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James David Audlin of Editores Volcán Barú – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Nearly all of the expats, or gringos, whom I know in the Tierras Altas of Chiriquí Province in Panamá are delightful people. Unfortunately, as anywhere, there are a limited number who unfortunately have rather despicable traits. I, for one, didn´t move here only to live in a "little America". I am delighted and honored to find that my Panamanian neighbors accept me pretty much as one of them. And the gringos I get along with best, and hang with most often, feel the same way I do.
 
Louis Seldon – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account

ExPat Gathering in 

Boquete Every Tuesday Morning

ExPats in Panama come from all over the world, probably most from the U.S. & Canada.  I'm thinking the Canucks about out-number those from the U.S. now.
ExPat gathering in Boquete every Tuesday morning. – Best Places In The World To Retire – International Living
 
ExPats groups in Boquete, 
Coronado and Panama City include American Society of Panama, Canadian Society of Panama, mixed and others.  All these groups welcome members from other countries.  I have attended several Canadian events including the Canadian Thanksgiving event at the prestigious Union Club in Punta Paitilla and the Lady Ambassador --great fun.
 
Saludos amigos ~~ PanamaLou
Louis Seldon – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account

Balboa Elks Lodge building on La Boca Road – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingExPats in Panama:  There are three established groups of ExPats that meet regularly in Panama City, Coronado and Boquete. Most are fun people.  A number of ExPats can be found at the Balboa Elks Lodge building on La Boca Road in the bar area behind the Don Profit restaurant area in front.  The restaurant is operated by a contractor who has a restaurant on Via Argentina also.  In the Canal Zone "hay day" the restaurant was operated by the Elks.  The members meet once a month on the second floor.
Balboa Yacht Club (located in Amador) – Best Places In The World To Retire – International Living
 
Left, Balboa Yacht Club (located in Amador) is a good place to find ExPats, especially at sunset for Happy Hour & a last salute to a beautiful sunset over the canal with the Bridge of the Americas in the background.
 
ExPats at the Balboa Yacht Club (BYC) – Best Places In The World To Retire – International Living
 
 
 
 
Right, ExPats at the Balboa Yacht Club (BYC)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sunset at the BYC – Best Places In The World To Retire – International Living
 
 
 
Left, Sunset at the BYC with the Pacific side entrance to the Canal in the foreground.
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Terry Bradford of Origen Real Estate Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Balboa Yacht Club Panama BBQ Bash Sign – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingMost of the expats in Panama are baby boomers. Some are younger and are in their mid-forties but decided to move here permanently.
 
There is a huge veteran organization here, which is composed of people who worked on the Panama Canal and have stayed here for good so they now have dual citizenship. They served proudly. They are wonderful, loving, and fun people.
 
Expats in Panama are outgoing, they love to get together, and they love to share crazy stories about Panama. Their usual stories are of taxi rides or what happened in the grocery store or anything that they can share to each other about their experiences in Panama.
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Abdiel U. Bustamante of SIUMA REALTY – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
The expats in Panama are usually friendly and outgoing people and willing to help newcomers.  Most come from the United States and Canada and are between 35 to 65.
 
The vast majority of expats come to Panama for the tax benefits, strong economy, booming real estate, and lower prices and discounts many things, including medical care.
 
The most interesting thing I have noticed about expats is that they really try to fit in with the Panamanian community and do not think they are better than anyone else.
 
 
 
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David Whittington of Tucan Golf Club and Resort – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Expats living in Panama will more friendly towards other expats in Panama than they would have been if both of them had been in their home country.  The reason is that expats living in Panama feel that they’re part of a small group with common experience, so they will tend to stick together.
 
Of course, when an expat marries a Panamanian, the expat will blend in more with Panamanian society.
 
The only other attribute I can think of is some of the expats that come to Panama try to make Panama more like the US.
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Esteban Guerra of EPA Español en Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Cinta Costera Panama City Panama with expats jogging – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingLife for expats in Panama is quite good, especially for Spanish expats like me, because the crisis that is happening in Spain right now is quite awful. There are almost no jobs in Spain right now, so Spanish people try to find jobs here in Panama. Spanish expats have comfortable lives here because they have found jobs. Another reason why the life for Spanish expats in Panama is good is because Spanish is the language used here in Panama, so Spanish expats do not have a hard time coming here.
 
There are is a big community of North American expats in Panama. They are mostly Americans and Canadians. North Americans live a good life here in Panama because it is cheaper than their own countries.
 
