Dear Richard

june 2014 tourHomework First

Hi, I am a retired American considering moving to Panama with my partner who is near retiring. We have read that the best thing to do is to rent for a while until you get your bearings, then buy if that is what you want. I was reading your blog and saw this property, it looks like paradise to us. We are both ‘Senior Citizen’ eligible, have 3 dogs and are looking for a good place to live, preferably a bit larger than this house. However this place looks perfect to get the feel of Panama. Is it still available? We have a house in the US to sell, but we can do that from Panama! Any information you can give us about the transition, the life style there, and how to manage living there would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, Pat and Rob

Pat, FIRST, BUY MY BOOK! You are asking VERY basic questions, stuff you need to know, think about, and talk about BEFORE even considering moving to Panama. I can’t tell you the people I meet who move down here, on what I would consider a whim. They’re tired of snow. God spoke to them. [I have nothing against discussing this with God, in fact I recommend it, but, remember, God gave you a mind with which to think, explore, and reason. The Biblical parallel of the house built on sand … God saying, “Do your due diligence! Do your homework! Count the cost! Go in with eyes wide open!”] They have problems in their relationship, or with themselves, and think changing countries will make everything right! They are Republicans who think the US is going to hell because of the Democrats, or vice versa, Democrats who are sure the Republicans are destroying the Union. People come down here without a clue!

So start with my book. The Panama Relocation Tour is the second thing you need to do. Yes, you’ll spend a few thousand dollars, but do you have any idea how many tens and hundreds of thousands you can spend before discovering Panama is not for you. It’s not for everyone! It’s been great for us and a whole lot of folks. How do you know? Doing the research, and a boots-on-the ground tour, like Panama Relocation Tours, and not just a seminar sitting on your butt in a fancy hotel room in Panama City, is a good way to start.

Now, our little casita, three dogs are fine (which of course is another area you need to research: bringing your animals to Panama) is rented right now until October 1st, but then it’s available. It’s small, but most folks have used it as a base while shopping for a permanent place to rent or buy.

If you want to “experience” Boquete, stay in Boquete, not David

Good evening Richard. My name is Linda, and we communicated some weeks back about my forthcoming trip to Panama. My gentleman friend, Mr. Robert and I expressed an interest in renting your casita beginning January 2015.
I shall arrive in David on July 17 at 7:35 a.m. How does one get from the David airport to my hotel in Boquete which is Hotel Alcala? I’ll stay at Hotel Alcala for five nights. Is the hotel in a safe area?
My objective is personally experience Boquete. Is it reasonable to rent a car for several days? Is it reasonable to think that I could get around the area by myself? I want to see your casita also. How far away is the closest beach? I would like to see some tourist ares as well as know some good restaurants.
Are there any nearby fitness centers as Mr. Ryan and myself do frequent the gym? I hope to meet you and your wife. I don”t regard Americans living abroad as unpatriotic in any regard. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Sincerely, Linda [Las Vegas]

Hi Linda! We will pass on July 17th in the airport since I’m flying to Panama City on the return of your flight to David. The casita is rented now, but is still available starting in January. I assume you’ve already read my book and are doing a lot of research. You can either rent a car at David Airport, almost all the rental agencies are there, or take a cab to your hotel. The only Hotel Alcala Hotel I know is in David, and I’m not sure why you would stay in David if your “objective is personally [to] experience Boquete.” Most of David is quite safe. but Boquete is certainly nicer and safer. David is not “tourist center.” There are two small gyms in Boquete … the one in San Francisco Plaza down from my house has nice machines, Zumba, free weights, etc. These are not what we called when I worked for 24 Hour Fitness “wet gyms.” No pools, showers or changing rooms. The closest beach is Las Olas about 45 minutes from David. Black sand but really dangerous with rip tides, etc. Boca Chica is about 1 hour from David, 1 hour 45 minutes from Boquete. The real nice, white sand, picture postcard beaches are on the islands. You hire a boat at the dock in Boca Chica, a sleepy, tiny, fishing town, to take you out to the islands and beaches. My favorite is Isla Bolanos. About $70 for the boat. Take a lunch since there are no facilities. There are four beaches, and probably one will be deserted. Like Vegas, where you live, “what happens on Isla Bolanos stays on Isla Bolanos!” Have fun! Regards, Richard


Curiosity mostly, but is Panama an environment, where folks with any allergies like “Hay Fever” still suffer through seasonally or constantly in Panama; or does that more-less disappear in the tropics for typical N. American allergy sufferers? When I spent a 10 days VA time in Costa Rica 3 years ago, I had no problems there. I can always get through May and June’s up here by very early, keeping on a daily regiment of 24 hr. OTC product, at my age now. Is the environment too much different there?
If one chose the Pensionado route for Visa, in what practical time frame do you think is generally best to begin working with a local lawyer and gather a lot of the required documentation that can be done from the states?
Can/where are motorcycles and/or decent sized scooters available as light exploration transportation? New and used options readily available in any decent sized city or town in Panama? Realize could be dangerous mode there.
I anticipate living in the Panama interior, away from PC.
Thanks, & look forward to your wisdom on these points. Mike

Mike, I take a 24 hour over the counter allergy pill daily, and when my eyes itch never the less (as this time of year) I take it ever 12 hours. Works for me, but allergies are different. Regarding Pensionado, takes 2-3 months to get a temporary card, and around 10 months more to get permanent. Definitely start working NOW with a lawyer who specializes in immigration. Find out what you need, exactly, when you get it, scan and email to your lawyer who can check it over. Much, much easier to do before you leave wherever you are now. Lots of motorcycles, scooters not so many. There is even a guy in Boquete selling new tuk tuks! [Like everyone uses in India.]

Medical Evacuation Insurance

Medical evacuation insurance is an excellent point for anyone who travels. We have been members of a program called Medjet Assist for almost 10 years now. It covers you 24/7/365 anywhere you travel in the world you travel. It will bring you anywhere in the world for your care which is very different from the package plans offered in conjunction with cruises or trips that are time specific. Most of those will get you to the closes appropriate hospital and then you are on your own for getting home or wherever from there. It is worth looking into for anyone who is planning on traveling. Best of all it covers you 24/7/365 anywhere in the world. Check it out!!

Unfortunately they do NOT include medical evacuation from cruise ships.


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