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Mike Vuytowecz of Inside Panama Real Estate – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Expats finding new friends and romance, Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingWho your neighbors would be in Panama varies depending on where you live. Most North Americans or foreigners in general, tend to gravitate towards expat areas because they are not ready to make the adjustments in one big step.  They want to be around people who are like-minded and similar to them, who speak the same language, and so forth. So if you go to expat communities of course, you would be living around expats and foreigners.
 
If you get outside of those areas then you would be of course living with the local Panamanians. What they would be like would depend on where you are located but for the most part they are very simple and very hardworking and your neighbors would be significantly different than us because there is a significant difference in the education, in values and the way they do things.
 
For instance, maybe they don’t value money as much as we do. They are very happy and they are very simple. They seem to be very, very happy considering the amount of money that they make. Their value system is just different than ours. They are not as driven or ambitious to make lots of money, though it is not to say that you could say that about every single Panamanian.
 
Living amongst Panamanians would require you to certainly make some adjustments. They would have chickens, cows, and roosters and maybe they don’t speak the same language, so all these are things that you definitely need to get used to. I find it that the number one thing that they value is family. Panamanians have tight knit family groups. They do every single thing together. When they go to the grocery store, they are with the whole family. When they go to any outing of any kind, they typically have the whole family in tow.
 
(Expats finding new friends and romance, Panama, pictured.)
Elcira Maimone of Cubitá Group – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Elcira Maimone with friends, Chitre, Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingIn general Panamanians are happy people. Panamanians are very kind and most of the time you will find them smiling. When you bump into a Panamanian on the streets, it’s common for them to say “hello” to you even if they don’t know you and you don’t know them.
 
I meet all of my neighbors and I try my best to make friends with them. They call me or write to me. I have friends who are Americans who stay here for quite a bit. Before they leave, I always ask them about their experience here in Panama – in Panama City and here in the Azuero Peninsula, where I live, in Chitré. All of them have very nice experiences here. They really enjoy Panama. There is a place here in the Chiriquí province called Boquete, which is a retirement hotspot for Americans. That tells you how they love the place and Panama in general.  
 
(Elcira Maimone with friends, Chitre, Panama, pictured.)
Captain Carl Davis of Jungle Land Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
monkeying around in the Panama Canal – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingIf you are like me and live deep within the Panama Canal, you might find that your neighbors regularly can be found monkeying around - literally
Just kidding! 

Panamanians are incredibly friendly and warm - eager to learn about other countries. Just be warned that if you are Caucasian, to Panamanians you are just "gringo/gringa". It's a term of endearment, so get used to it! 
 
(Wild monkeys that jump from the trees' canopy onto Captain Carl's flat bottom boat to greet visitors, pictured.)
 
(Editor's note: Captain Carl has been heard mumbling under his breath before arriving at a certain patch of jungle on an island in the lake," I wonder if my neighbors are back from the mall?" ) 
Michael A. Martinez of B & B Real Estate Nicaragua / Panama Real Estate Information – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Stefanie de Roux Martin, Miss Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingPanama City is probably becoming one of the best international cities. It does not matter if you are in Panama City in a high rise condo, your neighbors could be Venezuelan, or they could be Israelis, Dutch, German, Mexicans or North Americans, like Canadians, or they could be Latin Americans or Europeans. Panama City is an international city and every building has a mix of every ethnicity of the world.
 
Over here in Western Azuero, where I live, the person living behind our house is Italian, and on  the other side lives a Venezuelan. They are all highly educated and very smart people. The guy living in the house to the left of my house is a Panamanian-American, and to my right are some Panamanian farmers who own many farms around here. There are also Canadians, Swiss, and Germans here in Western Azuero. There is a little bit of every nationality here. We intermix and  we have great friends within the Panamanian community, embracing everyone: the Americans, Canadians, Germans, Austrian, Italian, etc.
 
The neighborhood is a mixed bunch and that is what I like about the Azuero Peninsula. This is the new melting pot for people to come and live in a nice place. I am not saying that you have to be rich to live here. It is very affordable. I have a $100 a month rent fixer upper on the beach built by an American.
 
Your neighbors here come in all shapes and sizes and most of them are pretty friendly.
 
(Miss Panama,  Stefanie de Roux Martin, pictured.)
Bill Hamilton of Bill Hamilton – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Pounding rice, Los Santos, Panama hat – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingI saw on YouTube some idiot, an American with long hair, wearing a hat, a pair of cut-offs, and sitting on a rock. He said, “I want everyone to know. Don’t go to Panama. You’ll never be accepted by the Panamanians. Even if you marry a Panamanian, they will never accept you.” To put it bluntly, this is BS. That makes me so angry. We have Panamanian friends here and they will do anything for us. They even bring us plates of food for Christmas; traditional dishes. They’ll come and look after our house for us. They’ll help us with anything, without question.
 
