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This article was written from Ross Campbell who moved from the USA to Panama City Panama in 2015. Ross shares his advice for anyone considering a move to Panama.
Panama is a whole new world compared to the USA. Panama exudes beauty in practically every direction you turn. From breathtaking views of the Caribbean Sea to the majestic shoreline running down the Pacific Ocean, nature abounds and you will find many great things to do in the country. When moving to Panama, you’ll also need to take in to consideration how things will be different in your personal life.
Use these tips to your advantage to prepare yourself for the move you’re about to make from one great country to the next.
Be open to new things around you that you’re going to experience. You want to ensure that you have an open mind, since not everything is going to be the same as back home. You need to be able to experience these new way of doing things without becoming too overwhelmed.
Depending on where you find a home, the area may be great but you might find that large shopping trips need to be done 30-60 minutes from home. This can be a little frustrating at times if you are used to frequent trips to the store. The natural beauty, friendly people and grand list of fun things to do will usually override the lack of local shopping centers.
Instead of moving cold-turkey, it is better to come visit Panama during a short vacation or during a Panama Relocation Tour to check out various areas where you may want to relocate to. This will help prepare you for the move to Panama.
Make local friends (expats and Panamanians) and learn more about the Panamanian customs.
Learn some Spanish. You don’t need to be fluent in Spanish before you move to Panama, but a little Spanish and a big smile will go a long way. You will feel more comfortable is you are able to communicate with those around you. Google translate will become your friend! Making friends should be a big priority when you move to Panama, that means you’ll need to get out of the house so you can meet people. Many areas in Panama have weekly, if not daily, events you can go to. Getting involved with some of the local charities is a great way to meet people too.
Make sure you understand the rules for foreigners living in Panama and the requirements for getting a residency Visa. As a tourist, you can stay in Panama for 6 months, then you need to leave Panama for at least 72 hours before you can come back. But if you are driving a car in Panama, you can only stay in country for 90 days, then you will need to leave for at least 72 hours before you can come back. You can avoid these hassles by getting a Residency Visa. There are many different Visa available. This will all be explained to you in detail during a Panama Relocation Tour.
Some people sell everything they own then move to Panama with a few suitcases and their pet.
But, moving to Panama doesn’t mean that you have to leave your household goods behind. You can bring everything with you by using a professional international mover. You can even bring your car if you use an international car shipper such as A1AutoTransport Inc.
International shipping companies will give you information about what paperwork is needed to bring your household goods or car in to Panama. For cars, the shipping company will require declaration forms, the title and if there is a lien, the lien holder will need to OK that the vehicle will be moved. Additional documentation may be required from the shipper.
You’ll need to learn patience! Things don’t always move as fast as you’d like in Panama but they will eventually happen. Tranquilo!
By visiting Panama for a week during a Panama Relocation Tour, it will help you determine what’s available in Panama and what’s not available. If you need specific medications, a specific food or any other specialty items, then you should find out if it’s available in Panama. You can always order items from Amazon and get them delivered to Panama. But importing items from the U.S. can be expensive.
Always give yourself time to settle in. This is a change, so you want to ensure that you’re being more comfortable with your surroundings by allowing yourself time to do so. If you’re too nervous, afraid to leave the new home or meet others then perhaps it is time to get out and find things to do. Whether you’re alone or not, this is a great experience that you do not want to miss out on because you’re unsure of your surroundings.
Know that thousands of people move to a new country every year. There will be an adjustment period. Others make it just fine and so will you.
Enjoy all that comes with moving to Panama and the beautiful views ahead of you. Being fully informed and prepared to move to Panama will make the move less stressful. Move with help, move with ease and feel good with all that you decide to do. Panama may just be the best move you will ever make!
The International Living Fast–Track Panama Conference is February 17-19th. You’ll spend 2 ½ days in a hotel room in Panama City to get an overview of Panama.
But to REALLY get a feel for what your life could be like living in Panama, you need to get out of Panama City to see more of Panama up close and personal. See Panama with a boots on the ground tour!
That’s where Panama Relocation Tours comes in! We offer 6-day all-inclusive tours of Panama. You’ll get to visit Gorgona, Coronado, El Valle, Santa Clara, the Azuero Peninsula, Santiago, David, Boquete, Volcan and Cerro Punta PLUS meet with expats who live in many of those areas. No sales pitches.
