The PFR Mission

Welcome to Panama For Real, where you’ll experience Panama like never before.

My name’s Chris Powers. Like so many others, I was living an average life, working long days, nights, and even weekends. At the time, I thought I was getting pretty much all I could expect to get out of life. My wife is Panamanian. I’d visited her country, but never really expected that I’d retire there. I was a good ol’ boy, born in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The U.S. was where I belonged. Plus, I didn’t speak a lick of Spanish. 

Then an amazing thing happened…the recession. Yep, my job got wiped out, eliminated, destroyed. I was left with the option to either hang around my home country and hope to work my way up through the corporate ladder, from scratch, or do something crazy and give my wife’s country a chance.

From a suit & tie to floating lazily in a river

So here I am, in Panama, making a go of it. I’m just an average Joe. I like peanut butter cups, I love country music (other kinds too), I drink beer, and I put my pants on one leg at a time (tried 2 legs at a time once, thanks to the country music and beer). I’m married to a beautiful Panamanian woman and we have four kids. Yes, four. And I still don’t speak Spanish. Not really.

I’ve spent the past year and a half traveling all over this isthmus, seeking out the best places to live, keep a vacation home, or just visit for fun and relaxation. I’ve had coffee in a Las Tablas cafe out on the Azuero Peninsula, drank sangria and partied to a live American cover band in one of Pedasi’s expat gathering spots, swam in a David river, climbed to the top of a mountain in El Valle, and danced to tipico music in Panama City.

You may have stumbled upon some of my writing in the past, either on my own personal blog that I’ve been managing over at www.thestayathomegringo.blogspot.com, or in articles I’ve written for other e-zines and online publishers. For the past four years, I’ve been making it my business to learn about this country. I don’t claim to be an expert on buying and selling real estate, or navigating the immigration system. I’m no tax guru. I leave that stuff to the people who do that best. What I do know is what it’s like to live, work, and raise a family in Panama.   

Just like you, I want to find that special place.

I’ve gathered a wealth of information during my time in this country and I’m satisfied that this is where my family and I will stay. Deciding where in this country we’ll call home is the real challenge. Panama, for as small a country as it is, has so many different lifestyle options and so many fun vacation possibilities, so whether you’re in it for the long haul, or just want to see what this place is all about, there’s something for you.

At some point in time, I’ll settle down somewhere here in Panama, so I’ve decided to make it my mission to learn everything about this country. I’m going to start all over again, with a brand new awareness, a new focus on finding the place to hang my hat. I want to traverse this country and put my sneakers on every square inch. I’m going to travel everywhere, and I want you to be there every step of the way. Let’s find your dream getaway while I search for mine.

Like a little slice of Oklahoma, in Panama

Likewise, I want to show Panamanians (many of whom have only visited the town where they were born, Panama City, or some of the popular carnaval party spots) what else is out there. What about the rest of Panama? Panamanians are missing out on the amazing beauty and affordable cost of living in so many of this country’s interior provinces, towns, and neighborhoods.

I asked a Panamanian couple where they imagine themselves retiring in this country and they both said somewhere in Panama City. I asked, “Where were you born?” They said, “Panama City.”

They’d never been anyplace else. They were blown away when I told them that a couple I’d met from the U.K. were renting a furnished, one-bedroom house, right on the beach in Las Tablas, where the sand is literally their front lawn, for only $650. You can’t even rent a house in Panama City for that low amount. Not in a decent neighborhood. This is the kind of opportunity Panamanians are missing out on. Why rent a place in a congested area of the city for $800-$1,000 per month when you can retire on a beach for less than $700?

My goal is to help foreigners and Panamanians discover the best that Panama has to offer.

Do you want to live in a similar setting, on the beach, where you can watch the tide roll in while lying in your hammock, reading a book? Where the gentle lapping of waves helps you dream easy through the night?

Or is mountain living, where a brisk breeze touches down each evening and the sounds of cascading waterfalls echoes off the high hills, the dream you’ve always imagined?

