Single Lady retiring to Panama

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#1 25 February 2013 15:58:17

PattiH
PattiH
Michigan

Single Lady retiring to Panama

Hi, All
New to this blog and looking for information.  Are there any other Single ladies looking to retire to Panama?  From all I've read I realize this most likely a huge minority.  However, If I'm doing it I have to believe there are others.. well.. at least considering it.  Would love to hear from you.
I'm ok with traveling alone and an adventurer.  I'm on a very small retirement and believe I could live better in certain parts of Panama.. not Panama City.  I have no health issues and would like to live somewhere I can ditch the car.  Anyway.. I might be looking for Nirvana but.... ya gotta look or ya never find it!

#2 25 February 2013 16:02:39

AuntieFlo
AuntieFlo
Sibenik

Re: Single Lady retiring to Panama

There are other single woman living in Panama.  What you can afford to spend a month will determine the city where you will end up.  With no health issues that really opens up the possibilities. 

You don't need a car in some areas and with taxis being so easy to get in some areas its not a problem. 

So what is your budget and have you ever been to Panama?

PattiH wrote:

Hi, All
New to this blog and looking for information.  Are there any other Single ladies looking to retire to Panama?  From all I've read I realize this most likely a huge minority.  However, If I'm doing it I have to believe there are others.. well.. at least considering it.  Would love to hear from you.
I'm ok with traveling alone and an adventurer.  I'm on a very small retirement and believe I could live better in certain parts of Panama.. not Panama City.  I have no health issues and would like to live somewhere I can ditch the car.  Anyway.. I might be looking for Nirvana but.... ya gotta look or ya never find it!

#3 25 February 2013 16:14:44

PattiH
PattiH
Michigan

Re: Single Lady retiring to Panama

Auntie Flo
Thanks for the response.  I think that is the most positive reply I've had.  It is possible!
My budget will be around $1,000 per month.  It would be wonderful to find a travelmate (male or female) to share costs and experiences.  I'm not looking for "love", although if it happened I wouldn't be opposed... which seems to be the first thought of male expats.  My entire goal is to live better on what I have and stay healthy and enjoy the years I have remaining.  And, I love your attitude.  The eternal traveler...
I want warm, healthy and quality.

#4 25 February 2013 16:17:38

PattiH
PattiH
Michigan

Re: Single Lady retiring to Panama

oops.... ps.  I've never been to Panama but my plan is to spend 6 weeks there in Sept/Oct.  What is your opinion of "relocation tours"?

#5 25 February 2013 17:08:21

AuntieFlo
AuntieFlo
Sibenik

Re: Single Lady retiring to Panama

PattiH,

Never in a million years would I recommend one of those relocation tours. They do not tell people the truth about life in Panama and they have something to sell.  There is a lot of property for sale all over Panama by those who came on those tours, were sold a pipedream of Paradise here in Panama, who then came, invested, realized the truth and then left.  At least four new properties go on sale in Boquete alone every week. 

So save your money and come on your own.  Panama is a beautiful country and it should be explored, but explored honestly.

If you come and are not comfortable traveling around the country on your own then how comfortable will you be living here?  What you need is a planned trip outline and contacts in each location or at least someone to connect with.

We lived on less than $800 a month (that was rent, all utilities, internet and TV and then food), so I know it's doable.  It's not luxury living, it is how the locals live.  We had no car and used taxis to get everywhere.  We walked instead of having a bike.  We lived next to locals (yes behind gated walls but most locals live that way as well).  And you need to know Spanish.  You cannot live in Panama and have no spanish.  There are pockets where the expats live so far in the shadows that you won't even know they are there and they have almost nothing to do with the community at large.  They are there, many who have been in the country over 10 years, but they stay hidden.

I also suggest that you live 6 months in the country before deciding on Panama being the place for you.  You can learn a lot about a place in six months. 

What part of Panama are you interested in?  That will help those on here who live in Panama or who have contacts in helping you get the information you need.

Don't know about the single scene as an expat, sorry.  I do know many Panamaian woman look for an American male to hook up with since they tend to have more money than a Panamanian guy so competition is there.

