Before settling in David in western Panama in 2009, I lived aboard my sailboat, Carina, for 16 years. My husband and I sailed the western Caribbean and we still have many friends among the cruising community. Although Panama has miles of coastline, it has few marine facilities for small boats. If you’re looking for a safe harbor to dock your boat in Panama, here are the stand-out marinas to visit.
This year marks the centennial of the opening of the Panama Canal, and celebrations are taking place throughout the year. The first boat to make the ocean-to-ocean transit of the canal was the SS Ancon on Aug. 15, 1914. Most visitors who come to Panama make a point of seeing the canal, usually at the Miraflores Locks just outside of Panama City, or the Gatun Locks, just west of Colon city. Personally, I can think of no better way to honor and enjoy this wonder of the modern world than to see it at eye level and take a boat trip on the Panama Canal. The complete transit takes about nine hours, passing through three sets of locks. There are a number of ways to do this, and no matter which one you choose it will be a memorable experience.
People come to live in Panama for lots of reasons. It’s one of the world’s best destinations for retirees, and if you’re keen on running your own business, it’s got much to offer. But if your dream is to establish a winery, then most folks will tell you to look elsewhere. David Feinstein and Kersti Landeck are not most folks.
One of the bonuses of living in Panama is that you’re never very far from the coast. Surprisingly, most of the Caribbean and Pacific coastlines are undeveloped or even inaccessible.
"I'm glad we didn't have enough money to retire in the U.S." says Kris Cunningham, who moved to Panama with her husband Joel in 2012. "If we had, we would have missed out on our wonderful life here."
Although I live in the city of David, the capital of Chiriquí Province, it’s easy for me to get to the highland town of Boquete. I typically visit Boquete about twice a month to go to the Tuesday Morning Market, have lunch with friends, or attend a special event.
Millions of people travel the world as tourists and millions more on business. It’s wonderful to get out there for whatever reason to see different places and have new experiences. Fewer people choose to live overseas and obtain residence status in a foreign country.
The highland areas of Panama are favored destinations for expats, retirees, tourists, and local residents alike. The combination of spring-like weather and stunning rainforest scenery are an unbeatable attraction for many.
The first time I saw Chiriquí Province I was enchanted. Although I was born and raised in New Jersey, I’m a country girl at heart and Chiriquí felt like home. My husband Al and I had rented a car to tour Panama in our quest for a new place to live.
Some of the world’s best coffee is grown in the highlands of Panama, including the ultra-expensive Geisha variety. Low coffee bushes with shiny, dark-green leaves dot the hillsides of the volcano on numerous coffee plantations.