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Newbie looking for advice/recommendations

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7/20/2019 11:18 EST

Good morning all,

My DH and I are in our late 50s and are beginning to think about retiring and our preferred destination is Panama.

Our initial trip of about 3 - 4 weeks will be next summer

While my husband is retiring, I will continue to work as a computer programmer, so reliable internet access is a must.

We definitely want to be on the coast.

We are planning on flying into Panama City and then drive to Chitre and explore there and down to Pedasi.

Our checklist is as follows, from most to least important

Internet access
Proximity to beaches
Expat community
Fresh seafood and produce
Medical facilities

Are we correct in starting in the Chitre - Pedasi corridor?

Are there other areas we should consider?

Thanks for any advice you all can give.


7/20/2019 22:52 EST

You certainly could do worse, the Chitre-Pedasí-Playa Venao area is my favorite part of Panama.

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7/20/2019 22:53 EST

You certainly could do worse, the Chitre-Pedasí-Playa Venao area is my favorite part of Panama.

7/20/2019 22:53 EST

You certainly could do worse, the Chitre-Pedasí-Playa Venao area is my favorite part of Panama.

7/21/2019 15:17 EST

When I moved to Panama it was a similar situation where I worked and my husband was retired. There were several occasions when the Internet was down during working hours and I had to run to Starbucks. There was a nationwide electricity outage a few months ago which affected the Internet and cell providers for over 24 hours. My building has a generator but it doesn't help for Internet outages obviously. I would make clear to your client or employer that there is no real guarantee in uninterrupted service. This will releive lots of anticipatory stress.

7/22/2019 21:22 EST

Hi Kathyrn

I have been in Chitre for the past 3 years and Las Tablas before that. In terms of living I prefer Chitre over other places in Azuero mainly due to that it is a large enough city to have anything you reasonably require with several malls with all the normal chain stores you expect. If you live elsewhere in the Azuero you will find yourself traveling to Chitre on a regular basis for shopping.

Working through your list:

Internet access

I work as an IT consultant and 90% of that is online with clients in the US and Europe and have no issues with the Internet either with speed or reliability including video conferencing and me giving live webinars. I used Cable Onda for years but just switched over to Cable and Wireless as they were less expensive.


There are few places in Panama that are really walkable by North American standards, the sidewalks are usually broken up, the drivers have no concept about yielding to pedestrians even in marked crosswalks and the cops are generally useless at enforcing the laws. So it is always an adventure. Also, you need to pick your times, as Chitre gets very hot 10:00 - 17:00 so until you get acclimated to the heat you don;t want to be walking around for hours. Generally though you can walk the downtown area and duck into some place with AC if you start to get hot.

Proximity to beaches

Most places in Panama are no more than 15 - 20 minute drive from a beach, Chitre included. Biggest exception is Panama City that has no beaches close by.

Expat community

There is a moderate sized expat community that in theory has regular meeting but I have never gone as I have gone "native" and spend my time in the Panamanian community and being married to a Panamanian with my wife's family. But I will see if I can sleuth out some info on the local expat group for you.

Fresh seafood and produce

Any place in Panama will have fresh seafood and produce. If you want you just head to any local beach early in the morning and meet the pangas as they return with the nights catch. Then you can haggle with the fisherman over price. Same with veggies and fruits if you go early (ie 5am) to Parc Centenario the trucks coming in from Chiriqui with the fresh produce are there to sell to the local distributors. You will get a good selection and price. If you are more sane than me and are still in bed at 5 am you can find hundreds of local produce and seafood sellers in almost every district. Plus there are trucks that drive around the neighbourhoods and sell produce and seafood out of the back. But my wife and I are opening a restaurant here so we go early and buy in bulk at the best prices.