The week before the International Living Fast–track Panama Conference, our February 11-16th tour is already sold out.
So, today we added another tour for the week AFTER the International Living Fast Track Panama Conference. This tour starts on Monday, February 20th and runs through February 25th. We ONLY have 15 rooms available for this tour! Reserve Your Spot Today.
This is NOT a real estate tour. You will see some rental properties in each area but there will be absolutely no sales pitches to try to get you to buy real estate. We highly recommend that you rent for at least 6 months before you make any buying decisions.
During the Panama Relocation Tour, you’ll learn:
- Health insurance companies – little trick to save an extra 30%
- Private hospitals, Doctors, Dentists, and specialists
- How to find a rental.. and things to watch out for
- How to get BIG discounts on many purchases in Panama
- CPA’s with expat & Panamanian experience
- Meet with Attorney to learn about visa options and business structures
- Shipping and moving companies (Tips for saving money, too)
- What it takes to start a business in Panama.. and which businesses are off limits.
- Pet relocation (my step-by-step guide for a smooth transition)
- Trustworthy real estate agents and property managers (they are hard to find)
- How to get online orders (Amazon) and mail delivered to you
- Selling on Amazon – Without touching products
- The best way to take title to a property if you decide to buy
- How to send and receive faxes without using a fax machine
- We will help you set up an Offshore Bank Account!
- How to get 2.5%.. compounded daily.. on a savings account … without a CD
- Typical budgets in various areas (some or more or less than others)
- How to get phone calls to/from your country in Panama… for free
- How to bring a gun in to Panama and get a permit (or buy one here)
- How to ship precious metals in to Panama.. tax free!
- Where to buy precious metals like gold and silver in Panama.
- Learn How to Fund Your Life Overseas… Little Ways to Make Big Money
- Step-by-step CHECKLIST of things to do BEFORE you move to Panama
- Best place to buy or rent a car, and MUCH more.
You’ll meet an immigration attorney who charges less than HALF what the International Living Panama attorney charges for a Visa. This alone could pay for your tour!
No one knows more about relocating to Panama than we do!
We’ve helped hundreds of people relocate to Panama! They made the move without stress because of the information they received during a Panama Relocation Tour plus the ongoing support they receive after the tour.
Panama is the perfect place to live. You have easy access to a cosmopolitan Panama City, 1500 miles of beach, and mountain towns where the weather is spring all like year. The Panama economy is the strongest in the western hemisphere and their government is a stable democracy.
In Panama, it is possible to have breakfast next to the Pacific Ocean, lunch in a quaint mountain town, then dinner at a funky restaurant over the Caribbean Sea… all in one day….without getting on an airplane!
Retirees can take advantage of Panama’s Pensionado Program which is considered the #1 retirement program in the world! You can get discount of 10% to 50% on everything from restaurants, prescriptions, utility bills, airfare and movie theaters plus more.
Not ready to retire yet? You’ll love the opportunities available in Panama and the ease of doing business. Some of our tour clients have been able to get a job working for a multinational company in Panama. Many have reported that they make more money in Panama than they did in the United States because they pay no, or very low, taxes.
During the tour, you’ll learn how to make money online working from home. I have two online businesses which more than cover my living expenses in Panama. You’ll learn how you can do this too!
You’ll get to meet expats who live in each of the areas we visit. They will share what their living expenses are like so you can get a general idea of what it cost to live in Panama. You’ll be amazed at how affordable it is to live in Panama.
During the Panama Relocation Tour, you’ll get ALL the information you need to make your move to Panama stress-free. You will even receive a checklist of exactly what you need to do and when.
Register now, for the February 20-25th Panama Relocation Tour which starts the day after the International Living Fast–Track Panama Conference. We only have 10 rooms available.
The tour begins in Panama City. It will end in Boquete. Your tour fee includes a flight back to Panama City.
Even if you are NOT going to the International Living Fast–Track Panama Conference, you are welcome to join us for the Panama Relocation Tour on February 20-25th
To make an informed decision about relocating to Panama, you really need to see more of the country than you’ll see sitting in a hotel room in Panama City. By the end of the tour, you’ll know if Panama is right for you and if it is, you’ll be able to pick out your ideal location.
