I just returned from another trip to Panama. This time several friends joined me on the Panama Tour to explore all that Panama has to offer. We arrived in Panama City on Friday. On Saturday several people went on a wildlife tour in the Canal. In the afternoon, we went on a Panama City tour. We got to see a big ship going through the Canal and drove all over Panama City. It’s amazing what a booming economy they have when the rest of the world is in an economic mess.
On Sunday morning we drove to Coronado and visited several condo projects. I don’t like condos so this was not my “thing” It was really hot and humid on the beach and not a place I would want to live. In Coronado, we stopped for lunch at Picasso’s which was recommended by several expats on the yahoo forums. It was a huge mistake. We waited more than 2 hours for our food! Don’t go to Picasso’s!
Next we drove to Santa Clara where I had cabins rented on the Pacific Ocean. It was very relaxing to hear the sound of the waves. The palm trees and lush vegetation were just incredible. We ate at a restaurant with a tiki hut roof. The fish was fresh and delicious.
On Monday we headed for the cool mountain air of Boquete. It’s a 5 hour drive from Santa Clara. I’m going to rearrange the schedule for the next tour so there are no long drives again. It was too much. But getting to Boquete made it all worth it. The weather was prefect at 72 degrees. We had dinner with some local expats who shared their experience of moving to Panama.
I’ve traveled all over Europe, South America, Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica and the Caribbean islands and NO PLACE compares to the beauty and weather in Boquete! It’s my favorite place in Panama and in the world.
On Tuesday we had a special treat to spend the day with Richard Dietrich, the author of Escape to Paradise. Richard moved to Panama in 2004. You can read about our visit with him at Richard blog at http://richarddetrich.wordpress.com/2011/06/22/boquete-is-not-for-everyone/
The next day, we took the short cut to drive to Volcan. It’s a beautiful drive with many waterfalls along the way. One of the guys on the tour had read about Volcan and decided that was where he wanted to move to before actually visiting. But after seeing the town, he quickly changed his mind. I’ve been told that Volcan is what Boquete looked like 10 years ago. It is more rural and undeveloped. You won’t find many paved roads off the main drag. Prices are more affordable in Volcan but you have fewer services and amenities.
After spending the night in Volcan, we headed to David where we toured PriceSmart, the DoItCenter, and visited with the Chriqui Hospital administrator. We also went to the insurance office and got all the details about getting signed up for health insurance. It’s about $60 per month for a couple. You can add cancer insurance for $108 PER YEAR. Amazing!! Next we had a nice lunch at TGI Fridays ( yes they have them in Panama)
Everyone on the tour had a great time and most plan to move to Panama this year.