Medical facilities
There are good facilities and doctors here as well. The public hospital in Chitre is getting run down and is usually short of equipment and medicine. The new public hospital in La Villa, about 6km west of Chitre, is a better choice. My preference is the CSS hospital in Chitre but unless you are a resident and in the CSS system you can't get access there. But, if you are having a real emergency, like any hospital in the world if you show up at emergency they will give whatever treatment is required to stabilize you before shipping you out (after you pay the bill). My last trip there, I only had to wait 15 minutes to get seen by a doctor. I spent over 14 hours getting IV antibiotics and other treatments, had blood work and xrays done and was evaluated first by a surgeon who determined that I didn't need to be cut open that night, then by the internal medicine doctor that said I will probably need surgery just not right now. After all the above my bill came to a nice round total of $20. Bargain of the century, both the new hospital and the CSS hospital are well equipped and stocked with the latest medicines and knowledgeable staff. Also, at the CSS hospital all the doctors but one were bilingual so you won't have any language issues.

Biggest problem with Chitre is for the past year the local water treatment plant breaks down 4 or 5 times per week, so you will find that to be an issue. Anyone that lives here has a reserve tank to keep them going through the outages.

Feel free to PM if you want more info.

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7/22/2019 22:33 EST

I think the best advice for a newbie is to rent furnished apartments from say airbnb in different locations that you think might be promising. You can of course ask advice from other expats but there is no substitute for you own first hand experiences. I know that takes time but it is worth it. The other thing is that to really appreciate most places in Panama you will need a car.

7/23/2019 07:55 EST

Thanks fricotin!

7/23/2019 07:56 EST

Thanks for the info Panama2017!

7/23/2019 07:57 EST

Wow, thanks for all the info StanleySankey!

7/23/2019 07:58 EST

thanks for the advice volcan357. I think that's what we are going to do.

7/23/2019 08:18 EST

Hi, Pedasí is a good place for surfing. However, as per your requirements I do no recomend Pedasi as your initial stop in Panama.

I suggest you Coronado or El Palmar. There you have access to the beach (same in Pedasí), supermarkets, and internet access could be better, also you are closer to hospital.

In Pedasi you will find a Public Hospital, that work from 7:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

You can check the following website, if you want to know more about Pedasi area.

Also, there is a bigger expat community in Coronado area. I read tha the expats community in Pedasi meet on Tuesdays and Fridays at Smileys, the American restaurant in town. Perhaps, you can start first in an area near Coronado (perhaps the first two weeks) and then spent the other two week in Pedasí, in that way you can check the difference and take a better decision.

7/23/2019 10:50 EST

Lo Siento, the Public Medical Clinic in Pedasi is open 24/7/365 with a Doctor and a Nurse. Also the beach in Coronado is not always easy to access, however there are over 30 easily accessed beaches within 30 minutes of Pedasi, plus the world renown surfing beach Playa Venao. There are more than 10 excellent restaurants in Pedasi and no traffic jams like in Coronado. Many excellent Hostals and Hotels that are significantly less expensive than Playa Coronado, staring at $35 for a great Airbnb accomadation with breakfast, nothing like that in Playa Coronado! Plus there is Whale atching, Isla Iguana Snotkeling and the best fishing anywhere in Panama, exactly why Pedasi is the center of the World rnown "Tuna Coast"! Fishing for 4 is only $100 per day for everything!

7/23/2019 11:38 EST


I sent you a private message.

7/24/2019 09:28 EST

I got the information about the hospital in the following link

7/24/2019 09:29 EST

I also think that they need to know the other options and find the place that suit them better. Best Regards,

7/24/2019 11:51 EST

I have lived full-time in Puerto Armuelles and love it. It is a bit rough around the edges, but improving at a fast pace. Nice beaches and all amenities, including a brand new hospital in town. 2 of my friends here have internet jobs and have no issues with connections. I have a website and my internet is reliable. Here is a site with some info about the area:

It is absolutely best to rent in any area before you buy property. My husband and I tested every town from Bocas to where we are now before we settled down. What is paradise for one person is not for someone else ~ It's all personal preference. Only you will know what fits.

7/24/2019 19:07 EST

rough around the edges, huh? Is that the new age term for having to fight off 6 - 8 men in a home invasion while you are being stabbed. Or is it the arm robbery a few days earlier at the chino store where everyone had to lay on the ground and surrender their money, Or is it he armed robbery at the ferreteria with a 3 year old child present who was so tramautized she couldn't eat or sleep. Or is it the armed robbery at the beach in front of Big Daddys. Or is the trash piling up all over town>people who have live in Puerto all their lives have never seen it so dirty.

