I know I haven’t posted much lately, but I have several items consuming my time. However, I have had some time to observe several Yahoo groups and the Internet conversations about the frustration of the new immigration laws that Panama is enforcing.
For those considering retiring in Panama, this should have no major ill effect. I still maintain you should live here, as you would if you were a permanent resident, for a minimum of 6 months, prior to deciding to move here.
You should use that time for a test run to allow experiencing both the rainy and the dry seasons. That is not hard to do, but it does require effort. You should keep in mind that some locations have extra risks during the rainy season , such as bridge outages or land slides.
During that time you need to do a real due diligence to see if Panama is right for you.
I suggest several items for your due diligence.
- Observe the climate. Probably the most enticing reason to move to Panama is the weather. I consider it the only reason that would motivate me to move here after 14 years of experience.
- Visit the appropriate medical facilities. Check out doctors you might use. Visit the Regional Hospital emergency and watch the traffic. Determine how you would cover a serious illness or accident. Understand how you will pay for an unplanned medical event. If you have moderate to serious medical conditions, think hard before making a move here.
- Watch the local Panama TV news. Even if you don’t understand Spanish, you will learn a lot. This should be a daily event while you are here.
- Plan on learning Spanish, if you don’t speak it. It will be needed, if you are rushed to the Regional Hospital for an unplanned medical emergency.
- Determine how you will manage your finances. Many Panama banks no longer allow US citizens to open an account. To withdraw $500 from an ATM will typically cost you over $5+, if the account is not from a bank in Panama.
- Determine the cost and availability of reliable Internet. TV and Internet can be costly, if you don’t live in a good area. Most programing will be in Spanish. Service, both technical and account, can be a challenge, if you don’t speak Spanish.
- Verify the cost of living in Panama. It is not cheap. Granted, it is cheap compared to Costa Rica and safer than most of the other Latin American countries, but cheap, it is not.
- Verify your tolerance to rapid changes. What was the rule last week may not be the rule next week. Don’t like protests blocking you ability to get to medical services, well expect it in Panama and plan for it.
- While government officials will tell you that crime is on the down tick, locals will tell you it is higher than in the past. I have seen it change a lot in the last 14 years I have been here. Watching the local news will educate you.
Continue this list with other items that are important to you. Continue reading Observations – Regarding Moving To Panama