Panama Expat Forum - Happy to report.... :))

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llollichops
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8/6/2011 12:07    
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Hello everyone!!

I arrived back home Sunday nite from being in Panama por dos semanas. (2 weeks) and wanted to share my adventure.

As some of you know I purchased some land in Dolega which is between Boquette and David.

I was nervous about travelling alone this trip but am happy to report that I had the time of my life...met a ton of new people (both Gringos & Panamanians)...and finalized some business type things.

Opening the bank acct was relatively a breeze. It took a few days, but they were very diligent about things and even contacted me after hours on more than one occasion to let me know when certain things were ready to come back to the bank. I will also add that I brought documentation to apply for a mortgage not expecting to qualify but figuring it couldn't hurt...and was told by the mngr that all I needed to bring in the info about the house which I wanted to purchase so that the bank could follow up on their end about the property etc. Unfortunately I was also told that it wouldn't apply for new home construction (which is what I'm planning) but for an existing property. None the less I was shocked and amazed that I was able to qualify for a loan. Btw this was HSBC.

The 2 weeks flew by so quickly. I could have easily stayed forever and not looked back, had my BF pack up the little ones and our things and be done with it.....I love my property!! (decided to pucrchase another lot btw) I love the surrounding area and everything it has to offer!! I will be very grateful when the international flights go straight to David so as to not have to do the "Panama Shuffle" Everything just seemed to gel so easily and the 2 weeks felt as though I could've been there for 2 yrs. In my heart of hearts I know we are making the right decision and will be more than just ok once we relocate there. I am already counting the days until January when we will be returning next.

Upon coming home had a long convo w/ my BF and we decided that 2013 was the year we were going to make the move. I'm happy about this as it gives us something concrete to work towards rather than just we'll move in the next couple years. This way we have a goal and a focus.

I love Panama!! I love Panama!! I love Panama!! The good, the bad, the ugly.....I love Panama!! :))

interested
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8/6/2011 12:16    
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Wow! My husband is looking over CR & Panama in October - With your endorsement of Panama, I am now thinking about going with him, or at least connecting with him in Panama. You really were impressed huh! Thanks for sharing
Linda

802mark
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From: Panama
8/6/2011 12:26    
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I am happy for you and that things went so well.

I do have to report thou on what is going on down here as far as banks. I understand you had no problem, but the other day in the paper was a report that many banks down here don't want to open any new gringo accounts..

the reason why is the u.s. made panama sign a deal which makes the banks here have to report on every little thing you do with that bank and that add's a lot of extra paperwork for them to do.

heres one link http://www.panama-guide.com/article.php/20110802113327992

heres another...http://boquete.ning.com/forum/topics/new-irs-tax-law-beginning-in

heres another http://boquete.ning.com/forum/topics/no-new-gringo-bank-accounts-at

llollichops
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8/6/2011 13:04    
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Hello!!

Thanks!!

@ Linda-- I wouldn't even bother w/ Costa Rica. From what I've learned both from this blog site as well as from people who've lived there and later moved to Panama there is no comparison. I've only been to Panama btw--4 times in fact- and fall more and more in love w/ the place the more times I visit. This was the first time I stayed for a period of time on the Costa Rica side and am really glad about my choice of location overall. It has everything at a close proximity, beaches, mountains, city etc. I would highly reccomend checking things out firsthand. You will absolutely love it here as well. No matter where you are there is such diversity and if you have an open mind you will do just fine!!

@ 802Mark

Thank you as always for the great info!! Yes, I'm aware of what's been happening w/ the trade agreements w/ the US which is why that was my 1st order of business. It was my understanding that things will become official in Jan-2012....I also opened a Credit Union acct as well which was done in less than an hour. It's no secret what's been happening in the states which makes Panama look better and better by the minute. (as if it isn't already fabulous) I am so grateful to the powers that be for leading me to this place!! I actually feel more alive there then I have in years back home. I really do feel truelly blessed and can't wait to make it all happen!!

