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Daryl Ries of Keller Williams Panama, associate – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Howard and Daryl Ries, Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingI have enjoyed living in Panama half a year and New York the other half of the year.  I never compare the two places because I never compare any two places for the reason that all places have their pros and cons no matter where they are or what they’re about.
 
Panama is what I would call one of the best places in the world to live. Why? I chose it carefully. Being an American I wanted to go somewhere and invest and live with confidence where it was safe economically, safe in all respects for me, my family, and my property and our investments. I am very happy that I made that choice, especially in comparison to many other choices that I might have made.
 
Panama offers not only spectacular economic stability due to the Panama Canal and its growth, which encourages international business and attracts an international population that is increasing all the time because of its location and its tremendous economic advantages. Panama is a safe place to invest, a safe place to live and a small country with a small population, still with half the country to be developed, or not,which is a great benefit if you love nature, which I do.
 
One of the reasons I came to Panama that it has a wonderful, big city which is cosmopolitan and international and growing, with all the modern conveniences, and yet you have spectacular nature—mountains, beaches, islands.  Panama City is only 5 hours direct from New York City, two and a half hours direct from Miami, and now with the growth of Copa Airlines, it is just hours from almost any place. Panama has increased infrastructure that cannot be matched anywhere else in that part of the world.
 
All these add up to the fact that on many levels, whether personally, business-wise, investment-wise, family-wise, whatever your reasons for seeking a place to be, that Panama is one of, if not the best place in the world to live, retire, and invest. As a general answer to the question, “Yes, Panama.”  
 
(Howard and Daryl Ries, Panama, pictured.)
Mike Vuytowecz of Inside Panama Real Estate – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Mike Voytuwecz and wife, Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingLiving in Panama for my wife and me was an adjustment. I wanted to do it and she was very skeptical. There were lots of adjustments that we had to make, such as adjusting to the Panamanian thought process, the culture, etc. For me, being a type A person, I always thought I would slow down and be a little bit more tolerant. Fortunately, I have done that enough but it is still a work in progress and I think there is room for improvement, such as learning how to do basic things that we do without thinking about them too much like getting a driver’s license or getting health insurance. Just dealing with day to day life that way is a little bit different from the way we do it, which could be summed up as “the way they do it is much slower than the way we do it.”
 
When I moved from Boston to Lake Tahoe, I was in my twenties.  When you’re young, you adapt much quicker and easier. Of course most of the people who I deal with who are moving to Panama are a bit older. They are retired or soon to retire. However, that is changing. The demographic of expats when I first got to Panama was much older people but now the expats who come here are getting younger. We are now seeing families with children moving to Panama, which is more indicative of the economic situation. Those are the people who come here for economics versus politics. They can afford to live in the United States but they cannot afford to raise their children with the same quality of life that they grew up on. I find that those people are coming into Panama now and it’s certainly a lot easier for them because the adjustment is much easier for younger people. The older people, of course, are more set in their ways. Depending on how motivated they are; if they’re moving to Panama because they can’t afford to stay in the United States, they tend to be more adaptable because they don’t have really that much choice.
 
(Michael Vuytowecz and wife, Panama, pictured.)
Denise Patrick of Panama Roadrunner Secure Transport – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Contadora Island, Pearl Islands, Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingLiving in Panama has been an adventure for us.  After four years of living in Coronado we are still experiencing incredible life events.  For me, holding a baby monkey on three separate occasions was one adventure I'll never forget.  I also got to feed a toucan pieces of banana!  One day our gardener came to us with a boa constrictor on a machete.  He had found it in the leaves when he was raking.
 
Driving in Panama city is also an adventure and the traffic gets very heavy during the holidays.  Many Panamanians leave the city during the long weekends and holidays and traffic leaving the city becomes a parking lot.  
 
The adventure continues as we try new experiences, shopping, restaurants and visit new places.   Contadora was one of the highlights of our time here and we loved the snorkeling there (pictured above).  Portobelo has a great sense of history and snorkeling as well.
 