Learn more here and register for a Panama Relocation Tour. You may also call 972-496-4500.
To a BETTER Life in Panama,
EXTRA BONUS: When you register for a February Panama Relocation Tour, you can take advantage of our super special discount at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Panama City instead of spending $100 of dollars for a room where the International Living conference will be held. Even if you arrive in Panama several days early you can get our special rate. Plus, our bi-lingual driver will pick you up at Tocumen International airport.
Here’s what some of our previous tour clients have to say:
STRESS-FREE ITINERARY WHICH TOTALLY SURPASSED OUR EXPECTATIONS
Thanks Panama Relocation Tours for putting together a stress-free itinerary which totally surpassed our expectations.
For anyone considering an exploratory trip to Panama, Jackie Lange’s Panama Relocation Tour is a must! The 6 day trip took us through so many different living environments from expat communities in Coronado, to homes in Las Tablas and David to our final stopping point in Boquete and Volcan.
On the trip you get a chance to experience what to expect living in different regions of Panama sampling weather, costs and variety of food, typical shopping experiences and housing offerings. The tour is comprehensive encompassing everything from the nuts-and-bolts to moving to Panama, tax considerations, how and why to hire an attorney, insurance considerations, opportunities for expats and so much, much more. Tour recipients leave with plenty of great documentation to refer to after the trip.
This is so much more than a bus trip with stops in different parts Panama. It’s an experience that convinced us that the people and the country of Panama is a place that my wife and I will return to again for a much longer stay (if not permanently)!
I wouldn’t hesitate recommending this trip to anyone who’d like to explore the possibility of relocating to Panama.Panama Relocation Tours has it all and more!
David and Rhonda Grover
April 2014 Tour
April 2014 Tour
MEETING THE OTHER PEOPLE ON THE TOUR WAS SUCH FUN!
Bob and I would like to say THANK YOU for a wonderful tour. We had a great time and really enjoyed seeing the different parts of the country. From what we saw, we feel that the Boquete area would be the spot for us.
Although we have some “moving parts” that will have to be worked out, we do hope that it is going to be possible for us to relocate in the next year or so.
Meeting the other people on the tour was such fun. We feel like we have made some new friends, and – hopefully – we will be seeing them again in Panama!!
Jackie, your knowledge of most things Panamanian is invaluable. Melissa — I so appreciated your assistance with all of my questions, and your amazing coordination. All of our before and after plans went smoothly!
Carol and Bob Hanft
October 2016 Tour
October 2016 Tour
Patti and I went on the Panama Relocation Tour with an open mind, but hoping everything we read about the tour was true.
The tour with Jackie Lange was more then we could hope for, it was informative and comfortable. Jackie was an excellent host and a wealth of information. We got a realistic view of what to expect if we decide to work or retire in Panama. We stayed in very good hotels and had more then enough to eat (the meals were very good and plentiful).
We had the opportunity to see how fellow expats live and hear them share their experiences.
Me and my wife have decided to take the plunge and give Panama a try after my retirement and are in the process of applying for the Friendly Nations VISA (416 VISA).
We were looking for a place to live with cooler temperatures then we are currently suffering in Tampa, Florida. And we believe that Boguete would be a great place to start this adventure in our new life and explore the surrounding areas.
I must not to forget to acknowledge Melissa Lange as well, she guided us through the process so that the experience was pleasant and enjoyable.
On a scale of 1 to 10 our experience was an absolute 10 and worth every penny.
Frank and Patti Major
August 2016 Tour
August 2016 Tour
JACKIE’S ADVICE ALLOWED US TO ACCOMPLISH IN A FEW DAYS WHAT WOULD HAVE TAKEN MONTHS OR MAYBE YEARS ON OUR OWN
My husband and I just returned from a visit to our future home in Boquete, Panama. It has been our intention for years to spend retirement overseas and have thoroughly researched many countries. When we narrowed our search to Panama we discovered Jackie Lange’s PRT. Our Panama adventure began in Panama City and ended in Boquete. We were able to sample life on the coast , mountains and everything In between. We were introduced to expats currently living their dream in Panama as well as journey with others like us beginning their pursuit. We met an attorney who will help us with legal issues in regard to our move, we opened a bank account and enrolled with a shipping company. Jackie’s experience and advice allowed us to accomplish in a few days what would have taken months or maybe years on our own. We returned back to Mississippi to find a buyer for our home, cars and other possessions in order for us to begin our new life in Boquete, Panama sometime in 2017, if not before. If cool breezes, milder temperatures and an affordable way of living sounds enticing to you, contact Jackie and plan to be a part of one of her future tours.
