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David Btesh of Pacific Realty / Pacific Developers – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Expat Christophe Frochaux  with his bike, Panama City, Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe expats in Panama have a beautiful community in Coronado. They have a restaurant that is run by an expat, and they have their homes. Coronado is an hour’s drive from Panama City. They have all the shopping centers and malls, and they have the beach. There are lots of couples - retirees who have their cars, and can drive to the city in one hour. They can also drive to Boquete in 4 hours. 
 
There’s a lot of sightseeing on the way- the copper mines, farming, and golf courses. Also, the expats live very quietly. They go to dinner in front of the three brand new malls. They have a place where you can buy medicines, and supermarkets with cheese, beer, and everything they need. They also have a small hospital inside Coronado that is open 24 hours. 
 
If you go to Boquete and David, both in Chiriquí Province, there’s a big expat community there. I haven’t been there in a while, but I remember it as more of a farming place where people go to sleep at 6:30 - 7 o’clock, and they’re up at about 5 or 6 in the morning. They’re up in the mountains, it’s 50-60 degrees, and the sun is out all the time. They have a lot fresh of vegetables and fruits, and there’s farming of potatoes and other vegetables. They also have a lot of cows, and the expats are very happy over there. 
 
The government is investing around US $500 million to make the streets, the water, the lights, and refurbishing all the old buildings in Colon, which is located on the Atlantic side of Panama. . 
 
I’m sure there are expats in Panama City, but they’re spread out. They’re in the places where the prices are right for their retirement salaries. Where I am, in Pacifica, Paitilla and Bella Vista, there are lots of 1 and 2-bedroom new buildings that are 100 meters, which is equal to a thousand square feet. There are lots of expats on the Cinta Costera, which is in front of the ocean. 
 
If the expats are on the Cinta Costera, they are in the middle of the city. I see them in the restaurants and in bars. The expats are in at least 25 of those buildings that are 30-40 floors. There may be 2-4 apartments per floor.
 
In Pacific Point, where the apartments are $800,000-$900,000, there are about 2% or 3% expats. In Grand Tower, where there are about 300 apartments worth about $350,000 -$850,000, there are 25-30 expats. The expats either worked in Panama, or were military in the United States and moved back to Panama, or they have a friend and came to live here.
 
I know one expat named William who has a hearing aid business. He’s a great guy- he loves to live here and brings his kids down. The children are between 30 and 35, and they come visit grandpa and have a good time. He’s been here, in one of my buildings, for about 5 years. In fact, he’s bought a couple of more units, rents them, and makes a good living.  
 
(Expat Christophe Frochaux  with his bike, Panama City, Panama, pictured.)
Daryl Ries of Keller Williams Panama, associate – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
4th of July celebration at The  American Society of Panama event, Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThere are many social activities that are specifically for the broad expat community. For example, I belong to the American Society, known as AmSoc, which dates back to the time of the American military base in Panama.
 
Each expat nationality will tend to have their own social events around their national holidays and lifestyle, including the Canadians, French, British, etc., and if they have an embassy in Panama, then there will be related social events. These organizations are very proactive in charity work, with the purpose of raising money to donate to schools, hospitals, and orphanages and much more in their host country of Panama.
 
The American Society, through their charitable efforts, has supported education and health in Panama. And indeed socially, they have splendid activities. I have enjoyed many. The American Society meets in Panama City every week at a variety of venues, and do big holiday events at the Hilton and other hotels. It’s very lively and good to meet other Americans, some who have been here a long time and others newly arrived, giving a varied perspective of Panama. 
 
Expat activities on the coast tend to be all inclusive, bringing all residents together in many events through social and charitable events as varied as clean up campaigns on the beach, cake sales to raise money for orphanages, care for abandoned pets, and the list goes on. There is a group called Casa in Coronado that reaches out to many of the expats on the coast to coordinate these activities primarily, not only for social reasons, but also for charitable reasons and to address concerns of the community at large.
 
The expat community is very proactive in doing good for their host country. They also create a very social atmosphere for new arrivals and longtime residents with memberships offered for a small contribution. For AmSoc, the contribution is $40 a year, and for Coronado's Casa, it’s $5.  As a member, you are part of these really wonderful groups, not only contributing to Panama but also helping to plant you well in the firmament.
 
