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Jackie Lange of Panama Relocation Tours – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
From the United States, you'll spend about $15,000 to $20,000 to ship a 40 foot container to Panama.  A 20 foot container will be about $10,000.  It will be a little more from Canada. 
 
That's a lot of money to move a lot of used items.
 
Plan B is to set up a mail forwarding account with a company in Panama.  They will assign you an address in Florida.  You could ship some boxes to Florida, then they will be put on a plane to be moved to Panama.  You'll need to pick them up at the office of the mail forwarding company in Panama.  There is no home delivery.

An example of a mail forwarding company is Mail Boxes Etc, eShop, UnoExpress. There are several others.  Make sure their office is close to  you plan to move.
 
In Panama, most houses or condos come completely furnished.  And just about anything you need is readily available in Panama.  So, it is better not to ship your household items. 

I also highly recommend that you visit Panama before you decide to move to Panama.  Check out several different areas.
 
 
Kathya de Chong of Alto Boquete Condominios – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Alto Boquete Condominios, Boquete, Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingI would recommend not taking any of your furniture to Panama because shipping will not keep your furniture secure. It’s an ordeal hiring a company to get your furniture securely shipped to Panama. For example, I've had an experience with some clients who wanted to move everything from the US to Panama, and they received their furniture in not-so-good condition.
 
You can buy inexpensive and quality furniture here in Panama. If you are willing to spend on luxury furniture, you can also find that here in Panama. There are excellent furniture companies here in Panama that can offer you good prices instead of having to deal with sending and shipping.
 
(Alto Boquete Condominios, Boquete, Panama, pictured.) 
Bonnie Durrance – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
apartment in Gamboa, Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingWe got burned a couple to times moving to Panama.  After talking to lots of other expiates and locals that travel a lot, we find the best thing you can do is gets lots of references and then research the businesses recommended.  A well known business recommended the initial mover who turned out to be a thief.  We finally got a small palette of household stuff 4 months after it was supposedly shipped.  The car that was supposedly shipped didn't get here at all.  We were finally able to find the car still in the USA at a mover's storage yard.  We now have a reliable shipper from the USA and a receiving agent on the Panama side.  Also the attorney we are using is one of the best in the business and she is frustrated with Immigration because they have lost part of our package as well as some other clients' paperwork. 
 
Political "payback" is alive and well in Panama.  Our 2 autos sitting in the storage area of customs is costing $15 per car per day.  Now we have to hire transportation to the City to the American Embassy to have the same paperwork verified before the process can continue.  We have our permanent Sedulas (residency visas) but the government still requires we have all the paperwork re-verified to get the Pensionado Discounts on importing the autos.  Needless to say this process is complicated and costly.  If it hadn't been a new car, (only 1 1/2 yrs old) we would not have done it.  The company that was storing our car in the USA was great.  They didn't charge us for storage; just the cost of transporting it from NC to Miami, FL!  Wish we had known them in the 1st place.  Unfortunately, the saga continues.
 
If we had to do it over again,  we would have done a lot more research, called and talked to a lot more businesses and made sure we had written contracts that were very specific and filed with the courts here and in USA.  We will not get the money that was stolen most likely because we only have e-mails and bank transfers.  Plus attorney and court costs will cost in the range of what was stolen.  We have been told the courts here lean away from the expat.  This person was also selling real estate so you must be very vigilant.  Don't be afraid to ask for multi references, licenses, and anything else that will verify their legitimacy. We had our attorney go over the rental contract for vetting, changes and approval.  Except for the problems with the government, we are very happy here.  We are really enjoying our apartment and the local people.
 
(Apartment in Gamboa, Panama, pictured.)
Duncan McGowan of Punta Pacifica Realty – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
The seal  forthe Panama Canal Company – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThere are many shipping companies that can ship things down to Panama. The fact that we have the Panama Canal, the fact that we’re a shipping nation, it makes it extremely easy to do. You can hire a company to do the moving from US to Panama that would go to your home and pack up things, ship it down, get it through customs, and deliver to your new home in Panama very, very quickly and with really no hassles to you as an owner.  I don’t believe it’s very expensive
 
If you purchase your home I would bring down as much as I possibly could. Furniture is quite interesting in Panama because, typically speaking, you will pay more for furniture in Panama than you would in the US. So if you already got your household items and your household goods and you can get it into the country relatively easy with one of the logistics moving companies, I would bring everything down.  
 
