The Worst Thing About Panama Is Also One Of The Best Things
Ex-patriots are one of the worst things about Panama. Why? Many people do nothing more than look at glossy magazines full of hype, vacation pamphlets filled with exciting activities and resort lifestyles. (Nothing wrong with those, by the way). However one should also do some research about the pros and cons of moving to Panama. Sites like this one have stories and questions answered by real people who have experienced expat live here. There are videos on YouTube that put you right here in the area of Boquete, and other places in Panama as well. Just crunch numbers and do comparisons before you leap into a new life in a new country.
If you are a person who finds fault with much of the inconveniences in the USA, I assure you there is far more inconvenience here in Panama. This is a country with a total population of less than Houston, Texas! If you are a basically unhappy person, moving is no cure. If you want all the people to speak your language and you have no intention to learn theirs this is not a place you will love.
We love Panama. However we arrived with some knowledge and few preconceived notions of it being just like America. You can purchase many American products and services here. You can eat at McDonalds, KFC, Dominos, Fridays, and many more chains. You can stay at the Marriott, Hiltons' and Hampton Inns'. You can shop in American type malls in and near Panama City. Here you can purchase a Ford, Chevy, Nissan, Toyota and other major lines of vehicles.
What is it, you ask about the expats that I find an issue with? Because we are guests in a foreign country that has a close affiliation with America. Our dollars work here the same as there. We use mostly American money here in Panama. However, because retirees typically have more disposible income than many working class Panamanians we cause a rather high increase in the cost of goods and services. The prices in the real estate industry are all affected by our affluence. Oh, don't get me wrong, many of us are retirees living on Social Security alone.
Because so many expats do not have a good grasp of the language or the laws of Panama they find themselves in dire straights when purchasing land or building homes. They trust architects and builders, developers, and will hand over their money before they ever see a title, only years later to find they still have no title to their homes or land. Once again I feel bad for them. However they need to study some of the laws for real estate found in English in many places online. I say they fail to do the due diligence required of any project where a lot of money changes hands whether here in Panama or any place else in the world. Unhappy people breed unhappy lives. It happens everywhere.
Some folks gripe about the windy season or the rainy season or the high cost of fuel for their vehicles. There are folks who constantly denounce the water systems seen all along the streets and roads. Broken water lines are found as easily as white fluffy clouds in the blue skies! But this is the way they do it. This is not America.
Noise, abandoned pets, poor people, electrical outages, water shortages, too much rain, not enough rain, too windy, too hot, too cold, hey, we have heard it all! Mostly from Gringos because the Panama people are so easy going and used to it so they do not complain.
In conclusion I urge you to be very careful and use every tool at your service to find out if this country is a good fit for you. Because I love it doesn't mean you would. Happy people are happy wherever they are. If you are a fault finder I doubt you would be happier in Panama than where you live now.