As an events coordinator for Opera Panama, I have many of the expat organizations to thank for their support in promoting, and contributing to performances and fundraisers.  The arts in Panama have benefited greatly from the interest and support of expats.  
 
To add other examples of expat activity: Phenomenal Women, started by a Canadian, would meet several times a year, and talk about what we, as expats, are doing in Panama.  This created a tremendous networking for women.  On an international level, Internations, has regular events in Panama City and is a big “go to” for all expats, attracting a lot of men and women working in Panama City.  The expat community in Panama is definitely something to tag on to and get involved with.
 
Finally I have to mention at this time, that the international group, Democrats Abroad as well as its Republican counterpart, represent American politics.  It’s not just about voting when you’re in another country. It’s also about keeping up to date with the agendas of your party and contributing to their efforts in their elections from where you are in Panama. 
 
Being an expat can get you quite involved with the country you hail from, without having to be there.
 
(4th of July celebration at The  American Society of Panama event, Panama, pictured.)
Captain Carl Davis of Jungle Land Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
The Screw Panama City Panama Building – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThere are expats throughout all of Panama, but many are concentrated in the following areas: 
  • PANAMA CITY: As the capital of Panama and by far and beyond the largest city in the country, it is only natural that many expats would choose to live in this busy metropolis. Many of the large multinational companies that are in Panama are based in Panama City.
  • CORONADO: The closest beach community from Panama City, Coronado is quickly becoming a choice for expats seeking to live close to the beach but without being too far away from the convenience of the city. That being said, Coronado is growing so fast that soon most conveniences will be found in the beach area, eliminating the need to go to the city for most errands.
  • BOQUETE: The expat town by excellence, Boquete is preferred by many for its cooler climate. English is almost a first language in Boquete.
(Pictured: iconic building called by the locals in Panama City, "The Screw.")
T Rob Brown of Panama Helpline – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Decameron Resort, Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingIn the beaches (interior of Panama) area: Meet and Greets and Happy Hours abound - the best known are: on Tuesdays 5 PM at La Teca Restaurant 2nd floor Machetazo Mall in Coronado, on Wednesdays 5 PM - 7 PM at Picasso's Bar + Restaurant inside Coronado gates (100+ expats) - on Thursdays is Blu Water Bistro at Bahia Playa Serena in Gorgona - 5 PM - 7 PM and during almost any day during the busy season (December - May) in Farallon near The Decameron Resort is Woody's Beach Bar - a famous Canadian bar with Hockey on TV. 
 
In Panama City look for Canada Plus group events. (not just Canadians) InterNations is also great - slightly younger - as is YEP (Young Expats in Panama)
 
(Decameron Resort, Panama, pitctured.)  
Denise Patrick of Panama Roadrunner Secure Transport – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
black sand beach and condo in Coronado, Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingWe are in Coronado, Panama, which is located on the Pacific sides of Panama about an hour or so west of Panama City.  A lot of the expats in Coronado meet at the local bars for happy hour, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. There is also a group called CASA, which is an association of expats here in Coronado for expats.  When we first got here, we went to their dinners once a month to get started here.  CASA has a lot of really good people.
 
Boquete is also an expat community. Boquete is up in the mountains, in Chiriquí Province, nearer to the border with Costa Rica. It is quite popular because it is cooler up there than it is at the Pacific beaches around the Coronado area. There are a lot of expats who settled in Boquete and here in Coronado.
 
Up and down the Pacific beaches centered around Coronado there are little communities and little towns where towers are going up and the expats are purchasing condos in these towers. They are all within driving distance of Coronado. Coronado is also where all the shopping is. We have a number of grocery stores, dentists, English-speaking doctors, veterinarians, a bookstore, computer stores, five pharmacies, and everything else that you need, except for Pricesmart, which is in the city. (Pricesmart is the same as Costco.)
 
(A condo tower on the black sand beach of Playa Coronado, Panama, pictured.)
Michael A. Martinez of B & B Real Estate Nicaragua / Panama Real Estate Information – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Western Azuero penisula view of the ocean Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International Living
There are several expat areas within Panama City, itself.   There are several different small neighborhoods – Cangrejo, San Francisco, Obario. There’s the old town, Casco Viejo, which has great places, restaurants, boutique hotels, lovely apartments, high-rise buildings and mid-rise buildings.
 