#6 25 February 2013 17:35:09

PattiH
PattiH
Michigan

Re: Single Lady retiring to Panama

Awesome information.
Again... I'm not looking for a guy... so should be just fine with the "competition".  It is very much the same here in the states.  Guys who are "age appropriate" for me are looking for younger women.  Just a fact of life.
I think you just confirmed what I've been thinking about the "tours".  So then, how would you suggest I go about setting up an itinerary for 6 weeks... maybe 2 months.... in a place I don't know?  Making local contacts?  other than I'm doing by joining blogs and forums...  Can you point me to resources?  I've got a map and I've been studying it.  I also know some Spanish (lived in So Cal for 20 years) and am enrolled in a Spanish class starting next month.  So.. working on that one.
Based on my reading.. I'm looking at Las Tablas area or outlying areas of Boquette.  It appears that the cost of living is rather high in Boquette itself.  Do you have suggestions regarding locale that would fit in my budget?  I really am not locked into a specific place.  My requirements are lots of walking, low cost of living, healthy eating and maybe opportunity to form friendships.  Anything else a bus or taxi gets you there.
Thanks so much... you are a wealth of information.  When I have been in Panama for a few years I will pay it forward and help others.

#7 25 February 2013 18:07:09

AuntieFlo
AuntieFlo
Sibenik

Re: Single Lady retiring to Panama

Okay so one month in both Las Tablas (a cute little town I liked) and Boquete (the town we lived in).  You can live in Boquete on $1000 a month (or less) so don't count it out.  Others who live in the lowlands actually pay for air conditioning so the rent might be cheaper but the utilites won't be included.  So it really depends on how hot you can stand it I guess.

So what you need is contacts to get you started.  We saw a wonderful one bedroom place, high in the hills advertised on boquete.ning.com/group/rental - if you are not scouring this site check it out. There are also places cropping up on craigslist to rent, there is boqueteforsale.com, viviun.com, and a ton of others.  At the Tuesday market you can meet many of the expats, but not all of them.

And when you have dates for when you will be going to each place I'll send you the email of friends of ours who are still in Boquete.  Maybe you guys can connect for drinks or something.  Good to have contacts in strange places who are reliable and friendly!

Go to Trip Advisor and ask your question about renting a place in Las Tables and in Boquete for one month each and see what links others give you (I'm on TA as well).  I don't have lots of contacts in Las Tables except for Tedd Tennis at Panama Equity Real Estate.  We met him in 2011 - nice young American expat who moved to Panama so that he could spend his free time surfing!  Nice kid.  He might have leads for you on places to rent fully furnished.

Excellent about the learning of Spanish. You will be ahead of many of the expats who go to Panama, many of whom don't know how to hail a taxi or even to tell the driver where they want to go.  BTW - it's common for taxi's to 'load their car' so to speak so they make as much money as possible.  We used to cram 4 people into a taxi and its just common.  We only paid .60 a person to go from Alto Boquete into the town square so I'm okay with sharing a ride. And you don't tip the taxi drivers.  You tip grocery clerks (the young kids who will load your bags - this is a very common thing in all of Latin America) so when ready ask about tipping ratios and stuff.

I will also send you other blog posts to read and to help you answer questions you are going to have (when you are ready).

:) - like the pay it forward reference.  That's all I ask.

Best,

Florence

PattiH wrote:

Thanks so much... you are a wealth of information.  When I have been in Panama for a few years I will pay it forward and help others.

#8 27 February 2013 14:55:08

Nystp

Re: Single Lady retiring to Panama

PattiH,
i could have written your original letter myself!!  We share much.  I am a single, retired, female (not interested in hooking up with a man but desirous of finding a community of like minded supportive people).  I'm looking to retire in Panama in the not so distant future.  I spent the month of January on the Azuero.  This reinforced my desire to move there but opened my eyes to some of the realities - - like I better get cracking on learning Spanish!  Particularly in an area like the Azuero, English speakers are few and far between.  If you are going to Las Tablas I would recommend your checking out Ponchalos Restaurant which is near the bus station.  The owner has a good handle on who's there and what's going on in the area.

I have followed this forum for a long time but this is the first time I have joined the conversation...  Would love to keep in touch so we could compare notes.
Nystp

#9 27 February 2013 16:19:23

PattiH
PattiH
Michigan

Re: Single Lady retiring to Panama

Awesome!  I am on several forums/blogs myself and yours is the first response I've had as well.  The thing is.... I am not that unique and I have to believe if I am doing this there must be other single retired or soon to be retired women out there who are at least considering it.
You are ahead of me in the process.  I have not yet visited Panama but plan to do so this fall.  If I can swing it I want to stay 2 months.  Would you mind sharing where you stayed and how you arranged housing?  i.e. online, when you got there, did you have previous contacts on the ground, etc?
AND I am currently enrolled in a Spanish class.  I lived 25 years in the So. Cal area so have survival Spanish. 
Thanks for the tips and lets stay in touch.