The expats in Coronado are friendly and everyone goes out of their way to make newcomers feel welcome.  Coronado has the feel of a small town with lots of gatherings during the week for happy hours.
 
We love the weather  - it never really changes.  Its always shorts weather.  Flip flops are a way of life here!
 
We are looking forward to the next years of our adventure as we take in more of the attractions that Panama has to offer!
Michael A. Martinez of B & B Real Estate Nicaragua / Panama Real Estate Information – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
live in Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingI like living in Panama because of the freedom. Here, you have freedom from everything. The people here in Panama have such a relaxed culture and lifestyle. They put family first and everybody is so friendly. Family and getting together is of number one importance to Panamanians. They always aim to be united and for the communities to stay close together.
 
I do not know of any old age care facilities here because they do not do that to their elderly. They respect the elderly and everybody lives in a community.  One of the kids will wind up taking care of the parents, so nobody gets left behind. When you start living in a community like that, you just smile every day.
 
A lot of things are important for us in the rat race in the US but here in Panama, it is not important to them. Family and community are more important. Living in Panama, for me, is a lot less stressful. It is a lot more lovely and healthy.
Diana Chacon of SIUMA REALTY – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Cinta Costera, Panama City, Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingLiving in Panama is pretty calm, great, and its also pretty hot, but you’ll get used to the heat. After a while, your skin and your hair will get used to the heat and it will not bother you any more.
 
There are lots of things to do in Panama City. You can get a lot of entertainment.
 
Life depends on what you are going to do here in Panama City. I am working but others come here to just relax. The public transportation is still not the best but the government is working hard on it. My husband has been living here for a while and he told me that transportation has already improved a lot but still, I find it hard to find public transportation here, so I definitely need a car. If you want to walk, you can do that at around 5 PM onwards because during the day, you are going to die of the heat.
 
Overall, it is nice to live in Panama City. It is a cool place. It is safe, food is so cheap, and even the cost of entertainment and clothes are cheap, so it is really good.
Esteban Guerra of EPA Español en Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
What's it like to live in Panama  – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingI personally like the weather in Panama because it is warm and that makes you feel comfortable. It rains a lot sometimes, but the buildings here in Panama City were built for this kind of weather condition.
 
Panama is a place with high biodiversity, so you can see a lot of exotic animals and plants here. It is beautiful!
Neil Stein of Panama Paraiso – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account

El Valle biker Neil Stein on the road – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingMoving to Panama was easy for me because I have left California in 1990 and I went around the world for two and a half years. Experiencing different cultures is my cup of tea. I knew a little French at that time, too. I went to Spain for eight months where I picked up a little bit of Spanish.
 
Then, I decided to move to Panama, about three and a half years ago. I came here for two months and I went all around the country for those two months to check it out and see in what area I want to live. This was of course, after doing a lot of research. I had also already been to Costa Rica ten years prior and I loved Costa Rica so I figured, if Panama is not for me, well I love Costa Rica and I can go back there. Costa Rica is much more expensive now because there have been so many expats that have moved in and raised the cost of living.
 
In going around Panama, I loved the whole country. I thought it was terrific. Boquete is a major expat area. I loved it but being a surfer, so I found Boquete to be just a little bit too far from the ocean. It is also a little too far from Panama City. So I decided to live in El Valle de Anton and I have been here for two and a half years now.
 
El Valle is a small area, in a crater of a volcano. It is only 3.5 miles by 5 miles in the crater. I have to get out a lot so I will not be bored to death. I go down to the beach and surf or I go to Panama City. I cycle a lot and I study my Spanish so I find it all very interesting and I am very content living here.

Terry Bradford of Origen Real Estate Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Expats in Panama at a table at a restauranat – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingWe have a saying in Panama that goes, “TIP – This is Panama.” There are times when it takes twice as long to do something in Panama because the wheels move very slowly here. When things like getting your driver’s license and other such things that you have to go through take longer and more challenging, we just say TIP – This is Panama!

 
Yes, there are potholes in certain areas here and there are issues that have to be fixed but we love Panama. Life here is exciting and it is like living in an eclectic world down here.

