Panama

Panama Map




CLOSED:

My tour of Panama is done, at least for now.

Please SEARCH FOR ‘Panama‘ to find all of my Postings, Travel Budgets and Retirement Reviews.

I found a couple of nice GRANDPAcking Retirement Locations in Panama.

Meanwhile, here is some general information about Panama and / or the places of interest that I did not get to …


GENERAL INFORMATION:

Panama’s major draw is its Pensionado (pensioner) visa, where qualified retirees achieve residence status fairly quickly. The program entitles visa holders to discounts on medical treatment, dining, movies, and more. 

Most expats in Panama regret they didn’t come sooner, as many say they chose Panama for the friendly people, its rainforest, its plentiful beaches, and the choice of secluded or city living lifestyles.

Panama is definitely the hidden gem of Central America. It has coastlines on both the Caribbean Sea and the North Pacific Ocean and is one of the most attractive emerging tourism destinations in the world. It is 30% cheaper to spend a vacation in Panama than in Costa Rica.”

SPEAKING ENGLISH:

English is a second language-most Panamanians speak some English and many speak it fluently, especially those that cater to tourists. Panama is an international business crossroads where English is a necessity.

PLACES VISITED:

I visited the, following, locations:


PLACES I DIDN’T GET TO:

Las Tablas:

Las TablasIs a tiny town in what’s known as the “interior” or rural Panama, and is the capital of the province of Los Santos. It is best known as one of Latin America’s best Carnaval spots… Surprisingly, very few foreigners realize that Las Tablas is worth a visit outside the Carnaval season. The fact that Las Tablas is near plenty of virtually undiscovered beaches is also a well-kept secret. A 3,000 square feet home on Uverito Beach (just 10 minutes by car from the Las Tablas) is for sale for US$65,000.

Pedasi:

PedasiFurther south, along the coast, is lovely little Pedasi…a town worthy of consideration, be it for a visit or to stay. Pedasi is about 28 miles south of Las Tablas. It is best described as a sleepy little fishing town that is very well known for its expansive beaches, regarded by many Panamanians to be among the most pristine in the country.

San Blas Islands:

The San Blas islands, or Kuna Yala, comprise of 365 (one for everyday of the year they say) islands located along the Caribbean coats of Panama. Picture a tropical island from a bounty commercial, and you’ll now know what to expect at San Blas.


RETIREMENT OPTIONS:

While Panama enjoys the same low cost of living and extraordinary weather as most of Latin America, it has one benefit that overshadows most of the perks of its nearby competitors: The Pensionado visa program for expats.

Introduced in 1987, this attractive package provides an array of discounts, including 50% off entertainment, 25 to 30% off travel, 30 to 50% off hotels and even 10 to 20% off health care. (To qualify, you must have monthly income of at least $1,000 for life from a guaranteed source, such as a pension or annuity, or income of at least $750 per month and a $100,000 minimum investment in Panamanian real estate.)

Speaking of health care, the options available in Panama are surprisingly good, particularly in Panama City. The hospitals are new and modern; many doctors are English-speaking and U.S.-trained.

Retirement Locations:

The secret is to understand that Panama is not one market, but many. Panama City, for example, is over-priced, over-hyped, and over-played. Boquete, too, is too well known and too pricey for some tastes. Boquete is one of the few places in Panama where you can live without knowing Spanish.

The best buys in the country today are the Pacific beachfront well away from Panama City; In particular, look along both the east and (thinking longer term) the west coast of the country’s Azuero Peninsula.