The only tour I recommend for folks considering relocating to Panama is Jackie Lange’s Panama Relocation Tour. I have no financial interest in her business, but she is a friend and in fact reading my book ESCAPE TO PARADISE helped her make the decision to move to Panama. I like her tours, and I’ve tagged along on several, because people get to see the real Panama and meet and talk with real expats who offer their unfiltered views of their lives in Panama. Nobody is selling anything! This isn’t a real estate tour, one where paid presenters are selling “opportunities,” or a glorified time-share-type presentation.
I’m repeating this post from Jackie’s blog because it is an excellent description of how her tour is different from most others.
Three Ways to Discover Panama by Jackie Lange
There are three ways you can discover Panama.
ONE WAY …
You can sit in a stuffy conference room in Panama City to hear presentations by speakers who were hand-picked to tell sugar coated stories about life in Panama. You can see a few slide shows to see what Panama looks like…of course; they will only show the best of the best parts. In addition to the hefty conference fee for 2 1/2 days, you’ll also pay for your own overpriced hotel room and all meals and beverages. You get to walk through the gauntlet of people trying to sell you stuff just to get to the conference room. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to see one square block of Panama City.
That is NOT the real Panama!
WHAT’S THE 2ND WAY TO DISCOVER PANAMA?
You can discover Panama up close and personal during a 6-day all inclusive Panama Relocation Tour. You pay one flat fee for 6 days of seeing the real Panama, not slide shows. You’ll travel in a brand new extra comfortable bus throughout Panama. We keep the tour size small so everyone gets personal attention. While we are traveling from one location to another, I’ll be conducting a rolling conference to teach you what you need to know to relocate. What’s included? All ground transportation, all hotels, all meals, and a Copa flight back to Panama city. Plus you’ll learn everything you need to know to successfully relocate to Panama.
You’ll get to actually see Gorgona, Coronado, Santa Clara, El Valle, Chitre, Las Tablas, Santiago, Las Lajas Beach, David, Boquete, Volcancito, Volcan, Bambito and Cerro Punta. Plus we will travel though a lot of other towns. No slide shows. No photoshop pictures. You get to really see Panama.
“It’s not a tour, it’s an adventure!” “said Bob and Sally Lewis from my January 2015 tour.
They added … “Besides all the great info you are going to get, you see so much of the country, will make some wonderful friends, that you will want to sell your house as soon as you get back home, like my wife Sally and I are going to do!! Jackie does incredible things to personalize the tour, like having a freshly baked Birthday Cake at dinner on my wife’s Birthday!! You don’t spend money on this tour, you INVEST it!!”
You’ll meet expats in each area. They will discuss what their life is like in Panama. I don’t screenwhat they will say except “no sales pitches please”. No sugar coating. You’ll hear the truth.. both the good, the bad and the down- right ugly. You’ll learn the pros and cons of living in each area. That’s not all…. you’ll also meet with Panamanians to hear what they think about expats living in their country and how you can make friends and “fit in” quickly. Sometimes we meet with Richard Detrich, author of The New Escape to Paradise which tells the story of his move to Panama 10 years ago. Things have changed a lot since Richard moved to Panama. When Richard is in town, we visit his finca (farm) near Boquete.
You’ll learn about budgets in each area of Panama. Some areas are more expensive than others. Some areas are incredible bargains. Jacqui is renting a one-bedroom house for $80 a month in Las Tablas. She is 5 minutes to the Pacific Ocean. Las Tablas has just about anything you’d need but Chitre is only 30 minutes away and it has even more shopping options.
Doug is renting a 2 bedroom 2 bath with spectacular views in Boquete for $600. He has a 1/2 acre lot with coffee plants, bananas, avocados and oranges.
Colin and Sue are renting a 2-bedroom 2-bath in Cerro Punta for $400. The views are incredible (see photo below). You will get to see the many of these rental properties. No slide shows. You get to walk through the house and the yard and talk to the expat tenants. There are pros and cons to living in each area. You’ll learn exactly what they are so you can make an informed decision about where to relocate to in Panama (if you decide Panama is right for you).
You’ll get to see the beaches, the towns, and the mountains. We’ll take a 10 minute hike in a rain forest so you can smell the fresh air and see waterfalls. You’ll probably see a rainbow or two or three while you’re in Panama. The colors are so vivid it looks like a box of Crayola’s.
You’ll see some amazing sunsets over the ocean or the mountains. And you’ll probably see more stars in Panama than you have ever seen before.
We’ll visit grocery stores. You get to walk the aisles to see if your favorite products are available. You can compare prices of imported vs. local products. Yes we have Butterball Turkey in Panama. You won’t hear this at the international conferences but the truth is that some grocery stores are terrible. Luckily there is almost always a great grocery store close by through.