Frank Stegmeier of Rio Encantado – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
I noticed that Panama ranked high on the list of the  'happiness' scale.
 
Well, as an astute Panamanian told me "That's because Panamanians don't give a s***”, which is pretty much the way it is and this applies to the attitude towards expats living in the Boquete area. Oh yeah, there are the complaints about the increase in real estate and other price increases caused by the foreigners, but by and large, when water or power goes off, there is nay a complaint, mainly because the locals expect little.
 
I live in a small village out of the Boquete area where the power goes out weekly, and the water also.  If I did not report it, the locals would not.  It is simply accepted.  No electricity, no water, holes in the road etc.
 
So who is happier?  Me, who frets and demands that things work, or the locals who simply don't give a s***?
David Whittington of Tucan Golf Club and Resort – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
What its like to live in Panama depends on Cinta Costera Patilla Panama City Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International Livingwhat you like.  Many people think that living in Boquete, which is more of a rural area, is very pleasant.  On the other hand, living in Panama City is a little like living in Manhattan, with higher density of people and cars.
 
Wherever you go in Panama, the people all over Panama are quite friendly.
 
From a North American perspective, if you move to Panama, you have to get used to how laid back the people are.  People just move slower down here.  North Americans have to realize that for many of them, the reason they move to Panama is to retire and relax and to get away from the hubbub of North America and its fast pace, which is what happens when Boquete Panama Riio Caldera – Best Places In The World To Retire – International Livingthey come to Panama.  When many of them get down here, though, it’s too slow for them for a while, until they get used to it.
 
As an example, my son ordered new curtains for his home, and on three different days, the installers never showed up for their appointment.  So, for North Americans, that gets a little frustrating.
 
One of the things I like most about it here in Panama is the weather.
 
If you chose to live in an area of Panama City, as a percentage of the population, you would be one of the few North American expats, so you would become more integrated with the Panamanian culture.  However, if you moved to one of the areas where there are, on a percentage basis, more North American expats, you could, if you chose to, live much more like you did in North America, among North Boquete Panama bridge in the jungle – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingAmericans and not feel so much like you live in a foreign country.
 
If you speak Spanish like some friends of mine, you can buy a farm out in the middle of nowhere and get along quite well.
 
There are a lot of ways to approach how you will live in Panama, from the city, to the country, to even more in the country, where you basically have to know Spanish.  In places like Boquete and to a lesser extent in Coronado, there are so many expats who speak English that most of the people who work in the stores and the restaurants know enough English to be able to communicate with you if you don’t speak any Spanish.  Here in Tucan (just outside of Panama City proper), there are lots of expats, some from North America and also from Venezuela.  Recently, because of the duty free trade zone in Colon, we’re seeing more Koreans move here.
 
Panama City is becoming a super-cosmopolitan city now, where there are people living there from all over the world. 
RICH Novak of RE/MAX Beaches & City! INC. – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
So what's it like to live in Panama?  My wife Janet & I are citizens of the United States but we have lived in Panama since February of 2007.  We now live in Coronado Beach Panama.  I am originally from Chicago so I know what real cold is like - but here in Panama it is absolutely NEVER brutally cold.  Today is February 13 & I am wearing a short sleeve shirt & flip-flops on my feet.  I recommend that you come to Panama for a visit & check things out.
Lourdes Townshend of Multimodal  & Logistic Transports Magazine – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
The question of what its like to live in Panama may have a large commentary that we may summarize briefly: Every country is unique.  Panamá is not the exception, and moving to a new environment requires open mind, and a good reason to move.
 
If what you are looking for is a quality life for less cost, probably Panama is one of the best countries to move to.  Panama has no major natural disasters; it uses the US dollar as its currency; it has very well-trained professionals and charming people, (in general); a great combination between historical / cultural and modern cities and towns; maids / gardeners / nanas help to help you; excellent vegetables, fruits and beef direct from farmers, as well as modern supermarkets and malls in every major town; the 8th Wonder of the World (the Panama Canal); the free zone in Colon; ports and airports with connecting flights all over the world; advanced technology; headquarters based here for many multinational corporations; annoyed whales, tortoises, shrimp, Harpy Eagles, snakes, butterflies, birds and golden frogs; monkey sanctuaries; rivers, mountains, beaches, outdoor adventures; and local Indian districts with indigenous people.
 
