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Expat Advice: Culture Shock in
Altos del Maria, Panama
One expat talks about living in Panama and warns that it's buyer beware in the real estate market. Also, ongoing power outages and limited internet access are common.
What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?
Altos del Maria
Did you receive any cross-cultural training for your move abroad? If yes, was it before or after the move?
We spent several years coming to Panama and talking with XPats.... No one told the truth to make the sale!
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Expats in Panama may get a free expat health insurance quote from our partner Allianz Care, a leader in international insurance for expatriates. Allianz's plans ensure that you have access to quality healthcare whenever you need it. Their flexible solutions allow you to tailor your cover to meet your needs and budget..
If they speak another language in your new country, do you speak the language? If yes, did you learn the language before you moved or while abroad? If no, are you planning to learn the language?
Were you worried or concerned about culture shock before you moved abroad?
All utilities, GAS, food ate more costly than the U.S. not counting all the costs of Visas and a drivers license. Anthing International Living tells you is a LIE!
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How significant was the culture shock you experienced when you moved abroad?
People here are Great, XPats LIE to make the sale
Expats often talk about going through the "stages of culture shock." Examples include the honeymoon phase, the irritation-to-anger stage, the rejection of the culture stage, and the cultural adjustment phase. Do you feel like you went through these or any other stages as you settled into the new culture?
Do Not use any XPat to purchase a home. Make sure you are working with a legal Panama Licensed Realtor.... XPats do not hold a Panama License... Buyer beware!
What, if any, were some of the changes you noticed in yourself that might have been caused by culture shock? These might include things such as anger, depression, anxiety, increased eating or drinking, frustration, homesickness, etc.
All the basic costs for this area are higher. Utilities don't work due to failures and if you get Internet for this area it works less 50% of the time and costs are high
What are some things you appreciate most about the new culture?
Panama local, people!
What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?
Utilities for our area. Power failures are daily...
Do you have any advice or thoughts about culture shock you would like to share?
Use only legal, licensed realtors. Ask the for a copy of THEIR License not some brokers license. Do not give deposits without a good Attorney
More about Altos del Maria
Expats have differing opinions about healthcare in Panama. Many advice against public hospitals and healthcare, but some recount good experiences. This article covers public vs private healthcare, cost of healthcare, obtaining prescription medications and much more.
A couple from the US had vacationed in Panama for years. They decided to move there and built a house in rural Altos del Maria, Panama. Life has slowed down tremendously, which took some time to get used to. But, they love the climate, fresh air and their new friends - both locals and expats.
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Comments about this Report
If you are looking to "de-stress" and searching for peace and
tranquility, there is no better place than Altos del Maria.
The miradors (steps and paths) created throughout Altos del
Maria, make it enjoyable to connect with nature. The aroma of
150,000 pine trees, the numerous varieties of birds, and the
view of Picachu (the Sleeping Cat) are breathtaking.
Just an FYI from someone who has been overwhelmed by its
My wife and I made trips down to Panama before deciding to buy in Boquete. Having lived year round here for 2 years, I always tell people that Panama is not for everyone. I for one love it and my wife doesn't want to live here. I think that you should rent for at least a year to get a feel if this is where you should be.
It's unfortunate that the author has had such a poor experience, yet it seems that he/she is sticking it out after having gone through so much to get to where he/she is today. Hope that things improve. As to the comments about Intl' Living... it strikes me that we readers need to understand that the info in Int'l Living and elsewhere is often cited for a low to middle class person who has earned below $100k annually and has little saved. If you're accustomed to and expecting a better lifestyle than that, the numbers don't reflect reality.
The author is 100% correct about ALL the details.
BEST ADVICE - RENT, RENT, RENT before you ever consider buying! Once you buy IN you may NEVER be able to sell to get out! And you will SUFFER there!