It is a good thing that there will be a new hospital to treat all the trauma

7/25/2019 13:38 EST

SAY (Sheryl) why do you still live here? Maybe it's time for you to move on to a "Safe Zone".

Check the crime stats around the country and you'll find its less in Puerto than it is in Boquete, even though the population is 10,000 more here. Have you checked any big city back in the states. EVERY day there is something in Panama City, Florida, not to mention Chicago, New York, LA.

Seriously, you should take your negativity elsewhere.

7/25/2019 17:22 EST

Thank you, ChiriquiDebbie.

7/25/2019 17:53 EST

You know what, Debbie. People don't have to listen to me. I challenge them to take a cab ride with a Puerto Armuelles cab driver who has lived here more than 10 years and speaks English. Ask him or her if things are changing in Puerto. They will give you plenty of information, including their thoughts on the crime.

I would also advise readers not to rely on Info provided by a real estate person, such as yourself. How is that property fire sale working for you Debbie? Or is it a crime sale?

If people want to come to Puerto, they need to come with the correct facts and figures, not a real estate person's spin. Only by having the correct information can they make a decision AND secure themselves.

7/25/2019 17:57 EST


Are you one of the people who have property listed on Debbie's fire sale, or you need expat business, or just trying to justify a recent property purchase?

7/25/2019 18:18 EST

Debbie Fishell, I will remain in Puerto to keep you on the straight and narrow as others have done before me and are doing now and will do so when I am gone, and you are still here.

And don't call me crying to drop complaints about you as you have done with others. There is no crying in Panama

7/26/2019 11:33 EST


where are the crime stats you are referring to for Panama? I'd love to see them government documents.

In the 10 years I have lived in Boquete, there has rarely been any crime.

The only exception was 7-8 years ago when the new road from David to Boquete was built. There was in increase in crime for that 1 year.

But since there, crime has been pretty much non-existent in Boquete.

7/26/2019 16:15 EST

It’s a binary choice you can buy into the sugar coated B/S that Jackie promotes or you can account for the actual factual experiences of countless individuals (who have nothing to sell) as it relates to the reality that Boquete and most any other place in and around Panama has elevated levels of crime many of which are serious. There are tons of crimes that the expat community never hears about largely because most expats don’t analyze the local news and fail to understand the gravity of the situation with the lack of security in Panama.

So you can live in a fantasy world and believe it when someone says “crime has been pretty much non-existent in Boquete” or you can look beyond the smoke and mirrors and recognize that serious crime does regularly occur throughout the whole of Panama INCLUDING Boquete.

When someone says there is little or no crime in the areas that they are trying to promote or sell you should dismiss every last word that flows from their disingenuous lips and get away from them as fast as you can.

7/26/2019 21:20 EST

PTYExpat ( a convicted pedophile) -- is up to it again -- no proof as usual and has no clue what he is talking about.

Here are the actual crime statistics for Panama

7/26/2019 21:26 EST

Holy moly! So many different opinions

7/26/2019 21:26 EST

Holy moly! So many different opinions

7/26/2019 22:28 EST

We don't lack strong opinions here. There are people on this forum with very strong opinions positive and negative and the opinions aren't always about selling something or convincing you to move here.

Remember to read this forum for general feedback. Watch out for the extreme negatives and positives. Do you own research. Spend time here and get to know the place before you make such a big decision.

Over time, you'll notice the names on the forum and the opinion patterns. That should remind you that these are mostly their "opinions". Look for official reports and statistics are part of your research. If you know of a country without crimes and issues, please let me know. :-)

Here's to some great research and to "boots on the ground" a new country before you move there.

7/27/2019 07:30 EST

I have lived in Boquete for more than 16 years and have nothing to sell. If I didn't think Boquete was the best choice to spend my retirement I would have been long gone. The foreign/expat community in Boquete is amazing and the Panamanians, for the most part, are very welcoming. There is little crime and the crime that exists is mostly petty theft. And the weather . . . what can you say about the weather except that it's damn near perfect.

