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JB Seligman of BUENA VISTA REALTY located in BOCAS DEL TORO, PANAMA – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
expats playing instruments at Los Secretos, Bocas Del Toro, Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingIn Bocas Del Toro, you can absolutely get by if you just spoke English because most people here speak English. The tough part about Spanish is that a lot of people complain that It is harder for them to learn Spanish because there is so much English spoken here in Bocas. You would not have a lot of chances to practice your Spanish as much as you would in places like David or Panama City.
 
Most store owners and business owners here in Bocas Del Toro speak English. The Chinese own a lot of grocery stores here and a lot of “fereterias”, which is a hardware store. They learned, as time goes on, that it is advantageous to speak English because a big part of their clientele are expats. These are Chinese who have been in Panama for generations or they could be new. Right now, there are 27 grocery stores in our little town of 5,000 people.
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Anne-Michelle Wand of United Country Bocas del Toro – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
The first language of the native people of Bocas Del Toro, Panama is Spanish, but most speak some English. You can get by here without learning Spanish, if you want to.
 
The locals are very pleased when you try to learn the Spanish language and you try to integrate yourself into the community with them.
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Ian Usher of House Sitting Magazine – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Panama is predominantly Spanish-speaking. Here in Bocas del Toro, as a tourist visiting for a week or two, you'll be able to get by if you only speak English.
 
language Bocas del Toro Panama expat gringo retire – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingBut if you are planning on retiring here, do yourself a favour, and learn some of the basics of Spanish.
 
I studied audio lessons before I arrived, and continue to study now.
 
I have been able to employ local workers, and can negotiate and communicate with them in their own language.
 
I have learned much from them, and have enjoyed being able to work, communicate and laugh with them.
 
Surely one of the joys of going to live in another country is the thrill of learning to make yourself understood there. Just being able to successfully order two beers at a bar is a great first step.
 
Don't be the awful caricature gringo expat that refuses to learn a word of the local language, or any of the local customs or habits. Don't just hang out with the other expats who don't bother to learn a thing about their new home and neighbours. You will miss out on so much that your new homeland has to offer.
 
Make an effort to fit in, and become a part of your new home, not aloof from it, separated by a stubborn refusal to learn a few words of the language of the country in which you have chosen to live.
Evelyne Meyer of Habla Ya Spanish Schools – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
YES if you speak English you can definitively get by, since Bocas del Toro is a popular tourist destination and has lots of expats. Most locals have adapted to tourism, and speak at least a little bit of English, and it is also taught in school.
 
The main language that is spoken is of course Spanish. You will also find the Caribbean dialect Wari Wari, spoken by a mix of descendants from Jamaican and French Antilles, and which sounds like a mix between English, Ngobe and Spanish.
 
The Ngobe-Bgule, Panama's largest indigenous group, live in most of the province, both on mainland and throughout the Archipelago speak their own language which they call "dialecto", as well as Spanish.
 
Naso, or Teribe, Bocas del Toro's other indigenous group (only 3,500), live on the mainland and they also speak their own language, as well as Spanish.
 

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