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, take a Panama Relocation Tour. My friend Jackie Lang has been doing these tours for four years. My book has been required reading for tour participants. These are not the “typical” Panama real estate tours or living abroad conferences where you sit in a fancy hotel in Panama City and listen to folks, many of whom have paid to participate, try to sell you on various “opportunities.”
These are not real estate tours. And they are not tours of the many fantastic tourist opportunities in Panama, which is why we encourage people to arrive early before the store or stay after to experience some of the wonders of Panama. These are boots on the ground tours visiting places that expats like to call home in Panama, actually meeting with real expats living in Panama, experiencing Panama. Nobody is selling anything. The tours are designed to give you an overview to see if Panama may be right for you. Intentionally the groups are small.
Whenever possible we join the group for dinner and often have the entire group over to our house.