Jessica Ramesch

Author Image for Jessica Ramesch

No stranger to “international living,” Jessica Ramesch had called the U.S., India, and Panama home by age 14. So it was no surprise to her family when she won a full scholarship to study International Politics & Diplomacy at the University of Richmond. After graduating with honors, Jessica worked as an interpreter for the World Access travel emergencies hotline, followed by a stint as a Panama Canal editor. Not content to watch the ships go by, she went on to join the cruise industry.

After visiting 25 countries, Jessica abandoned ship for the good life in Panama City. As International Living’s Panama Editor, she writes about Panama’s beaches, islands, mountains, and countryside. She is also the author of Escape to Panama, International Living’s best-selling book on all things Panama.

Jessica regularly contributes to International Living's Panama Facebook page.

Archives

Business on the Beach in Coronado, Panama

Claire Ross had a great idea…no experience…and a small investment. It was all she needed to set up a bar in the beach town of Coronado in Panama. “When I first moved here, there was nowhere to hang out and meet people if you were single or new in town.” With new arrivals trickling in, Claire wanted to create a space where everyone would feel comfortable and embraced.

Business on the Beach in Coronado, Panama

Claire Ross had a great idea…no experience…and a small investment. It was all she needed to set up a bar in the beach town of Coronado in Panama. “When I first moved here, there was nowhere to hang out and meet people if you were single or new in town.” With new arrivals trickling in, Claire wanted to create a space where everyone would feel comfortable and embraced.

May 2014

Before we get started on the news from around Panama this month, there’s some exciting news from closer to home. The Panama Insider is delighted to have a new Panama Insider Expert join the team. After spending a few years traveling around Central America (including in a sailboat), Linda Card and her husband finally decided […]

Panama

A B&B in Panama City’s Leafy Ancon District

Though they’re one busy couple, Mieke and Bill Hamilton do their best to get out there and enjoy all Panama has to offer. “That’s what we’re here for,” says Bill. “We love it and we plan to stay, even after we retire.” Though in their 60s and already retired from previous careers, the Hamiltons decided to take a stab at running the Balboa Inn, a bed and breakfast in Panama City.

A Swiss-Style Mountain Town...Just 40 Minutes From Panama City

A Swiss-Style Mountain Town…Just 40 Minutes From Panama City

“What are you doing tomorrow?” That’s how the best weekends start in Panama. Last-minute invitations are never considered rude. And I’ve learned they should always be accepted…especially if you want to explore the country. So the next thing I knew, I was piling into a pickup truck with two local friends and heading to the little mountain town of Cerro Azul.

A Swiss-Style Mountain Town…Just 40 Minutes From Panama City

A Swiss-Style Mountain Town…Just 40 Minutes From Panama City

“What are you doing tomorrow?” That’s how the best weekends start in Panama. Last-minute invitations are never considered rude. And I’ve learned they should always be accepted…especially if you want to explore the country. So the next thing I knew, I was piling into a pickup truck with two local friends and heading to the little mountain town of Cerro Azul.

Delve into Panama’s Artisan Traditions

Delve into Panama’s Artisan Traditions

Panama’s artisans are perhaps the best-kept secret in the world of handicrafts. In every region you’ll find master craftspeople quietly selling their wares in small stores and on roadsides. Little-known festivals celebrate their skills. And Panama’s oldest families pass their creations on to their children…from the fine linen and Valencian lace of the dress known as the pollera, to the instruments needed for the distinctive sounding tipico music.

Las Tablas: Low-Cost Living Near Panama's Secret Beaches

Las Tablas: Low-Cost Living Near Panama’s Secret Beaches

The capital of the Los Santos province, Las Tablas is in the heart of Panama—the provincias centrales or “central provinces.” And in an area known for its traditions and folklore, Las Tablas is as Panamanian as it gets.
A small colonial town with a big party reputation, Las Tablas is considered Carnival Central by fun-loving locals.

Five Popular Beach Towns in Panama

Five Popular Beach Towns in Panama

Panama has much to offer, from mountain havens boasting year-round mild temperatures to colonial towns where the traditions of grand old Spain have shaped and enriched the local culture. But it’s Panama’s sunny beaches that get the most attention…and with good reason.

pan-city

Honestly: This Is How Much It Costs to Live in Panama City

My first year in Panama City, I started my mornings with a $0.15 cup of strong, dark coffee. (That’s how the locals drink it, and the only way it’s made at food stalls.) I would also usually buy a little bag of corn fritters, or torrejas de maiz, for $0.25. Very greasy and very tasty.