For instance, when we moved in here to Calobre, in one of the more rural areas of Panama, two weeks later, a lady walked about half a kilometer down the road to welcome us. She was the nearest next door neighbor. She walked all the way down here, just knocked on our door, introduced herself to us, chatted with us and welcomed us into the neighborhood.
 
About five weeks ago, a truck pulled outside. A guy came up and introduced himself, “My name is Martin. I’m your neighbor. I have three fincas (ranches) out there with cattle."
 
He had his friend with him, who is the local cheese maker, who presented us with two packs of cheese to welcome us and said, “Anything you need, here’s my phone number.”
 
Consequently, it came in useful because my wife Mieke had an accident and I rang him up, “Martin, where’s the best place to go?”
 
“Go to Agua Dulce hospital.” He sent me the phone number, gave me the directions, went there, and came by the next day to see how Mieke was. He came and picked me up the other day and took me on a tour of his land and showed me everything.  He’s the guy I’m buying the horse from for US $200 as well. Now he’s inviting me to go and participate with him and his farmhands roping up the cattle and branding them.       
 
The neighbors in Panama City are completely different from the neighbors in Calobre.  Panama City is not quite so easy to meet local people and get to know them as friends.  They’re a bit more offhand than they are in the local villages. But in the local villages, the Panamanians tend to welcome you.
 
They look at you at first, “Who’s this?”
 
At the local store, they all know me by name.  When I go in there they say, “Buenos Dias, Señor Hamilton, como estas?”
 
They even give me credit now because I have bought so much stuff from them, so if I haven’t got enough money on me, they say, “Oh, pay us when we deliver it.”
 
They are ever so helpful and everyone says “Good morning” and “Good afternoon.”
 
This type of thing is the very reason why we decided to live in a village.  It’s not everyone’s style. It’s quiet. It’s rustic. But we like it. Our neighbors are 100% Panamanians. We are the only foreigners that I know of here.
 
You do need at least basic Spanish to live in a village like Calobre. No one speaks any English whatsoever in Calobre.
 
In contrast, when I lived in Panama City, I had an American neighbor on one side who hardly ever talked and a German neighbor on the other side who hardly ever talked.  We had a hotel at ground level near the center of Ancon Hill, which is a forest reserve and from the highest hill,  you can see all over Panama.
 
The Panamanians are not unfriendly. We were at Price Smart one Sunday doing our shopping and Mieke was looking for a box.  A Panamanian guy went over and picked up a nice box. “Here you are, Señora. I picked the box up for you.” He was a customer also. The Panamanians are very nice people.
 
(Pounding rice in interior of Panama, pictured.)
Bill Hamilton of Bill Hamilton – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
The neighbors in Panama are accepting towards outsiders. They are very easy going and open.
 
My friend Alan is Canadian and was the Solicitor General in Ottawa. He came here, cashed in on his pension before he was 50. He lives in the middle of nowhere in a trailer. He bought 10 hectares of land (close to 25 acres). He has cows and horses. He just got water after 5 or 7 months and he just got electricity, but he’s as happy as a sandboy. (This is a typical English expression referring to a happy child who is playing in the sand.) He had a pool and a nice house in Canada. I asked him, “Don’t you miss your life in Canada?” “Oh, I wish I had done these years ago.” All the locals have helped him and bent over backwards for him. 
 
How your neighbors will be in Panama all depends on the attitude you’ve got. You have got to be very open and not make fun of the way they do things because the Panamanians are very ingenious on inventing things. For example, yesterday, it was starting to rain. The guys working on our house couldn’t get the water to flow through the kitchen because there was a blockage in the pipe. I suggested that they let it flow from another tube. What they did is dig out that tube, put the other one in and instead of digging a trench all the way around the house. One of them said, “We could go over the roof.” In the pouring rain, they went and bought the tubes. They put all the tubes up, put a tee in and did all the pipes in the pouring rain and it all works and you can’t see the pipes. They’ve hidden them very well on the side of the drain pipes and across. 
 
The local Panamanians improvise anything to make things work.  I have guys who put in new fence post for me, and put new wire up in the garden. I came in and I put this passion fruit in and I said, “When you got some sticks over, I would like to make something to put my passion fruit to climb up.” They came over, put it all up for me themselves, and did the whole thing, for nothing. Oh, and there were two pipes broken that the cows trod on when they got into my land. They fixed those for me for nothing, too. Just for a couple of beers. That’s what good people they are.   
Lourdes Townshend of Multimodal  & Logistic Transports Magazine – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Panamá Residents
 
The first thing a person should do when seeking relocation is to research the neighborhood, including, if they have children, the quality of the schools.   Safety and the beauty of the environment are main concerns.
 
