arriving during the "high season" but lodging seems much higher for the area than our last trip. Most apartments seen to be closer to $1000+ per month rather than $400-$500 we remember. We may just take our chances at finding a small casita for Mar-Apr by "hitting the streets" on Carenero and Bocas town while staying at Oasis. We'll be certain to look you up after we arrive. If you should have any economical housing leads, keep us posted. Thanks, Ed & Gail Hogan

Hi all, I am a 66 yr old single guy, looking to re-locate to Panama. I have been researching for awhile and feel that the Las Tablas area may be the right fit for me. I will at least begin here. Area sounds similar to where I am now, SW New Mexico. I have a varied history, surfer, farmer, emt-b, business owner, elected official in two different towns in two different states, administrator for construction co. and re-furbished art decco hotel. Retired now and in need of somewhere to live on my not-so-large social security.So, looking for any info about the area of Las Tablas, etc.

Ed and Gale,
I think you have the right idea. Hitting the streets is the best way to find something to rent. Most of the affordable options are passed on to friends and neighbors. There is a definite shortage of long term rentals and prices are going up. If I do come across something I can let you know but I don't know your taste and if something affordable did come up it would go quickly.
Look forward to meeting you.

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My name is Stan and I live in Indiana.   I am in my mid sixties and like so many others, I'm wanting to get out of this weather.  I attended IL's Panama Conference in 2013 and am planning a trip to the Boquete area 4-21 to 5-1 of this year.
I'll be staying at the hotel Palo Alto in Boquete. 

I'm coming with the mindset that this my place of residence for the 10 days as opposed to a vacation.  I would very much like to participate in any Ex-Pat activities that would be available, to include voluntary work.

I've seen too many retirees just sit around and vegetate.  I'm looking for reasons to get out of the house.  At this time, I have no set agenda and appreciate any help or advice that you could give me.  Also, directions from the David airport to the Palo Alto would be helpful.

This is my first blog, so I'm not real sure how to proceed.  My thanks in advance.

Stan

I'm a 61 year old single female who has always wanted to retire in Central America.  Now that time is approaching I have narrowed it down to panama.  So was pleased to find this sight.  I have experience living in developing countries and have traveled alone thought Central America.  So perhaps you all can help me with this transition. Here's some questions
How would a single mature woman fit in?
What would be a good itinerary for a few week visit.
Are there good voluntary opportunities in health care?  I'm a therapist with years of experience in rehabilitation as well as with kids with disabilities.

I enjoy nature and beaches.  Am not interested in living like a queen and being part of a community is important to me
Thanks

Stan - I've delayed responding because I have only spent January in Boquete and am no expert. But FWIW, I have seen Palo Alto and it is a beautiful spot, really nice looking accommodations. You will love it I am sure.
You may know this site but if not it is a terrific place to begin researching the activities and groups in Boquete:
http://boquete.ning.com/
My advice is to relax and take you time getting to know the geography and the local situation before jumping into activities too quickly. Also, if you find yourself gettting rained on too much, you might find the othe side of the river is less rainy. I am not sure of that is generally the case, but it was so when we were there.

Enjoy!

Sunset Steve, Thank you for the advice and the link to the  site as I wasn't aware of it.  It's much appreciated.

Hey Panama!
I have been thinking about how to spend the next 10-20 years doing things I like, in a warm climate.
I have been working hard my whole life, and now I am 55. My marriage of 30 years has come to an end, my children are adults, and my business is winding down.....leaving me with a few bucks and an adventurous spirit.
I have traveled a bit, but only for vacations so I do not have exposure to what real life would look like as I make a permanent move. I have been reading International living, websites and blogs, and discussing options at length with friends and family. Some say I am crazy, others completely understand my need to find a slower pace and time for me.
Having had 40 plus employees for the past few years, and running my commercial mechanical contracting business I am tired of the stress. I would like to go diving again...something I gave up a few years ago. I love to fish! Play golf!
Tour around on a motorcycle! It may be too late, but I would love to try surfing. (On a big board, with small waves)
Having a beer, or a glass of wine, while doing a little cooking/grilling, with some friends would be excellent. Meeting someone for a relationship is not out of the question, so that I have someone to do a bit of traveling and exploring the countryside.....or just kicking back beach or poolside and reading a book for a few days.
Really, some time to smell the flowers without deadlines and constant pressure. It does not have to be a dream.
I have a terrific sense of humor, I am quite healthy, and I know a lot of stuff. What I would like to do is take a month or 6 weeks without too much of a plan and travel from the big city to the beaches on the peninsula and on to David and The highlands. Small hotels, and B&B would be my preference. I would love to learn the language if this works out but it would be a bonus to have someone bilingual for the exploration trip. Any suggestions are welcome. I have not been successful in finding this person yet!
Perhaps there is a possibility of a small business of some sort in the future, as I do not really believe I can completely stop working. I like working. If Panama is for me, a year off before I begin anything new looks good for now.
I would like to meet some expats along the way, as well as local people. It seems that there are more people all the time trying to find perhaps a bit simpler, less expensive lifestyle.

