It looks like everyone is starting to realize that life in Paradise is changing if you were a border hopper.
I have seen a few say that they wouldn’t be hopping if they could get fingerprints. My advice is has never changed since I first came here.
First don’t consider moving here until you have lived here 6 months allowing experience in both the rainy and the dry season. Spend that time doing your research to see if Panama is for you. Talk to the doctors you think you would use if you were to actually live here.
Visit the hospitals and even spend a few minutes watching people enter the Regional Hospital emergency area. (That is where you will be taken if something serious happens to you unless you are lucky and can convince them to take you some where else.) Most critical accidents go there unconditionally.
Find a lawyer you trust to do your paperwork if you plan to return. Make sure you understand ALL documentation you need to get to begin the pensionado process. I know of at least 10 people who started the process and spent $1,500 to $3,000 either to have the lawyer disappear or to have Panama fingerprints not accepted by the FBI or to have the FBI lose the finger prints and then having to start the process again.
If you are here and say you can’t afford to return to the US to get the FBI report, then I will tell you that you cannot afford to live in Panama. You don’t move to Panama because it is cheap. It is not.
You move to Panama for the adventure of something different and for the weather. I don’t think there is better weather anywhere than here. However, it can be offset with cultural changes, annoyances, etc. Try it first. Panama is not for everyone.
This week, I had a Embassy case of another border runner who lived in a hotel in David. He died in Hospital Regional. The Embassy was finally able to contact family in the US and they said they could not or would not be responsible for his expenses.
The Embassy asked me to go to the hotel and get his belonging to see if there was anything of value that might help offset his debts.
Lilliam and I went and picked up 3 three suitcases. The contents contained old clothing not suitable for a tropical climate. No water, no passport no electronic good. Nothing of value. The best suitcase has a zipper that looked like it had been attempted to open ruining the suitcase.
Strange, there were no current clothing. It was if the gods had removed anything of value prior to my arriving at the hotel.
I think many would be amazed how many gringos are living in hotels or pensions or in marginal living conditions. I have run into many of their families when they have come to Panama to claim the body, or worse to identify the body via passport if the families would not come.
As I said, in the previous post, ending the perpetual tourist is a good thing for Panama. It removes an expense from Panama as opposed to losing tourist income.
As a side note, many living on boats around Panama need to take heed also.