If you like city life, you will like Casco Viejo. Casco Viejo has an international community, not just Americans or Canadians. We have Venezuelans and people all over the world living in Casco. Panama has the Panama Canal and is an international hub.  Panama generates US 18 billion from business with the Panama Canal per year.

After Panama City, you have the beach towns and beach communities. Coronado is an example. There’s a stretch of beaches that goes all the way from Panama City down to Playa Bianca for 40 kilometers (about 25 miles), where there are communities and resorts. At the end of that stretch is the airport at Rio Hato.  Along the way, there are lots of small communities. Some of these communities have twenty story high rises with fabulous ocean views and a social life.

Up in the mountains from the Coronado area s a community called El Valle. It is beautiful and has a whole different climate-- very cool. It is very windy during some months. There are beautiful homes and they just opened a supermarket. When I went there eight years ago, it was just a lovely community of wealthy Panamanians who had second homes. Now, everybody is there. There are shopping centers and upscale markets. It has a fabulous public market. It’s great. You would find people from all over the world there.

Continuing west towards Costa Rica, you would pass by Boquete, which is up in the Chiriquí Highlands. It has very beautiful mountains and a cool climate. There are all kinds of small boutique hotels, bed and breakfasts and fabulous restaurants. There are many foreigners. They have an international farmers’ market every Tuesday morning. You can get huge corn rye bread and smoked meat and everything that you would find in the upscale farmers’ market in Santa Monica, California. It’s a little expensive, but that’s the lifestyle in Boquete.

You have the beach communities of Chiriquí in David. There are a couple of beautiful little coves down there with beautiful homes and different communities.

In about the middle of Panama, on the Pacific coast, is the Azuero Peninsula.  On the eastern side of the peninsula, the most well-known towns are Pedasi and Venao. Venao is a beautiful little bay with excellent surfing.

Last but not the least is western Azuero, which we also call the Sunset Coast. That is where I live. The Azuero Peninsula has two sides, the eastern side and the western side. The eastern side is more advanced. They’ve been at it a little bit longer than the western side has. Their airports have flights to Panama City twice weekly. They have beautiful surfing and homes on the beach. Several residential communities are well on their way. It’s expensive.

The western side’s main area destination is Torio, because that is where the first developers started a couple of small projects. There’s a local Panamanian development that is booming there. There are lots of activities; buying and selling. There’s the large European project, which we call “Ludvic Town.” The guy bought the largest farm in Torio and is literally building a town. My offices and our restaurants are here in Bloomingville, that’s what I call it, in Torio. Several people have built homes, and they’re building restaurants and other businesses here in Torio.

After Torio, you go four kilometers (about two and a half miles) and you reach a small beach community. There are dramatic ocean views that start from one end and go all the way for 70 kilometers (over 40 miles). You reach a community and see stunning perfect views. You have the choice of going up and above the mountains to see the view of homesite farms and lots of houses. Some of those areas are right on the beach. Some could be two or three houses. Some could be 50 homes or 50 lots available.

Western Azuero is just getting on the map. We are closer to Santiago, which is the fourth largest town in Panama, after Panama City, Colon and David. Western Azuero has a great lifestyle. 
 
