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You may have heard that customer service is not so good in Panama. I’ve actually had great experience with customer service. But, it’s because I read a lot about Latin culture to know what to expect and not expect. Some examples, if you go to a restaurant they usually will not bring your check until you ask for it. If you’re in a department store, a sales clerk will follow you around. He/she is not watching you to see if you’re going to steal anything; they are actually waiting for you to ask for help so they can come over to assist you. They just do things a little differently in Panama.
Chuck Kent came on my tour several years ago. He wrote me today to share a customer service experience he had. I knew you’d enjoy reading about it so I got permission to share.
Chuck wrote, Please share, without sharing, I would not be here today. Your Tour and your Group of Associates have helped us immensely. As you already know I am not easily impressed but I must say you have done a very impressive job with and through Panama Relocation Tours. Thank you.
I want to add some positive feed back on service in Panama.
I had a problem with water pooling close to the road. The City admitted it was their problem and they would fix it. That was last year. So after we purchased the house, we had too transfer the billing to our name. While there we asked when they would be around to fix the water leak. Well don’t they show up early the next day with a work crew. They dug down and found a broken sewer pipe. Not surprising seeing the house was built in 1939. (see 360 view of the house below)
They worked on trying to clear the house line to the main line at the street, after about 4 hours they approached me and said the damage was not worth fixing. I could make due until they hook up the new sewer lines just installed through out the City or I they could connect me the next day.
Remember I am responsible for the line from the house to the main line on the street. I am thinking in thousands of dollars. They told me I could have it done privately or I can pay them too do it. I thought about it for one second and decided they should do it. This way any problems are their responsibility. I don’t have too deal with them blaming my contractor if something goes wrong. I asked them for a quote. I fixed my self a stiff drink in preparation for the news.
1 Backhoe Operator
1 Backhoe Manager
1 Chainsaw and Operator.
5 hours labour to complete.
I had too supply the the hardware.
4 inch pipe approx 60 feet and all the couplings.
$63.00 with tax. I ask for my Jubilado Discount for household goods and got it.
I am now hooked too the new sewer system. 1 less chore to do later.
Happy campers in Puerto Armuelles
Chuck & Mary
See a 360 view of the house Chuck and Mary purchased in Puerto Armuelles which is on the far western side of Panama, close to the Costa Rica border.
Chuck says, “ It is 1260 Sq Foot raised Tropical Style, 2 Bedroom, 2 Bathrooms. Lower section is open air to help with air circulation and cooling. We have Air Conditioners but have not needed to use them. We sit on 2 one acre lots, with approximately 25 to 30 mature Fruit Trees. I can’t say how much we paid for this, but let’s put it this way I couldn’t put a down payment on the condo we live in, in Toronto for the price of this Property.”
Puerto has a population of about 25,000 and has some of the best beaches in Panama. It has a hospital, grocery stores, and some restaurants. It’s also one of the most affordable beach towns in Panama.
Previously, Chiquita Banana was in full operation there but they left in early 2000 over labor disputes. Since then, Puerto has gone in to disrepair. It’s a very Panamanian town. There are very few expats.
Recently, Del Monte signed a 10 year agreement to start up banana operations in the Puerto area again and they have committed to spending $100 million dollars in Puerto Armuelles over the next ten years. So, things are looking up for Puerto!
After the Panama Relocation Tours we make arrangements for those who are interested to meet with people who live in Puerto who know the area very well. There are a lot of hidden gems that very few people even know about there. We’ll show you where they are!
Join us for a Panama Relocation Tour to learn about many other hidden gems throughout Panama!
See this video that some tourist took of a drive through Puerto Armuelles
Reprinted with permission from Billy and Akaisha Kaderli of www.RetireEarlyLifestyle.com Commentary in blue about driving in Panama added by Jackie Lange of Panama Relocation Tours
Most people in the U.S. and Canada own their own cars. Wherever we want to go, whether it’s to the grocery store or the next town, we simply jump into our cars and start driving. There’s no second thought about traffic rules, which side of the road to drive on, the language of the land or whether the car is in working order.
Generally, mass transport options are scarce for everyday getting around (unless you live in a city with a subway or airtram) and the use of taxis for transport can add up.
The situation is different in a foreign country. Taxis are cheap, and there are other transport choices like tuk tuks, local buses or bicycle driven taxis. Uber is available and very affordable in Panama City. You can even request an English speaking Uber driver.
Still, even with the abundance of affordable selections for getting around, some still prefer to rent a vehicle.
If this is your choice, below you will find nine useful tips for driving in a foreign country.
- Think twice about renting a car. Hiring a driver is an affordable option in many countries. These personal drivers know where they are going, they know the best sites to visit, and will assure your safety. It is a stress-free option. Many car rental places in Panama will not accept your insurance and force you to buy very expensive insurance.
