The best things to discover in Panama

Hello everyone,

What have you discovered in Panama that you would recommend to other expats?

Are there any places that you enjoy visiting on the weekends, be it areas of natural beauty or shopping malls? Are there any Panamanian dishes that you would recommend?

What are some of the best activities in Panama?

Are there any unique customs or places you were introduced to by locals that you think other expats might be interested in? Are there any local festivals that expats might want to get involved with?

Thank you for sharing your thoughts.


You could fill a book answering all those questions. And, a lot depends on what a person likes to do. For a small country Panama has a lot going on from country to city, from beaches to mountains, and from Pacific to Caribbean and all have different flavors and opportunities.
Make friends with local people and you can have all kinds of new and interesting experiences.

For me it would have to be the beautiful rivers and waterfalls of Chiriqui........or the water sport options which I rarely seem to get to anymore, living upcountry far from the beaches........The local culture does not particularly appeal to me, and I generally take a contrarian view in that regard......They all go one way, so I go the other way........Im no fan of either reggaeton or tipico or cockfights........And even the ferias in Boquete, Concepcion or David never change much........Same ole...........Boquete at least has social activies and gatherings and even a Jazz festival........So there is hope........Best live music Ive heard outside of the Jazz festival in Boquete was in San Jose Costa Rica a few weeks back at the Jazz Cafe in Escazu, and then one of the finest Blues guitarists ive ever seen in Guadalupe..........There are just too few folks here in Panama interested in that sort of thing...........

Good morning, I'm interested in a new development near Puerto Armuelles call Coco Beach. I'm looking to come to Panama to escape the NYC winters when I retire. I'm doing my homework and will visit Panama to see the project in December. I'm told Puerto Armuelles is a sleepy town, but that David the  largest city outside of Panama City is about an hour away and that Boqete is about a half hour away for restaurants and entertainment. I'm interested because it's offering gated community, has about 3/4 of a mile of private beach, has several amenities, single family home options, a restaurant, boutique hotel. Your thoughts of the area, and project is greatly appreciated.

Moderated by Bhavna last year
Reason : Please refer to the housing section by dropping an advert. Thank you
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There was a big discussion on this a while go. It is advised, do not buy anything you can't see. Sure it looks great in theory but you don't know if it will actually get built, or finished in a timely manner, or up to the standards you were promised. If it doesn't go well you have little to no recourse. Puerta Armuelles is a very depressed town. One of the fruit companies, Dole? Is supposedly coming back and then there will be work again but who knows how long it will be to turn things around.
It is also advised that you spend many months, at least, in Panama before you buy anything so you are familiar with the country and area, understand fair prices, and have local contacts, preferably Panamanian.
I have lived in David for almost 5 years and have been extremely happy. It's a short drive to the beach which is almost always deserted. It's a short drive to Boquete for friends and activities there, and everything we need on a daily basis is nearby.
My $.02 worth. You will have a much better idea of how you feel about Panama after you visit. Say hi to the big apple! I lived on the upper west side way back in my younger days.

Thanks you for your input. Sending you some NYC love!💕

I remember you! I'm the chubby old lady on the bike who stayed at your hostel on my way to Pedasi. It has to have been at least a couple years ago, or more. I'm sure you've seen hundreds of people since then. I appreciated the bed and especially the shower that night!

Thanks but no thanks

yes,i recall u ! Time flys!

Wow, you have a good memory. If I had any interest at all in anything remotely resembling work, that might be an interesting opportunity. Good luck!

miamimike :

yes,i recall u ! Time flys!


I enjoy reading your responses to the various queries and you strike me as level-headed! :-)  I am coming to Panama in August as a volunteer and will be teaching English to adults and children.  I am also hoping to create a business project with a willing company in Boquete where I will be staying with a host family. I am committed to this volunteer opportunity until after December at which point I return to the States for a few weeks.  The main reason for my interest in volunteering is that it is something I have always wanted to do and am now in a position to finally do it.  (yay!) But I am also interested in discovering if retiring to Panama is something I will want to do after my volunteer project has ended.  I have been teaching as a professor in the MBA program at the university level for the past 20+ years. I have read that there is a university extension opening in Boquete sometime soon.... I forget the name of the university??  I was curious as to whether all their classes would be in Spanish? I obviously would love to teach for them -  I am presently learning Spanish, which is coming fairly easy to me since I am fluent in French.  Do you have any advice or information for me?....I would greatly appreciate it.  Thank you.

Hi and thanks :)
My main concern with your plans would be your ability to work in Panama. Is this university Panamanian run? Most jobs here are reserved for Panamanians. Even if it's not Panamanian it may still be restricted by the local laws. I'm going to Boquete tomorrow evening so I'll try to remember to ask some questions and see if I can find out anything more about this university. There are Boquete forums on Facebook and other internet sites that might be helpful too. Of course best of all is you will be here for four months so you can do some "boots on the ground" research during that time.

I go out there to Playa del Coco all the time to surf becuz its one of the best waves we have here in Chiriqui. And the beach is beautiful there and kept clean by the employees of the Dutch consortium who are the developers of the project.....I have been watching it inch along for the longest time....The progress has been really slow.......but they are moving again.......but only recently have gotten water and power to the project......It has great potential if it actually does finally come to fruition but I wouldnt be in a hurry to invest in it right now as none of the amenities which you mentioned exist yet.........I hope it does eventually happen but its still moving at a snails pace.........What prices did they quote you for the different sized land parcels?

a lot size of about 13,500 square feet is $59,000. I believe it will be beautiful once it picks up. Del-Monte is coming there, they're expanding the highway. I know that nothing's going on around the area, but maybe that will change within a few years. I figured it's worth taking a look at.

I think its overpriced like most things now in Panama....But I can show youa 7000 sq mtr property full of fruit trees and with an old house which would require remodeling but usable....and almost right next to the Dutch development and about 300 mtrs from the same beach..........Now its not right in front of the beach....but close enuff.....and you can get the title........If I had an extra $60 g´s layin around I would buy that first.........6 or 7 times the land...........

Thanks for the info

Did you visit the property in December? We too are interested in Coco Beach but leery due to the slow progress.

Has anyone gotten any updates as to the progress of the Coco Beach development? We are interested and looking kind of from afar. Thanks!

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