Would you rather farm your own land, in a safe, friendly neighborhood, where town members grow everything on their own fincas? Tomatoes, cilantro, yuca, watermelon, mangoes, papaya, and sugarcane are just some of what can be raised on your soil.

Maybe you dream of moving to an untapped, young, growing town, where you can still bring something new to the community. Towns all over Panama are missing something. Something that you can create and maybe even use to help fund your new life. If you’re tired of wearing a suit and tie and wish you could bake fresh bread, ice cakes, and cut cookies before heading out to your front porch to drink sweet tea while watching the town settle down for the evening, this is entirely possible in Panama, and could cost much less than you expect.

All of that is available, but you already know that. You’ve already heard all of the marketing hype. For cryin’ out loud it’s in every search result. Yes, it’s a beautiful country, but what is it really like to live here?

Enough with the fancy words and the “Come here, buy this hubub.” Of course you want to come here and of course you’ll end up buying stuff, but again, I’ll let the sales experts handle all that. I’m no salesman. In fact, I probably couldn’t sell a tire iron to a millionaire stranded in the desert sun with a flat. I’m just an adventure-bound buddy, ready to see what this place has to offer.

For $650 a month rent, this is someone’s front porch view in Las Tablas

For some people planning their scouting trip, and for many people already living in this country, traveling around aimlessly doesn’t seem cost efficient or productive. Let us do it for you and give you the info that’ll help you map out your next Panamanian adventure. Let us show you some of the coolest places to spend time in Panama.

Do you want to follow a guide through a tropical rain forrest? Pick your own fresh produce straight from the ground of someone’s farm? Zip line over waterfalls? Swim in some of the country’s most beautiful rivers? Or hike to the top of a volcano? I do.

Experience each province, town, and neighborhood in Panama as if you are actually there.

I can promise you that you’ve never seen Panama the way I’m going to show it to you. You’re going to see Panama through my eyes as I navigate and investigate each town. You’ll see the condition of the roads, the day-to-day life, the quality of the supermarkets, options for banking, what there is to do for fun, what the nightlife is like, and I’ll even go over the general cost of living (something so important but often hard to nail down because it is so subjective). I’ll go over every aspect of what living in or visiting these places will mean to you.

Best of all, I’ll be traveling around with my wife, Marlene, who is great at getting the information you need, from Spanish speaking local residents. We’re not wealthy immigrants asking questions from the window of our luxury car. We’re regular people, just like you, putting our feet on the ground, gathering research, and passing it along to you. You’ll see Panama like you’ve never experienced it before.

The only thing better would be being here yourself, and even then, without a guide you might feel lost. So let us do the walking, talking, digging up dirt, and gathering of intel. That way, you can make an informed decision about where to base your new life or where to visit to have a blast in Panama. 

How will this work? It’s easy. If you look at the top of this site, you’ll see a tab that says PFR (Panama For Real) Location Reports. That’s where I’ll be putting all of the detailed written reports. Hang in there, and bear with me as the info will slowly be added to the site. My plan is to add a new report every month (maybe even more often). Along with these reports, we’ll be posting Youtube videos under our name, Panama For Real. So keep your eyes open for these “on the scene” video guides, which will also be available for viewing up top in the PFR Location Reports tab.

To stay in the loop and to receive a newsletter every time we upload a new PFR Location Report or PFR Video, subscribe to our newsletter at the top right of this screen, where you see the red suitcase logo. I promise we won’t bother you other than to give you a heads up whenever something new is posted.  

So in the beginning you’ll only see our first few reports, which will cover some of our favorite places in Panama. Going forward, as I complete the reports, I’ll add them in their destination type. So if you’re looking for a beach, mountain, city, or other (small town) location, you’ll find those reports under the corresponding heading.

Check out pirate history in Portobelo

Every time we visit an area of Panama City or any town in the interior of the country, we’ll put together a written report that will break everything down for you on paper with tons of great, colorful photos. We’ll also add our raw, documentary style videos to the site to give you a feel of what it’s really like to be on the town streets.