April 2014

What a month it has been here in Panama…April has only just begun, and it’s already one of the most exciting months we’ve had in a long time.

las-tablas

Las Tablas: Low-Cost Living Near Panama’s Secret Beaches

The capital of the Los Santos province, Las Tablas is in the heart of Panama—the provincias centrales or “central provinces.” And in an area known for its traditions and folklore, Las Tablas is as Panamanian as it gets.
A small colonial town with a big party reputation, Las Tablas is considered Carnival Central by fun-loving locals.

March 2014

There’s always a lot going on in Panama, but summer is when things really come alive.

February 2014

he construction of the PanAmerican Highway (completed in 1963) carved a path across the isthmus of Panama, from the Costa Rica border in the east to the jungles of the Darien that border Colombia to the west.

January 2014

It may sound strange, but in these parts summer is just beginning. Most days are sunny and there’s little to no rain. For that reason, there tend to be a lot more events and concerts, both indoor and outdoor. So what’s coming up?

December 2013

I have always enjoyed celebrating Christmas in Panama. Don’t scoff—we have white Christmases here…

November 2013

Greetings from a Panama painted red, white, and blue. No, it isn’t U.S.-appreciation week. November is a big month for national pride in Panama, and this country’s flag, like many, features the same colors as Old Glory.

October 2013

I’m recently back from International Living’s Fast Track Your Retirement Overseas Conference that was held in Las Vegas.

September 2013

The e-mail headline in my inbox today had me concerned: Panama City Issues Boil Water Notice. Is something wrong with our water supply?

August 2013

I’ve never really liked the word “beautiful.” It’s such a meaningless adjective when you consider the subjectivity of beauty.

June 2013

I’m writing you today from the little town of El Valle, about a two-hour drive from my home in Panama City. El Valle is one of my favorite destinations for a quick weekend getaway.

May 2013

The same applies to shopping at the city’s ever-expanding malls. At large installations like Albrook Mall, I can buy cute jeans for $5 (I kid you not) at local shops. But it seems like all the popular name brands are here, as well, from Guess to Zara.

coronado-panama

Enjoy the California Lifestyle – for Less – in Coronado, Panama

Are you dreaming of a California lifestyle…but think that you’re unable to afford it? If so, you’ll want to consider Coronado, Panama. Just an hour’s drive from the only First-World city in Central America, at first glance you might notice that Coronado isn’t the cheapest retirement choice in the world…or even in Panama. A couple would want a total of $2,000 to $3,000 a month to live comfortably within the Coronado gates (including rent). Monthly rentals can be found for $1,000 to $2,000, and homes sell for $175,000 to $300,000…

Delve into Panama’s Artisan Traditions

Panama’s artisans are perhaps the best-kept secret in the world of handicrafts. In every region you’ll find master craftspeople quietly selling their wares in small stores and on roadsides. Little-known festivals celebrate their skills. And Panama’s oldest families pass their creations on to their children…from the fine linen and Valencian lace of the dress known as the pollera, to the instruments needed for the distinctive sounding tipico music.

Panama

Four Reasons to Visit Panama

What are your reasons for visiting Panama? Ask any tourist that question and you’ll get a different answer. Some come for the beaches and the sun, others to explore the jungles or cloudforests. There’s a lot to see, and if you’ve read anything about Panama, it’s likely you’ve felt tempted to hop on a plane. To help tantalize you just a bit more, here are my top four reasons to visit Panama.

In Panama you can gain residence on the basis of your economic activity.

Use Your Freelance Income to Gain Legal Residence in Panama

If you make your money online, there are some great benefits to locating yourself in Panama. One of them is gaining residence on the basis of your economic activity. Panama welcomes expats…and if you register your business as a corporation, you can easily apply for a residence visa. Online workers may not have the same need to officially register their business—the way bricks-and-mortar entrepreneurs do—but becoming a legal resident is a good idea.

Panama City has more than just plain old skyscrapers;  there are some true architectural specimens.

Tourists in Panama City Only Get Half the Story

There’s a big difference between how a tourist sees Panama City and how a potential resident views it. If you come for a visit, you’re likely to note the sparkly, spiky skyline. Even back in the 1990s it was impressive—no other city in the region could compete. And these days there are more than plain old skyscrapers here. There are some true architectural specimens, like the Trump building (sail shaped, like that iconic hotel in Dubai).

panama-city2

Tourists in Panama City Only Get Half the Story

There’s a big difference between how a tourist sees Panama City and how a potential resident views it. If you come for a visit, you’re likely to note the sparkly, spiky skyline. Even back in the 1990s it was impressive—no other city in the region could compete. And these days there are more than plain old skyscrapers here. There are some true architectural specimens, like the Trump building (sail shaped, like that iconic hotel in Dubai).