#10 01 March 2013 20:55:14

jjhexpat87
jjhexpat87
Scottsdale AZ

Re: Single Lady retiring to Panama

Hello PattiH,
I was reading your exchange with AuntieFlo and recalled similar input that she shared with me back a few weeks ago...it has proven to be very fruitful. Boquete.ning.com has been great for me in general...there are some atractivly priced apt listings on there now. I found my apt in the $400 arena at viviun.com.

I will be accelerating my learning curve in the Boquete and David districts from APR thru JUN 2013. If you would consider it of value I would be happy to share any pertinent discoveries with you as I go along...and/or research first hand anything particularly of interest to you...after all it can only enhance my learning experience.

I will be relocating to Panama in the fall 2013 and probably to this area.

Last edited by jjhexpat87 (01 March 2013 21:40:39)

#11 01 March 2013 22:19:52

PattiH
PattiH
Michigan

Re: Single Lady retiring to Panama

Thanks, John
I will not be undertaking my discovery journey until September so you should be state side by then with lots to share.  I look forward to it.  How you liked your accommodations.  What areas you visited, etc.  Any other pointers you can give me.
I will share whatever I come with as well.  I am very interested in the Las Tablas area so let me know if that area is on your itinerary.
Who knows... we might just meet up somewhere in Panama sometime.

Patti

ps.... Flo seems to always make incredible common sense...

#12 01 March 2013 22:28:16

Nystp

Re: Single Lady retiring to Panama

I just realized I never answered this on the site, just in a private message.  During my recent visit, I stayed at the Casa del Puerto (panamacasadelpuerto.com) in Guarare - just a few miles before Las Tablas on the bus route from Panama City.  Rent was VERY reasonable, and the hostess, Bonnie Birker, was a wealth of information regarding the Azuero.

I don't know about you, but I find a real slant for all  information on all the web forums toward Boquete.  Panama James and Auntie Flo, I I really appreciate the answers you have given on the various forums I follow.  You are both respectful and helpful to people investigating their potential move to Panama but almost all answers trend back to Boquete being the best, maybe the only place, an expat should consider.  For some of us, Boquete is the last place we would consider...  I happen to love the ocean; love the possibility of living among the people of Panama, not in a gated community, or a community made up exclusively of expats. Living in an area with less rainfall, less mold; a lower cost of living, and respect for the heritage of Panama and Panamanians, is the place I would prefer to be.

I visited for the month of January.  Now realize I need to get serious about learning Spanish if I am to have a successful move to the Azuero.  It's one thing to be able to ask a question, another thing to be able to understand the answer!!

#13 01 March 2013 22:55:10

PattiH
PattiH
Michigan

Re: Single Lady retiring to Panama

Nystp
I did check that place out and like what I saw.  I shot off an email to Bonnie and am waiting to hear back.  I'm hoping to stay there when I am in country in September.  And your information on getting from the airport to the Las Tablas area was helpful.  Others might find it helpful as well.
Let us know how your "get serious" progresses.
Thanks and stay in touch.

Patti

#14 02 March 2013 00:52:28

AuntieFlo
AuntieFlo
Sibenik

Re: Single Lady retiring to Panama

@Nystp – sorry for the slant towards Boquete.  I guess I write on so many sites I forget where I said what.  But on so many sites I talk about Las Tablas and even Bocas.  The reason so many pick Boquete is because of the cooler weather.  I was born in Buffalo, NY and I hate humidity, so living in Panama where it was cooler was our only goal.  We never lived in a gated expat community.  We lived among and with the locals and we had almost nothing to do with the expats who are there.   So thanks for the words and I’ll try to watch my ‘slant’ from now on. :)

@PattiH – thanks! :) 

@jjhexpat87 – stay in touch and keep us posted on what you find.  I’ll be curious to know.  :)

#15 02 March 2013 02:31:12

Duff
Duff
Florida

Re: Single Lady retiring to Panama

Hi Patti,

I am a new member also. You can read my profile for more information. I am going to visit Panama in November and stay for 6 months. Like you, I am single...tho not female LOL

I am sure there are other ladies like you, and the number is growing! Good luck on your grand adventure. Now sure when you are going, but if before me, I would love to hear about your trip!

Duff

#16 02 March 2013 02:42:32

Duff
Duff
Florida

Re: Single Lady retiring to Panama

Auntie Flo,

Really enjoying your post on this forum. As you can see, I will be visiting for 6 months, beginning in November.

Thanks for the advice you have given on learning Spanish. I will enroll in a class ASAP. Maybe I will have basic skills by November!

Any other advice is greatly appreciated.

