Panama: Travel agency in PC?:
We are very happy with Starlite Travel in Plaza Albrook. We work with a lovely lady, Luz, who speaks excellent English.
Panama: pension visa:
Great info from Panamabob! We just went through the process and it was an expensive pain in the ass. Our attorney recommended that we also apostile 6 months of bank statements showing ss and pension deposited. Every page of every doccument you submit must have that apostile!! In addition, every page must be translated into Spanish (our lawyer handled that but it was an additional cost.) If you're married you have to submit an apostiled copy of the marriage license. Since we were already living in Panama, we had to pay an attorney in the States to compile all the documents we needed and get them apostiled, All together we spent about $4,000!!
Panama: Money in panama:
It is EXTREMELY difficult to open a bank account in Panama. Almost impossible until you become a resident.
Belize: Bicycles on Ambergris:
Don't forget a sturdy bike lock....bikes get stolen and stripped down all the time.
Belize: real estate:
You absolutely, positively, MUST have an attorney when buying property!!! Property titles in Belize are a mess and countless folks have bought land from folks who didn't own it in the first place. We have successfully used Ryan Wrobel in Belize City. He is an ex-pat who has lived in Belize for years and is trustworthy and hard working. Good luck!
Panama: Relocating 5 dogs to Panama:
We moved to Panama last year with two dogs (our fur children) and getting everything together became overwhelming! EVERY document needed a special International notary seal called an Apostile Seal - check it our on the Internet. Finally in desperation, after making myself almost sick we used, Panama Pet Relocation firstname.lastname@example.org, Mr. Mario Vilar. He took care of everything beautifully - we were out of the Airport in no time at all with our small dog who traveled with us. Mario delivered the other dog who had to fly on a different air carrier, the next day to our home. It was expensive but well worth every penny!
Belize: 5 Year Plan:
I lived in Belize for 12 years before moving to Panama in 2011. There is a lot of information on this site about both countries. I suggest you pull-up all post from the last two years - you'll learn a bunch. That said, BOTH countries are expensive to live in if you want to maintain an 'American' standard of living. Only thing cheap in either country is unskilled labor. Keep an eye on Air travel costs back to the States...Belize in particular is often near $1,000US per person - outrageous!! Crime in Belize, especially in and around Belize City is out of control. Be sure to visit both countries sereral times and do your research. DO NOT but property for at least two years after you move!!!
Belize: portable saw mill:
Most of the lumber in Belize is milled in the Mennonite communities in the River Valley or the San Ignacio area. Remember, you'll need a work permit even to have a small business. Work permits are a challenge to get! Be sure to do your homework before you move down.
Belize: Belmopan, administrative capital of Belize:
Belmopan is a city created after Hurricane Hattie decimated Belize City in the early '60's. For years it as just a place where folks went to work. Only recently has it really started to become a viable community - hence the lack of sidewalks, etc.
Belize: Best/worst areas of Ambergris to live?:
South of town is low and swampy with tons of mosquitoes during rainy periods.
Panama: Driving to Bocas from Panama City:
This is a trip that everyone makes once. No way to talk anyone out of doing it. Be prepared for: flat tires - bring a can of fix-a-flat; frequent police checks - not to panic just have your passport handy and DON'T SPEED; noting much to stop and see; getting lost at least once. After you make this drive once you'll understand why everyone flies to the interior - smile.
Panama: air flights and fares to Panama:
Check out Spirit Airlines. They have one flight a week from Ft. Lauderdale to Panama at a very good price - under $100. Of course it's in the middle of the night and they charge extra for baggage but it's affordable!!!
Belize: Where is a nice place to live:
Hurricanes occur everywhere in Belize - no escaping them if you live in country. Beach areas that are "gringo friendly" include San Pedro on Ambergris Caye and Placencia. Great idea to visit several times and tour around the country!
Belize: Finding the right mix of entertainment/peace in Belize:
I'm assuming your wife wants to work for the satisfaction not the money. If true, than she can find lots of volunteer opportunities since almost every area in Belize has active SPCA type organizations. Getting a work permit is a real hassle and quite expensive and 'NO' you can't work on a retirement/dependent visa.
Second issue is permanent residency. As was mentioned above, you have to be 'in country' for a full year before you can even apply. That's a little tricky since you can only get a 30 day tourist visa. You can normally have it renewed twice (at the nearest Immigration Office) with no problem but ofter that it can get tricky. You have to leave the country (for less than 14 days during the calendar year) I think for 72 hours then reenter Belize and start the 30 day - 30 day - 30 day process all over again.