~Cynthia*

susanellen40
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8/7/2011 09:04    
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Thanks for the detailed and positive report! My husband and I will be arriving in Panama for about a 6 month stay in January, so this was very interesting. We have gained so much first-hand knowledge from folks on this forum and it's been a blessing.

It's too bad about the banking situation- just more of Uncle Sam trying to get his paws on our dough. We use a virtual bank (Meta Bank) with a re-loadable debit card for 95% of our daily banking needs. The account has a savings account attached, so we can transfer funds from savings to the debit cards in seconds online.

If we have to cash a check, and the bank it's drawn on charges us $5, no big deal - it's better than having to have an account there and get charged fees for everything under the sun. We have banked this way for years, travel domestically and internationally often, and rarely have any issues. The only issue is with rentlng cars, but if the company accepts debit cards, it's fine. If not, I do have an "emergency only" credit card for this.

Anyway...we are glad to read good reports (and the bad!) about a place we plan to explore for an extended period of time with the possibility of making it a permanent home. We do plan to make el Valle our base of operations...the proximity to Panama City is needed as we will be traveling to other CA countries and SA as well. We have also heard it's a lovely little town, with a mix of ex-pats and locals, so that's a draw.

As our adventure gets closer and closer and more of a reality, we are getting so excited we can barely stand it! I spent most of yesterday sorting through our remaining stuff to figure out what to sell, what to keep and what to give away. We have been continually down-sizing over the past few years, so it's not too bad. We will be keeping a small storage unit back home (in TN) for the stuff we can't bear to part with, and the kids' stuff (both are in college). We made a deal with the owner of the storage to get a discount for paying up a year in advance, so if our trip gets extended, we don't have to worry about "the stuff".

Take care everybody! Hope to see y'all in Panama soon.

llollichops
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8/7/2011 22:34    
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Hello!!

I can understand your excitement and have to admit that I'm a bit envious about the legnth of time you'll be visiting Panama. I'm already counting the days until our next visit in January which will only be for about 10 days. Hardly enough time at all but it gives me something to look forward to.

El Valle is a really nice place. We spent about a week there our first visit to the country. We are into birding and this area is known as one of the best in the world. The people are so warm and friendly and the area is just gorgeous so it was a nice introduction to the country. I would easily consider living there except it's just a bit out of our price range....Just be forewarned though, the bus ride (if you take one)from PC is quite a rough ride.

I'm not familiar w/ virtual banks but if it's working for you then that's great!! I was glad it was as easy as it was to open an acct in Panama. I was expecting a lot of hassles but it went very smoothly. I'll be transferring most of my $$ into the credit unions though since they offer 4% on regular savings. Not too shabby.

I'm going to have to start downsizing everything too. Especially now that we have a specific time frame for our move. I'm going to start selling stuff on Ebay and hopefully be able to make a nice chunk of change to help offset the costs of moving. It's amazing how much crap you accumulate over the years!! Lol!! Especially us girls who just can't seem to pass up a good sale.

Well best of luck to you and if you need any info I'll be glad to help in any way I can.

