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(1) Sign up for every yahoo group about Panama that you can find. Read the posts and ask questions. You’ll find that the expats who already live in Panama are glad to answer your questions. They’ve been in your shoes and understand that’s it’s a big decision to relocate to another country. You’ll learn what they love about Panama and you’ll learn which things frustrate them too.
(2) Buy Richard Detrich’s book, Escape to Paradise. It’s available at Amazon. Richard moved to Panama in 2004 and the book goes in to great detail about why they picked Panama and what life is like there.
(3) Go to YouTube.com and do a search for “retire in panama” or “living in panama” You’ll find many videos of expats talking about their life in Panama. You can subscribe to their videos so you’ll get email notifications when they add new videos. One video series I especially like is by Lee Zelter. Lee drives around Panama with a video camera on the dash board of his car so you can SEE Panama before you even get there. His video series are at http://www.youtube.com/user/lzeltzer Lee also hosts a blog at www.boquete.ning.com [Read more…]
For the past two years, I’ve been researching where to move to that would have affordable costs and great weather ( no air conditioning). I’ve been all over Europe, Canada, South America, the Caribbean islands, Mexico, and I visited Panama. As soon as I discovered Panama I really felt it was THE place. But I kept reading about how great Costa Rica was and saw Andy Brown’s videos about Costa Rica so I decided to check out CR too.
There were 4 things that turned me off to CR right away:
1. Crime is a huge problem. Everyone we talked to said they could not even go to the grocery store or out to eat unless they got someone to stay at their house. Who wants to live like that?! A guy I know in Escazu (who used to live in Grecia) has been broken in to 3 times in the last 12 months. I talked to an expat in Guanacasta who lives in a gated community yet he has been broken in to twice in the last year.
2. Even with no air conditioning, the utility costs are extremely high in CR. At least 10 times higher then Panama because of the graduated billing system in Costa Rica.
3. Food costs 50% more in CR for the basic items I compared.
4. Housing costs, including rents, are much higher in CR.
5. The roads are terrible. You can be driving along and come to a 3′ deep hole that is 3′ wide in the middle of the road. No signs. No warnings. I would never drive at night in Costa Rica. Even in the daytime, you need to pay constant attention to the road conditions.
I actually cut my visit to Costa Rica short because I quickly determined that it was OFF THE LIST.
Panama is much more affordable. On my first visit to Panama, I ran in to three couples from Costa Rica who came to Panama to stock up on items from PriceSmart because the prices are so much cheaper in Panama.
I’ve been to Panama several times in 2010 and love it more each time. Everyone is friendly and helpful – both expats and Panamanians. There are many community activities you can get involved in and you will feel right at home in Panama.
I’m moving to Panama in March and can’t wait!
The last thing we all want when we’re in retirement mode is to worry about money. The economy is strong in Panama and that helps to keep inflation down – you can read about the Panama economy at Bob Adam’s site www.retirementwave.com
Come learn what life would be like living in Panama during a Panama Relocation Tour!