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To see a general doctor in Panama you can just walk in to the office, no appointment is necessary. You may have to wait 5 minutes to see the doctor. The cost will be about $10 in Boquete or $20 if you live in Coronado or Panama City.
For a specialist, you need an appointment but they can usually see you within 48 hours. You could call their office to get an appointment but the receptionist will usually only speak Spanish. If you don’t know Spanish, you’ll need to get a friend to make the appointment for you.
You can send a WHATSAPP message to the doctor’s cell phone to make the appointment. Most doctors publish their cell phone numbers in Panama.
During the September tour I got an eye infection the day before the tour started. It got progressively worse during the tour but there was not much I could do about it because I was busy with the tour group.
I sent a WHATSAPP message to my ophthalmologist in Panama City telling him about the problem and asked what I could do. He asked me to send him a photo of my eye which I did via WHATSAPP. Then he prescribed some eye drops to take. I picked up the drops at a pharmacy during a tour stop.
Many doctors in Panama speak fluent English.
But after 2 days of taking the medication, my eye was getting worse and I was in a lot of pain. Once again I sent a photo to my eye doctor in Panama City. He recommended that I either come to see him right away or see an ophthalmologist in David Panama. He sent two recommendations for doctors in David including their cell phone number.
During the tour I sent a message via WHATSAPP to one of the doctors asking if he could see me the next day. I explained the problem. He replied back within 5 minutes and asked me to send him a photo of my eye, which I did. He checked with his receptionist then scheduled me for 4pm the next day. I arrived at his office in Hospital Chiriqui about 3 and was seen in a few minutes. He did a thorough eye exam then prescribed different eye drops. I was in and out in less than 30 minutes. The cost was $32 which I paid out of pocket even though I have insurance.
Since then, the ophthalmologist in David has followed up with me two times via WHATSAPP to see how I was doing. And my ophthalmologist in Panama City has also followed up via WHATSAPP.
Doctors put the CARE back in to healthcare in Panama!
WHATSAPP is widely used by everyone in Panama. It’s a free app that allows you to make calls, send text, send audio messages and share photos.. all for free. You can even call or text friends and family in other countries if they have WHATSAPP downloaded too. You will need wifi to use WHATSAPP
Before coming to Panama make sure you download WHATSAPP to your phone. It will be very useful even if you don’t need to make a doctor appointment. Learn more here https://www.whatsapp.com/features/
I received an interesting email this week asking what’s the difference between Panama Relocation Tours and International Living or other companies who offer information about moving overseas.
This was my reply:
International Living provides information about a variety of different locations around the world. We focus on Panama because we think it is hands down the best place to relocate to.
As you may have noticed from International Living articles, they are always telling the best about each area but they don’t discuss the negatives or down sides. Panama Relocation Tours discusses the pros and the cons of living in Panama and each area. You’ll never hear International Living discuss that one area of Panama has severe water problems. In fact, they promote properties in that area in hopes of getting a commission. In contrast, we tell you where there are problems, what areas to avoid.. and why, plus we don’t sell real estate and don’t get any big commissions from real estate sales or kick backs from lawyers or other services.
Speaking of kick backs. The attorney that International Living most recommends charges more than TWICE as much as the attorney we recommend. That’s because of kick backs. We don’t play those games.
International Living likes to do big conferences in expensive hotels where they show slide shows of what the country looks like. Of course the photos they show are only the best hand picked photos. There will be hundreds of people there. They invite hand picked speakers (who usually have something to sell) to tell you about Panama.
They are not alone. Other companies based in Panama, like Live and Invest Overseas, also like to do big conferences where they have one sales pitch after another with the ultimate objective of getting you to buy real estate or some other investment like mangos, teak, coffee, or avocados.
This is NOT a good way to learn about actually relocating to or living in Panama.
You need to see Panama up close and personal. Panama Relocation Tours thinks the best way to see Panama is to get out and see the country with boots on the ground tour with a small group. You need to kick the tires. You need to talk to ordinary expats who live in each area (with no sales pitches). And visit grocery stores, shopping centers, see a few rentals in various price ranges to get a feel for what you get for your money and find out if the things you like to buy are available. You need to get the “real scoop” about the pros and the cons of each area so you can make a smart decision.
Panama Relocation Tours encourages you to rent for at least 6-12 months before you even think about buying anything. International Living would love to take you on a real estate buying tour immediately after their 3-day hotel conference where they use high pressure sales tactics to get you to buy so they can make a commission.
International Living encourages you to use their insurance broker who charges 30-40% more for health insurance. Yep, the broker has to pay kick backs to IL. During a Panama Relocation Tour we tell you how and where to get affordable health insurance, even international health insurance, for less by not using an insurance broker. You’ll save a lot of money. Plus, during the tour you’ll learn how to save 90% on medications in Panama.
