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David, Panama

Have Fun With Spanish in Panama

Not everyone has a knack for languages…and studying a foreign language at the age of 50, 60, or 70 may seem challenging. For some people even the thought of it is overwhelming. So the good news is you don’t have to speak Spanish if you want to live in Panama. In Chiriquí—where I live—there are several thousand expats. Plenty of them are European and may speak multiple languages, but the majority are North American and I would wager that a good 75% of them do not speak Spanish.

Panama City

How the “Three Pillars of Panama” Will Make Your Move Easier…

After an International Living conference, heads are swimming… That’s because we err on the side of information overload when giving presentations to our attendees. It’s a mixed blessing—nobody wants too little information, but then again, the human brain can only absorb so much so fast. This latest Fast Track Panama Conference was no exception, but three things stood out for me as I emceed the event in Panama City this week.

Panama City has the urban style and conveniences right along with the interior roots and color.

Panama Is the Complete Package

I visit Panama at least once a year, and every time I approach the city from Tocumen International Airport I’m amazed. It’s what Dorothy must have felt as she traveled the Yellow Brick Road and got her first glimpse of the towers of Oz. This is one big, bustling city, and it seems to get bigger and more bustling every year.

coronado-beach

These Expats Escaped to the Beach in Panama

Cynthia West bounced through the door vibrating with the news she was about to tell her husband Robert. He listened with mounting glee as she explained her medical company’s plan to inject some younger blood into the workforce. They were offering an early retirement package—one that would give Cynthia “an avenue of escape” from her high stress, 10-hour-a-day job in Silicon Valley. She grabbed the opportunity. Though Robert, 62, was working part-time…

Panama

“The Night the Police Pulled me Over in Panama…”

The highlight of my journey in mastering the Spanish language came on a night out in Panama when I had to negotiate my way out of trouble with the police. My husband, Clyde, and I moved to Panama from South Texas in 2011. Before leaving we had invested in a Spanish-language program and by the time we got there we had enough knowledge to get by.

David, the capital of Chiriquí Province is Panama's farmland with rows of vegetable plants, acres of pineapple and rice fields, coffee plantations and orange groves.

A Panamanian City with a Small-Town Feel

It’s hard to believe four years have passed since I moved to Panama. It’s even more incredible to think that I left the U.S. almost nine years ago. I live in David, the capital of Chiriquí Province in the west of the country. I didn’t plan to move here; it was never on my “to do” list. But when my husband, Al, and I first saw the rolling hills and slopes lined with rows of vegetable plants, acres of pineapple and rice fields, coffee plantations…

chiriqui-panama

A Panamanian City with a Small-Town Feel

It’s hard to believe four years have passed since I moved to Panama. It’s even more incredible to think that I left the U.S. almost nine years ago. I live in David, the capital of Chiriquí Province in the west of the country. I didn’t plan to move here; it was never on my “to do” list. But when my husband, Al, and I first saw the rolling hills and slopes lined with rows of vegetable plants, acres of pineapple and rice fields, coffee plantations…

For expat Judy Eaton affordable healthcare was a big part of what made Panama her ideal  retirement destination.

This Nurse from Nebraska Adores Panama’s Health Care

Back in her home state of Nebraska, Judy Eaton worked as a registered nurse (R.N.) for 40 years. So when she told me how impressed she was with Panama’s health care system, I made sure to pay attention. I met Judy for lunch in the small mountain town of El Valle on a visit to Panama earlier this year. I was there to speak to expats about what they loved about this small, stunning country.

Fitting in and Making Friends in Panama

Fitting in and Making Friends in Panama

The market opens daily, but Sunday is when it’s at its busiest with buses bringing tourists to check out the bargains on offer. But after the last vacationer leaves at 5 p.m., the town returns to its usual state: quiet, easy and relaxed.

Fitting in and Making Friends in Panama

Fitting in and Making Friends in Panama

The market opens daily, but Sunday is when it’s at its busiest with buses bringing tourists to check out the bargains on offer. But after the last vacationer leaves at 5 p.m., the town returns to its usual state: quiet, easy and relaxed.

Why You’ll Never Leave Boquete

Why You’ll Never Leave Boquete, Panama

In the Highlands of Panama, near the border of Costa Rica, there are mountains and valleys velveted in deepest green. Bougainvillea scampers up the hillsides, most often in shocking, bright contrasts of magenta and coral. The place just feels good for you. People comment on it all the time, particularly the expats, many of whom will tell you their health improved after moving here.

Retirees Don’t Wait in Line in Panama...