The idea is that you will never waste a dime on a trip to Panama without first having read about the area and seen the video. We don’t want you to come here and leave with a bad taste in your mouth, just because some other website hyped up an area to sell real estate. We want you to get the REAL DEAL information about living in or visiting Panama prior to your trip. 

Plus, this site is filled with other Panama-related info. Just check out the menu at the top of the page, where you’ll find info like…

  • How to get a Panamanian driver’s license…
  • Detailed supermarket shopping tips…
  • Navigating Panama City’s major toll highways…
  • The breakdown of the budgets for each location we visit…
  • My personal blog on all the strange things you’ll have to get used to when living in Panama…
  • What the city has to offer young families and those with kids…
  • Enrolling your kids in a Panama school…
  • Visiting a doctor here, and so much more. 

We’ve even added a section to the menu up top called Kidpats. Marlene and I have 4 children. They know exactly what it’s like to be whisked away from their home country and plopped down on foreign soil. They didn’t even speak Spanish when we moved here. Other kids are going through the same thing. Corporate relocations are uprooting young families and placing them in Panama. It’s either that or young entrepreneurs, fully capable of working from their laptop and wanting a more chill lifestyle, are making a decision to give Panama a go.

These relocations are happening more and more, and most of the time, the children have no say in the matter. Whatever the reason for the move, these kids are surely a little bit frightened or concerned about this sudden change. So, through the Kidpats video series, my kids will show yours just how fun and interesting this country can be. They’ll show you and your kids what Panama is like through the eyes of expat-children, what we’ve coined Kidpats.   

I’m thrilled. I wish I could throw all this info at you at once, but I need to hit the road first and bring them to you one at a time. I hope you feel my excitement coming through these words. This is going to be one hell of an adventure.

How much will all of this info cost?

By now you’re probably waiting to see the dreaded “$” dollar sign with my promise to attach free reports if you only spend a certain amount of money for this info right now. That’s perhaps the greatest thing about this. All of the information is free. And the plan is to keep it that way.

Are there other people and other companies out there giving out information about Panama? Absolutely, but most aren’t doing it for free. Why pay an arm and a leg just to be fed regular marketing material, when I’m going to compile all this data for free. The ads that will (hopefully) pop up on the right side of the page are the only sales pitches you’ll get from me. Check them out if you want more info on Panama or whatever is being offered in the ad. Or don’t. It’s entirely up to you.

I made the move to Panama, with no information to go on. I trusted in the fact that my wife’s family was here and that we’d somehow work it out. It’s been a great journey, but it would have been a heck of a lot easier with a little bit of guidance. Well, at the risk of sounding cliche, hindsight is 20/20, and knowing that, I want to share all I’ve learned and all I’ll continue to learn.

I’ve always said, the best way to discover the real Panama is through the local bloggers. I’ve made some incredible friends here in this country, and I’ve found tons of info from friendly expats already here in Panama. Most of them just want to share their stories. So, to make the most of this experience, don’t just take my word on all this retiring to Panama info, check out their sites too. Go to the tab at the top of this page that says “Other Panama Blogs” to find links to other sites talking about this retirement haven. Hang out here for a little while first though, wink wink.

This controlled-entry neighborhood in the mountains is super close to Panama City

Again, this is all 100% free. I only ask that you help spread the word. Tell people to check out our videos on Youtube. Like us on Facebook. Tweet about us on Twitter. Check out our website. The plan is to fund our trips and earn income off advertisements on this site, and those only come if we get enough readers and viewers. So help us keep this info free by spreading the word and helping us get popular.

With a little bit of team effort, meaning my Panama For Real team and you, the readers and viewers, this can be one of the coolest projects to ever take place in Panama.

Now, I’ve been told that sometimes I’m “too folksy” in my writing. I’m not even sure I know what that means, but if it means “too down to earth and too real” then consider me “too folksy.”

This is me for real and more importantly, this is Panama For Real…join me on the ride.

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48 Responsesso far.