Warren and Kim Doherty
September 2016 Tour
I’M SO HAPPY I TOOK THIS TOUR…
I’m so happy I took this tour, my first ever! I met a lot of nice people and fellow solo travelers too. Thank you Jackie & Melissa for the invaluable information provided in six days that would take me months if not years to gather.
Loved the down to earth, no hustle approach. I felt Jackie wanted to show me why and what she loves about her adopted country, “if you like what you see, welcome neighbor and if it’s not for you, that’s okay too”.
You’ve got a great team Jackie. Melissa was always there with a quick response to my questions and requests. Your attorney was so helpful, reasonable and accommodating. Jorge is a pro driver; I felt safe and Luis took care of wherever I needed to go in Panama City.
July 2016 Tour
July 2016 Tour
HAD A BLAST
First, I would like to thank you Melissa for doing such a fantastic job getting my wife and I set up for the tour. You were so thorough and fun to work with for the process of generating all the paperwork required to make the trip. And Jackie, you were such a pleasure to spend 6 days with. Everything was amazingly orchestrated for visiting the different cities. From the housing tours to the lunch breaks and the hotels. I especially appreciated your candid conversations about life in Panama and what to expect moving there. Everything was Fabulous!
John & Maria Litland
July 2016 Tours
July 2016 Tours
A WONDERFUL EXPERIENCE!
Our July 2016 Panama Relocation Tour was wonderful from the beginning to the end.
Every step was planned for and well organized. Each day in Panama was a treasure. It was like opening up a gift each morning.
Jackie and Melissa could not have been any more terrific. Jackie shared her years of experience gained living in Panama.
She gave us invaluable, boots on the ground information. We got the good and the bad. Jackie is a walking encyclopedia of all things Panama. If she doesn’t know it, she will find out.
We are planning a return trip very soon.
Hopefully a new life in Panama is in our future.
Shawn and Virginia
Las Vegas, NV
July 2016 Tour
Las Vegas, NV
July 2016 Tour
We offer Panama Relocation Tours to help you be more prepared for your move to Panama. You’ll learn about the technical things you need to know, like getting a visa, finding a rental, and bringing your pet in to the country. During a Panama Relocation Tour, you’ll also learn about the the Panamanian culture and customs plus other important emotional and psychological aspects of adjusting to a new life in Panama. The more prepared you are with this advance knowledge, the easier your relocation to Panama will be.
This article is by Billy and Akaisha Kaderli of Retire Early Lifestyle. They retired about 25 years ago when they were in their mid-30s.
In preparing for a retirement overseas, we would wager that most people occupy themselves with the practical concerns of residential visas, banking, owning property, finding a doctor they like, medical care that they can afford and dealing with any language barriers. These are pragmatic topics with realistic solutions, and we say that these areas are almost the easiest part of making this lifestyle change. While the above mentioned topics are important and must be solved, we want to share with you what it really takes to move overseas.
It may surprise you, but what we have seen take people down, destroying their retirement dreams and sometimes even their marriages, are the emotional and psychological challenges one faces in adjusting to their new lifestyle overseas.
How do you prepare for these obstacles ahead of time? We hope the following tips and insight will shed some light on the topic.
Just like home only cheaper
Many people trip themselves up with their giddiness over the fantastic cost of living in their new location. They often come into a new country talking themselves into believing that living in their new destination is just like home, only cheaper. We want to tell you that no place overseas is just like home. Customs, foods, weather cycles, housing codes, the treatment of pets, the laws, the language, cobblestone streets and workmanship quality are all different.
We have seen folks love the quaintness of their new town but then fall apart because they can’t find parking near to markets where they shop. Their charming town might not have one-stop-shop with a parking lot tying several stores together so they find that market day involves stopping in six locations, perhaps fighting traffic in between. Instead of taking their time to enjoy their enchanting town, they find this situation to be annoying and they carry the frustration with them all day.