Retirees Don’t Wait in Line in Panama…

“Pase al frente”… “Go to the front.” That’s the phrase I hear most when I’m with my Dad, who is 75 years young. When I was a kid in Oregon, I don’t remember there being a particular emphasis on respect or special courtesies for our elders. Now we live in Panama, where I’ve discovered that locals have very specific notions about how to treat mature citizens.

How to Know if Panama is for You

How to Know if Panama is for You

I’ve hosted a lot of International Living conferences and seminars, but this is the first time I’ve heard one of our events rated in this particular way. An attendee at our Fast-Track Panama Conference came up to me after the final presentation. “You know how I can tell if I’m getting something out of a conference?”

sora-restaurant

Retirees Don’t Wait in Line in Panama…

“Pase al frente”… “Go to the front.” That’s the phrase I hear most when I’m with my Dad, who is 75 years young. When I was a kid in Oregon, I don’t remember there being a particular emphasis on respect or special courtesies for our elders. Now we live in Panama, where I’ve discovered that locals have very specific notions about how to treat mature citizens.

boquete6

Living Part-Time in Panama

We love living part of the year in the province of Chiriquí, in Panama’s southwest corner. Chiriquí is so diverse. Cerro Punta is a mountainous area where most of the vegetables are grown for the entire country. Coffee plantations, orange groves, banana plantations, and cattle ranches are scattered throughout.

Why You’ll Never Leave Boquete

Why You’ll Never Leave Boquete, Panama

In the Highlands of Panama, near the border of Costa Rica, there are mountains and valleys velveted in deepest green. Bougainvillea scampers up the hillsides, most often in shocking, bright contrasts of magenta and coral. The place just feels good for you. People comment on it all the time, particularly the expats, many of whom will tell you their health improved after moving here.

Up to 50% Off Property Prices in Boquete, Panama

Up to 50% Off Property Prices in Boquete, Panama

Now is a good time to buy in Boquete, Panama if you’re looking for a second or retirement home. The market slowdown is throwing up some nice discounts and deals. A dozen years ago it was little more than a sleepy mountain town. But its cool climate and low cost of living attracted expats and retirees. Word got out and Boquete boomed. Located in Panama’s Chiriquí province, the town is also known for its expat community.

coronado-beach-hut

The Top Beach Address in Panama

Great boulders in the distance, half wet, half dry…cobalt-blue waters scrubbing sands of downy gray…white seabirds soaring above, their cries for fish occasionally audible above the sounds of the surf. This is Coronado Beach, Panama’s most popular Pacific coast destination.

boquete3

Healthy, Low-Cost Living in Boquete, Panama

Boquete, in Panama’s Chiriquí province, is known for its expat community. Rated by the AARP as one of the world’s best retirement destinations, Boquete blipped onto the expat radar around 2001 when International Living first started writing about it. Its artsy social scene has been growing ever since. I first visited this highland town in 1998 with my family. Though you can fly an hour to the Chiriquí capital of David…

panama-city-comfortable-liv

Panama: A Great Option for First-Time Expats

After four years of 70-plus hour weeks in the cruise ship industry, I was ready for peace and playa. And of all the countries that could offer me that, I chose Panama. Why? For a lot of the same reasons so many first-time expats have chosen to move here.

panama-boats

Why I Never Want to Leave Panama…

As a native New Orleanian, Panama very much reminds me of the city I left behind. Friendly people, a laid-back lifestyle, fun culture, warm weather and outdoor recreation are all part of a full life here. Panama has been my permanent home for almost 28 years now.

retire-in-Panama

Enjoying Panama’s Cafes, Culture, and City Life (at a Discount)

“On an ideal day, I get up, sit on my balcony, and read a bit. Then I exercise or take a swim in the pool, and come back for breakfast. I might check my email or go for coffee with a friend. Later I might play bridge, or go to the National Theater, or meet with one of my clubs. There are just endless things to do,” says Joyce Perrin.

coronado-playa

Coronado: A Popular Beach Town for Expats in Panama

Coronado, Panama, is a relaxed community. Only an hour from Panama City, this coastal town—now popular with expats—was once a vacation getaway for Panamanians, who came from miles around to sun themselves on the black-and-white-sanded beach and swim in the Pacific Ocean.