Panamá offers a variety of residential areas, and, interestingly, a variety of people.  Panamá​ is many times referred to as "Crisol de Razas", which in English translates roughly to crucible (mixture) of races.  Panamanians are  warm and happy people, and the multi-cultural and cosmopolitan life is one of the many factors that makes Panamá very attractive to foreigners.
 
Even though residents are predominantly Panamanians, there are also thousands of foreigners, either as businesspeople,  permanent residents, or retirees.  This small but beautiful country is more and more attractive to visitors all the time.
 
The vast species of fauna and flora here makes Panamá one of a kind.  Beaches, mountains, rivers and all kinds of green vegetation (especially in the rainy season, from May to November) are some of the beautiful things that a visitor, and locals, enjoy all the time.
 
Another thing is the beautiful weather, all year round, and the absence of major natural disasters.  Panamá has no snow, no tornados, and no earthquakes.  It does, however, have lots of flowers and native crafts and cultures, like those in San Blas, Darién or Veraguas.
 
If you live in the city, of course your neighbors would be more cosmopolitan, and include business people and many foreigners, specially from the United States, Canada, Venezuela, Colombia, and some from Europe.  But everyone living here has one common goal: to be happy, and enjoy every minute of what Panamá has to offer.  In this June of 2014, the whole country enjoys together, like a big family, the 2014 Worldwide Cup, taking place in Brazil.  Whenever you go, you just hear everywhere "GOOOOOOAL! and people screaming and making noise for their team.  The restaurants with big screens, stores and malls are full of people watching the games.
 
But if you went to the "interior" (the "countryside", away from the city) you will see more relaxed and simple people, with the sole purpose of enjoying peace of mind.  Beautiful towns and villages offer you all kinds of fresh fruits and vegetables, and people who greet you everywhere, trying to accommodate you, even if you do not speak Spanish.
 
Some major expat communities away from the city are Boquete, Coronado, Pedasí, and Altos de María.  Many expats also live inside the city of Panamá.  Expats are all over the country of Panamá, each one in their very own "paradise", and thanking their guest country for giving them the opportunity for such relaxation at a very suitable budget.
Joseph Ennis of Spanish Panama (Spanish language school) – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
El Cangrejo

We consider the best neighborhood in Panama to be the El Cangrejo area of Panama City.
 
If you live here you will live in the best of many worlds, as your neighbors will be completely international.
 
If you feel like speaking English only you'll meet a number of people from the English-speaking world, passing through Panama, or investing and working on all kinds of projects.  If you want to be with Europeans, there are lots frequenting the many bars, coffee shops, and restaurants that have sprung up here in the last 5 years. There is also a large Venezuelan and Colombian community. In fact, your neighbors in El Cangrejo, no matter where you live, will be from all over the Spanish-speaking world looking for a better life in Panama.
 
Diverse, busy, and a lot of fun are the way to describe the people around here. For example, if you lived in a building where our own school, SpanishPanama is located, in a building of only 6 floors, you would have an Indian family with business in the Free Zone of Colon (second biggest in the world next to Hong Kong), a very friendly Chinese couple, a German man starting a family with his beautiful Colombian wife and their two babies, a major Panamanian real estate company, a restaurant-bar run as a lawyer's hobby, an American couple with a service of sending nannies to work in the U.S., businessmen who have to leave their families in Spain as the economy there is so bad, a CEO from Colgate, an Argentinean family, another Chinese family, and a few American retirees. El Cangrejo in Panama City. Check out the vibe here! It's great!
 
Ken E. Harper of Bella Vista Del Mundo – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Your neighbors in Panama could very well be American, Canadian, European or Panamanian by birth (which includes different heritages, including the native Indians). Panama has a very diverse culture. In all likelihood as a result of the Canal and being part of the shipping lanes Panama has all different heritages from across the world. This is one aspect of Panama that makes it so interesting, and as a result of this type of diversity you find less prejudice towards the different races than one would find in the US and other countries of the world.
Wee-Yiong Fung of Prestige Panama Realty – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Your neighbors in Panama most probably will be Panamanians.
 
What to expect if you live in a house? Some noise once in a while because birthdays parties and other celebrations will be celebrated inside and outside the house.
 
If you live in a building, you might not even know or meet your neighbors. There are rules in most of the buildings in Panama where order is always the main priority.
 
So it depends how much you want to get involved with the Panamanian people; it's up to you!
 
Judith Tovar of Easy Travel Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Your neighbors in Panama...depending where you live..could be Panamanians, Americans, Canadians, expats, Venezuelan, Colombian, Spanish.  That is one of the beauties of living in Panama...you can get to meet people from all over the world...all colors and all races.   We are "not" prejudiced in Panama so if you live in a building you can have people from different parts of the world, different ages, etc.
 
Since the construction of the Panama Canal people from Europe, West Indies, etc. were brought here to work..and because of this Panama has a mixture of all races..which makes it very interesting.
 

 

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