Cheers,
Bob

hI Bob nice to meet you... i am living in Panama since June and to be honest the city is perhaps a little stressing... you know everybody rushing and in a hurry all the time. of course if you want to run a business this is the right place! there are a lot of opportunities, you just need to get a lawyer to help you out with the requirements and stuff. Panama is a beatiful city in terms of exploring. i know there are some beaches that really are relaxing and there are also the highlands which are just like a wild rain forest. i believe this is the place you are looking for.. i am not much of a tourist guide but i speak both languages. if you need a friend to help you out once in a while, i'm your bannerman LOL

Thank you for the response Mary! I was not sure about joining a forum, but I see so much can be learned from people that have made the move already. I am sure I could pick up some language skills if I spend time with Spanish speaking people, and take lessons. There is no doubt that if I end up doing business, or any real estate transactions that I would need to find the right professional help. But just traveling around vacationing and snooping out the various areas it would be great to find a person or two to spend time with. I would like to see the city, but long term, I am probably looking for something a bit slower pace. I have seen many developments on line that are moving ahead, and I would like to visit them. I have friends here in Canada that are investing in 2 developments near Pedasi, they tell me the Company doing the work is well regarded, and the homes they are building are very nice and good value. The area seems to be much drier on the Azuro Peninsula than David or Boquete, however being from the north, perhaps I would melt in the heat and humidity. This is why I would like to do some exploring. A week here, a week there. Perhaps  September.

hahaha yes you would probably melt down... such a funny comment! it's hard for me to understand why someone would like to move out from Canada; i'd probably kill for the opportunity to move there. i am quite obssesed with Canadian's lifestyle and the enviroment there, with such beautiful scenaries. Perhaps because i am from a tropical country i just want a cooler weather. i guess you feel the same but in reverse

Hello
I have currently bought my first rental condominium with Recap development from Toronto Canada. The new site will be in Punta Chame, beachfront eco development. Does anyone have any knowledge of this area and or who has a similar condo close ? The beaches look spectacular and the area is not fully developed but still has a small town.

Mary, Canada is a fantastic place to live. However, it is somewhat socialized, and therefore very high taxation.
When I tell most people that I would like to try moving south to a warmer climate, they often can not believe anyone would want to leave. I suppose lately that I am feeling that I am part of a machine designed to work, earn lots of money, pay too much tax, and buy things I do not need. Way too much STUFF! To slow down the pace and live a simpler life in the sunshine appeals to me. Perhaps I am fooling myself....but I won't know unless I try. A nice little home, perhaps some domestic help to do the things I don't want to do like cleaning and laundry. The freedom to get on a motorcycle and take off for a couple of days (or perhaps a car if I have a companion) maybe to the city, or the mountains, or to remote beaches seems like a nice way to spend some time. meeting local people, perhaps other gringos, taking some Spanish lessons, perhaps do some volunteer work here and there. Learn a new cooking style, catch a few fish.
I think that the Canadians will come to me. At least the important ones. If I meet a nice lady to spend time with, so much better. I guess I feel like I have a freedom window, and I want to climb through it and have a look around. Columbia has merit, as does Ecuador. Belize has a couple of charming spots, Roatan Honduras is an interesting place, a few spots in Mexico look good as well. But Panama checks off quit a few boxes for me. It seems very ....real.
People are proud to be Panamanian, and all those expats seem to be enjoying their life.

Hey Scott, I too have looked into the development in Punta Chame. I am not sure about the marketing with Recap, but I never did much research regarding the company. There is a development company known as DEKEL Developments and I have a friend that has done a couple of deals with them. 1 is in old Panama city, Casco Veijo (probably butchered the spelling) where I understand they are re-building many old heritage buildings. They are also involved with a few projects out around Pedasi. I believe Blue Venao, and Andromeda. As they are people I know well, I trust that they are working with people of good reputation. These developments are much further away from Panama City and there are less services I understand. But Pedasi, Chitre, Las Tablas all look to be charming small towns. This is where I will focus I think, but one never really knows until boots are on the ground. My friends have been traveling to Panama for 6 years, several weeks at a time. they are getting to know a lot, and share info with me. I like the idea that this area has substantially less rain in the wet season. The diving and fishing look really good as well. Downside...no golf development yet. I hear it is going to happen soon.

