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


Description: Description: Description: cid:image006.png@01CD497D.59D40820‘Like’ on FACEBOOK! www.facebook.com/GardeningTours



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


We hope you had a great Christmas and New Years Eve and we wish a 2015 for you that fills all your hopes and aspirations.

We had a quiet Christmas home - it was our first Christmas without Cricket - it was a bit odd. New Years was fun. We drove to Boquete to visit friends who moved there a year ago. We wanted to see their place and revisit Boquete. It is easy to see why so many expats decided to move there versus other locations in Panama as it offers many attractive things. It is so much cooler than anywhere else. You can feel the change in temperature driving up the hill from David. The number of expats make it attractive too as there is very little need to assimilate into the culture or language. If you are a gardener like Donna you have to fall in love with the area. To me the downside is the climate. It is so cool and so much moisture. I am a warm climate person - I just found it difficult. My early morning runs were almost cold.

We did enjoy the market and all of its crafts and foods as well as a really nice meal out at the Panamonte Hotel. I think I would find the numerous power outages, the lack of diversity offered by the city and the inconvenience of the airport to be a challenge over the long haul. Much like living in Bocas. I know I would enjoy it for some time but it too would be a challenge over time. This is why I always tell people looking to move to Panama to really consider what kind of person they are - do they crave entertainment or seclusion, do they love heat or cool - do they want beaches or mountains, do they want to assimilate into the culture or spend time with other expats with similar beliefs.

The trip to Boquete was also a bit of a challenge. From Panama City to Santiago was without incident. From Santiago to David was painful. There was so much construction. They are twining the road and when it is done I am sure it will be a real boon but now, it is horrible. When we drove back in January 1st it was not quite so bad as there was no traffic. I am sure we will return to visit Boquete but I am amazed how many people we know that drive this route often.

It is nice to be finally into the dry season - I know Donna prefers the moisture as it keeps everything so green but I prefer the dry and the breezes. The mornings and the nights are so nice - it reminds me why we moved here in the first place.

more news >>


I am not positive 2015 will bring many more changes in Panama and in our area Costa del Este. We walked by  the construction site of the new mall and within a couple of years it will be finished. Around the country there are many new things that will be brought to fruition in 2015 and 2016. The new airport at Tocumen, the new 2nd stage of the metro line, the new 4th bridge over the canal, the new 3rd lane of the canal, as well as numerous new projects like the wind farm near Penome. All of these changes will change the complexion of Panama. I hope some of these help change the attitude of Panama toward tourism. On the flip side all of these changes mean Panama will also be more costly.

Panama keeps cropping up on lists of the best places to retire around the world. The latest list showed Panama as #2 behind Ecuador. The worrisome part for me is that there are so many factors that need to be considered when choosing a new place to live and retire. These articles tend to focus on only a few of such items like cost of living or ease of residency papers.   

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. I want them to have seen the beaches, the two oceans, mountains and the city.

Before you chose any new home make sure you've visited, spent time and tried to get a feel for what the area is really like. To often people visit on a vacation, fall in love with an area and then decide to move. Visiting and living are two very different things in any country. We vacationed in Mexico for over 20 years and we loved it. We enjoyed the food, the people, the weather but when it came time to make a final decision on a move we did not choose Mexico we chose Panama. Why - well it turned out several things. First at our core we are city people and Mexico has few real cities. Second, we wanted some place where the weather was predictable and Mexico has too many hurricanes and bad weather - Panama might be hot and humid but very predictable. Third, it turns out for Canadians, the tax laws are so much better. Finally when we looked closely at the retirement visa options we found that Panama had the best options available and they have even improved with the friendly nation visa.

Still the advice is the same - do your homework or ask more questions.

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

more news >>


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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