We’ll visit department stores so you can see the great bargains which are available in Panama. You’ll also see electronic stores and furniture stores so you can compare prices and help you decide what to bring to Panama and what to just buy here.
Come in a day early to take a tour of a hospital in Panama City. See the hospital rooms, talk to a doctor. See the MRI and CAT scan machines. See the high-tech labs and more.
Get the real scoop on health insurance options. Or why you may want to self-insure because medical care is so affordable. Discover why you could pay 50% more if you use an insurance broker instead of going direct. (Of course there will be insurance brokers at the hotel conference but they won’t tell you that it cost a lot more to use their services). Insurance brokers in Panama don’t work like insurance brokers in other countries.
Learn how to bring your pet in to Panama. There’s a process but it is well worth it to bring your furry family members. My cat move to Panama with me. She traveled In-Cabin. She loves living in Panama as much as I do!
We’ll eat at upscale restaurants but also have lunch at some $4 a meal restaurants with excellent food. This is the real Panama which you won’t find in an expensive hotel room in Panama City. Well also visit farmer’s markets during the tour.
You’ll learn the easiest way to buy a car in Panama and why it is better if you do not ship a car to Panama.
Experience the real Panama! You never know what you might see when you are traveling through Panama. During one tour there was a truck with an elephant in the back. It was headed to a circus. Sometimes a parade breaks out. You will certainly see trucks full of bananas or plantains. Or sacks of 100 oranges for $4
You will meet with a Panama attorney to learn about your visa options, buying real estate and setting up a business in Panama. This is NOT the kind of attorney who does the seminar circuits and charges twice as much because she has to pay a commission to the international seminar promoters. Oh no! You’ll meet an attorney who has one focus only… to make sure you get your visa quickly and at the best price in Panama and that you don’t make any mistakes when renting or buying a property in Panama.
Discover the real Panama! You’ll see beautiful flowers and lush green trees everywhere we go. But to be honest, you’ll also see some areas that have trash alongside the road. You may smell some septic tanks that need to be cleaned out. You’ll see people riding horses next to the highway and probably see some roosters too. And there will be dogs walking around like the own the town. This is the real Panama!
You’ll get to touch, feel, smell, hear, and experience the real Panama up close and personal. During the 6-day all-inclusive tour, you’ll travel 1200 kilometers (745 miles) to discover which part of Panama could be your new home. Leave the driving to my professional driver who knows every square inch of Panama.
We’ll look at some real estate in each areas but, unlike the conferences, we stress that you should NOT buy anything until you’ve been living in Panama at least 6 months… 12 months is better. We don’t try to sell you anything. But we know you want to see what houses and condos look like in various price points so we visit some properties.
You’ll learn the 4 most important questions you need to ask before you rent any property.
Much of the real estate for sale in Panama is WAY overpriced. But, after looking at hundreds of properties I’ve found the best of the best deals. I’ll show you what’s available at good prices. How about a condo with an ocean view for only $149,000.. with builder financing! Or a 2000 sf house in Boquete with an ocean view on one side and a mountain view on the other side for only $175,000! This one has a unique bamboo ceiling design. The deals are out there and, after traveling all over Panama, I know where they are.
Keep in mind that I have absolutely NO financial ties to any property. I don’t get or want a commission. I tell the sellers or builders to pass that savings on to YOU instead. I think it is a conflict of interest to do real estate tours pushing certain areas where you know you will get a big commission. It’s just not right!
Whew! It sounds like a lot already but I actually cover even more. You’ll learn how to fund your freedom overseas without getting a job. And much more…..
The 6-day all-inclusive Panama Relocation Tour is the best way to get a “feel” for Panama, learn how to relocate, explore a variety of area, and discover if Panama is right for you. You’ll feel safe with my professional bi-lingual driver and being with a group of people who are also considering relocating to Panama.
WHAT’S THE 3RD WAY TO DISCOVER PANAMA?
You could rent a car and go it alone traveling through Panama. Most people who do this end up leaving frustrated because they don’t know where to go, what to do, or how to find expats to talk to.
There you have it… three ways to discover beautiful Panama.
Moving to Panama is a big decision. It is important for you to have all the information you need before you decide to relocate. It’s also important to learn the good as well as the not so good before you pull the trigger and decide to move. I honestly think the only way you can discover Panama is to travel around the country. You can’t sit in a conference room in Panama City to learn what life is like living in Panama. You need to see the various areas for yourself. You need to talk to people who live there. And you need to explore the housing options and prices.
If you have any questions about the Panama Relocation Tours, please email info@PanamaRelocationTours.com