7/27/2019 10:16 EST

my brother in law is a cop in panama, he always talks about the crime. Of course look at the US and what is happening. I think there is crime every where you go. You mainly have to be smart and not leave you self open to being a voctum

7/27/2019 11:44 EST

Be sure to spend a night or two in the Coronado area, good ExPat base there & close to other beaches & El Valle, approximately one hour drive to P.C. PL

7/27/2019 11:54 EST

My California drivers license lists me as non-binary.
Still, there are many mostly good choices in Panama.
Boquete is crowded, overrun with expats and you can't sell your property for what you paid for it.
This is the case nearly everywhere.
If you can't deal with the different culture, at times and places spotty or inaccessible healthcare, costs of living not too much below, say Florida, soon to be changed immigration rules and speak no Spanish.

8/29/2019 13:16 EST

After reading the tenor of the posts in this thread, I can't see why anyone would want to move to Panama.
Sounds like a very disgruntled band of individuals.
Hope you folks don't meet each other at the favorite watering hole.
Hope you all have a much better day in the days to come.

For the "NEWBIE" who posted this, You have my sympathy, I don't think this is what you were hoping for.
You might consider other locations .
Panama seems to be at a saturation point and boiling over.

8/29/2019 15:13 EST

It is better that they see that all the articles about Panama in those expat magazines gloss over problems. My wife and I have made 2 trips exploring Panama, each about 3 weeks, and we saw the problems. There are enough nice things about Panama that we are still planning to move there, but it is not the paradise thise articles would have you believe.

8/29/2019 15:31 EST

If you think there is actually a place in the world where everybody sings Kumbaya and everthing is just a utopia ya living in lala land. It doesn't exist on this planet. Just different versions of different problems. If somebody tells you different they are blowing smoke up your keister. You probably might want to stay put.

8/29/2019 15:42 EST


You wrote:

"If you think there is actually a place in the world where everybody sings Kumbaya and everthing is just a utopia ya living in lala land."

There is a place like that, it's in the United States and it's called California.

8/29/2019 15:55 EST

I understand. But i truth, read any unmoderated forum, and you will find lots of vitriol. Its a sad commentary on the human race.

8/29/2019 16:00 EST

I find it interesting reading the posts, I have lived in Panama before and my wife is from there. Personally I prefer to stay from the expats. I like the people the culture and the climate

8/29/2019 16:11 EST

1taiko, I haven’t been keeping up with this thread so after reading what you wrote I scanned through it out of curiosity. For some reason the province with the best overall scenery and climate seems to harbor the disgruntled expats! The posts you would seem to be referring to are coming from expats who make their homes in Chiriqui whereas the majority in those residing in the remainder of the country seem to find it easier to go with the flow.

8/30/2019 19:01 EST

Of course there is crime everywhere. That is an opinion in a vacuum! Only one Latin America country (Chile) has as low a murder rate than the US or Canada, per the UN if u wish to check. Having said that, Panama has the lowest in C. America.

8/30/2019 19:57 EST

Thanks Jackie for posting the Ministerio Pulico link. Lots of good data there.

8/31/2019 00:39 EST

PanamaJackie, you said "PTYExpat ( a convicted pedophile)" Can you elaborate, we need to be protected.
BTW the US Marshal will extradite US citizens and pay cash rewards if deemed necessary.

8/31/2019 10:33 EST

Yes Jackie show us your evidence of this alleged conviction.

The laws in Panama are quite strict regarding public libelous and slanderous statements. It will be interesting to see the look on Jackie's face when she receives the summons to appear before a court when my wife who is an attorney presents my complaint to our niece who happens to be Fiscalia (District attorney) in David.

So yes in deed Jackie is in legal jeopardy and should watch her step moving forward, I suspect that after she is forced to shut down her relocation business and is stripped of her Resident Visa she won’t be running her mouth anymore.

8/31/2019 11:11 EST

Court records hold the evidence.

I also have documented evidence (and many witnesses) of all the times that ptyexpat has made public libelous and slanderous statements regarding me personally, my company and the beautiful town of Boquete.

Goes both ways!

8/31/2019 13:15 EST

Pedasi is nice and the beaches there and Venao (venado Deer Beach) are wonderful.

The downside is that Pedasi is far from everything.

Coronado area, Gorgona or Punta Chame are nice options to consider. These places are only around 1.5 hours from the City and Coronado has half decent shopping centres for groceries etc.

