On the Panama Relocation Tours web site we say if you can’t walk several blocks on your own and get up and down steps easily then Panama .. and the tour…may not be for you. We make this disclaimer because sometimes it will be necessary to walk from the bus to a restaurant.. sometimes 1-2 blocks away. You will need to go up stairs to get in and out of the bus. Some of the hotels we stay at have steps to get to the hotel lobby or to your room. That’s another reason we encourage people to only bring a carry-on size suitcase. There will be no one to carry your luggage for you. One afternoon, we give you a few hours on your own to walk around Boquete so you can check out the grocery stores, department store and pharmacies. We spend an hour at a shopping center where you can see electronic stores, grocery stores, wine stores, and Target-like stores… this all requires walking. We walk around a PriceSmart store which is like a Costco so you can see if they have the items you like most and find out what they cost in Panama. We visit several houses where expats live during the tour but the bus cannot drive up to the front door to let you out, you will need to walk up or down driveways.. sometimes steep driveways… to get to the house.
To make matters worse, the sidewalks are a mess in Panama — if they exist at all. So, you have to be very careful where you are walking.
I received this email today.
I was looking at your tours, sometime back, and I found something that bothered me. You had mentioned that the sidewalks in Panama city are uneven or broken, and you recommended that people with difficulty in walking should not undertake your tour! Can you explain that a little more for me?
Are sidewalks uneven “”all over”” Panama, including Boquete (which is the city of my real inerest)? Becasue if it is difficult to walk on your short tour, how can we conduct our lives everyday in Panama? Actually, if sidewalks are uneven or broken, even people of normal health will be unable to enjoy their walks on a daily basis!! So, why should I consider moving to a country where there are “unwalkable” sidewalks?
My answer was
I could tell you the rose colored glasses story that international publications put out which paints that life is perfect in Panama… but that would not be the truth. I think it is better to warn people
about the problems before and during the tour. If uneven sidewalks are an issue, then many of the other things would be too.
If you can get around ok, then you should come see Panama. The pluses FAR outweigh the negatives!
Even though the sidewalks are a mess, when you look up in Boquete and see the beautiful mountains surrounding the town and the spectacular flowers everywhere — it just makes the sidewalk issue seem really small compared to the natural beauty, fresh air, clean water, and affordable prices. Living in a place where you don’t need an air conditioner or heater is just amazing!
More Sidewalk Examples
Honestly, after you’ve been in Panama for awhile you don’t even notice the sidewalk problems.
Instead, you focus on the positive things about living in such a beautiful country!
Instead of walking on sidewalks for exercise, many enjoy the many HIKING TRAILS in Panama