~Cynthia*

panamalady
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8/9/2011 09:03    
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I am happy that you found Panama to your liking.
I am going to throw my two cents in here for all those still trying to decide about making a move.
I am a single 55 yr. old woman that 4 years ago went down to C.R. looking around to invest in some property...found it to be way over priced, infrastructer almost non-existant, and crime over bundance.......then went to Panama and saw hugh value,felt alot safer and enjoyed the people and country alot more. So, I bought a finca...37 acres. I went down two years ago with 5 animals to live for a year to see if it was really for me before I made a decision what to do with my land, that has gone up in value inmensley! I lived for 5 months in El Valle and then moved to Altos del Maria which is just above my land for 5 months. I can say El Valle is far better!!!!!!!!!
By the way, nice to see you Mark and your wife last Monday at Pippa's on the beach.
I had to move back to Fl. to try and sell my house here, I wish I had not...should had just sent the keys to the bank!!!!!!!
Anyway, I now go back to Panama ever 3 months for banking and all medical needs.The growth is unbeleivable! I just spent a week there where I took care of all biz and enjoyed El Valle for 3 days and then the beach for a day before heading back into the city. I was totally relaxed....came back to Fl. to find my Property Ins. renewal went up 105% and all the other headaches,was stress out within 48 hours.
Panama does have it's problems but the quality of life you can have there is far better than this rat race.And, if you have half of a brain you can still make money there because there is opportunity!
I have been doing my banking there for 4 years now and still got a great term deposit rate this pass week...4.625 for 3 years...yes, I can believe that the banks will stop taking Americans for accounts it is happening everywhere because why should they complie with our crap...believe me there is muchu money pouring into Panama from all over the world...King O (Obama) ruin the banking aspect for the gringo's by passing a law that by 2013 all foreign banks that have US citizens for account holders must comply with our IRS laws.
Why should they put out the money for this!
I have decided to go forward with my lotification with my land and will be offering 14-15 lots for sale in the future.
I was told 5 years ago by advisiors in Europe that Panama was the next America,like America was 20 years ago.....damn those Europeans were right !!
Caio for now.

802mark
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From: Panama
8/9/2011 12:33    
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Well I'll be dog gone!!! I started reading the first part of your post and I thought I know a young lady that did the same thing and dang if it wasn't you!!!

It was wonderful to see you as well.

If your offfering 15 lots for sale there you should do well, we should sit down and talk about it. you should be building homes on them.

I wanted to point out to the other people who have not moved here yet, this is a wonderful place to live, and it's a place that you will run into friends no matter where you go. My wife and I were to this beach bar hang out on a monday there might have been 10 people down there and looked up to see to panamalady and her friend coming down there as well.

this happens to me all the time even when I drive to the city, its kinda of like a safe feeling to know if your broke down someplace or in need of help your likely to see someone you know come by, no matter how far off the beaten path you might be.

panamalady
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8/9/2011 12:55    
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Hi Mark,
Yep it is me Michele...talking with a energy company at the end of the week about the property....got lots of options,going to try and buy more of the mountain...everygirl should be Queen of her own mountain.LOL
Really want to get back over. Will be visiting again 1st of Nov.
For all the newcomers..Panama is a small country and you will run into people you know everywhere...my advice for all newcomers...Stay away from all the clicks...and say nothing bad about someone that you don't want heard.......found out the hard way on that one.LOL
Caio and have a cold one for me...Mark...tell Caroline Hola

802mark
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From: Panama
8/9/2011 14:18    
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you go girl!!! that's great.. wind power!!! yes every woman should have her own mountain kingdom!!! I'll tell carolina you said hi!! take care until we see you again..

bluewind
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8/30/2011 20:06    
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Great post on the good things about Panama. I have to ask you though if you don't mind; why travel to Panama every three months for banking and medical issues if you prefer to get out of the rat race? Why not just move there?

panamalady
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8/30/2011 22:36    
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That is my plan as soon as I sell my house in the states.

eelydnew1
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8/30/2011 22:39    
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Could you say what medical insurance you use for Panama in particular. We plan to move to Panama in 2 years and live in Lakeland Fl - maybe we could have a chat on the phone, skype or meet sometime?