Duff

#17 02 March 2013 16:22:38

AuntieFlo
AuntieFlo
Sibenik

Re: Single Lady retiring to Panama

Hola Duff!

I guess I would recommend thinking about the small everyday stuff.  Like, don't forget to tip the kid bagging your groceries in the store.  I know it's not something that we think about because we don't do it in the US but it's very common in Latin America and these kids only work for tips. We usually tipped .20 a bag.

There are small things like this example that will make your life, while not easier, just a little nicer.  I'm not sure I explained that well. I'm sure others will have more examples.  There are tons. So think about questions about everyday life and then ask how to best deal with those issues. 

Have fun with the Spanish lessons.  The Panamanians will appreciate it.

Best,

Florence

Duff wrote:

Auntie Flo,

Really enjoying your post on this forum. As you can see, I will be visiting for 6 months, beginning in November.

Thanks for the advice you have given on learning Spanish. I will enroll in a class ASAP. Maybe I will have basic skills by November!

Any other advice is greatly appreciated.

Duff

#18 06 March 2013 20:22:56

Crynwolf
Crynwolf
Colorado

Re: Single Lady retiring to Panama

Florence,

You bring up a good point about the little things and about tipping. One of the common things I do is find a native that I can trust to gather information about these small things. In Panama, I have my fiancee's family to turn too.

I asked about tipping and this is what they told me. Americans have a tendency of over tipping and this becomes a problem for other travelers and more importantly towards other Panamanians. From over tipping becomes an expectoration of just being and not giving top notch service. As well as driving up the cost of living in areas that cause Panamanians not able to afford to live in their local area anymore then causes resentment towards the expats. Just a large ugly circle that starts with good intentions.

My advice is ask questions from locals and ask the same questions from different locals at different times. The same answer I get I would take as truth.

Just my two cents

Cheers
Wolf

#19 18 March 2013 19:27:45

jamdowngirl
jamdowngirl
Vancouver

Re: Single Lady retiring to Panama

I am also a new member - single from Vancouver (Canada) - hoping to retire soon in Bouqete or David. Thanks for all the information; I will check back from time to time to see if there are any updates.

#20 19 March 2013 01:29:11

Liane
Liane
David

Re: Single Lady retiring to Panama

HY
yes..have anothers single woman in Volcan area, that is nice, cool, and sheaper that others area, and you really dont need acar.It is a small town, whit supermarket, pharmacy, that you can renta small furnish house.best regards

liane kraemer

#21 20 March 2013 17:33:00

azuero-expert-panama

Re: Single Lady retiring to Panama

I am an American expat who has lived in city of Chitre on the Azuero Peninsula for over twenty years, and can't think of any place else I'd rather live!  There's much less class distinction here than in other areas of the country, the people are open and helpful, and a lot more of them speak English than you'd guess, moreso than in smaller towns on the peninsula.  This is also the sunniest area of the country, so much so that there are a number of private projects in the wings for solar installations that will sell energy to the national grid.  Some really nice beaches are only a short distance away, and we have all of the urban amenities within 5-10 minutes by car (or taxi).  We have a mall, movie theater, lots of restaurants, supermarkets, banks, clinics, schools, etc. And as more and more American, Canadian and European expats are coming in to the area,gearing services to them is going to become increasingly important. You will have to go through Chitre on your way to Las Tablas, so I encourage you to check it out!

#23 21 March 2013 14:50:32

carolinesqueaky
carolinesqueaky
Ireland, living in Florida

Re: Single Lady retiring to Panama

Thank you PattiH, for starting this thread!

I am single woman (not yet 40) looking to check out South and Central America, with the possibility of staying long-term.

I'm currently researching Panama, Ecuador and Nicaragua... but am having a difficult time in trying to determine which!

Enjoying reading the responses... such a wealth of information!

#24 03 April 2013 17:34:10

jultes
jultes
Boerne TX

Re: Single Lady retiring to Panama

Hi, I am joining your club as a single woman going to Panama in a semi-retirement stage.  I have picked Boquete, a mountain town in Panama.  You may want to check it out if you like hiking and outdoor activities.  Julie

#28 12 May 2013 21:29:32

dr.niki
dr.niki
Budapest

Re: Single Lady retiring to Panama

Hi AuntieFlo,

I liked your writing. You have been recommended David and Boquet but for me these towns might be too small. I like busy places. So i was thinking to move to Panama city. Is there any areas what you would not recommand to rent a flat? Which areas are dangeres?

Would you mind to help me out with email address where i could search for appartment? I don't like cool weather, I dont mind no air-condition, I like clean flat and no flatmates. Safe and small is ok.