Culture and customs
Animals are treated as animals in developing nations and not as family members. Street dogs are common and if your heart is easily broken, then this might pose a problem for you. While we have seen Expats adopt up to a dozen dogs as pets, this is not something we would recommend. One could become involved in animal rescue, retraining and home placement but even that will not solve an issue that is culturally so different than what one is used to “back home.” We urge you to become involved as you feel comfortable, but then there will have to be a certain level of acceptance of the situation or you will be miserable. Resisting cultural differences is a never ending battle that really isn’t satisfying.
The lackadaisical attitude of workers could drive you up the wall with them telling you they will come tomorrow to fix something and instead, show up several days later. Finding just the right maid, gardener or plumber could take some extra effort on your part. Once again, if your personality tends to the uptight and precise view of things, life in a foreign country could be a continuous challenge. It’s really much better for your health and for getting things done to just roll with the flow of it all. Ask other Expats which plumbers, electricians, gardeners, attorneys, construction workers and maids they would recommend and start with them first. There is no point in getting yourself upset and then holding this tension as a permanent posture towards life.
Flexibility of mind and attitudes
One of the best tools in your toolbox is having flexibility of mind. A friend of ours says the difference between an ordeal and an adventure is attitude, and it’s true. If you are finding that your blood pressure is rising because a sense of timing is different in your newfound county than it was back home, take a deep breath. Step back. Enjoy what this new lifestyle has to offer and realize that it’s a package deal.
Try to get less done in a day instead of tackling those six different locations before noon. You are retired! Enjoy the leisurely pace instead of battling against it. Practice your communication skills with vendors or with your maid and gardener and reap the benefits of learning a new language. If street dogs proudly do their business on sidewalks learn to step around it, accept it, or scoop it up yourself to dispose of it.
In foreign countries, celebrations will occur on dates that have no meaning to you. Processions will assemble, stopping traffic and shutting down streets. Banks will close. Rockets will be set off at odd hours of the morning and evening perhaps disrupting your sleep schedule. Neighborhood dogs will bark, interrupting your peace.
While living on the tropical paradise island of Nevis, in the West Indies, a local man tied his donkey outside our bedroom window. This donkey brayed early every morning and throughout the day. What an unexpected sound!
You can allow these things to rupture your contentment, or you can roll with the events and choose to be unperturbed. Focus on the fact that the weather is glorious, the prices are affordable, medical care is abundant and accessible and you actually have house and garden help which make your life easier.
Adjust to living locally
Some people allow themselves to become upset because they insist on eating certain brand label foods. In a foreign country these foods are now “imported” costing outrageous amounts. The more one insists on eating imported foods, the higher the cost of living, and the benefit of lower pricing in your new location is undermined. As much as possible, purchase local brands of cheese, butter, chocolate, mustards, syrups and sundries. Local products are often quite good, so save that imported item for a special occasion and enjoy the savings to your wallet.
If there is a large Expat community, chances are there will be a selection of international restaurants. This can be so enticing and eating in these locations will probably appeal to you. Just remember that the prices in these establishments are generally higher than in local businesses. If your budget will tolerate these prices, then there is no issue. If you are trying to live well on less, it’s best to choose to eat local and save the tourist haunts for a special time.
Even though for ages one might have dreamed of living in a tropical climate, actually living in one might not be what you expected. Many southern countries have two seasons, wet and dry. Dry season can be windy or dusty and could aggravate one’s allergies or sinuses. When it’s the wet season, often times in the tropics, buckets of water will fall drenching the landscape.
It’s far more beneficial to one’s lifestyle to focus on the crisp clean air and green hillsides during rainy season, and the spectacular sunny days of the dry season than to find things to complain about.
Generally speaking we have always suggested renting before one purchases property in a foreign country. If you find out that you are not as flexible as you might have earlier assumed, then changing your mind is far easier than getting into the entanglement of selling your property in order to pursue a new location.
Not everyone can mentally and emotionally adjust to their new home country. When planning your dream retirement life, take what we have offered here into consideration. Be willing to adapt. If you are not inclined to align yourself constructively with your new locale, you will be setting yourself up for some unnecessary misery.
About the Authors
Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance and world travel. With the wealth of information they share on their popular website RetireEarlyLifestyle.com, they have been helping people achieve their own retirement dreams since 1991. They wrote the popular books, The Adventurer’s Guide to Early Retirement and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible.