We 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.)