  1. Sias Bothma says:

    Hi I want to immigrate to Panama but low on $$$ and need to get out of South Africa due to what is happening here. I am an assessor and moderator with various SETAS. and would like to start a small safety training company that side. Could you advise on costs etc. Need cheap country living and some self sufficiency as well. I also write manuals and fiction.

    Please help.

    • Chris says:

      Hi Sias,

      I wish I could help you but it sounds like you need very detailed information. Keep reading the site and maybe you’ll see info that might help you out some. Good luck on your move to Panama.

  2. Jeffro says:

    Great Site Chris. And generous of your effort and time.

    I was a soldier here; 87-91 and have been coming back for years. Panama City got way too big for me. Boquete was nice, but I couldn’t stand the expats there.

    You have done a great job with your site and I respect your attitude.

    Keep it up! Good work and thanks!

    • Chris says:

      Hey Jeffro,

      God bless you, brother, and thank you for your service. Panama City has grown so much even since I got married 16 years ago. It’s insane. Thanks so much for your kind words and for checking out the site.

  3. Chris Walker Jones says:

    Hi, decided to make contact with you! I’ve been in touch w/David Dell in Volcan after looking for a place to spend next Texas summer & now hoping to retire there in a couple years w/my husband, David. Have my eye on Las Plumas as home-base. It’s almost a year from now but so much to plan for in order to pull it off. Would like ur newsletter & will like on FB, etc. Thanks for all you do! Chris & David Jones

  4. Jeff Grove says:

    HI
    Chris and ALL OK , been offered a condo in Hard Rock hotel 3
    months a year value 150 000 euros. AS a property swap for a farm house I have in france advice needed such as a known and trusted solicitor and your opinion on the deal ?

    thanks all
    kind regards >>> jeff

  5. Louis DeSouza says:

    Hi Chris, great web site, like you, I am a retired Miltary member (Canadian), & would like to come to Pananma to check out whether this country would be our future home. We would like to rent some place close/on the beach, like Las Tablas as mentioned on your web site, also wondering what are the prices for eating out, any info on finding some place to rent would be greatly appreciated.
    Cheers, keep up the great work.
    Louis

    • Chris says:

      Hey Louis,

      Good to hear from you, man. I honestly don’t keep up with rentals and real estate, only because the info changes so often. Your best bet is to check sites like http://www.encuentra24.com/panama-en/classifieds and http://www.compreoalquile.com/ then just type in the towns you’re curious about. Eating out in Las Tablas is extremely affordable. I’d say it’s probably the lowest cost place I’ve visited. Marlene and I got ice cream cones, the good fresh coconut ones for $.50 each. We had lunch for about $5 (and it included meat, rice, beans, salad, and juice). Dinner wasn’t bad either. Las Tablas is still very small and probably the most third-world kind of towns you’ll find in Panama though. With all the growth going on in nearby Pedasi, I have a feeling some of that will trickle down to the Las Tablas area too, at least at the beach. You really should come down for a visit, spend at least a couple of weeks here visiting towns before deciding where you’d like to rent. You may love Las Tablas or may absolutely hate it.

      Thanks for reading and for reaching out, Louis. Good luck, man.

      Chris

  6. Bob Stanistreet says:

    Hi Chris,
    I stumbled upon your site, what a reward for me an others researching Panama. I’m a newly retired Canadian at 69. Belize, Ecuador, Costa Rica all have inviting introduction by writers getting paid by who ever to lead one to these countries to exploit their money only. I will continue reading your articles for the that honest and knowledgable opinion you will gather and pass on to your readers. Is it true we can live comfortably on $1000. to $2000. a month with a nice home and have the health care which is the top priority of all retiries who may want to retire to Panama. Safe Travel Chris.

    Bob Stanistreet
    Ontario, Canada

    • Chris says:

      Hi Bob,

      Thanks so much for your kind words. I really do appreciate it. I would say that you could live comfortably in many of Panama’s small towns on $2,000 per month ($1,000 would be pushing it). I’ll continue to cover the towns in Panama (and show budget break downs) as often as I can. Hopefully that will help you make the right decisions when considering a move to Panama. Thanks again, Bob.

