Welcome to Panama

So Why Panama?
Panama is such an amazing country and surprises everyone who visits. I joke with our friends that if they are planning on coming to Panama be prepared to be overwhelmed.

So Why Panama? Is there a reason - No, There are several reasons -- the opportunities are plentiful, albeit the prices are going up.

We have really taken to the Caribbean coast as it offers so much nicer water and beaches.

Costa del Este
Panama City, Panama
They Need Your Love
They Need Your Love - animal shelter in Arraijan near Panama City. Hundreds of dogs and cats that have been rescued from a life on the streets, starving, hurt, and unloved.

We have set up a web site to help.

You can Adopt a Pet no matter where you are in the world. For as little as $15 per month you can help make the life so much better for one dog or cat.

Donate Now

The 2012 Spay Panama calendar is now available and it's their best ever! Both Panamanian AND U.S. holidays are labeled. The pictures featured are all of formerly homeless dogs and cats that were neutered and lucky enough to have been adopted. All proceeds go to support the wonderful efforts of Spay Panama to control the overpopulation of unwanted pets. Since its inception in 2002, Spay Panama has sterilized over 24,000 animals! The yearly calendar is their main fundraising tool and they really need your support. Like most other non-profit organizations, Spay Panama has seen a severe drop in donations due to the economy.

So, by purchasing a calendar you get something truly useful and you help out a great cause at the same time! The price is a ridiculously low $7.00 and the calendars can be found at: the U.S. Embassy, Excedra Books, Balboa Dental Clinic, Los Angeles de los Animales (cell 6781-2641) or Mailboxes, ETC in Coronado

Pat Chan


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Since we moved to Panama in 2006 every time we tell one of our friends that we moved to the Republic of Panama, the first question is always "Why Panama". So we decided to build a web site to help them understand how simple the decision to choose Panama really was to us. We have included some links to other sites and to articles we think might help understand Panama. This  is  by no means exhaustive, so be sure to move through the suggested sites and explore the links and resources they suggest to ensure  you get as much information as possible.

News and events


The rains have arrived all over Panama including Panama City. It is really unusual that even in the rainy season we have rain in the morning but this week we've had a couple of days of rainy mornings. We were both wondering if this is a foreboding for the rest of the rainy season? Here is a picture Donna took out of our window last week. Amazing that the clouds covered the towers - some of these buildings are 72 stories.

The last couple of weeks have been very busy - we had our partner from Vancouver in town, we've been out to Gastronomica at Atlapa, we drove out to Playa Blanca to see a new condo we have rented for some weekends, and we went to an event put on by United Airlines.

Donna starts her traveling again after a few months of being at home. She'll be seeing Columbia, South Africa and Spain in the next couple of months. Cricket and I will miss her for sure but I am thankful we had a number of months with no travel.

Moving to Panama is not for everyone. I've said this so many times to people during the past 8 years. There is a lot to love - but there are lots of things that I would doubt almost everyone considering Panama never consider. Chris Powers wrote a recent article in his www.panamaforreal.com titled 15 Tips to Mentally Prepare You for Life in Panama (I had to chuckle as his original title was 10 Tips to Mentally Prepare You for Life in Panama - seems he thought of more reasons when he finished the article).

I hear from a number of want to be expats asking about the cost of living, the opportunities for employment, the weather, the culture, the language and how safe we feel. We answer all of these as honestly as we can. Like Chris our answer has evolved over the past 8 years. The first year was a mixture of culture shock, honeymoon, thrills, and concerns. Some of our expat friends adapted differently - some want to assimilate into the culture getting to know the locals, eat and socialize like the locals - others want to fly very low under the radar and just enjoy their new life. Neither answer is right or wrong - they are the choices each need to make. Some of the choices will be driven by budgets, location and personality. If living frugally is a necessity then it is more likely the choice will be to assimilate as the cost of living locally is much less than living closer to North American lifestyle.

One thing that crops up often is how different it is when you need to purchase something for the home or office. Just this past week our car camera died and I was looking around for a bicycle. I am sure the car camera could be sourced in Panama but for 55 Amazon will deliver to Miami and Mail Boxes Etc will bring to Costa del Este with no tax or duty - just freight. All within 4 days. No running around trying to find a store that might have the same type of camera. The bicycle I thought I would simply look on line - like Craigs list or some other used goods site. I found one in the interior but it was 3 yrs old and they wanted 2.5 times what a new one in the USA would cost and it was one of the least expensive ones I could find. I will visit some local stores before I make my final decision as shipping something that size would be more expensive and over 100 it would be subject to tax and duty - like 15%.


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When it comes to car parts or electronics we almost always look outside Panama - the savings are just too attractive. My question is - who is causing the price difference, the manufacturer, the distributor, the retail store??

One of the lifestyle changes in Panama was the decision to not wear a suit. For the most part I've been able to keep to that rule - but we Donna was invited to an event by United Airlines last week when Ted was in town and the invite said "business suit" so both of us dug out a suit and had them cleaned. Here is picture you won't see often on this site.

We went to Gastronomica 2014 a couple of weeks ago - http://panamagastronomica.com/. I always look forward to it as it has given me a chance to wander through the "wine route". Essentially this is a chance to sample a number of different wines that I wouldn't know enough about to buy a bottle. In the past the samples were either free or $2 - this time they were a full glass and ranged up to $12 - way too much wine per sample and way too much cost in my opinion. I still found an interesting new wine from Chile - a blend called Principal.

The other interesting find was a new beer being brewed here in Panama called 507 - very clever - not likely anyone in Panama will ever forget its name as it is the country code for Panama. The beer is labeled a "red" and it is but not as red as the one I used to drink in Alberta - Rickers Red but still a really nice beer. Up to now my favorite Panama beer has always been was Panama. I think when I can I will choose 507. When we went to a local restaurant last week I asked the waiter if they offered 507 - he frowned and said "no sorry" and when I said too bad as is really nice he was very happy to say "yes, I enjoy it too". I was pleased to find it being sold in Riba and have added it to the beer choices in our fridge. So far a few people we've introduced it to have enjoyed it.

If you are considering Panama - do your homework - I've mentioned it before but it is worth repeating - there is a lot of information available from a number of sites - check them out - ask questions - we love Panama but I understand it is not for everyone and it is a very diverse country.

If you want, write us if you have questions - we love to help.

Check out our site - we listed People and Services we have found we trust - we also have contacts for even a great handyman - Juan

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Donna started iCanGarden.com and now almost 18 years later it has become Canada's largest Internet gardening resource site. Several thousand people visit her site every day. Spend some time looking over the thousands of pictures of gardens from all over the world.

We are so proud of the TV special just aired by Recreating Eden - entitled "the Gardening Tourist".

Donna recently changed the look of the site - - if you enjoy it - let her know - I am really proud of her.


In 2006 Donna started a site dedicated exclusively to her garden tours.

For more than 8 years she has been hosting groups of gardeners to gardens all over the world.

Donna has some incredible garden tours lined up for 2013 and 2014 - her 2012 tours were all either fully booked or over booked. China 2013 is already closed as it is full. 


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