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One of the wonderful advantages of living in Panamá is the variety of lifestyles and environments in this small country. Think of California on a smaller scale. You can live in one of the Pacific Coast beach communities, in the cool highlands of El Valle or Boquete, the islands of Bocas del Toro on the Caribbean side, in a country home in the interior, or in one of the most cosmopolitan cities in Latin America. When my wife and I first moved to Panamá we settled on the Amador Causeway on the outskirts of the city. The Causeway, Albrook, Clayton, and other areas in the reverted areas of the former Canal Zone are attractive suburban communities for Zonians and expats.

With so many of our business contacts, attorneys, accountants, developers, clients, and doctors in the city we decided to move near downtown. We found a large apartment on the 34th floor on Avenue Balboa with breathtaking views facing Panamá Bay. Across the Cinta Costera is the Panamá Yacht Club. Fireworks are sometimes shot from the breakwater which also has two helipads for the helicopters that land there. The Cinta Costera is a large landscaped boulevard that has numerous recreational facilities like basketball/soccer/volleyball courts, walkways for biking, roller blading, jogging, walking, designated fitness areas for all ages, a new restaurant, stages, and other entertainment venues. My wife and I particularly enjoy walking to the fish market.Outdoor Fitness Center & Athletic Courts on Cinta Costera – Best Places In The World To Retire – International Living

Traffic is heavy in the city, but we sometimes save up to an hour of time getting to appointments compared to when we lived on the Causeway. If we have flexibility in our schedule we just look out our windows to check if the traffic is light. People have remarked to us about how loud the traffic must be. Yes, when you are down at street level it’s quite loud, but the higher you go the quieter it is. It actually was louder on the Causeway with the truck traffic, motorcycles on Thursday night, and rumba buses on the weekend.

-Story courtesy of Best Places In The World To Retire. To see more stories like this, copy this into your web browser: www.bestplacesintheworldtoretire.com
 
Date of Posting: 01 November 2013
Posted By: Bob Gugel
I have met and spoken with many North American ex-pats while in Panama. I'm a curious guy, and one of the questions I often asked was why they were there. The answers weren't all that surprising to me.

A guy waiting to get at his safety deposit box, in my Panamanian bank, told me he retired to Panama at age 58 because he could. He could never, he said, do that in the United States. Was he happy with his decision? Yes.

There are a lot of people like him, younger than 65, living on peanuts (actually oranges and bananas and mangoes and pineapple and great Panamanian beef) and having fun. They no longer have to pay exorbitant rents, extortive property taxes, and heating and other utility costs.

Some people are there because they like the ecology and the diversity of flora and fauna. Nowhere in the country are you ever more than a couple of hours from either the Pacific Ocean or the Caribbean Sea, or both. Pristine jungle areas are available for exploration. Scuba diving and snorkeling is available everywhere. Got a boat? Anchors aweigh!

How about the political climate? Pretty darn stable, and the Panamanian government is probably much less likely to step on more of your rights than the bandits at home, wherever that might be. The economy? Booming along at 6% or 7% annual growth or more.

Is the economy likely to keep growing? According to a market research expert I met at breakfast at the Hotel El Panama in 2006, yes. He was in the country doing research for an international insurance company. His recommendation? Jump in. Above average growth is expected in Panama for years to come, according to his research.

Worried about currency depreciation? You should be. It is increasingly an international world, and currencies fluctuate in value against each other all the time. What will happen if the Panamanian currency declines? After all, devaluation and hyperinflation are all too common in Central and South America. The Panamanian currency will indeed fall against the Euro and the Yen and the Deutschmark and other strong currencies, but only because it is pegged one-to-one with the American dollar which I think is doomed. That's what you carry in your jeans, in Panama -- greenbacks. What you get back in change is usually a combination of American coins and their Panamanian equivalents. They are interchangeable. The advantage of all this is that if you get an American pension or other American income, it is always going to get you by in Panama even if it is worthless against other currencies.

I am not planning on moving to Panama full time myself. I have too much going on in Canada and would have too many things to unwind. I will, however, invest there, have a second home there for when I visit, and have friends there.

Panama is worth a look. It's worth a look simply because it is beautiful, friendly, cheap and accessible, much like an ideal date or mate.

