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Sarah Booth of Panama Holiday Homes &  Buyer's Consultant with My Panama Real Estate – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
 
Coronado is an interesting and diverse mix of locals and expats. It's certainly possible to get by with English and there are always friendly people to assist when needed. Charades can be fun too.. the local Panamanians are very patient with all of us, and they appreciate the effort.
 
Learning Spanish is FUN and  rewarding on so many levels (even if it's just to keep your brain active and sharp :) . To be able to get to know the locals and ask about their day, their families and have a laugh is lovely. I have many expat friends.. recent arrivals who don't know more than a few Spanish words ("dos cervezas por favor!") and they are fine. Most of them do want to learn more and there are wonderful classes at our local restaurant which are not only informative, but a great way to meet your fellow expat neighbours. There are also some great private tutors.. very affordable! (I have paid $5/hour here vs. $30/hour in Canada for private Spanish lessons.)  I have lived here for about 8 years and speak fairly fluently..but I still attend advanced classes for the fun and camaraderie, as well as obviously wanting to be ultimately, completely fluent.  Be gentle and patient with yourself.. for sure you can assimilate into the community with only English, I just personally feel that learning "some" Spanish will be rewarding for you in the long run.
 
 
 
Gordon Hill – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Knowing at least some basic Spanish is a requirement through out Latin America, not just in Panama.
 
It is just a mere matter of respect and consideration for the people who are the locals and are welcoming you. Not even trying to speak a few words is like telling other people that you don't consider them enough (whether they tell you or not).  In France or in Quebec, use your few rusted words of French and you'll instantly figure the change in attitude.  Same in Panama or Mexico, for that matter.
 
For instance, I personally don't like to speak English if I can. But I do know enough English to have conversations and get by in any context where people are limited to only this one language.
 
When I hear or read "Can I get by with only English?" it sounds like "Can I avoid doing the effort?" It's a negative.  It is like when one says "I don't speak French" in a neutral way. Could be read as "Me? I certainly won't speak French" or as "I don't know how to speak French".
 
Be aware that some people have some sensibility. Attitude is the main thing. Openness also.
 
By the way, I also speak French (native) and Deutsch (German) - which are two of the most expressive languages.
 
Hope you'll enjoy Panama.
Abdu Aguilar – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Vasco Nunez de Balboa, conquering Panama for Spain – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingIn general, Panamanians speak Spanish. Spanish the main language here but there are some people who do speak English. Even if you don’t speak Spanish, people find ways to help you and if they can’t, then they will find someone who can help. The locals here are not very good in speaking English but they are very willing to learn.
 
Also, there are a lot of expats in Coronado who teach locals how to speak English. There are a lot of expats in Coronado so most foreigners do not worry about coming here because they know that they would easily bump into somebody who does speak English.
 
The people in the service industries really try to speak English if they are serving foreign guests even if they do not know a lot of English words. Overall, you don’t have to worry that you won’t get by if you don’t know how to speak Spanish because in Coronado, there will always be someone who knows how to speak Spanish and English and they’re usually willing to help.
 
(Vasco Nunez de Balboa, conquering Panama for Spain, pictured.)
Kevin Painter of Azura – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
CARIMAÑOLA, meat, yuca, Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingCoronado, Panama is mainly English speaking. If you go outside of Coronado, it's not. But in Coronado, a lot of people do speak English.
 
As an example, my wife has been here for eight years and she speaks only English; no Spanish.  If you go shopping with her, you will see that she doesn’t have a problem at all, even in those places where they don’t speak Spanish.  For example, if you go with her to the butcher shop, you will see her pointing to items and the butchers having a great time helping her.  My wife is very comfortable and everyone has a good time.
 
(A carimanoa made with a fried dough, ground meat, yucca,boiled eggs and shredded cheese,  this one served open faced, a favorite Panama dish, pictured.)
Corrin Skubin – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
xmas greeting – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingOut of all the expats in Coronado, only about 5% of them speak Spanish and that is not even fluent Spanish, but they get by just fine. Expats here go to Spanish classes so they could speak some Spanish words. I have a lot of clients who do not speak a word in Spanish and they can get by. They just do charades! 
 