Foreign retirees also live well in Panama because Panama offers a great retirement program that allows expats who retired here to have a comfortable lifestyle. This retirement program encourages a lot of people to come to Panama to retire.
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Gonzalo de la Guardia of Panasurance – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Panama City, Panama, viewed from Parque Metropolitano – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingExpats live comfortably in Panama. Panama has been a place of transit for 500 years, ever since the Spaniards used it to transfer gold from South America, so we have seen our share of expats for a long time. In addition, the fact that the US was at the Panama Canal Zone for 100 years made us pretty comfortable with people from all over the world.
 
It takes a lot of courage to be 65 years old, living in the US or Canada, and then decide to move and change your surroundings and the culture around you. If you go to Panama City, you will find a very modern city, which is very familiar. You will find the things you are used to in Seattle, Washington, for example. In Panama City, a lot of people speak English, especially the professionals. So if you are an expat, you will find the immersion easier here in Panama compared to other places that do not have the facilities that we have here.
 
Whatever you are, you take it with you. I think it is an attitude towards life and life's changes that one needs to have. If you have that, you will be successful in the US, in Panama or anywhere you go.
Bill Hamilton of Bill Hamilton – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
The expats in Panama, like our American friends, are really nice. They are laid back and they accept the country for what it is. They don’t expect everything to be like it is in the States.
 
Unfortunately, there’s a large number of people here who expect everything to be done the way it is in America. For instance, they might think, “Oh, they don't know how to build here. I want to get an American builder.” This doesn’t make sense for two reasons:
 
1. You can’t build the same was you do in the States. In Panama, the American-style of construction will not  stand up to anything. Panamanian builders use a completely different foundation. You can’t really use a wooden frame. It’s ridiculous. It will be eaten away by termites in no time, even if it is treated. And if you have a tremor, the whole thing will fall down, so it is out of the question.
 
2. You pay about five times the amount of money to build a house in Panama with a foreign builder than you will with a local person.
 
The types of expats who are here and want it to be like it is in their home country, do get a bit on your nerves sometimes.  They’re always bitching about the country. My philosophy, which is the same as it was with the British in Spain, is “If you don’t like it, then why don’t you go back to your own country?” That’s brutal, but it’s true.
 
Michael A. Martinez of Panama Real Estate Information – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Cerro Hoyo, Azuero Peninsula, Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingIn Panama, we have a few sections of expats. There are expats in Panama City and in all of the beach communities. There are also a lot of expats in the province of Chiriquí, like in Boquete and in Volcan, and I have frequented those places quite a bit.
 
Here in the western Azuero Peninsula where I live, the first wave of expats were baby boomers, between 55 and 70 years old today. Then all of a sudden, these last four years, when we had a recession, it looks like a lot of young people from the States and from Europe have cashed out their inheritance or their other funds and they come here to Panama to do business, and build families here.
 
For me, the expats in Panama now are part of a completely new community, especially in the western Azuero Peninsula. With our real estate company and with the newsletter that we are putting out, I have people who want to write articles and I have people who serve as volunteers. So I think the expats here have a good attitude. They are very positive.
 
No matter where you go, you are going to have that 10% of what I call the “crusty expats,” but that is the case anywhere you go in the world. Overall, here in the western Azuero Peninsula, we sure have a good group of expats.
 
(Azuero Peninsula, Panama, pictured.)
Jennifer Moloney Jones of The Visitor – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
expats tourism in Boquete Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe expats in Panama are a pretty rowdy bunch of people, actually!
 
My first trip to Panama was when I was 35 years old and I have friends of every age group here. My eldest friend is in her 90s and we go for lunch. The expats here are very eclectic. They are all from various different backgrounds and they come from all over the world. I have friends who are from Latin countries, the US, Canada, UK, all over Europe, and Bulgaria.
 
The expats in Panama tend to be adventurous by spirit, because they were willing to move away and live in another country, which takes a certain amount of “get up and go” to do. Some expats speak Spanish and some don’t, but everybody knows at least some Spanish just to be able to get things done.
 
There are a lot of expats in Panama City and you will also find many of them in Coronado and Boquete. There is an incredibly huge amount of social events going on in those areas where expats live that bring the expats and the locals together.
 