I could go on and on. But hopefully this has given you a general idea of how we are different, and we think much better, than International Living in providing information about actually relocating to Panama.
International Living does provide a great service to get people thinking about moving overseas for a better and more affordable lifestyle. Their articles get you dreaming so you can start the process of exploring living overseas. It’s also a great place to advertise Panama Relocation Tours. I subscribed to their magazine for many years before moving to Panama. Every month I looked forward to getting a new magazine to read about the exotic places to move to. They do provide a really good service when you are in the “thinking about it stage”.
Before relocating overseas, you need to make a short list of countries you are considering. Then do your own research to narrow the list down. Then you need to actually visit those countries and various cities where you are thinking about moving to. You simply cannot learn about a living in country by sitting in a hotel conference room filled with hundreds of people.
To make an intelligent decision about where to relocate to, you really do need to know the good and not so good too. Sugar coated stories are enticing but they are not the true picture. You need to know your visa options, how to set up a bank account, how to bring your pets or household goods in to the country, how to find a rental (it is a different process), how to buy a car, etc… etc….there is a lot that you need to know before you make the move.
After a Panama Relocation Tour you will know everything you need to know. You’ll know exactly how to relocate to Panama with ease plus the most affordable way to make the transition and get set up in your new home country.
Bottom line, International Living provides a really great service to get you thinking about relocating to Panama or other countries. But once you think Panama may be a place you want to move to, you really do need a Panama Relocation Tour.
CLICK HERE to see what our tour clients have to say about Panama Relocation Tours.
We’d love to show you what your life could be like living in Panama.
My good friend Bob Adams, who has lived in Panama more than 12 years, was published in Barron’s magazine again with this story about what makes Panama such an amazing success. I was lucky to get an advance copy of the story before it came out in print. Read it here..(click on the link below)
A lot of countries have beautiful beaches, mountain vistas and affordable living. But few countries can match the strong economy of Panama. Few countries have a government that encourages true free enterprise. A strong economy fueled by free enterprise should be important considerations when deciding where to relocate to.
The real story of Panama in the 21st century is a story of a rapidly developing economy that has nothing to do with offshore anything. For more than a decade, Panama’s GDP has averaged annual growth nearing 8%, with a few double-digit years. Even at the depth of the financial crisis in 2009, it booked a respectable 4% GDP growth, while nearly everyone else in the hemisphere booked red ink.
Foreign direct investment last year rose 17% from the record set in 2014, which was more than 9% above the record set in 2013. In 2000, per-capita GDP was similar to that in neighboring Costa Rica and Colombia, though well behind the two big Latin American emerging markets, Brazil and Mexico. As of the end of 2015, Panama’s per-capita GDP was 24% higher than Mexico’s, 39% higher than Brazil’s, 41% higher than Costa Rica’s, and 57% higher than Colombia’s.
Additionally, the massive improvement in transportation, logistics, and communications infrastructure has made Panama a leader in Latin America in those sectors.
WHY PANAMA? What changed? Can we learn something from this? The nation and its canal have been there for more than a century. Consider three lessons.
Panama’s economy is based on free enterprise. The government and the people of Panama have a commitment to free enterprise that is rare in Latin America. In the 2014 presidential elections, two candidates with a socialist perspective took part in the televised debates and ran campaigns, but barely collected 1% of the vote between them. Due to the emphasis on private enterprise, the government has the income to provide benefits to the poor that can exceed those of Latin American nations that claim to be socialist. You are not likely to meet a Panamanian who would prefer to live in Venezuela.
The immigration issue has been dealt with intelligently in Panama. When Panama’s dramatic economic growth began a decade ago, Panama’s small population and inadequate public-education system left the nation in a bad spot. The challenge was to handle growth while improving the skills of their people.
A big part of Panama’s answer was to use relocation instead of immigration. Relocators can be residents and workers, but not citizens.
Panamanian relocators include American retirees, but also other Latin Americans, especially from Colombia and Venezuela. Recently, they have been joined by a growing number of Europeans. Last year, Italians and the Spanish receiving residency visas and work permits both outnumbered Americans.
By taking citizenship out of the equation, Panama was able to absorb large numbers of relocators without the tension and rioting seen in Europe or the hate language too common in the U.S. today.
Panama’s political leadership has a common goal. I have been a relocator in Panama through two five-year presidential terms and I am in the middle of a third presidential term. Each president has had his own particular style, issues, and policies. Each represents a different political party and they are not the best of friends.
Debate among the leaders can be very partisan, but they have one important thing in common: When it comes to economic growth, they pass the ball, they don’t drop it. All the major projects supporting economic development have continued under each president. Each makes some changes here and there, and they may agree on little else, but they have proven their dedication to continuing economic growth to Panamanians and the international investment community.