      Chris

    • Harshita says:

      We use SKYPE even to talk and instant mesagse our friends here. I have a plan that we can call anywhere in Canada through SKYPE that is really reasonable. I cal my mom on her phone because she isn’t set up on SKYPE. We’ve talked about getting call forwarding to our cell phones but so far haven’t really needed it.We have a router and Claro WiFi because Cable and Wireless won’t come down our calle. There’s not enough people on the street to use it. The router and 3G stick work just fine and we can use it anywhere in the house. We also haven’t had many issues with it although it is slower at peak times. We use pay as you go cell phones and that works quite well, no data but we can text if need be. Technology is indeed wonderful. And indeed that little button looks like he could fit in your pocket!

      • EJ says:

        Hi, just a little information about cell calls from / to Canada.
        We spend 6 months in Panama each year and have cell phones with a Fongo number. You choose which area you need your number and select a phone number from those supplied. This works on your WiFi system in Panama and all calls between you and other phone numbers are free including 800 calls anywhere. We chose to keep our old tells numbers, so we paid a one off fee for the number transfer. To select a new number from Fongo is free and can still be used along with yoir original cell number. Look up Fongo on Google. I hope this helps. EJ

  7. Bruce Ferreira says:

    Hi Chris, Just wanted to mention how awesome your site is. I am from Panama, born and raised in the old canalzone and I just want o say you have hit all points of Panama dead on. Many others are totally off base and you make it so everything is clear and unbiased. Hit me up, we can meet and talk. Congrats on this and keep up the good work!

    • Chris says:

      Hey Bruce,

      Thanks so much, man. I love hearing from people who grew up here. Helps keep me on track. Thanks again.

      Chris

  8. From Tulsa huh? I’m a graduate of Will Rogers High School, Class of ’58! I’m retired in Nashville, TN home of the music you love but can’t afford to do all I want to do in retirement at U.S. prices. I’m considering both Costa Rica and Panama as a nature-lover and nature photographer. Checking out all the channels for info and like your straight-shooting approach.

    I think I would prefer to be within and hour or two of Panama City and Cerro Azul sounds good and maybe El Valle which I visited in January (and I know further away.) I also like the rainforest birding I did in the areas around Gamboa (anywhere near Soberania). Are there affordable apartments there?

    I look forward to your updates. -Charlie

    • By the way, meant to say that I am divorced, single and considering moving there like you did.

    • Chris says:

      Hey Charlie,

      Yep, born in Tulsa (not really raised there though, left at an early age). Will Rogers High? I attended Roy Clark Elementary, lol. I’d love to take a trip to Nashville sometime. I almost moved there at one point. I like Cerro Azul (very quiet and might be too boring for some people…great for me) and El Valle is great too. Yes, it’s a little farther out in the interior, but not much. It’s close enough to shoot down to Coronado every once in awhile. When you asked about affordable apartments, you mean in Gamboa? I just did a quick online search for rentals in Gamboa and the only one I found was this: http://www.viviun.com/AD-197177/. $1,800 is kind of steep. Other than that, I didn’t see anything else. That doesn’t mean there aren’t any rentals. Many Panamanians don’t post online. Shoot me an email at chris@panamaforreal.com with your budget and I might be able to point you in the right direction. If you haven’t already, take a look at the Budget Snapshot page of the site so you can compare the budgets for the towns I’ve already reported on.

      Thanks again, Charlie,

      Chris

  9. Dear Chris,

    Congrats on your wonderful video and thanks for the coverage on Coronado. My grandfather was Bob Eisenmann, Coronado’s founder.

    I believe we could make some synergies. I am traveling abroad tomorrow, and should be back on the 28th, on the evening.

    Warm regards,

    Roberto

    • Chris says:

      Hi Roberto,

      Thank you so much for your comment. We should definitely get together and talk. I’ll send you a private email. If for some reason it doesn’t go through (spam filters and stuff) you can email me at chris@panamaforreal.com.