In other words, even though Panama is a very small country, it has a great history. Panama is not perfect, as I don´t think any country is perfect.  We have our limitations and frustrations as well, but we are working towards a better future and education for our new generations.
 
The question for you is: If I move, do I accept the customs and people of Panama the way they are and adjust my way of thinking, learn and share their language and daily life, or  will I be frustrated the rest of my life because these things are different than what I am accustomed to?  Visit Panama several times, and rent before you buy a home.
 
Judith Tovar of Easy Travel Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
In general living in Panama is "wonderful".  We have the same temperature all year so you don`t have to worry about changing your clothes for the different seasons.
 
Here is is either rainy season...or summer.
 
If you like outdoors this is paradise for you as we can do sports all year round.
 
In Panama you have both the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans..so you can do fishing, snorkeling, diving, surfing...etc.
 
We have mountains also so you can go hiking or walking...many National Parks to go walking or hiking.
 
We have 7 different Indian tribes so there is a LOT of culture, and history in Panama for those of you who like history.   There are some wonderful city tours and some wonderful tours to go visit the different Indian tribes.
 
When it rains.. it does "not" usually rain the whole day..so you just have to organize your day to do your errands when it is stops raining or before it stops raining.
 
We do not stop from doing anything here in Panama because of the rain.
 
In general I have to say that you have some amazing experiences in Panama...we have a LOT to do so that you don`t get bored!
Bill Hamilton of Bill Hamilton – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
For those who have never been in Central America then it will take some getting used to. The climate for one thing which is at a pretty constant level all year. The climate in the mountain regions is a lot cooler in general. In the dry season you will find a nice breeze during the mornings and evenings, However in the wet season it is obviously much more humid and very little breeze.
 
The Panamanians are very friendly and helpful in general but lacking as yet in the customer service sectors. Stores are plentiful and there are good markets in most areas where fresh vegetables and fruits are available.
 
Many people retire here solely because the cost of housing and the cost of living is cheaper. It is best to carefully consider your choice of the area in which you choose to live not only for the activities that are available but also for the type of people who will be your neighbors. There are many ex pat communities if that is what you would like or country areas close to a local village where you will make contacts with local Panamanians.
 
You should try to learn Spanish as this will enable you to communicate and understand the culture more which makes living here so much more interesting. Ther are not a lot of Panamanians who speak English.
 
The other important factor is to choose a good lawyer to handle any paperwork that you may require. There are some very good and reasonably priced lawyers her but also some very expensive ones who are often less efficient too. We ere lucky and found an excellent lawyer who is very efficient and speaks really good English too. If you are thinking of buying a house or land here then please ensure that your lawyer checks out that it has full title. Often real estate agents will say "title in process" which can take years and could be reclaimed before it is finally registered!
 
Before you buy a house always go a few times to the place at the weekends. If there are neighbors then you will often find music playing loudly or families of Panamanians getting together which can be quite noisy.
 
Consider the close proximity of a hospital as a long distance away can be critical.
 
For nature lovers it would be a paradise as the sightings of birds and animals is unlimited in the interior and the beaches offer snorkeling, fishing and you will often sight whales or dolphins.
 
You may not be able to find the same imported products outside of the city so consider going say once a month to stock up. A 4x4 is not essential in Panama as the roads are generally very good but out of preference for me it is preferable to have one as the clearance in the wet season can be a great help!  New vehicles here are very reasonably priced compared to Europe.
 
In conclusion, Panama has so much to offer if you are prepared to adapt and accept the ways of life and the culture without trying to impose your country's ways to Panamanians or expect them to speak your language. Respect Panamanians and they will respect you. 
 
 

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