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John Gilbert of PanamaKeys – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Birthday party at the Gilbert's, Volcan, Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingSpanish is the most often spoken language here in Volcán. Some people who have been here in Volcán a long time would say that Panamanian is the language spoken in Volcán, but it’s certainly Spanish. There are other pockets of places that expats locate in Panama that speak more English than they do in Volcán. I love being in a community that is truly Panamanian and is truly a different culture than my own. I don’t have a great command of Spanish, and that allows me to see more with my eyes than hear with my ears.
 
I noticed that I observe more because I don’t understand all of the words. I appreciate watching two people converse in Spanish. I might not understand all that’s going on, but I’m seeing so much more of the way the two people are acting and reacting to each other than I ever did when I’m speaking with someone in English.
 
I would not discourage someone who doesn’t speak Spanish from coming to Volcán. I don’t speak Spanish, but I love living here in Volcán. I’ve been here in Volcán for quite a while so I am slowly learning Spanish and I am just fine at this point ordering food, going to the doctor’s office, or getting gas with my Spanish, although I have a hard time asking directions if I don’t already know the area. 
 
There are technological advancements that help me compensate for not speaking Spanish well. For example, Waze is a great application for your phone where you can put in wherever you want to go and it will get you there just like Google Maps. I have not found not having a perfect command of Spanish to be a hindrance or a barrier to enjoying and living my life. In fact, I find it more exhilarating.
 
(Birthday party at the Gilbert's, Volcan, Panama, pictured.)
James David Audlin of Editores Volcán Barú – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Of course, the language most often spoken in the Volcán and Cerro Punta region is Spanish. Second to that is Ngäbe Buglé, a Native American language. Third comes English, which a plurality of Panamanians can at least smatter. After that you run into French, Portuguese, German, Mandarin, Cantonese, Italian, Polish, and a few others.
 
You can get by with just English - but you don´t want to! English-only speakers miss out on a lot of the joy of living here, getting to know their wonderful Panamanian neighbors, enjoying Panamanian television and sports and cultural events, traveling around the countryside, and so on
 
English-only speakers are at a distinct disadvantage; prices are higher for gringos who don´t live in harmony with their neighbors, and their neighbors aren´t disposed toward being friendly, toward looking out for them in a kindly way. So, sure, you can get by, but I urge you to learn some basic Spanish - of all the languages I speak it was the easiest to learn.

 

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