I am always amazed to find people who up and move to Panama without putting in the effort to do their own due diligence and study. They end up spending thousands, even hundreds of thousands of dollars only to decide that Panama is not for them and then end up going back to wherever.
Panama is a fantastic place and many folks are taking advantage of a relatively “open door” policy that welcomes law-abiding folks from other countries to come and participate in Panama’s growth and development, as well as just enjoy . . . Panama! But Panama is not for everyone.
So how can you know if Panama is for you?
There are several ways I can help you know if Panama is right for you.
First, this blog. A lot of folks have commented [Thank you!] that I tend to cut through the crap and hype and tell you what real expat life is like in Panama. I’ve been writing this blog for six years and within this blog is lots of information to help you decide if Panama is right for you. And it’s all free! Just scroll down the sidebar on the right hand side and you will see a cloud of various categories like “Expat”, “Life in Panama”, “Retirement in Panama”, etc. Just click and you’ll find tons of information that will either bore you or excite you.
You need to talk to as many expats as possible, read their blogs, check out everything you can find on line about living in Panama. But be aware . . . stuff, including my own, gets on the Internet and then in most cases stays there. It may have been current when it was published, but may or may not be current now. Panama is booming. Nothing is static, especially in Panama. When you check out past posts on my blog at least you will know when they were written.
Second, get my book THE NEW ESCAPE TO PARADISE: OUR EXPERIENCE LIVING AND RETIRING IN PANAMA. The reason for writing the book was to share information that you need to know if you are thinking of living abroad. The book is based on our experiences in Boquete, Panama, but most of it is applicable to Panama in general, and some of it is applicable to moving or retiring abroad anywhere.
Third, visit Panama with an eye to actually living here. There are a lot of things to see as a tourist visiting Panama, and that’s great, but you want to visit looking at Panama as a potential place to live, which means you’ve got to ask different questions. What would it be like to actually live here? What would there be to do? What kind of expat community is there?
One of the best ways to get a “feel” for living in an area as an expat is to actually talk with expats. There are a number
of organizations in the business of selling you on moving to Panama. They can be helpful if the tour is a genuine “boots-on-the ground” tour and they are providing you unfiltered information from real expats. I’d avoid the real estate tours or the tours that want to sell you something. One of the best is the Panama Relocation Tour.
Fourth, and I throw this in for FREE … Over the years I’ve gotten many, many questions,sometimes the same ones over and over … so I put together some LIVING & RETIRING IN PANAMA Q&A which I’m happy to share with you. We want folks coming to Panama who have done their research, come here prepared and with the right expectations … folks who are going to love it here, like we do, and know that they’ve made the right decision. Folks who are going to enjoy expat life in Panama and not waste time bitching about politics back home or how Panama should be more like it was back home, wherever home was.