Why are so many people interested in Panama?


Yesterday we greeted visitors to this blog from the United States, Canada, Thailand, Mexico, Panama, United Kingdom, Japan, Greece, Costa Rica, Japan and Australia, and that’s a pretty typical mix of where visitors come from on a typical day.

Why this great interest in Panama?  

Well Panama has always been at the crossroads of the world.  Geographically, but also in terms of its strategic and political importance.  Yes, today it is bolivar_arturo_michelenalargely because of the Canal and one of the largest international hub airports in the Americas.  But even before the Canal … during the Spanish conquest, as Spain started sending back the treasures of the New World, most of that went through Panama City, then “the richest city in the world.”

The great liberator of Latin America, Simon Bolivar, once said, “If the world had a capital it would be Panama.”

Today the attraction of Panama is …

  • It is at the “crossroads of the world,” “the hub of the Americas.”
  • It is a neutral country, a peacemaker on the world scene not given to stirring up conflict and anxiety.
  • It has one of the most, if not the most, robust economies in the region.
  • It uses the US dollar, calls it the “Balboa” but it is in fact the US dollar, still considered by most to be one of the most secure currencies in the world.
  • It is outside the hurricane zone.


1200px-Atlantic_hurricane_tracks - detail

  • It is safe and peaceful.
  • It is still in many ways relatively affordable.
  • Although officially a Christian, Roman Catholic country, it has total religious freedom with large groups of Jews, Muslims, Evangelicals and many smaller faiths.  It is home to a Mormon Temple and a Bahai Temple.
  • Because it has been at the crossroads of the world, Panama is composed of a rainbow of people from different cultures and backgrounds.  Panamanians come in all shapes and colors and live and work happily together, and in fact Panama has scored as one of the “happiest” countries in the world.
  • Anyone can own property in Panama.


  • For most people, assuming you have no criminal record and you come from one of the many of Panama’s “friendly nations,” it is easy to get permanent residency and after five years you can get a Panamanian passport.
  • It is tropical, with lush foliage, no snow, no big time changes, and tropical climates ranging from hot & humid to the cool, year-round Spring-like climate of Boquete and Volcan.
  • Panama has beautiful beaches, snorkeling and diving, and some of the most fantastic fishing in the world.
  • For 27 years Panama has been a thriving democracy. [Presidents are limited to one 5-year term, then must sit out 10 years before being able to be re-elected.  Politics are grass-roots.  People are elected based on party and program and not TV ads and robocalls.  There are three parties with passionate followers but no great political divide, since everyone pretty much wants the same things and it’s just a question of which group is going to pocket the money for the next five years.  Candidates are typically all slightly right-of-center business people.  When elections are over everyone just works together to move the country forward.  Once in a while there is a fist fight on the floor of the Assembly, which may actually be a better way of resolving differences than perpetually blocking all progress.]
  • Panama is not a one-pony economy but has strong international banking, is home to many of the world’s largest corporations, has registry of about 25% of the world’s ships, has the world’s second largest free trade zone, is a rapidly expanding airport hub of the Americas, and has a booming tourist industry.
  • And, oh yes, did I mention … The Panama Canal.


Thinking about Panama?

  1. Get my book THE NEW ESCAPE TO PARADISE all about our experience moving and retiring in Panama.  As my expat neighbors say, “Richard tells it like it is!”
  2. Check out the Welcome To Panama List of Friendly Nations
  3. Come on down and check it out for yourself!  Panama is not for everyone, but it just may be the Paradise you are looking for!




It’s not that we don’t like people, it’s just that when we come home we come to rest, relax, and enjoy we like to be surrounded by nature and enjoy our privacy. In fact we can’t see any neighbors, nor can they see us. It’s peaceful, beautiful and serene. I know this is hard for many people to believe, but we DON’T have airplanes flying over, sirens in the night, or the roar of freeway traffic. Yes, we do have tree frogs in the night, roosters in the morning, sometimes a cow over the hill giving birth, drums when the little school up the road is getting ready for a November parade, and once in a while a party in a home up the road. Somehow none of that is objectionable but just part of the magic.

When we designed our home, which many people have called “the most beautiful house in Boquete,” we wanted to take advantage of the year-round spring-like climate and that we are surrounded by the beauty of nature. We wanted the home to take advantage of the natural surroundings and near-perfect weather.

It’s kind of ironic that we build one of the best homes for entertaining in Bouquete, and we don’t entertain, or when we do it’s just a few very special friends and very casual. I’d much rather sit on the porch watching the sunset behind the mountain, in front of our dual-sided fireplace, sipping wine and having cheese while visiting with a few close friends. Working on ships I do a lot of “socializing” at big receptions with a lot of folks walking around, sipping drinks and making small talk. For me that is work, but relaxation and joy is talking with a few good friends. Different strokes for different folks I guess.

IMP Palmira 25 - Copy - CopyI wanted our master bedroom to be as much like sleeping in the treetops as possible, and I succeeded. We don’t need curtains because we don’t have neighbors we can see or who can see us. I like hopping in my hot tub butt naked. Having almost 4 acres of coffee, bananas, oranges, and half a dozen other tropical fruits means that we have lots of private space.  And to walk out naked in the middle of the night to take the dogs out to pee and look up at zillions of stars in the sky … and you can SEE the stars! … is priceless.

Privacy is just one of the things that make this property so special. In a world sometimes seeming to have gone mad, there is something very special about a spot that is incredibly beautiful, private, peaceful and where one is surrounded by nature.

Click here for more information on this incredible property for sale in Boquete, Panama.

Plan B

plan bSo why wouldn’t you have a “Plan B”?

If you screw around and screw up you can get a “morning after pill” so why would you leave your future to chance and the whim of whatever politician comes into power?

There are thousands of Venezuelans living in Panama, mostly around Panama city, who were smart enough to see the writing on the wall and made a “Plan B” moving money and resources to the safety of Panama and it’s currency which is the US dollar.  Now, when Venezuela has clamped down on folks taking the money they earned out of the country, the folks who were smart enough to have a “Plan B” are enjoying a better life in Panama.  Most still pride themselves in being Venezuelan and hope, and pray, for the day when reason rules and they can return home … or maybe just stay in their new-found Panamanian paradise.

As Brazil seems to be making all the wrong moves more and more Brazilians are looking for a “Plan B” … and the same is true for Canadians, whose sliding dollar has made the move more costly now than it would have been earlier … and Europeans who watch their homelands sliding into chaos.

When we moved to Panama 12 years ago we moved everything.  I foresaw the time when the US government would more and more start treating my money as if it were their money and restricting individual freedom to move one’s own money, or so we thought, abroad.  I was right!  It’s much tougher now than it was 12 years ago.

Having a sensible “Plan B” that’s thought out and makes financial sense doesn’t mean that you are locked into that plan for the rest of your life.  You may choose to live in permanent exile, but you may just choose to live as an expat until conditions improve “back home.”  Nothing remains the same forever.  Things change.  The key is to grow with the change and have a plan so that you’re not making knee-jerk decisions.  Most of us are able to make financial, investment decisions based on analysis of what is the best investment and we can move from one investment to another as circumstances change, but a lot of times when it comes to running our lives we lock ourselves in and don’t realize we can change the ways in which we invest our lives and money and where we can get the best return.

Darwin said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”