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Old 02-22-2011, 06:59 AM
 
Location: Woodbridge, VA
14 posts, read 35,000 times
Reputation: 22

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My dream to move to Hawaii was daunting because there's too many barriers like not even giving your resume a look because you're not in the State. I've lived in Japan and worked temp assignments in S. Korea. I've also visited Thailand and Hawaii on 4 occasions so the actual getting up and going isn't the problem. Panama seems to have some issues like having a steady income coming in and getting a job wouldn't be that easy either. I'm not at that age that I'm getting Social Security or disability payments. Just a working ******* that wants a big change.

 
Old 02-27-2011, 12:24 PM
 
Location: Seminole, FL
519 posts, read 815,243 times
Reputation: 402
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blk_Fuji View Post
Cool, great information. It seems like their has been alot of growth in Americans moving to southern central america (Nicaragua, CR and Panama). I always hear about CR but Panama looks like a more interesting option for relocation.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mccarley;
I asked him why were all the high rise buildings dark? His reply, they are either vacant or not completed and the majority were built by the Chinese , a couple were built by Donald Trump. Strange.
Right now, Panama offers many similar characteristics to CR as far as the environment, Latin culture, etc., and it's significantly cheaper, at least as far as real estate goes. IMO it will have a boom in the relatively near future (decade or 2) and eventually get up to CR / other Caribbean levels, but it may take some time. The whole "retire to a Caribbean location, westernize it, and drive up the prices" thing seems to be slowly spreading south and Panama is one of the next in line. It seems like it just started getting noticed in the last 5 years or so. When it did get noticed, a bunch of companies tried to get in early and build lots of high rises that they could then sell when the boom came. The price of places did go up significantly, but then the economy tanked and so those places now sit vacant. The nice thing is that you can get a pretty good condo in one of those nice high rises overlooking the ocean for around $200k. Like I said earlier, I think that will eventually go up a lot.
 
Old 02-27-2011, 12:32 PM
 
Location: Seminole, FL
519 posts, read 815,243 times
Reputation: 402
Quote:
Originally Posted by NYXENA View Post
My dream to move to Hawaii was daunting because there's too many barriers like not even giving your resume a look because you're not in the State. I've lived in Japan and worked temp assignments in S. Korea. I've also visited Thailand and Hawaii on 4 occasions so the actual getting up and going isn't the problem. Panama seems to have some issues like having a steady income coming in and getting a job wouldn't be that easy either. I'm not at that age that I'm getting Social Security or disability payments. Just a working ******* that wants a big change.
Moving to Panama and finding a real job will be even more difficult. On the plus side, it's also cheaper to live there, but it doesn't sound like the right move for you. To me, it sounds like you're probably going to have to stay in the mainland US for a while longer yet. With the world economy the way it is, you're pretty much going to have to generate your own job opportunities if you go somewhere outside of your country of citizenship. On top of that, America still has some of the most easily accessible jobs of any country. Almost anywhere you move, it will be more difficult to get jobs, not easier. You could maybe do something like move to China or Japan and teach English, but other than that I think it will be tough going if you don't have a unique skill. 3rd world countries want immigrants taking their jobs even less than the US does; and unless you have something unique to offer, there's no reason for a company in a first world country to hire you, pay you enough to live there, sponsor you for a Visa, etc. when they've got plenty of unemployed people in their own country looking for jobs and living with parents/friends/etc. and can therefore accept less money.
 
Old 04-21-2011, 12:59 PM
 
Location: Houston, TX
17,032 posts, read 26,885,461 times
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I'm heading down to Panama City for a week in May. Part vacation, part scouting the retirement scene (i've got more than a decade to figure it out). Any suggestions on things to see other than the canal. I will not be renting a car, just taxis.
 
Old 04-27-2011, 12:23 AM
 
Location: Seminole, FL
519 posts, read 815,243 times
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  • Metropolitan Natural Park - a preserved rainforest in the city, with a bit of a zoo-like quality. Pretty cool
  • Bridge of the Americas - for the importance alone, if you really think about it
  • Walk around the banking district - some nice architecture. You can see some of the possibility of the city
  • The Causeway has some nightlife if that's your sort of thing
  • A beach
  • Find some good restaurants in the city. The first time I went was with a girlfriend who is a native. She took me to an Italian place that was really cute, had pretty good food, and cost less than Applebee's.
  • Theres a section of the city with lots of little shops and street vendors
  • Albrook Mall is
    a pretty large mall (not like the monsters near DC but considering their population...)
  • I always wanted to try to catch a baseball or soccer game, but don't really know how to do that yet.

I know most of that isn't terribly impressive (check out MNP though). This isn't really a country where you go to see something grand or renowned other than the canal. I think you're really limiting yourself by sticking to taxis though. Presumably, you won't go out of the city. That means you won't get to see a lot of Panama's best features, which are mostly nature related. Pretty, empty beaches in both the Caribbean and Pacific, mountains, jungle, wild animals (though some of that in MNP). One of my favorite draws isn't really something to see. It's that it has what's pretty close to my ideal weather. The people I encountered were really nice too, but I am friends with some natives.

