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An Expat Talks about Moving to Boquete, Panama


What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?


Name three things that you wish you had brought and three you wish you had left at home.

I brought everything via 40 ft sea container. things in Panama are not as good a quality as I had in the states. Cost of container was 14,000 dollars. clothing is not as good unless you are accustomed to shopping at Kmart. Furniture not as well made. All items purchased there has to be in David (nearby city) You will be charged more because you are a foreigner. Even if the store has a free delivery, you will pay $45.00 extra for delivery to Boquete because only foreigners live there.

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What advice would you give someone preparing to move to your area about the actual move, choosing a neighborhood and finding a home?

There is no multiple listing service for realtors. They do not trust each other enough for it to work. They are not licensed. They will overcharge you in a heartbeat. Moving services will quote you one price but after your household goods are shipped there will be other charges. Serious charges, in the thousands. You will pay because you have already paid the bulk of the charge and they have your furniture. JUST SHOOT YOURSELF IN THE FOOT. IT WILL BE LESS PAINFUL.

What type of housing do you live in? Is this typical for most expats in your area?

3 bedroom 2 bath homes. In Boquete it is typical to have a home but there are some apartments available. When you make any change to your house you will be overcharged and you will receive poor quality work. Your electricity will be high, and undependable, and you will never have the bill delivered to your house. It is your responsible to know when the bill is due and your responsibility to go to them and pay it. (the Post Office does not deliver mail. you may not even have a street name and house number.)

How did you choose your neighborhood and find your home or apartment?

In Boquete there are many homes to choose from but builders are usually eager to screw you out of your money. Usually they are reject citizens from other parts of the world. just because they speak English is no sign you should trust them. Without a good attorney (if there is such a thing?) you will be cheated. Even with a big name attorney I lost over $30,000 on each house.

Are your housing costs higher or lower than they were in your home country? What is the average cost of housing there?

Higher, without a doubt. From 200,000 to 300,000 for anything decent. The quality of construction will be less than you expected. If you do not have a leaky roof, you are the only one. It will occur a little later. Also you will be surrounded with the most "nosey" neighbors that you ever had.

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Comments about this Report

Nov 15, 2011 22:06

Such unhappy, poor looser! He (or she) is a typical, always complaining and waining about everything. This sort of people should stay in the place of their birth and do not move anywhere.

Jan 3, 2012 07:02

Don't know who u r but why are u even here...please go back to where u came from. You are truly the definition of the ugly expat. I live in Boquete and love it. This is not the US and that's why most of us are here and not there.

Jan 3, 2012 07:07

My only comment is "why are you in Boquete". I live here and you are truly the definition of the "ugly American". Why are there so many expats in Boquete.....because this is a great place to live...come see for yourself, but please leave the attitude back in the US.

Jan 30, 2012 00:27

Boquete is a beautiful town in Panama with a well-earned great reputation. Anytime you are planning to move to a foreign country it's important to do your homework, visit several times and learn the language as soon as possible. I attended the Spanish School "Habla Ya" in Boquete for a couple of months last year and fell in love with the town, the people and the country of Panama. We are returning this year to travel around the country more to decide exactly where we want to live. I met so many interesting people at Habla Ya, and had an opportunity to visit several homes for sale with a couple of the local realtors. I also found a great (and honest) builder whose office is right there in the plaza where the Habla Ya School is located. As with choosing a school, it's important to ask for references and check them out. Also there are several good books/resources to help you with what to expect while living and becoming a resident of Panama. (Not to mention the large and friendly expat gathering each Tuesday morning right across the river! What a great place to live!!! Once you start meeting people you'll find that there are many trustworthy attorneys, furniture makers (they are happy to build you anything you can find or draw a picture of)and most people are honest, proud and very happy to help you in any way they can. A smile and respect for your new country goes a long way... "Attitude is Everything; So Pick a Good One!!!"

Mar 17, 2012 13:54

I agree with most of the guest comments on this one - kinda like "no matter where I go, there I am" I am curious as to the guest writer who attended Habla ya last year - I also attended, October-November. Thoroughly enjoyed it and may have actually learned a little spanish (that quest continues here at home). I wonder if I know you - my email is bru@heybadger.com.

Mar 24, 2012 11:06

WOW, thanks for the feedback to the above report. was wondering if i'd been blind-sided and/or disillusioned with panama.

Jul 25, 2012 10:00

I attended Habla-Ya last year and not only did I improve my Spanish, I also learned a lot about Panama and made lifelong friends! I am very surprised that going to a Spanish school is not discussed more in this forum because it is a great and very inexpensive way to get to know a country and its people. Be sure to stay with a local family and get out! There will be lots of opportunities to visit other parts of the country meet many other local people and do a lot of things that you never thought you could or would do! In my case I love Boquette, but it was a wee bit too cold for me and I missed the ocean. So we have chosen Boca Chica which is very close to David and still within an easy drive to Bouquette. See, you can have it all! My most important advice to anyone considering a move to another country is: "Attitude is everything so pick a good one!". You have a choice each and every day of just how you are going to approach everything in your life, so no matter where you live it's all about your attitude.

Aug 7, 2012 11:40

Wow. The things IL doesn't tell you........

Aug 21, 2012 18:17

Sounds like there is nothing good about Panama. Everyone is a thief, even the realtors and attorneys. Everything is made cheaply. Overcharged, is a word that is up there, and often. Maybe I will just go back to JAMAICA. As rough as it is, there is still a lot of goodness. Renting may be the way to go. Stay for a few month (winter) then leave and go someplace else. Not going to buy thanks to the above honest information. I am not shooting the messenger. He/she is doing us all a favor. WALK GOOD~

Sep 28, 2012 11:21

I here so many negative people's thoughts about Panama....You know what I think,,,the people who are writing them are downplaying Panama so they can have it to themselves. I am in real estate, and when someone asks me how is the market here in the USA, I say,,,, oooh real bad, you do not want to get into it. This is because this is the best market right now for a buyer. prices are at a all time low, as well as the rates. I coming to Panama in March.... I think it is going to be a great time.

Apr 8, 2013 14:49

and never trust your attorney,,,many are thieves that prey upon the fact that you do not know Panamanian law and maybe not speak Spanish,,,if you do not speak spanish have spmeone you trust read the documrnts before you sign anything ripped off by a lawyer in Panama

Jan 29, 2014 12:27

I was in Boquete for the festival Jan. 2014 and really liked that town. Curious about Boca Chica. Are there ocean view homes/condos or just fishing charter places? How is the heat there and mosquitos? Loved Panama.

Feb 18, 2014 18:21

I am wondering if some ex-pats can give me suggestions on how to research shipping some of our household items to Panama. Destination would be Boquete. Are there several companies that might be an option? Thanks in advance

Mar 7, 2014 11:54

How negative! Why are you still there?

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