There are many things expats can do here. There are Tai-chi classes, an art club, a gardening club, and even a cigar club. Expats here have a lot of coffee mornings, lunches, happy hours in the evening at a bar, and have a couple of drinks between 4 PM and 7 PM. As a whole, expats in Panama are very social and there are plenty of opportunities to get to know them.
Sieg Pedde of Roca Milagro Residential Development – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
On average, expats in Panama are more adventurous and more open to taking a chance on something new. There are some expats who have adapted very well to their new environment and they tend to look at everything as an exciting new page in their life. There are other expats, however, who go to Panama and do nothing but whine about why things aren’t the way they were in Canada, the United States or wherever else they might have come from.  I can’t say that I enjoy the company of people like that very much because they are downers. But you’re likely going to encounter those people everywhere, including right across the street from wherever you live right now. That in itself (to come across whining expats) is not enough reason not to go somewhere, as you’re going to find these types of people in your own backyard, so to speak. Personally, I’ve encountered these kinds people in Panama but I have also encountered these kinds of people in my hometown in Canada. Honestly, you can’t get away from people like that. 
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Rafael Alvarado of Rafael Alvarado / Attorney / Real Estate Broker – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
In my personal opinion, the expats in Panama are happier here because if you choose to move to another place, that means you are moving away from something. Moreover, since the expats who move to Panama are here and they liked it, I think they are happier than the people who actually live here but do not know any other realities. The expats had a choice and they have a comparison. Based on their comparison, they know what is worst, they know what is better, and they know what is best. If they chose to come to Panama and stay in Panama, it means they are happy here. I actually read an article recently which cites Panama as the happiest place to live on earth.
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Lucia Haines of Panama Realtor Inc. – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
The question “what are the expats in Panama like?” is really interesting. The expats all have different reasons for coming to Panama.
 
There have been a number of studies done, including the one done maybe six or seven years ago, which spoke about why people were leaving the US and going to Mexico and Panama specifically.  The top reasons had to do with the cost of living, as a result of baby boomers who were looking to make their retirement dollars stretch. Also, there were a lot of people who were just kind of fed up with the rat race.  They worked their whole lives, and who does not want to retire to some tropical place?  And then also I think politics plays a big role, and I lump a whole bunch of things in there.
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Jose Broce of Broce-Pinilla & Asociados – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Expats in Panama are like they are in their own countries. They follow the same rules and the same way of living. Even though Panama is a Latin country, it is very like America in many ways.
 
It’s convenient for foreigners to live in Panama because the processes were made easier. Though the standards are not exactly the same, the expats can behave like they’re in their home countries because of the similarity. There’s no reason to for expats to have to radically change their way of living.
 
However, adapting to new things would be of help. People who try to force their way of living here, disregarding that they’re in Panama and thinking that they’re in countries such as the United States, Canada and England, experience difficulty. Being in Panama means embracing its culture and everything. So if you come to Panama from your country with an open mind, everything is going to be fine. Some immigrants who don’t have open minds are like what we call here “a grumpy gringo.” If they force their ways, they’ll end up being frustrated, but once they’ve realized that they’re in a different country and are able to adapt, they end up loving it here.
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Antonio Cheng of Romero Realty – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
The expats in Panama are retired and happy people. I see them every day by my office window and they are living life. I see a lot of Canadians and Americans here in Panama, although I do not have the exact numbers. The expats here in Panama are very friendly and they do try to learn the culture and blend in. They try to learn to speak Spanish, too.
Robert Adams of Retirement Wave – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
The great majority of expats in Panama are from the United States. There are English-speaking expats from Australia, Ecuador and Argentina as well. The predominant group is the Americans.  The Canadians are also very well represented here. We have quite a few British expats, too.
 
The European community is growing rapidly – Germans, French, Italians and of course, Spanish. There are different communities like the Greek community. Theirs is a shipping culture and they are well represented here and are growing.
 
There are Asians. There are people from Taiwan, South Korea and Japan. We’ve had a Chinese Community for a long time.  150 years ago, the Chinese helped built the railroad and were one of the groups that later built the canal.
 
We have lots of expats. We have two French schools here, one Canadian school, one UK-oriented school, half a dozen that follow the American curriculum and two Japanese schools.  The schools alone indicate the variety of different people from different countries we have here in Panama.  The last time I counted there were nearly 900 American primary and secondary school students in two schools in Panama City – and that is not all the schools.
 
Most of the expats in Panama are not retirees. In general, expats work predominantly in the business community. They have a huge business community here.
 
You have an awful lot of people in Panama from a lot of different places. Most of the retirees spend their time socializing with each other.
 
Most of the expats are middle class people; few are well-to-do.
 
Americans and Canadians are like a big family here in Panama. They get along extremely well. They’re very friendly people. 
 
