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David is the capital of Chiriqui province which is in far western Panama, next to Costa Rica. It usually ties for the second largest city in Panama with a population of about 170,000.
David has a developed infrastructure yet a much lower cost of living than other places in Panama. Tour clients are renting furnished houses or condos in the $350 to $650 range in David. You can buy a new small house for as low as $50,000 in David
David has an international airport and a major bus terminal with connections throughout Central America. You can even catch a bus from David to the Caribbean side of Panama. With your Pensionado discount, it is only $10.60 to take a bus from David all the way to Panama City (a 7 hour drive) or go to San Jose Costa Rica.
There are two large private hospitals in David plus a large modern public hospital. Every specialist is available in David, including cardiologists. You are never more than 15 minutes away from a 24-hour hospital in David.
The city has several shopping centers and malls. In early 2020, the Federal Mall with 400 stores will open. There are two movie theaters with movies in both English and in Spanish (about $2 for a movie).
There are also countless restaurants (with air conditioning), bars and casinos around the city. American fast food restaurants are readily available in David too.
You’ll never be far from a 24-hour grocery store. There’s a daily farmers market with fresh fruits and vegetables. And there is an amazing fish market with fish that was just caught that morning. David has car dealerships, furniture stores, clothes stores, electronic stores, wine stores, gyms, office supplies, fabric stores and much more.
For your sports enthusiasts, there is even a huge new baseball and soccer stadium in David.
Everything you need is available in David and it’s all so close. Because public transportation is so good, you could get by without owning a car.
David is an ideal location only 30 minutes to the beach or 30 minutes to the mountain town of Boquete. You can fly to Panama City in about 35 minutes. David is 45 minutes to the Costa Rica border.
Sport fishing is nearby in the Gulf of Chiriqui with fishing trips from the marina in nearby Pedregal or Boca Chica.
David’s climate is in the 90s during the day, so you will need air conditioning (or a swimming pool). Evening temperatures get down to the mid to high 70s.
Several churches offer services in English.
There are weekly expat get togethers in David too. US military Veterans get together for lunch every Wednesday. Of course, there is the live music and dancing available at multiple venues too. And don’t forget the Panamanian fairs and holidays. There is always something to do in David. Estimates are that 1500-2000 expats living in David plus you’re a short 30 minute drive to Boquete where there are many more expats and daily social activities.
In the last couple of years, there has been an explosion in both commercial and residential construction in David including retirement communities.
EXPLORE DAVID DURING A PANAMA RELOCATION TOUR!
Because David has so much to offer now, we have added it to our list of places to visit during a Panama Relocation Tour. Several tour clients have relocated to David and absolutely love living there!
We’ll make sure you get to see at least 1-2 affordable rentals in David, visit a shopping center and PriceSmart, check out some grocery stores and pharmacies AND,when available, we will even visit a hospital in David. Of course, as always, we’ll make arrangements for you to meet expats who live in David too so you can discuss what they like (and don’t like) about living in David.
Gringo pricing is when you are charged more for something just because you are a foreigner living in or visiting Panama. It can happen. It has happened to me a few times too. But there are things you can do to avoid being gringo priced.
Gringo pricing is more likely to happen when you use a taxi. If you get in a taxi then tell them where you want to go without asking the price in advance, you may be in for a surprise when you arrive. Here’s an example:
One time a friend and I grabbed a taxi to go to a grocery store in Panama City. We are both blondes so even with perfect Spanish, the taxi driver knew we were “gringos”. I did not ask the price before I got in the cab because I had taken that trip before and knew the “right price” was $3. But when we arrived at the grocery store, the drive wanted $10 EACH. We said no way and gave him $5 then got out of the cab. If I had asked how much (cuanto cuesta) before I got in the cab, this situation could have been avoided.
There are two solutions to avoid gringo pricing with a taxi: (1) use Uber where available because you will know the price before the driver arrives and the fee is charged to your credit card so no change is necessary, (2) when using a taxi always… ALWAYS.. ask for the price before getting in the cab. If you don’t like the price, use a different taxi or an Uber.
DON’T LOOK LIKE A TOURIST
The more you look like a tourist, the bigger chance you could be charged a gringo price. If you wear a flowery shirt, have a fanny pack, always have a backpack with you or have a big camera around your neck, you scream tourist (aka stick out like a sore thumb). Tourist are much more likely to experience gringo pricing than other foreigners living in Panama.
Sometimes it is gringo pricing and sometimes a company is just more expensive.
A few weeks ago, I got 3 bids for getting a new septic system installed at my house. The company most recommended by other expats wanted $2400. I paid $700 by using a company recommended by my Panamanian friends instead. The company who wanted $2400 spoke prefect English. The company I hired charged me $700. They spoke some English. I got another bid for $800 but they did now show up when they told me they would to give me a bid (24 hours late) so I marked them off the list. When you need to get a project completed, it pays to get bids. You can always hire a translator if you need help communicating with contractors.
If I was getting a septic system installed in Texas, there would be a big variety in pricing too. It is gringo pricing then? No, not necessarily, it’s just that some companies charge more than others.
THE PANAMA ‘GC’ TAX!
Gringo pricing could be considered the “gringo convenience” (GC) tax. Sometimes, the more English the Panamanians speak, the more you will pay for their services. You see this a lot with “private drivers” who jump on every Facebook post when someone mentions that they are coming to Panama.
Everything is negotiable. If a driver says they want $100 for transportation, offer $50. You might mutually agree on $75. It that a gringo price? It could be! The more English they speak, the more you will usually pay unless it is UBER which is not available outside of Panama City… yet.