You don't need an attorney to get residency and be VERY CAREFUL of anyone who claims they can get you residency for a fee. What you need is tons of patience and a willingness to travel to Belmopan often. It took us 5 years and a zillion visits to Immigration in Belmopan to get residency. Lots of paper pushing and incorrect info.
Honestly and truthfully I think your very young wife will be bored silly in Belize. Almost no cultural scene,no shopping, and very limited evening entertainment (great restaurants and bars!) but not much else.
Have you considered Panama????
Belize: Buying Property in Belize:
I've lived in Belize for 11 years (Belize City then San Pedro). If I could give only one piece of advice to folks thinking of moving to Belize it would be, "DO NOT BUY ANYTHING!!!!". Land titles in Belize are a mess - often the same piece of property will belong to several different people - each unaware of the other's ownership. Developments are so chancy that they make me shiver. IF you want to buy property you must use an attorney and make sure he/she researches the land title. FYI - realtors in Belize are not licensed, approved by anyone or required to pass a test. Many are honest but there are lots who will steal you blind. PLEASE be very careful.
Do NOT buy anything until you've lived in Belize at least a year, preferably two!!!!
Panama: Where to live in Panama:
We live in Albrook, a suburb of Panama City. Lots of greenery, birds, wildlife and easy access to the City. Great place for famalies but the rainy season is alive and well from October to December.
Belize: buy a truck or ship mine?:
Do NOT import your vehicle!!! We moved to Belize 10 years ago and shipped our Suburban. First thing we learned is getting it out of Customs wasn't as easy as it sounded. Numerous visits to the broker (meanwhile the car was being charged rent) and finally almost 6 months later we got the car. Next thing we learned is even though cars may have the same name and look similar, vehicles from the States often have different internal parts. We had a terrible time getting repairs done and know of others who brought vehicles who had the same experiences. It's easy to buy a used car and if a reputable mechanic (good luck) gives it the once over you're good to go. Meanwhile the roads in Belize are designed to destroy anything on wheels if you don't like that used car, you'll be buying another one in a couple of years. Why on earth are you moving to Orange Walk?????
Panama: Maid / Nanny:
Where are your friends living?????
Panama: Trip info request:
FYI: Be aware that December 8th is Mothers' Day here in Panama. Every restaurant and many hotels are full to overflowing. Traffic is horrible!!! Plan to hunker down and stay put on the 8th.
Panama: Panama License Plate:
I absolutely agree - buy a car in Panama!! We moved here almost a year ago - bought a Jimny ($15,000) which is perfect for Panama driving. Friends of ours moved to Panama about the same time and shipped their car. It cost them over $10,000 AND took 6 months to clear Customs!!!
Panama: OMG another one:
No problem....Aeroperlas has three flights daily from Albrook Airport (Marcus Galabert) check out their schedule/costs at: http://www.aeroperlas.com/indexpa.asp Depending on your arrival time, take a taxi from Tocumen to Albrook Airport (Marcus Gelabert). It's about a 45 minute drive and should cost about $40US. You might have to overnight in Panama City.
The other option is the bus - very nice and much cheaper. The bus terminal is also in Albrook - very near the airfield. Check out the web site: http://www.cielitosur.com/bussched.htm for schedules and costs. A taxi fro Tocumen could also take you to the bus terminal.
Panama: Art Supply Stores?:
My husband, the artist, shops at:
El Pincel Ave. Manuel Espinosa 0819-06229
Artec - Ave. Manuel Espinosa Panama City 264-7787
These stores are almost next to each other and are in the area of the University of Panama.
Panama: Book swap:
The expat community in Panama City does a book exchange every month. Check out www.expatsinpanama.com Fabulous book store in Panama City is Excedra. In the David/Boquete area check out The Book Mark in Dolega.
Belize: How it is like living in Belize?:
My husband and I lived in Belize for 11 years - 5 in Belize City and 6 in San Pedro. We moved to Panama a year and a half ago and are really enjoying being here. Downside - residency is more complicated than you read. Also cost of living is similar to the States except for hiring menial labors - gardeners, maids. We chose to live close to Panama City because after 11 years in Belize we were starved for cultural events and decent shopping! Very active ex-pat groups all over the country especially near the City.