panamalady
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9/2/2011 11:04    
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I would like to update my post from a few weeks ago on the differences of living in Panama vs. the US...If you read my previous post I gave examples of price differences. Now, I would like to point out a more important difference....it is called:FREEDOM....here in Fl. going to the beach is like going to the permit office to ask how much should I pay to replace my gargage door(the cost for the permit is 150)....when you go to the beach here make sure you don't take your dog , no alcoholic beverages so, forget those cold beers as you are relaxing on the beach, if you decide to throw a fishing rod in the water make sure you have a fishing license which runs around 22-25 dollars depending on what you hope to catch. If you decide to go to a state park like the Sebastian Inlet bring your wallet because it cost $8 pre person to dip your feet in that surf....Oh, and I commented about the raise of my property Ins. going up 105% this year, what I forgot to tell everyone is no matter what you pay for home ins. make sure you do not have a dog that is on Ins. companies list as they will not insure you. Yep, they can even tell you what type of dog you can own.I know a surfer that was in N.J. that was in the water catching a few waves that was told to get out of the water because he had no surfing tag..yep, if you want in that water you have to go apply for a tag to surf and wear it on you or around your neck. Now 4 states are trying to pass a law that you can not smoke in your car if a child is on board. I am not a smoker and do not agree with smoking around children but what makes this law not go further to no smoking in your own house if you have kids. These are only a small amount of the big brother,socialized bulls#@t that has taken this country over.Panama here I come back....Mark ...Ty's week-end of the 15th...I got the first round!!!!!!!!!! Then Kathy and I are going down to the beach ,take our beer ,her dogs and go have a good time...and be free!!!!!!!!!!

802mark
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From: Panama
9/2/2011 11:25    
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That is spot on!!!!! everything you named plus a bunch more. like where I had companies they told me what color I could paint my buidlings. When my grass got to high they would send me a reg.s letter so I would have to go to the post office to pick it up and if it wasn't cut within a week we will cut it and bill you 100.00. a permit needed to put a for sale sign on your own car and put it in front of my own property

glad your coming back so soon, we all miss you.

since you have been gone, there is a law that you have to wear a string bottom and go topless down at papi's and let me know when your going within 24 hours.. this applies to all lady's.. the good part is no permit needed thou!!!! beer, dogs and smoking is still allowed!! my wife wasn't happy about it but I told her honey the LAW IS THE LAW.. then I woke up so really not sure if its a law or not, but I think it is.

have a very safe trip back..

SILVEREAGLE
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9/2/2011 12:51    
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HI ALL !

MY FIRST TIME ON ANY FORUM,SO BE GENTEL WITH ME.

802MARK.WIFE @I ARE THINKING OF RETIRING TO PANAMA NEXT YEAR.WILL BE COMING DOWN FROM FLORIDA FOR A LOOK SEE.HOPEFULY IN MAY.

HAVE BEEN READING THIS FORUM FOR ABOUT 3 MOS. @ ENJOY YOUR WORDS OF WISDOM @ SINCE OF HUMOR.I AM 72 AND WIFE IS 66[DONT TELL HER I SAID THAT,UNLESS YOU LIKE GOING TO FUNERALS] LOL

HAVE FOUND YOUR INFO. VERRY HELPFULL THE GOOD,BAD @ UGLEY.EL VALLE IS ONE OF THE PLACES WE ARE GOING TO LOOK AT,BUT MAY BEE OUT OF OUR BUDGET.WOULD LIKE TO MEET YOU WHEN THERE.


WAS WONDERING IF THEIR IS PHARMACY IN EL VALLE.ALSO NOTICE EVERY ONE TALKS OF CHEAP BEER @ WINE.NEVER HEAR OF MY DRINK OF CHOICE,CANNADIAN WHISKEY !IS IT AVAILABLE,IF SO PRICE ?

802mark
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From: Panama
9/2/2011 23:10    
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First off thank you for your kind words sir...

there are three places here in el valle and two more down the hill to buy any drugs you might need..

I bought a 5th of crown royal for 18.00 at the rey last week, and they have many other name brands you might like there as well.

why did you tell your wife's age?? are you losing your mind in your old age or something?

damn son, you might need to eat out for a while or hire a person to test your food before you eat it... how much was your life ins. policy for???

anyway my email is ricobreeze@AOL.COM if I can help you guys in anyway while here or not.. take care and I do hope to meet you while you guys are here,, free drinks always taste better for some reason...

All times are ET.  


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