Panama

A More Colorful Life by the Beach in Panama

Steve Doane is a guy’s guy. A retired member of the NYPD, this keen surfer has an athletic physique and likes his rock ‘n’ roll. So when he describes his new life in Panama as “like falling into a Walt Disney movie,” there are no raised eyebrows. Rather, there are nodding heads. “What I mean is everything’s so intense…the sights and sounds,” he says.

sora-panama

Life is Simple in Panama’s Serene Mountain Town

When I first discovered Sora, I had been looking for someplace quiet to spend a weekend away from Panama City. I wanted a place that was an easy drive from the capital. Somewhere with a cool climate and little noise or light pollution. I wanted to be able to look up and see the stars, maybe wear a light jacket, and have a relaxing weekend.

Panama City

My Outrageous Spanish Mistakes

When I first came to Panama from Oregon, my Spanish was limited to numbers from 1-10 and a very gringa sounding “Cómo estás?” Lucky for me, most of the upper crust Panamanians I met during that first year spoke perfect English. They’d gone to excellent private schools like St. Mary’s or to U.S. Department of Defense schools. I got by just fine.

Panama

Panama’s Best Little-Known Mountain Town

Proximity to Panama City and to beaches like Coronado makes El Valle one of the world’s rare “have-it-all” locations. Here, you can live right in the middle of a display of nature’s bounty, teeming with life…and yet be close to important conveniences. And the number of expats discovering this tiny town is growing. Over the course of my visit I encountered quite a few of them and counted many nationalities. Ask them why they choose to live here, and you’ll hear a range of answers.

panama-surf

A More Colorful Life by the Beach in Panama

Steve Doane is a guy’s guy. A retired member of the NYPD, this keen surfer has an athletic physique and likes his rock ‘n’ roll. So when he describes his new life in Panama as “like falling into a Walt Disney movie,” there are no raised eyebrows. Rather, there are nodding heads. “What I mean is everything’s so intense…the sights and sounds,” he says.

el-valle-panama

Panama’s Best Little-Known Mountain Town

Proximity to Panama City and to beaches like Coronado makes El Valle one of the world’s rare “have-it-all” locations. Here, you can live right in the middle of a display of nature’s bounty, teeming with life…and yet be close to important conveniences. And the number of expats discovering this tiny town is growing. Over the course of my visit I encountered quite a few of them and counted many nationalities. Ask them why they choose to live here, and you’ll hear a range of answers.

Panama City

My Outrageous Spanish Mistakes

When I first came to Panama from Oregon, my Spanish was limited to numbers from 1-10 and a very gringa sounding “Cómo estás?” Lucky for me, most of the upper crust Panamanians I met during that first year spoke perfect English. They’d gone to excellent private schools like St. Mary’s or to U.S. Department of Defense schools. I got by just fine.

Use skills you already have to build your fortune, somewhere like Panama.

Building Your Fortune from Your Kitchen Table

For every substantial, bricks-and-mortar business set up by an expat overseas, there are hundreds of small enterprises that people operate from their own homes with very little investment. Within a year of starting their micro-enterprise overseas, Jim and Mariellen Wiemann are making a profit and supplementing their retirement income.

pedasi-panama

In Pictures: Uncovering the Charms of Pedasi, Panama

The first time I visited Pedasi, I thought to myself, “Is this it?” Small colonial homes line the main strip, behind which you’ll find a small plaza flanked by a neat little white church. There are usually a few old-timers sitting under the gazebo, wearing the same sombreros pintados (painted hats) their fathers and grandfathers wore.

Making the most of the local markets a couple can live well in El Valley for $1,500 a month not including rent. © Erica Mills

El Valle: Beauty and Convenience in Panama’s Crater Valley

In the heart of rural Panama, nestled in the crater of an extinct volcano, El Valle is a place of orchids, rainforest greens, and canary-yellow flowers. Though it’s relatively unknown beyond Panamanian borders, locals argue that no other town can match it. And not just because of the singular beauty of the velvety-green mountaintops.

Santa Fe, with its lovely streams and rolling hills, is every bit as pretty as Boquete.

Panama’s Highland Towns – One Popular, One Unknown

In much of Panama, sultry tropical days average 88F…but there are places where you can experience more temperate weather. Think mild and breezy—up to 10 degrees cooler (or more, when the sun’s not out). Places where rain will be your biggest concern…where there’s no hail, or snow, or hurricanes either. The most popular is the mountain town of Boquete, located in the Province of Chiriquí.

Starting a business in Panama is both easier and cheaper than back in the States.

Why Entrepreneurs Love Panama

“You’re starting a business where?” That’s the question you’ll get, over and over, when you tell your friends you’ve decided to pack your bags and move to Panama. They’ll likely know that Panama is famous for its canal. But they may also think of Panama as a Central American “Banana Republic.” Nothing could be further than the truth, of course. Thanks to the Panama Canal, this has long been a destination for international business. So Panama has always focused more on its business infrastructure than on luring vacationers.

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