Last edited by wsamon; 04-27-2011 at 12:29 AM.. Reason: fixed list formatting
 
Old 04-27-2011, 03:26 AM
 
5,823 posts, read 10,159,161 times
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I've traveled to CR last winter, I had a positive impression, but everybody was telling me that it was the most expensive country in Centroamerica. So back home I thought, okay next winter I'll try Panama, same kind of country but cheaper. I started researching on the net , and the results after a thorough 2-month research : Panama is at least as expensive as CR with far less infrastructure for tourism. I just gave up the idea of visiting Panama, next year it will be Thailand , a country I never visited, and far far cheaper with better quality infrastructure & services.
 
Old 04-27-2011, 02:31 PM
 
Location: Houston, TX
17,032 posts, read 26,885,461 times
Reputation: 16190
Thanks for the info I'll check some of those out. How much of a discrepancy is there in pricing for gringos vs natives.
 
Old 04-27-2011, 02:58 PM
 
Location: Seminole, FL
519 posts, read 815,243 times
Reputation: 402
Quote:
Originally Posted by pigeonhole View Post
I've traveled to CR last winter, I had a positive impression, but everybody was telling me that it was the most expensive country in Centroamerica. So back home I thought, okay next winter I'll try Panama, same kind of country but cheaper. I started researching on the net , and the results after a thorough 2-month research : Panama is at least as expensive as CR with far less infrastructure for tourism. I just gave up the idea of visiting Panama, next year it will be Thailand , a country I never visited, and far far cheaper with better quality infrastructure & services.
I don't doubt your post and it makes a lot of sense with some good alternatives. However, I think some of it depends what exactly you plan on doing / the length of your stay. For a stay of a month or 2 you very well may be right.

However, if you're only going for a quick vacation for say a week (which is pretty much the most my job every lets me take off at once), the flight costs alone probably make Panama cheaper than Thailand. For example, I just did a quick search on Kayak for 6/4 - 6/11, leaving from Washington, DC (where I live). The flight to Panama is under $450. I've typically had under $400 in the past. The cheapest flight to Bangkok was $1850. Costa Rica was slightly cheaper than Panama. I've always had week-long vacations in Panama, including airfare, hotel, and food (once at an all-inclusive resort) for under $1200 and I was not staying at hostels or eating roadside food (much).

For long-term stuff / living, which is what this thread was originally about, then you're talking about different locations with far more than raw cost coming into play. There's no point in even comparing Bangkok and Panama as they're just too different and it's purely a preference / geographic thing. Panama and Costa Rica is obviously a preference comparison as well, but more comparable in my opinion. The reasons I would personally consider Panama before Costa Rica are:
  • Ease of travel - Tocumen is the busiest airport in central america and services more locations than Juan Santamaria
  • US Ties - their currency is pegged to the US (less risk of total collapse, even now), the US protects them militarily due to vested interests, and signs economic pacts. This can only help.
  • Language - many people speak at least passable English
  • Economy - I like Panama's cornerstones of the canal and being the major banking center for the region. I'm not sure if CR has something that solid. According to the CIA website, Panama also has a higher GDP / capita and is growing at a faster rate
  • Investment - Panama is currently less known than CR as far as a tourist and retirement destination goes. CR still has a little ways to go, but the "US quality" homes near the Caribbean are more expensive there than Panama (or were the last time I checked). Once a sufficient cost is reached, Panama is the next Caribbean location in line (geographically) to see more action. This is when you'll see the tourism, notoriety, and infrastructure increase, which will drive up property values. The goal (for me) would be to get in before they're driven up.
  • This is entirely personal, but I have several friends that live in Panama
In short, Panama has more similarities to the US (I believe), more ties to the US, and IMO, better economic growth prospects even if it's slightly more expensive right now. I could very well be wrong though.
 
Old 05-02-2011, 01:21 PM
 
15 posts, read 96,937 times
Reputation: 31
I've been there on business. My general sense is that they are friendly to Americans. They get a lot of people passing through from both North and South America so I had a hard time getting a sense for pure Panamanian culture and food. The US influence is still prevalent as we controlled the canal for so long. The old military bases are still there and they use the US dollar as the official currency.

I walked with my hosts downtown in several places and never felt unsafe. There are some areas near the water/industrial area you would want to stay away from, but every city has those.

The frisking procedure in the airport is VERY thorough. You'll feel like you've had a physical.
 
Old 05-10-2011, 04:05 PM
 
Location: Houston, TX
17,032 posts, read 26,885,461 times
Reputation: 16190
Did my visit and was impressed, I'll probably go back with intent to go see a beach or another area for a few days. Getting around was a breeze, but one thing I didnt get...About a third of the time I ordered food, they brought out something different. I ponted to the item on the menu and pronounced it, the server repeated it and I still got something wrong. Nice area but needs to work on the customer service.

I admit its weird being in a place with such a disparity between the haves and have nots. One of my drivers said he drives the cab on the side to supplement his $600/month income from a customer service job.
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