-Story courtesy of Best Places In The World To Retire. To see more stories like this, copy this into your web browser: www.bestplacesintheworldtoretire.com
 
Date of Posting: 31 October 2013
Posted By: Sieg Pedde
Many people have this idea that Panama is a backward place with grinding poverty, poor infrastructure, political instability and lots of risk for investors. In fact, while there is poverty there in relative terms, the people are happy, relaxed, friendly and open.

Much of the country is pretty much like parts of California or the American south, and was so, long before swarms of gringos arrived at the start of the current economic boom.

What is happening in Panama is truly amazing. The entire country is a beehive of activity. Billions of dollars are pouring into the country and those dollars are being spent on projects of every description. The increased tax revenues to the Panamanian government allow for dramatic improvements to infrastructure. In much of Panama, there is low unemployment and everyone who wants to work is working. Panamanians are industrious and quite entrepreneurial, so this generation is going to benefit significantly. The next generation will benefit beyond what we can imagine. All this while some other Central and South American countries are moving sideways or backwards and the so-called 'first world' is approaching bankruptcy. The difference is entirely due to the infusion of capital because of the welcome given to capitalists and their money and the fact that so many individuals are 'getting out of Dodge' in North America because they are tired of being taxed to death or manipulated by over-bearing governments.

One of the things I like in Panama is that everyone is treated the same. There is no racial tension, at least not that I have seen. Blacks and whites and Hispanics and orientals all mix and live together and treat each other with respect. I'm sure that if Martians or Vulcans showed up in Panama some day, they would get a few curious glances for a day or two, then become part of the general milieu in no time.

Panama is worth exploring for anyone who is looking to move abroad, whatever the reason.

-Story courtesy of Best Places In The World To Retire. To see more stories like this, copy this into your web browser: www.bestplacesintheworldtoretire.com
 
Date of Posting: 31 October 2013
Posted By: Sieg Pedde
Panamá is a charming city. Bordering the warm Pacific Ocean and at only an hour and a half from Colón on the Atlantic Ocean on the northern side, the breeze embracing your body is one of the most comforting things you can experience, day or night.

If you add the biggest park in the city to your neighborhood, San Francisco is blessed to have an oasis, where you can go from 4 AM to 10 PM to do exercises like yoga, tai-chi, sports, walking, jogging, running; whatever you feel like to take stress out. In addition the park has a nice place where you can enjoy musical events, like ballet, musicals or international presentations, especially in the summertime (December through April).

With a free gym, a public library, seniors groups that enjoy field trips to different places, a big swimming pool, and on a 42 acres (very similar to Central Park in NY), the park has well taken care of grass and old trees like Guayacanes, blooming especially in the month of March.

Located in an upper class neighborhood, the park is the center for all events, long walks, children's fairs, Christmas season village, natural fruits shakes,vegetables and fruit markets at lower prices, and much more, offering a safe place to go, bring your children, and enjoy life.

-Story courtesy of Best Places In The World To Retire. To see more stories like this, copy this into your web browser: www.bestplacesintheworldtoretire.com
 
Date of Posting: 31 October 2013
Posted By: Lourdes Townshend
Biodiversity in Panamá is well known worldwide. Case in point: Panamá's prime humid forests, especially in Darién, with one of the oldest jungle areas, as well as Gamboa, Chiriquí and Bocas del Toro. Rainforest tours are very popular, and many adventure tour operators offer them, in combination with bird watching.

But there is a place, almost unknown to visitors and foreigners, called the Summit Botanical Park, situated 30 minutes from the city, with an area of 620 acres, over 15,000 exotic plants, and close to 300 animals of all kinds.

It started 90 years ago as an experimental farm summit for tropical and sub-tropical plants, including Panamánian species. There you can see jaguars, monkeys, iguanas and all kinds of animals. But the most important is the Harpy Eagle, Panamá's national bird, which has a magnificent sanctuary open to the public.

Entrance is extremely inexpensive, around $2 for adults, and worth a visit.

If you like, you can have a family picnic, and spend all day enjoying the quiet and the beautiful plants. You can also extend your visit to Gamboa, a former military base with a beautiful rainforest and a nice resort that offers boat and other tours to see butterflies, snakes, and monkeys, etc. And the hotel itself is a peaceful and graceful place.

- See more at: www.bestplacesintheworldtoretire.com-Story courtesy of Best Places In The World To Retire. To see more stories like this, copy this into your web browser: www.bestplacesintheworldtoretire.com
 
Date of Posting: 31 October 2013
Posted By: Lourdes Townshend

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