The gringo convenience tax can also happens with gardeners, house keepers, at salons, and contractors. It can happen anywhere that a clear price is not posted or agreed to up front.
Instead of only working with people who speak English (and paying the GC tax), hire non-English speakers too. If you don’t speak Spanish, you can use Google translate to communicate. Slowly, you will learn more Spanish and your workers will learn more English – so you can both communicate in Spanglish.
AVOID GRINGO PRICING
To avoid gringo pricing surprises, always ask what something will cost up front. Even if you have been quoted a price before arriving in Panama, it would be a good idea to confirm the price again after you arrive. Keep a copy of all written communications. Clarify the pricing up front before the job starts.
HAVE THE CORRECT CHANGE
If a taxi trip is $6 but you give the driver $10, the drive will usually say they don’t have change. Always have plenty of small bills like $1 and $5 to avoid this kind of gringo pricing. Remember that Panama uses the US dollar as currency. There are Panamanian coins, but all paper money is the US dollar.
IT’S NOT ALL BAD
Most places you go to like restaurants, hotels and stores have prices clearly posted so you don’t have to worry about gringo pricing there.
You can avoid gringo pricing by getting the price up front, don’t look like a tourist and always have plenty of small change.
Are you worried that you may not ever be able to retire because your cost of living is so high?
Would you like to retire early but know it’s not possible if you stay where you live now?
My husband and I were in the same situation 12 years ago.
Even with income from investment properties, and eventually Social Security and a good pension, we realized that living in Texas was just going to keep getting more expensive. We were concerned about what our cost of living would be like in 10, 20 or 30 years so we weren’t sure if we would ever be able to retire and maintain a quality lifestyle.
So, one summer, when we had 100+ degree weather for 90 days straight and $400+ monthly electric bills, we decided that it was time to look for some place with a lower cost of living where we could afford to retire on just our pension or just Social Security. We were also looking for a place where we’d never need air conditioning or a heater again.
After almost two years of research and exploring several countries, we discovered Panama. Panama ticked all the boxes for what we were looking for.
My husband and I were able to retire 10 years sooner than most Baby Boomers because of the lower cost of living when we moved to Panama in 2010. We actually could have retired 20 years sooner but unfortunately Panama was not even on our radar then.
Moving to Panama was the best decision we ever made. We significantly reduced our cost of living and were able to live well on less than $2,000 a month including rent.
Moving to Panama may be the best…or only… option for Baby Boomers who want a stress-free, happy and fulfilling retirement.
♦ But how do you move to Panama?
♦ Where do you start?
♦ What do you need to do?
♦ What should you avoid doing?
A Panama Relocation Tour will take away all the guesswork and confusion. A Panama Relocation Tour will lead you step-by-step to knowing how to retire in Panama with confidence. Previous tour client Jim Barber said, “The biggest takeaway was that the tour gave me the confidence to make the leap to being confident, even excited, about retiring in Panama.” We will help guide you to the kind of retirement you deserve like:
♦ A comfortable lifestyle on a Social Security budget
♦ Afford luxuries like a housekeeper, gardener, weekly massages and more
♦ Perfect weather (no snow, no hurricanes, no tornadoes)
♦ Qualify and affordable health care and health insurance
♦ Eat out as often as you want for $5 a meal
♦ Make friends fast and have a vibrant social life
♦ Live a stress-free lifestyle without worrying about money
IT’S ALL POSSIBLE IN PANAMA!
“Many more North Americans than ever have begun to realize that they can live better for less in Central America with a healthier and less stressful lifestyle. Let Jackie and Panama Relocation Tours show you exactly why Panama may well be your best choice” says tour client Eric Weiss.
Panama Relocation Tours has the Experience You Can Trust! In June 2019, we completed our 103rd Panama Relocation Tours!
Joe and Lori, from California, can retire EARLY by moving to Panama! This is what they had to say about their Panama Relocation Tour experience:
WORDS CAN’T DESCRIBER OUR PANAMA RELOCATION TOURS EXPERIENCE
Jackie delivers an emotional connection to Panama that is unparalleled.
Our pre-tour experience of Jackie, Melissa, and Dustin re-defined “customer service” in a way we have not seen in the United States. Thorough and rapid responses to our questions coupled with a superb organizational aptitude characterize the PRT team. Logistical excellence and deep knowledge of Panamanian culture, economy, customs, language and social norms are the hallmark of Jackie and her professional team. The care and feeding of everyone on tour exceeded our expectations because of Jackie’s consummate commitment to deliver a complete Panama experience. Attention to detail, and unlimited patience are natural aspects of Jackie’s personality that impart caring and empathy for all because of her absolute passion for Panama and her love of life and the vitality that this country exudes.
We quickly formed emotional connections with our fellow “kindred spirit” tour mates and the Expats who joined us for meals further cemented our relationship to this wonderful country abundant with natural beauty and life that only Mother Nature can deliver. Jackie’s knowledge and drive for maximum value in all things economic make Panama an irresistible choice for our retirement because we can’t live as well for less in the beauty of this wonderful burgeoning seat of life. The local residents of Boquete were warm and welcoming, helpful without obligation, with useful and friendly offerings that astounded us “Gringos”.
If you cherish friendship, honesty in communication, and sincerity of feelings accompanied by a passion for life and abundance, then book your Panama Relocation Tour today. Let your soul fly and dance with the Spirit of Panama as you are cradled in the arms of a warm and welcoming Nature that graciously delivers Happiness and “Tranquilo”. I wish we had taken the PRT sooner!
June 2019 PRT
Now it’s your turn! Come see how you can live better for less in Panama – even retire early! Join us for a Panama Relocation Tour to get the knowledge and confidence to relocate to Panama.