All these places are on the Pacific side which has it's advantages. Check them all out. Tsake your time before buying. There is a buyers market right now, so don't feel pressured into anythying.

8/31/2019 13:18 EST

Why don't you both take your pissing match somewhere else as most don't want to read it here. Better yet maybe both of you find another continent to live. Maybe we'd settle for both of you doing some jail time for libel to cool your heels.

8/31/2019 13:46 EST

Lot's of funny comments. The Panamanian murder rate may be the lowest in CA, but it still averages around 55 - 60 murders a month. Not bad for a country of only 4 million people. Imagine that in Vancouver!

That being said, this very rarely affects Ex-Pats. I have been here for almost 30 years altogether and most of these crimes are drug and family related.

As with thefts and violent crimes etc, that has to be expected anywhere. Good common street sense with good security work wonders.

There is no need to stress out over crime unless you live in Colon city or downtown David or San Miguelito Panama, etc.

Panama can be a great place to live if you have a set income when coming in, choose your nighbourhoods wisely and try to fit in with the people which includes learning Spanish. By showing the locals due respect they will warm up to you and you won't have any problems at all.

8/31/2019 14:11 EST

Are you guys serious????
I hope I never accidentally run into either of you.
Good reading for people looking to bring their family to Panama.

8/31/2019 17:07 EST

You are correct, Pedasi is a wonderful location to consider and many of the surrounding areas are popular for expats, you’ve made the right choice in selecting your area.

Unfortunately the same cannot be said for Boquete which has been digressing for years and has become an inflated & overpriced a gringo ghetto.

So tell us Jackie when and where was I “convicted” of pedophilia?

Dates, time, location, counts, court jurisdiction and judgment? Either put up or shut up Jackie!!

Obviously you’re a phony who operates a highly questionable relocation service all the while peddling garbage to anyone willing to pay for it.

In order for your business to have been libelous it must first be a legitimate, register and licensed business in Panama plus you must have Panamanian tax ID and pay taxes both to Panama and the USA on your commercial earnings. Nice try but you have no legitimacy or credibility.

Beside those who offer relocation services must have a reasonable base line of knowledge about the location they are trying to sell however you clearly know nothing about Panama nor the laws.

Understandably you would resort to desperate measures when your world is crashing down around you.

You own me a public apology that should be conveyed via this public forum and cease all unsubstantiated accusations towards me or things are going to get ugly sooner than you might think.

BTW Boquete is indeed worthy of all the negative publicity it receives.

9/1/2019 07:46 EST


I must say, you're really angered by the fact that you didn't build in Boquete where $500k+ homes sell all of the time. Live and learn my friend.

It appears Jackie has been successfully providing relocation tours for almost ten years with thousands of satisfied expats. In fact two years ago a couple of Boquete expats one of Latin decent and completely bilingual copied Jackie's business model and began advertising relocation tours but have yet to complete one! Not a single one! Jackie must be doing something right!

Coronado is Panama's premier beach community et al running from Punta Chame to Rio Hato offering many amenities plus being in close proximity to Panama City which offers some of the best shopping in all of Latin America especially with Albrook Mall, the 16th largest in the world.

And let's not forget that the owners of Albrook Mall are building Federal Mall just north of David only a 20 minute drive from Boquete making Boquete even more attractive:

Oh, and below are just a few articles from the year 2018 saying good things about Boquete. Oddly, I couldn't locate any on Potrerillos.



Business Insider:

And of course International living is always listing Panama in the top two.



Live and Invest Overseas:

Escape Artist:


Latin America's first eco green friendly convention center


9/1/2019 08:04 EST

Is Ptyexpat the same guy (Greg Meyers) who has vented on every yahoo group and discussion forum related to Panama?
He has been banned almost everywhere.

9/1/2019 08:46 EST


Correct answer bachelorette #1!

PTYexpat is Greg Meyer AKA Glen Fraser AKA The Kansas House as well as many more!

The entertainment continues!

9/1/2019 09:06 EST

I have been reading his venom and watching him get banned everywhere since 2003.
He's very distraught that he didn't build in Boquete and has the worst case of sour grapes I've ever seen.
I hope the folks out there don't pay any attention to his spittle.

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