Considering Panama for Retirement? Part Four

Considering Panama for Retirement I have been busy lately and haven’t written much. It made me think of another topic related to the “Retiring in Panama” topic. Let’s consider this post to be on Entertainment.

If you think Panama is in your retirement future, one of the big things you will have to have thought about is how you are going to spend your time. Boredom and Panama can be a bad combination.

I have several activities that keep me busy and possibly out of trouble. Being a Warden for the U.S. Embassy in panama City, fills in many times that might otherwise have been idle. In the last few months there have been several U.S. citizens in Hospitals in David that I have visited. One is in the Regional hospital.

Chiriquí Chatter also gives me an outlet and you can consider blogging. If you move here, and hate it or love it, then your story and experiences may be of value and interest to others. Through my blog, I have met many interesting people and it has become an important part of my life.

What interests you and what will your entertainment needs be?

The Internet has almost become a necessity in everyone’s lives. I could not live without it. I use it to blog, for email, for movies and TV programs that are only available in the U.S., with MagicJack for calls to the U.S. and Canada, for faxing documents, for receiving tax documents, and researching anything that is of interest to me.

If you move to Panama, then a good Internet connecting is not a given. Since I live in David, I have access to Cable Onda and Cable and Wireless. Both provide excellent speed at a reasonable price. Even living in a city like David does not guarantee good Internet. Sometimes as little as a block may make a difference in having a provider or not. Both of these providers are not available in all of David.

If you live in Chiriquí, but not in David, then your options may be more limited. Some places in Boquete have C&W and Cable Onda. I think Volcan has some C&W locations. Other than that, you may have to resort to a wireless provider. The ones I know about are InterActivo, MobilePhone and Planet Telecom.

Any site that has to use a wireless connection will pay more for their Internet access. Of the people I know that use wireless, the Planet Telecom clients are the most satisfied.

I watch a fair amount of television. Sports, news and movies are my main viewing choices. As I said, I live in David and for me Cable Onda is my best choice. I use it for Internet, local landline phone as well as cable TV. In David, you can also use C&W and AstroVision as TV providers.

If you are outside of the wired areas you will have to depend on a small satellite dish system. In Panama you will have a choice of SkyTv, Claro and there may be a few others. These types of systems are susceptible to outages during hard rains. I assume you know that rain is a part of life in Panama and therefore these systems do have outages.

For movies, I have a choice of two theater locations in David. Both are the multi-theater models and these have 6 viewing areas. Movies in Panama are usually in English with Spanish subtitles. Most children movies will be dubbed in Spanish and sometimes an adult movie will be dubbed in Spanish. You always have to check the movie to see if it will be provided in your chosen language. I watch man movies using Amazon Prime over the Internet.

There are also still a fair number of DVD rental places. There is a BlockBuster in David. You need to remember that DVDs in Panama are Region 4. A U.S. DVD player is set up for Region 1. If you have some U.S. DVDs, then you may want to buy a new player here that is set up to play both region 1 and 4. I have not seen any multi-region Blu-ray players.

Areas like Boquete and Volcan create some of their own entertainment. Boquete has their Tuesday morning events, bridge groups, Boquete Community Players that puts on plays, and other expat groups. Volcan does some of the same.

If you like hiking then you will have plenty options. Divers will find several place to experience. Deep sea fishing is available. If you are a golfer, there is not a lot of options in Chiriquí. I understand there are two courses in Boquete and I don’t know the requirements to play there. Maybe others will comment is there are others.

If you are addicted to shopping, then David may satisfy your needs and if not, it will require a trip to Panama City.

I easily adjusted to Panama and my entertainment needs are more than satisfied. Hopefully this will force those thinking about retiring to Panama to consider how they are going to spend their time. If you don’t think about it now, you will regret it later.

9 thoughts on “Considering Panama for Retirement? Part Four

  1. you can also volunteer in a local school and go and help out with loads of activities there , kinder , prekinder , playing with the youngest or helping with the english teacher .It is very rewarding, especially when after a while kids start calling you maestra abuelita …

  2. for Marijke, we have 4 grandkids, Nena and I are called, “‘Buelo and ‘Buela”. It is so funny to hear ” ‘Buelo, watcha doing, ‘Buelo?” haha

    for Don Ray, I have noticed that your English is much improved after attending those classes! :-)

    jim and nena
    fort worth, tx

  3. Hi DR – thanks for your insights on living in Panama and more specifically in Chiriqui. Just wanted to pass along a tip about DVD region codes – there are fixes available online to re-program the DVD player to accept multiple regions. We have purchased 2 players here in David, both of them touted as being for region 1 & 4, but were not. Easy search, easy fix.

  4. I only come to Panama temporarely to help out in a school in Paso Ancho , bringing loads of material , uniforms and educational material mainly , but also clothes for the poorest families …. I play a monkey organ in the streets of france to be able to afford these travels , and I enjoy every minute of my stay … hopefully will be able to come again next year .

  5. One of the teachers in the school let me know that she s renting out quartos in her house [ rooms] and also an appartment … she told me she asks 80 dollars a month for the rooms … in the shadow of the Volcan Baru in Paso Ancho. I am going to have a look later and take some pictures . If you are looking for cheap rental this might be it , as she is a very nice lady .

  6. I agree with Don’s entertainment assessment. I started reading his assessments with Part 4 and so, hopefully, my understanding of entertainment agrees with his. I’ve lived in Chiriqui (Boquete) since December 2010. Much of my entertainment resources come from the Internet and TV. My family and I also attend the movies on occasion and go out to eat, to the park, to the beach or just exploring. I’m also heavily involved in photography and have dozens of photo projects on my “to do” list. Candidly, I have not experienced one boring day since I moved here. For me, the days are too short. I go to bed because I have to (smile). I’ve connected socially with many of my expat buds as well as many, many Panamanians. Had I remained in the Dallas, Texas area when I entered “retirement” (not sure yet what that word means), I honestly believe I would now be bored out of my mind, trying to fill it with mindless activities.

    If you’re an independent kind of person, able to manage your entertainment expectations, then you’ll likely do well in the entertainment department here in Panama. However, if you’ve been here in Panama awhile and you’re constantly thinking about the entertainment you’re missing “back home” and not embracing and enjoying the entertainment in front of you…then Panama might not be your retirement paradise.

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