I also started Spanish, I love this language so I think it wont be so hard to pich it up when I get there.

I am work in health and rehablitation area. i dont know where should I look for a job. Do you think should check online or visit them by getting there?

Thanks a lot to answer,
Niki

#29 12 May 2013 21:31:36

dr.niki
dr.niki
Budapest

Re: Single Lady retiring to Panama

HI azuero-expert-panama,


It is sounds great. Is that a small town? Do you think I can find a job there in tourism or health, fitness? My spanish is just a start yet.

Thaks a lot, Niki

#31 18 May 2013 01:53:40

carolinesqueaky
carolinesqueaky
Ireland, living in Florida

Re: Single Lady retiring to Panama

I know there are significantly more women, of whatever age, looking to head South!  And looking for straight-forward advice as to what to expect...

Call out your Expat friends, folks!  And help a sista out!

#32 18 May 2013 20:49:23

thematrixx
thematrixx
New York

Re: Single Lady retiring to Panama

Hello, I'm thinking of moving to your wonderful country and have 1 question.  I'm terrified of lizards and cock roaches.  Is there a problem with this in Citre?

Thank you so much.

Charlene

#33 20 May 2013 16:42:41

Cy
Cy
Panama City+ Casarabonela Spai

Re: Single Lady retiring to Panama

Hi just to let you know there are a few of us "single" women who have retired to Panama. In the 6 or so years since I've come it's getting more expensive. You can live as a Panamaian but not in the expat areas of Corondado (beach area) or the center of Panama City. You would likely have to live in a Panamaian area to live low cost.
I currently live in the city but have an apartment which I also rent out the rooms to make some income. So I have no rent to pay. I eat fruit/veg and chicken/meat but little packaged food as that is expensive.
do you speak any spanish?
Give me some information and I will gladly give you good info as I have Panamaian friends so I do know you 'can' live cheaply here. but not if you want to live a western life.

#34 20 May 2013 20:20:59

PattiH
PattiH
Michigan

Re: Single Lady retiring to Panama

Hello all...
Interesting discussion.  I started my research with retirement to Panama but found it to be way to expensive for my budget. 
I then turned to Colombia which looked very promising and have now settled on coastal Ecuador.
Its been a strange journey but very interesting. 
Thanks for all the information
Patti

#35 21 May 2013 06:08:44

Destiny291

Re: Single Lady retiring to Panama

I hired a driver during my visit, $75 a day from 8 - 5pm.  There was an older couple that stayed at the bed/breakfast with me who took the tour and where totally exhausted when they returned.  I stayed in PC, Gorgona (Beach area) En Vallen (Mountain)there is so much more to do in PC, I got bored in the other areas after 3 days or so.

#36 21 May 2013 06:19:27

Destiny291

Re: Single Lady retiring to Panama

Panama is a huge country, so many places to chose from.  I stayed there for 3 weeks and met two really great locals that showed me around.  My first week I stayed in the banking district near the Marriott, great restaurants in the area, nice wine bar with live entertainment.  Now that I have visited Panama not so sure I would want to live there but would visit again.

#38 22 May 2013 01:10:08

Destiny291

Re: Single Lady retiring to Panama

Panama is a truly beautiful Country but, be careful what you wish for, it is not the US and if you are caught in a bad situation the odds are against you.  Lot's of foreigners invested in property and rightly so, trying to make a profit.  I was looking to purchase a home in David, a really nice house at a good price.  The owner of the house was from Canada and being concerned he asked me questions that I never thought to ask.  If you move to Panama you are truly on your own.  There are so many other nice places to relocate to without the hassle in the US.

#40 23 May 2013 19:48:18

kristc99
kristc99
David

Re: Single Lady retiring to Panama

groups.yahoo.com/group/ChiriquiSingles/  The subject of singles meetings came up in boquete.ning.com/forum, and I was directed to this yahoo group. It sounds like it's a small but growing group for people in the Boquete and Chiriqui area.

Kris

PattiH wrote:

Hi, All
New to this blog and looking for information.  Are there any other Single ladies looking to retire to Panama?  From all I've read I realize this most likely a huge minority.  However, If I'm doing it I have to believe there are others.. well.. at least considering it.  Would love to hear from you.
I'm ok with traveling alone and an adventurer.  I'm on a very small retirement and believe I could live better in certain parts of Panama.. not Panama City.  I have no health issues and would like to live somewhere I can ditch the car.  Anyway.. I might be looking for Nirvana but.... ya gotta look or ya never find it!

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