Enjoy Great Festivals and Food in Panama

Enjoy Great Festivals and Food in Panama

I’m in the City of Knowledge, a large “technopark” in Panama’s capital. It’s much like a business park, but the offices here mostly belong to NGOs and educational institutions. This is a place for innovation and forward thinking…and its small theater is the venue for this year’s Panama Jazz Festival.

boquete-church

There’s No Such Thing as Boredom in Boquete, Panama

“I was working in the wine industry when I decided I was ready for a new chapter,” says Louise. Though she considered other countries, Panama kept “popping up” on her radar as a good place to live. Panama offers excellent flight connections, which appealed to Louise’s desire to travel. “I just flew direct to Amsterdam via KLM,” she says, as she enthusiastically describes her visit to Europe.

coronado

Low-Cost Living by Panama’s Diamond Beach

“We don’t have white-sand beaches—we have a black and white one,” Ellen Cook says. “When the sun’s on it, it looks like diamonds, the sparkle on the black sand.” The beach Ellen is referring to is Coronado beach, located just two blocks from her house in the resort town of Coronado, Panama. This beach is one of the biggest perks of her life here, Ellen says.

Panama-living

One Reader Reveals Why He Moved to Panama

We knew we would have to do considerable downsizing after retirement. We were living in Pasadena, California and our pension income would be one eighth of our working income. In Panama we found we could comfortably live off approximately $800 a month.

Living in Ancon, Panama City

Living in Ancon, Panama City

A garrison flag flutters on the peak of Ancon Hill. When you can see that flag, you know you’re in Ancon, the massive district formerly referred to as the Canal Zone. It’s filled with greenery and quiet neighborhoods—a far cry from the nearby city center, known for the skyscrapers that twinkle and sparkle as they tower over the glassy Panama Bay.

boquete-castle

Insider’s Guide to Exploring Panama’s Highlands

Boquete is Panama’s best-known highland town, with mild temperatures in the low 70s to mid-80s F… and misty rains that keep everything carpeted in kelly green. But there’s much more to this highland region. I visit every year and I’ve found a rich tapestry, woven with the bright threads of local culture, welcoming people, and fun activities.

la-playita-pedasi-panama

The Best Cure for Stress: Open a B&B in Panama

After a trip to Costa Rica in 2003, Isabelle and Robert knew they wanted to move permanently to somewhere in Central America. “We missed living in nature, surrounded by nature,” Robert explains. “Central America seemed to have the natural lifestyle we were looking for.” They explored Costa Rica and considered Nicaragua. But it was after a visit to Panama that they fell in love.

panama-city3

“Where Should I Live in Panama?”

“Should I choose the city or the country?” It’s a question I get from nearly everyone who considers a move to Panama. The truth is, you’ve probably already decided. Chances are, if you’re reading this, you’re over 25. And you know what you like. Save time and acknowledge your expectations.

pan-city

Beaches, Mountains, Cities: Choose Your Ideal Location in Panama

For some it’s the rainforest…for others it’s the beach or the mountains or the city. You may come here and simply fall for the laid-back culture or the smiling people. But these expats all have something in common—they didn’t just listen to their hearts. They also took a good look at Panama from a practical point of view.

Get Paid to See the Real Panama

Get Paid to See the Real Panama

If I stand in my living room and look out over Panama’s Pacific coastline early in the morning, I can see the local boats of the Gorgona fishing fleet heading east toward their favorite fishing spots. Later in the day, I hear the purr of outboard motors as the fleet returns home to Gorgona beach. Some boats travel far out to sea while others stay just off shore.

Spotlight on...Las Tablas, Panama

Spotlight on…Las Tablas, Panama

The bargain-beautiful Panama we’ve been writing about for years is alive and well…especially in Las Tablas. This little colonial town differs from hot retirement destinations like Panama City, Boquete, or Bocas del Toro. It’s in an area surrounded by farms and ranches, and that makes the climate, the landscapes, and the people unique. The tableños—that is, the townfolk in Las Tablas—are proud of their work ethic and keep their town neat and clean.

panama-bocas-del-toro

One Way to Get Immediate Residency in Panama

The Panamanian side of the Darién is dominated by deep valleys, rivers and a 6,000-foot-high mountain peak. You won’t find much else here. Starbucks hasn’t made it, and there’s no Home Depot. This is frontier country. But you will find an open door to immediate residency in Panama, along with a chance for profitable investing.

Panama's Most Beautiful Town

Panama’s Most Beautiful Town

Santa Fe de Veraguas in Panama is a tiny mountain hideaway with lots of natural bounty. About 200 miles west of Panama City, it’s the kind of place where expat couples are able to live on small pensions (as small as $1,000 a month). And I mean live comfortably. It’s easy to grow heirloom vegetables or rare orchids, should you desire.

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