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Rey Bazán of Activentas, S.A. – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
(Casco Viejo and Casco Antiguo are different names for the same place.)
 
The language most often spoken in Casco Viejo is Spanish.  You can, however, get by speaking English.  In Panama, there are efforts to get the Panamanians to speak more English, because being able to speak English will open job opportunities.
 
On account of the long and sustained American influence in Panama, many English words have worked their way into conversational Panamanian Spanish.  We have lots of English words here in Casco Viejo, with a Spanish accent.
 
Most restaurants here in Casco Viejo have bi-lingual menus, most of the movies have sub-titles in English, and you have cable TV with lots of channels in English, so you can get by if you don’t speak Spanish.  If you go to the bank or department stores, the people working there will tend to speak English.
Reginald Flagg of Magnolia Inn – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
My wife and I have been here in Casco Viejo for 8 years and still do not speak Spanish, so do not be afraid.
 
We run a hotel and have no trouble getting by with just a few words in Spanish.
 
Reggie
Lourdes Townshend of Multimodal  & Logistic Transports Magazine – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Language in Panamá
 
When you plan a trip, either for a visit, an extended stay, or retirement, the first thing you do is research that country.
 
In all cases, it is very smart to start planning ahead, and at least get a dictionary on the language spoken by the people in the country you are visiting.  In this case, the official language in Panamá is Spanish, and obviously, spoken by  the majority of population.
 
But as in any other cosmopolitan city like Panamá, there is a great opportunity to hear several languages, from Spanish, to Hebrew to Portuguese, as you walk on the street, mainly in the malls.
  
The earlier you start to learn a new language, the better.   Every day you get a new world, and study it, until you learn it.  Try to read and listen to TV programs in Spanish, even if you don´t understand it at first.  Doing this will "prepare your ear" in advance.  If you know anyone who speaks the language, try to practice a little at your convenience.
 
Casco Viejo is a nice neighborhood in the city of Panamá.  Many tourists visit this area on a daily basis.  You will hear many languages here and are many people who can help you.  There are even special Tourism Police to guide you.  Remember that the Presidential Palace is located in Casco Viejo, and VIP visitors are in and out all day long, as well as the Presidential Police.  The people working in the little stores, hotels and restaurants staff are willing  to guide you if you need assistance.
 
In the rest of the city, in every neighborhood, you will find English-speaking people.  Panamanians are very knowledgeable and educated, as well as accommodating and feel a special pride when they help a visitor.
 
If you go to the "interior" (countryside; away from the city), even though there are hundreds of resorts, and many, many visitors and expats live in this area, it is less frequent that locals (usually blue collar workers or farmers) may speak English.  But that is not a problem, because they will everything in their power to understand you, communicate and assist you.  Panamanians are warm and friendly.
 
Always try to learn the basic words: water, bathroom, meals, hat, and if you go to the "interior" it will be a good idea to interact with foreigners in the area, if you feel more comfortable.
 
But whatever will be the reason, the truth is that you will enjoy your visit to Panamá, as it offers good biodiversity and is a lovely and attractive place to visit, especially if you come with open mind and willing to enjoy every little thing, and experience something different.
Becky Lerch – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
I agree with Patrizia!  You definitely will need to speak at least some Spanish to get by everywhere in Panama.  For me, I found taking lessons for a few hours a day, for a few weeks when I first arrived invaluable!  I went to a school in the El Cangrejo area of Panama (near Einstein's head) called Spanish Panama.  It's a great school with professional staff and I learnt so much while I was there.  It made my time in Panama so much better!
Patrizia Pinzon of Arco Properties – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Let`s just start saying that Panama`s Spanish is very mixed to begin with. We have a Caribbean culture, which means we flavor our language a lot. Now, learning Spanish (and by the way there is a great Spanish school in Casco Viejo, so no excuses! ) will help you a lot in your day to day in Panama City and in Casco.  In social events, most likely everyone will speak English or some versions of it. And as MasterCard says... for everything else... you have your hands!

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