(The seal  for the Panama Canal Company, pictured.)
Denise Patrick of Panama Roadrunner Secure Transport – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
teak tree – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingWe do not suggest that you move your furniture to Panama. We came down here with a combination of 15 suitcases and Rubbermaid bins. Moving furniture is very complicated because you have to get a container and ship everything here.
                                
We have friends from Canada who rented a container before they came down to Panama. As it turned out, the company that they hired to move their furniture went into bankruptcy. The container got moved to the port and they paid for the container to be at the port, but nobody loaded it on a ship.  After 6 months they realized that a lot of the stuff that they packed in to take with them to move down here, they probably didn’t need anyway, so it just went back and sold all or disposed of it.
 
There are a lot of complications that can arise bringing your things to Panama. We have a couple of friends who have done it successfully. I have a good contact that will expedite the process and will make it very smooth, but otherwise, it can be very problematic.
 
The other issue is that a lot of people want to bring valuable furniture down here that is vinyl coated. Most woods will not survive here because the termites will take the wood apart immediately. Anything made of particle board has a short life span, so in a lot of cases, you can buy high-end furniture in Miami or some place similar and have a container ship it down here to Panama and that works fine.
 
Prices for furniture here are stupidly expensive, so that’s not a good thing either, but it is sort of 50/50 proposition on whether you want to ship your furniture, especially if you are considering moving antiques or other valuable furniture down here because it probably won’t survive. The woods here are largely teak or cedar, which are termite resistant. If you are going to bring wood to Panama, you have to put about a quarter inch laminated coating over the top, so that the termites do not believe it is wood underneath the plastic.
 
Most of the houses here in Panama are sold furnished and so there really isn’t any need to bring furniture down. When we came, we brought sheets because we couldn’t find any really good quality sheets and big fluffy towels, and all the things that we are used to at home, but couldn’t get here. We brought my sewing machine and my husband, Neil, is a locksmith, so we have a key cutting machine, a couple of pieces of art, a couple of pans, and some tools.
 
On the same note, we have friends who have shipped out of Miami and a lot of their stuff like their furniture and their bedroom set disappeared from the container. We had friends who shipped back and had things disappear as well. It is just a lot simpler when you don’t have to worry about all that stuff when you come to Panama. You have enough to deal with without having to worry about containers. 
 
(1861 rendering of a tall teak tree, pictured.)
John Wauson – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
The best answer to this question is zero, because the best thing to do is move nothing.  Pack personal items, photos, mementos, enough to fill a suitcase and call it a day.  It can be very expensive to move your things here and if they get held up for any reason, you will be paying storage somewhere.  You can buy clothes, beds, sofas, and everything else you need in Panama.  if you are moving someplace like Bocas del Toro, it will be best to buy your new stuff in David or Panama City.
Mark Hurt – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Unless you have something that you just can't live without, ship nothing to Panama. I have shipped three 40 foot boxes down here and my third was just this week.  Each time I was told one price and then never told about the other hidden cost.  $4,800 to ship in one box, now they want another $2,260.  Then the tax is another $6,000 plus.  It never ends.
Lourdes Townshend of Multimodal  & Logistic Transports Magazine – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Unless you have the specific details regarding the items you're moving, it is not possible to guess the cost.  However, it is certainly wise to bring just the few things that you would need in your first month.  Everything else, I would keep in storage in your local town until you are completely certain your move is permanent.
 
Additionally, it is also recommended that you visit the country you want to move to several times before making your final decision.  Sometimes it "looks" beautiful on your first visit, but actually may not be what you are looking for, on account of several reasons.  And if you do like the place, rent for a year, before you buy a home.  That way, you will know your environment well.
 
In reality, moving a car and a household, especially with today´s prices in fuel, could be very hectic and expensive.
 
It´s also available to compare different companies that offer the service, give them the list of items you want to ship, unpacking or packing included, and have them give you prices and alternatives.
Elizabeth Vance of The Gringo Guide To Panama: What To Know Before You Go – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
How much it costs to move your furniture and aother stuff to Panama really depends on what you bring and how much it all weighs.
 
When we moved to Panama, we thought it would be simpler to bring some stuff and buy other stuff. So, if you bring 1/4 of your things, you might pay $15,000.  However, if you bring a huge house's worth of stuff, then you can expect to pay up to $75,000.
 
Be smart and get at least three quotes from reputable moving companies. The quotes are free, after all.  Read the fine print and then compare the quotes to be sure they are apples to applies.

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