(Christmas greeting in Panama, pictured)
Denise MacDonald of My Panama Real Estate – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
You can certainly get by speaking English in Coronado for the most part, but as others have mentioned, it is important to learn a few basic Spanish words to start with, such as how to say hello, thank you, excuse me, where is....., etc. 
 
Most restaurant owners speak English and many of their staff do as well. However, many store owners, staff, etc. do not speak English. 
 
Make it a mandate to yourself to learn ONE new word each day and your vocabulary will grow so quickly you will hardly believe it!!
RICH Novak of RE/MAX Beaches & City! INC. – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
It would be good if you know how to speak Spanish, but the more educated people here in Panama speak English as well. Panamanian schools have English classes and the locals are proud that they are leaning English. Cashiers at the grocery stores and cab drivers only speak Spanish.
 
In many respects I feel bad, because when I first left the US, we went to Costa Rica, but I had a concierge then, who spent some time in the US, and whenever I needed help, I had him. When we went to Panama, I had another concierge named Hector. Looking back on it, if I had the chance to do it over again, I would not have had a concierge, because what you need to do is get in and try to learn the language. Having translators has kept me from learning Spanish and maybe I am too old to learn Spanish now, because it does not come easy.
 
My wife speaks Spanish so she is my translator now. Recently we had to make a phone call to customer care for our Hyundai and the service department did not speak English. I got my wife to talk to them on the phone and set up a service appointment for my car.
 
The other day, I was talking to a Canadian expat who owns the mailbox franchise here in Coronado, and he has been here almost as long as I have. He is unable to speak Spanish, but he has a business. They have four women working for them and one of these four women speaks English. So he communicates to the one who speaks English and she in turn translates to the others.
 
So overall, you would still be able to get by with just English. I know some people here who do not know how to speak Spanish, yet they are able to get by. It would of course be best if you learn even just a little bit of Spanish.
Cecilio F. Saenz Fisher of SIUMA REALTY – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
The most common language in Coronado, Panama is Spanish, but due the number of expats in the area, English has become very often spoken at any place in the area.  The reason is that many of the expats don't speak any Spanish, so local people are learning English to communicate easier with everyone.
 
In case you come, you don’t speak Spanish, and you run into someone else who doesn’t speak English, someone else will help you on the matter anyway.
Ana Camboa of Desarrollo Turistico Buenaventura – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
The language most spoken in Coronado, Panama is Spanish because it is the official language of Panama.
 
In spite of the long years of American military presence in Panama, not all in Panama speak English fluently.  However, this has never been an impediment to communication between foreigners and Panamanians. English is the foreign language that most Panamanians have grappled with and always make an attempt to understand and be understood by the people they’re speaking with.
 
As for other languages ​​such as French or German and Asian languages ​​such as Mandarin, Japanese or Korean, it will be more difficult to communicate so I recommend trying to communicate in English if you are not fluent in Spanish.
Marla Diaz of United Country Panama Coastal Real Estate – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
I moved to Panama three years ago and at that time, I spoke about five words of Spanish.  Still, in the Coronado, Panama area, I was able to get most everything done I needed to in order to run my errands.  Wherever you go in Coronado, there’ll be someone who speaks English who can help you, whether it’s an employee of the store or other place you’re in, or another expat who happens to be there.
 
It is helpful to know Spanish and you will be more independent the more Spanish you speak.  However, if you do not speak any Spanish, you will still be able to get what you need to get in Coronado.
Daryl Ries of Keller Williams Panama, associate – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
The difficulty for Americans generally (and the same for many Canadians), is that they do not speak Spanish.  Communication with the local people who provide services, like maids, caretakers, vendors, bus and taxi drivers, etc. is limited for these people, and so, it is now evident that everyone tries to learn enough Spanish or English to communicate at least basically.  And so begins the acculturation of Coronado and Panama's coastline as the "expat" community expands.
Nicolas Baldrich of Coronado Golf & Beach Resort – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
The language that is most spoken in Coronado Panama is Spanish, but you can get buy just speaking English. 
 
In Coronado there is a big expat community, most of them from the United States. The Panamanians who have a house in Coronado and go there on weekends and holidays are most likely to also speak English.  Panamanians who work in Coronado will have a basic English speaking level.
 
I do recommend to learn Spanish, specially if you decide to live in a Spanish speaking country because all your bills and legal paper work will be in Spanish. 

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