- Become familiar with a rental car by driving it around the parking lot. If you do decide to rent a car in a foreign country, become familiar with the vehicle by driving it around the parking lot. Check that the seat belts are functioning, that the car is equipped with airbags and make sure the brakes and windshield wipers work. Try the headlights to verify they light up, and confirm that the turn signals blink. Check your fluids and fuel levels. Make sure you have Whatsapp on your cell phone and a cell number for the car rental place so you can call them if you have a problem with the car… know that they may not speak English.
- Plan your route ahead of time. This is very important. Know where you are going, and what stops you can make along the way. Weather conditions or even a local political protest can interrupt an otherwise easy trip and turn it into a nightmare, so have a secondary location where you could stay the night. Are you going through mountains? Do you want to avoid big cities or go right through them? Have a list of hotel choices in your destination place as well as your possible secondary stop. Always have plenty of water and snacks in the car just in case you are delayed.
- Get the latest maps and know the metric system. If you don’t know where you are going, how far it is to get there, or what the speed requirements are you are at a disadvantage. Going too slow or too fast, and not knowing what to expect on the roads ahead can create safety problems. Your car might have a GPS, but if you are going to less populated areas, or off the beaten path, those roads will not be registered in your device. You can’t buy a good map of Panama in Panama. Buy your map from Amazon before you come to Panama.
- Read up on the road laws and know the road culture of the country you are in. Stop signs and speed limits can be meaningless in some countries. It behooves you to take this fact seriously. In some countries like Thailand, the one with the larger vehicle pays for the damage, even if it’s not your fault. If a motorcycle driver runs into you, you are liable for the repair of his bike and his medical coverage. Be aware of your surroundings on the road. In Panama, the maximum speed is 100km or 60 miles an hour and it is strictly enforced. There could be police check points anywhere. The police will want to see your passport and driver’s license. They will check the entry stamp in your passport to make sure you have not overstayed your time in country as a tourist – which is a maximum of 90 days if you are driving.
- Avoid driving at night. Road cultures differ from country to country, and besides the fact that stop signs and speed limits can be meaningless in some countries, there are drivers who choose to turn their headlights off “to save battery power.” As astonishing as this might seem to you, it is often done, especially in rural areas. If you cannot see the car in front of you or the one behind you, this places your safety in jeopardy. If you are driving through a rural area at night, there can be cattle, donkeys, horses and other animals roaming the roadways. They are harder to see at night, and running into them is a rude surprise. I would add, try to avoid driving in the rain, especially hard rain, because it’s hard to see.
- Lack of enforcement and bribery are commonplace in many countries. This may or may not be to your advantage. Especially, if you have an accident with a local driver whose brother is the mayor or police chief! Try to keep your cool in any situation. Demanding, screaming and the flailing of arms will only place you lower on the totem pole of getting anything done in your favor. Don’t assume you have rights. Remember, you are in a foreign country. Move the situation forward with politeness and respect, and take care of your complaints later. If you get a ticket in Panama, you’ll have to go back to that province to pay the ticket. Do not drink and drive, or use your cell phone while driving.
- Don’t be afraid to use your horn. Americans are among the most polite drivers in the world, but it gets them in trouble. In many countries, using the car’s horn is a normal function of driving and is a form of communication. Using your horn can be effective in reducing crashes. Always toot your horn when you are passing someone on a road in Panama.
- Use public transport as often as possible. Public transport is often very good in foreign countries. Bus, air, ferry or rail passes make traveling from place to place affordable and less stressful than renting a car and having to remember on which side of the road to drive. You won’t have to be responsible for the vehicle’s safety or fret about where the next fuel station is. You can catch a snooze, watch captivating scenery or read a book while being transported to your next location. Public buses are readily available and very affordable in Panama. Uber is available in Panama City.
Relax and enjoy yourself!
A more affordable lifestyle is important and so is quality and affordable healthcare. Panama delivers here too!
You want to relocate to a country that is safe. Panama is probably much safer than the town where you live now. And Panama is certainly much safer than many places in Europe or Mexico.
But what’s equally important to consider is how stable the government is and how strong the economy is. The last thing you want to do is move from one country with serious financial problems (large debt) to another country with serious financial problems. There is no political tension in Panama. Panama really shines in this category!
My Friend Bob Adams of Retirement Wave recently published a special report about the economic conditions in Panama. The link to the article is below. I think you’ll be surprised at how well the Panama economy does compared to other countries.
So many outside Panama see how small we are and automatically assume that our economy is small too. They also assume that Panama is nowhere near as well off as Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, and other much larger Latin American nations. They forget an important fact. It is not only how much money you make. It is how many mouths you have to feed. To compare Panama with other nations in our region, you need to look at our economy in per capita (per person) terms.
Read the Article Here and see two charts which illustrate how Panama compares to other countries. (republished with permission from Bob Adams) You’ll be amazed!
Come see why Panama is the IDEAL retirement destination. It’s easy to start a new business in Panama too. Join us for a Panama Relocation Tour in 2017.
See details about Panama Relocation Tours HERE
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To a Better Life in Panama!
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We added a lot of videos and photos from the May 2017 tour