Long winded I am! I should mention, as my friends have closed on 2 separate properties, they STRESS THAT YOU NEED TO FIND THE RIGHT LEGAL COUNCIL.
Otherwise, things take many years instead of just years. The Dekel people steered them into the right people, and they are quite happy. However, in panama, as with many countries in the area, you need to be ok with waiting, and paying a premium for being a gringo. I am told 'just go with it and smile'

Bobby -  my wife and I live in small town Ontario and we just spent January in Panama, making the exploratory visit. Two days in Panama City, 3 weeks in Boquete and 3 days on Bocas del Toro.  We absolutely loved the temps in Boquete, and the time spent in PC and Bocas sealed the deal that the tropical coastal climate is just too uncomfortable. If you like the spring and early fall in Canada you will love the Chiriqui Highlands. My task now os to figure out how to get back there for good! The views of moutain scenery converted me from a water-lover to a mountain-lover.

My advice: book the damn trip! :)

Hello

Recap has 3 other developments  2 in Honduras and 1 in Costa Rica. They have excellent track record for full service development, including legals. The units will be built to American standard and because I have bought early they have given me legals and furniture package inclusive starting price. Coronado is 15 minutes away with golf "which is important". The area has a lot of potential and has the best beaches which are under 1 hr from Panama City. Good luck with your travel and keep posting any news about Panama

Hi everybody,

Please note that this topic has been created for the introduction of the new members only.

If you wish to exchange information on an another subject, please create a new thread on the Panama forum.

Thanks

Priscilla  :cheers:

Greetings-

My husband and I live in upstate NY and we spent two weeks in Panama last year. After the brutal winter we just had, Panama is looking good as a place to escape to in the winter (at least). We are still a few years away from retiring, but we are eager to learn of others' experiences living outside the US.

In advance, thanks for sharing!

Hello,  welcome!
There are a lot of detailed stories out there hehe i recommend to you to read the other sections in the panama forum and comment there after careful reading. I hope we can help a bit when you have narrow your questions.
The best of lucks

Hi everyone,

I have been reading a lot of blogs about Panama in the last year and frankly, I'm a bit concerned about the crime. I read about the 2 Dutch girls who went missing in the jungle near Boquete (whose bodies were later found), and the man in Coronado who also went missing. One of the blogs I read from David detailed the security measures that they take: iron bars on the window, 3 dogs, security cameras, a patrolling guard, etc. This particular blog said that restaurant owners lock the door behind you when you go to dine to keep the gang members out, and this blog included reports that people were robbed in the parking lots outside of restaurants in David. One man contributed that his house, which is isolated and not near others, had a large fence around it with 8 dogs and this did not deter the criminals from trying to break in. He went on to say that one of the robbers was on the local police force. Some people have said, "oh, it's all drug-related crime" but others were of the opinion that American expats were targets because of the perceived or real wealth.

Needless to say, this is not the kind of lifestyle I pictured for retirement. I wonder if anyone living in Panama has had this experience or can shed some light on this issue.

Many thanks!

Hi all,

I was in Panama 7 years ago and I loved it, especiallly the David area.  Further to a few years in Switzerland, Mexico then in France, learning and setting up an aquaculture production site (spirulina - soirulinedefrance.com).. I can speak Spanish, English, French.

I d like to settle down in Panama and start an aquaculture project (spirulina and fish) for export.

I need a local partner with a piece of land 'of a few acres, permanent clean water and a solid business network for easier starting-up paperwork.

Any hindsight / advice / introduction welcome.

Thank you

Hello Aquaculter,

Welcome to Expat-Blog..:)

If you are looking for a business partner,it would be more appropriate to post an advert in the Classifieds section- Business partners classifieds in Panama.

Best of luck in your project.. :top:

Regards
Yuveshen

Hi! Then again i cant tell you if those comments are true or not because i do not live in the so called "interior".. but  in Panama city i can assure you nothing has happened to me or anyone i know. I feel pretty safe everytime and i have a friend who is a doctor and gets home around 2am and she's alive hehe.. i also know some restaurants' owners and everything is normal, no robbery. Of course you gotta remember that even in the states there are gangs and thieves! Every country has a crime rate. Of course this is just my experience

Hi,
I am a 53 year old Canadian woman currently living in Ecuador. I am considering The Pearl Islands as my next move..
Any hints, or recommendations! not really interested in living on the mainland.

Thank you for your time

Hello
My name is DJ,planning on relocating to Panama soon, this fall is my plan.I lived there for 3 years 89-91 (usn).then I traveled the entire country as far as I could drive or pass on horse back.I know things have changed.I have no issue with immersion with the local people and their lifestyles,in fact I really like it.Questions I have are. I have to make about $750.00 PM work for me.Where is a location where this may be workable. Including rent.utilities local trans..local markets etc.Any ideas will be appreciated.My Spanish is a bit weak but it will come back once I start using it again..
Tks.DJ

Hi,

I invite you to follow this topic on this new thread:
https://www.expat.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=462029

Thanks!

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