(The recently more popular coast of the western Azuero peninsula, pictured.)
Jose Broce of Broce-Pinilla & Asociados – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
There are three main places where the expats live and meet in Panama. 
  • There is a huge community at the beach in the Coronado area (about an hour west of Coronado Panama home with view to pool with hammock – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingPanama City), which has many retired expats who are looking for a more easy, “tranquilo” way of living, in a relaxed environment.  This is a very nice community of expats who come from the United States, Canada, England, and a few other places from Europe, who relocate themselves to this area.  In addition to just calling this area “the beaches”, we also call it the “Arco Seco (“Dry Arch”; because of the relatively less rain it receives), which runs from Chame (the first beach you can find in the area) to Playa Blanca to the new airport at Rio Hato.
  •  Panama City Panama view of skyline with screw in background – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingSome expats choose to live in Panama City, which we just call “The City”.  It is very easy to live in The City because we have a lot of infrastructure, including many hospitals, banks, shopping, entertainment, etc.; everything you need.  Living in The City is a little more stressful and less relaxed than living in Coronado.
  • The other part of the country that expats like to go to is Boquete.  Boquete is at Boquete Panama empty street stretching to mountain in suburban area – Best Places In The World To Retire – International Livingthe end of the country of Panama, very near to the border with Costa Rica.  The Boquete area is a mountainous area that is known for its valley.  Living in Boquete is extremely, extremely relaxed, and is mainly for retirement living.  You have no noise, no stress, no traffic, but also you have almost nothing else.  By “nothing else”, I mean that the Boquete community has controlled how things are done in that area.  For example, bars and restaurants in Boquete close at 2 AM, whereas the bars and restaurants in the rest of Panama close at 3 AM, 4 AM or 5 AM.  You don’t have discotheques or clubs in Boquete.  There is no hospital in Boquete; you have to drive almost 45 minutes to reach the closest one.  Boquete is a community that has two or three grocery stores (but small ones) and one pharmacy, so Boquete is a very small, controlled area.  In Boquete you have a golf course, houses, mountains, other houses that are built into mountains, nearby rivers, and that’s basically it.  Boquete is more of a retirement area. In Boquete, one would not lead a busy life if you didn’t want to, but you could lead an extremely relaxed life.
If you want to live an extremely relaxed lifestyle, you would live in Boquete.  If you wanted to live in the middle with slightly more excitement, the Coronado area, including Chame, San Carlos, Sea Cliff, and El Palmar would be the right option.  If you wanted to keep doing business and have that city life with access to everything and more excitement, living in the Panama City area would be the right answer for you.
Neil Stein of Panama Paraiso – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account

El Valle de Anton, Panama waterfall, with woman near the base – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingYou will find expats in several places in Panama.

The biggest expat community in Panama would certainly be Boquete.  I have been there numerous times and it is a wonderful place. It is even cooler over there than it is here in El Valle de Anton. They are at 3,500 feet while El Valle is 2,000 feet.

There is far more to do over there in Boquete than there is to do here in El Valle. There are a lot of clubs and restaurants in Boquete. It is only about half an hour from David, which is the third largest city in Panama, so there is a lot of shopping there in David which people who live in Boquete like. Boquete is on the other side of the country and is closer to Costa Rica so they do not have access to the city (Panama City) without flying there or driving / taking a bus for many hours. A lot of people are happy there in Boquete. I have lived in a house in Boquete that is just minutes away from the ocean. There are a lot of expats there from different parts of the world such as Europeans, Americans, and Canadians.

El Valle de Anton for me is like the Garden of Eden. It is just a beautiful place. It is the most bizarre place I have ever lived in. Just the fact that it is the crater of a volcano is very strange. It is filled with trees. Whether you are a cyclist or you are someone who just walks, you are in the shade more than you are in the sun. You will hear and see birds everywhere. Anywhere you look, you will see mountains. If you want to hike, it is very beautiful. El Valle is a very peaceful place. It is wonderful if you are trying to eliminate stress. Also, it is nice because it is close to the ocean and close to Panama City, so you can easily go to the ocean or to Panama City whenever you want to.

There are a number of expats in the Casco Viejo part of Panama City, which is the old part of the city. It is a fascinating part of Panama City. Whenever I have visitors, I take them to Casco Viejo to see the old Spanish dungeon that was built 500 years ago. The presidential palace and the old historical buildings are there, too. It is a beautiful part of Panama city. Panama City is very interesting, it is very diverse. They have all the types of restaurants that you would want. There are theaters over there and they hold different kinds of concerts, too. Panamanians are big fans of cycling, soccer, and baseball, which is great for me.  I actually joined a race last Sunday and I also did one a month ago. Panama City is very vibrant and very interesting. I am not a city person but I love to go there from time to time.

Bocas Del Toro is a bunch of islands. It is composed of about five main islands on the Caribbean right on the Costa Rican border. There are a lot of people there who are from the Caribbean Islands and the Dominican Republic. It is a beautiful place. It is great for surfing, which I like. There is a bit more crime over there, I hate to say, so when people tell me that they are going to Bocas Del Toro, I direct them to certain hotels in certain areas that I know are quite safe. But overall it is a fascinating place. I love Bocas Del Toro.