The fundamental difference between those who do and those who don’t move to Panama is the willingness among those who do move to have a little adventure, to do something new, to try something else. There are two groups, one who are looking for something more and the other who just sit at home all day. The first group consists of those who want to try something new. They don’t think they’re old.
 
We do have some expats who are unhappy.  These are the ones who want to leave something behind. We have two groups. Those who are “coming to” something and those who are “leaving from” something. The “coming to” crowd is much larger.  After people have been here for a couple of years, you lose track of who’s who. Everybody pretty much becomes the same.
Linda Jensen – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
expats walking down the street in El Valle de Anton Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingWhat an eclectic mix the expats are in Panama! We have people from all over the world who have come to live here in Panama. Some of the Americans left the US because of the political situation and many also have come to Panama for a more affordable lifestyle.
 
Many people have only their retirement income to live on and they are not able to find work to subsidize their income, so it stands to reason that Panama is affordable country that offers a great climate and atmosphere and most of the time they are very glad to be here in Panama. I have heard of people not liking it here in Panama, but most of the people I have met have been here for years and there are lots of them, so I have to think that they like it here.
 
I met a man from Houston the other day who told me that he was downsizing. I said, “Oh wonderful!”
 
And he said, “Look over at that mountain over there to that big white thing – that building there.”
 
I said, “Yeah, is that a hotel?”
 
He said, “Nope, that’s my house.”
 
And I said, “How big is that house?”
 
He said, “Over 7,000 square feet.”
 
And I looked at him, smiled, and said, “You’re kidding. You said you were downsizing.”
 
And he said, “I am. My house in Houston is 11,000 square feet!”
 
But people like him are not the norm. Most of the people here are living on their social security income. We live in a comfortable condo, which we rent. We like renting. We are comfortable. We take little trips and we like our lifestyle here.
 
We have just normal, good neighbors; kind people, ready to offer help to anybody. They are just really good people. The rich are the rich ones, but they are still friendly to everybody. The poor are just not poor. They are moderate income people. It just doesn’t matter how much money you have here. We don’t have that big social thing that we have in the US. In a lot of places in the US, yes, how much money one has does matter. You would find that, in the US, you would not fit in well with that country club jet set people. But in Panama, people of different levels of income mix more readily. There are a lot of people here who have a lot of money but they do walk around and mix with people and they’re just an “Ordinary Joe”.
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Isha Edwards of Dekel Development / ANDROMEDA OCEAN ESTATES / BLUE PLAYA VENAO / BELLAMAR – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
 Ballerina Margot Fonteyn as Cinderella – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe expats in Panama tend to merge with the Panamanian communities. Expats in Panama do not have any different behavior than anyone else. They are just normal people enjoying Panama. Their skin is always red because of the sun, which, from a Panamanian perspective, is funny, but other than that, they are normal. In addition, the expats here in Panama are very social.
 
I think, if you are going to move to a different country, you are open to new experiences, so most of the expats here are open to new experiences. You can approach them without the fear of being looked down upon. They are very open. Recently I saw an expat on the street who was reading a book.  He just said “hi” to me, and we start talking.  
 
(Ballerina Margot Fonteyn, married to Dr. Roberto Arias, a Panamanian diplomat to London, pictured.)
MANUEL GRANADOS  of MEDICAL SERVICE PANAMA, S.A. (MS PANAMA, S.A.) – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Foreign born woman wearing Panama traditional pollera dress – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThere are some good expats in Panama and some bad ones. But there are more good people than people with bad manners. 
 
The expats here are living in a Spanish-speaking country, so they have to learn our language. Sometimes they get upset because nobody speaks English, but they went to a place where nobody speaks English.
 
There are some expats who constantly say, “In the United States, it’s different.” I always try to be polite and say, “Well, that’s in the US, but now you are living here in Panama and things are different here and they are done this way.” 
 
There are just some expats who expect for things in Panama to be the same as in the US. Because of that, they may be unhappy and for the local Panamanians, they would appear to have bad manners, but in general, I can say that 90% of all the expats living here in Panama are okay. 
 
(Pictured: foreign born woman wearing Panama traditional pollera dress.)
Louise Belisle – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Manuel is right, there are good and bad expats.  Unfortunately the bad are bad.  They get in and use this place as their own wild west, so please take the time to know the person who is offering you help, investments, or advice.  It does not mean that if you are from the same country that they are there to help or take you under your wing.
 
Be diligent as you would be at home.  I realize that you want to make friends and feel vulnerable, but please, there are many people here who take advantage of this.  Do not leave your brain at the border.  Due diligence!

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