I have only been in Pedasi once and I loved it. People expected Pedasi to boom, so they put in a new highway in Pedasi and it was expected to develop and it did not seem to happen. Pedasi is a little too warm for me to live there year round but it has a great surf even though it is still not very well developed. It has about five wonderful restaurants. People who are into fishing will like Pedasi. They have great fishing over there. I guess it has the best deep sea fishing in the country of Panama.

Most of the expats in Coronado are Canadians. For some reason, Canadians prefer the hot weather and they want to be near the beach. Occasionally, a Canadian moves up here to El Valle but that does not happen a lot. I had read about Coronado before I even went to Panama and I thought it was going to be terrific but I found that Coronado was really about shopping. The Coronado community itself is a gated community which I find really boring and there is a bunch of bad roads in the gated community. In the highway, it is a matter of shopping, which was great for me when I went shopping. You can go shopping without having to go all the way to Panama City.

Terry Bradford of Origen Real Estate Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account

Boquete Panama expats – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThere are incredible expat communities in every part of the country of Panama depending on where you live. You will find expat communities everywhere, whether it be in the city, the beaches, the mountains, or the countryside.

Expats get together because they are like-minded in the sense that they live in the beaches because they like the beaches or that they live in the mountains because they like it there. They frequently have get-togethers, functions, and other events such as that where they all get to share ideas and experiences.

You will find a Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) branch here and they have a big 4th of July celebration at the Balboa Yacht Club so expats from all over Panama come to celebrate the 4th of July. Even Panamanians have joined their celebrations but VFW sponsors it.
David Whittington of Tucan Golf Club and Resort – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
The areas in Panama with the highest percentage of expats is Boquete, followed by the Pacific Beach area around Coronado (Tucan is at the very beginning of the Pacific Beach area, closest to Panama City), and, from what I understand, Bocas del Toro.
 
There are several restaurants in Boquete (which has a very large expat population) where expats hang out.  Here in the general Panama City area, the expats are more spread out and disbursed, not living in any one particular area, with not as much of a focal point as in Boquete.  I would imagine that in Coronado, Panama, because it has so many expats, that there are local restaurants where expats meet.
Robert Maduro of Maduro Real Estate – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
In Panama City, the expats are mainly Americans and a few Canadians.  The expats here other than from North America come mainly from Mexico and Spain.
 
In Panama City you might see more expats in and around the areas of El Cangrejo, Costa del Este and Ave. Balboa. During the night I would say expats love to be in Casco Viejo in San Felipe.
 
There are some places, such as the Isthmus Pub & Bar, which are frequented mainly by expats, but in general, the expats in Panama City go to the same places as the locals.
 
If you want to meet with expats, I would recommend you check the Facebook Group Expats In Panama, which has more than 2,600 members.
GISELLE SOCARRAZ of Real Estate Chiriqui – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Expats meet and there are expat communities all over Panama!

But for a more specific answer: Boquete and Volcan have a high concentration of European and North American expatriates (who are drawn to the peace and quiet of the countryside taverns and especially the famous "Tuesday Market" in Boquete).

But if you are anywhere near the city of David, you will no doubt see large groups of expatriates assembling at one of the many eateries twice a month to both keep in touch and to welcome new ex-pats to Panama!  The best way to get advanced notice of this is to sign on for one of the many "Gringos in David" groups (such as the one hosted on Yahoo).
Lourdes Townshend of Multimodal  & Logistic Transports Magazine – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Expats really enjoy Panamá, for all the benefits offered, good weather, low cost in many things, and warm people.  The biggest communities are in Boquete, Altos de María, Santa Clara (beach), and smaller ones in Pedasí, Chitré and of course, in Panamá City.
 
One of the first things expats do on their arrival is to contact the American Society, which has monthly activities and social events.  From there, references is the best way...one leads you to another, and in a blink of an eye, you already belong to a group.  Some of them have weekly or monthly meetings, or just get together for coffee or "empanadas". They also have a reading groups, and interchange books.
 
But you do not have to belong to  an expat group  to have fun in Panama.  You can very well be on your own, and have LOTS of fun with Panamanian neighbors who will welcome you like a friend.  You can also sign up for a senior group, (there is one very active in  San Francisco, and another in Betania)  and share with them meetings, lunches, birthdays and field trips.

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