      Chris

      • Linda says:

        It’s absolutely amaizng how wired Panama is. I’d be willing to bet that there are at least three active cell phones for every Panamanian. When getting on a bus (I ride them everywhere since I don’t have a car) it seems that everyone’s head is bowed in prayer. That’s not too big an assumption since quite a few of the drivers are reincarnated Kamikaze pilots, but looking closer you’ll see that those people are all texting away on their phones. And it’s not uncommon for many of the people to have TWO phones with them.Two years ago I’d take my notebook computer up to the nearby InfoPlaza. They are government-run centers with the motto: Cerrando la brecha digital (Closing the digital gap). These plazas are found in many towns here in Chiriqui. The one here in Boqueron has a dozen fairly new computers for people to use and they also had a wifi signal that I’d hop on. Back then it cost 35 cents/hour to use. How much I paid depended on who was on duty at the time. If it was Nancy she’d note when I signed on and when I’d sign off. Three hours online would cost me $1.05 which I thought was a real bargain since I didn’t have an internet connection at the house I’m renting. If Patricia was on duty she’d only charge me a flat 35 cents no matter how long I was online. In the last year, though, and thanks to President Martinelli, there are no longer any charges. Totally free,. And La Red Nacional (National Network) is available all over the place. I have a tablet and go to the bus terminal to download books from Amazon.com. And if you go down there you’ll see dozens of kids online with the small, free, wifi compatible notebook computers all students receive when they enter high school. Naturally they’re ALL on their Facebook pages rather than doing anything like research for some homework assignment. My house still isn’t connected to an internet service, but my Claro 3G USB modem works just fine. In fact, it’s faster than the MobileNet system I used at the place I was house sitting in Potrerillos Arriba when I first came down here. And the cost is the same $44.80/month, tax included, for unlimited use.I also have Skype for keeping in touch with people in the States those I want to talk to, anyway, but it’s helped a few times when I had to reach a State-side customer service department (which often was talking to someone in India or the Phillipines).

  10. Robert says:

    You’re a lucky man, Chris. I was born and raised in Panama, now in Japan. I miss it so much, so its nice to read the thoughts from someone who can appreciate it.

    • Chris says:

      Thanks Robert. Wow, Japan. Have any plans to return?

      Thanks so much for checking out the site, for reading, and for commenting.

      Chris

  11. Peggy Egan says:

    The other night we were watching House Hunters International on HGTV and they had a segment in Panama. We dream of retiring out of the country but had never thought of Panama and were blown away by how varied and beautiful it is, and how reasonable the property is. So I cruised the internet for info and checked lots of websites with info for retirees and they certainly make it sound like paradise but I wanted to know what the “real deal” is so searched some blogs. Like a previous comment said…I feel like I hit the motherlode with your site. I’m looking forward to reading through it and getting updates and planning an exploratory trip to Panama. Thanks so much, I’ll be sure to “like” you and all that other stuff. Good luck on your adventure…you’ve sure found the silver lining to losing your job!

    • Chris says:

      Hi Peggy,

      Yeah, I think that episode was on Pedasi. I haven’t had the chance to see it. Thanks so much, Peggy, for your kind words. I’ll take being the “motherlode” anytime! I’m having so much fun with this, meeting so many great new people, and it feels great to know that I’m helping people with their decision to move here. Thanks for your support!

      Chris

  12. Ron says:

    In nearly a month of online “research” on Panama …I feel that I have finally hit the jackpot!

    Very Best Wishes to you & your family !

  13. Rosemary says:

    Just found your site today. Great writing style. I’m also from Oklahoma-Shawnee to be exact. My husband is from
    Panama and we live in Rio Mar. Keep up the good work.

    • Chris says:

      Thanks Rosemary. I don’t know how I missed this. I’m sorry it took me so long to reply. Glad to meet another Okie! 🙂

  14. Rosalba Consuegra says:

    Thanks, Chris, for your wonderful blogs. I have lots and lots to read…. little by little. I especially admire your love for Panama. Congratulations for always seeing the positive in your new daily life. I predict you’ll make it big in this wonderful country. You’ll make a difference in Panama. Remember my words.

    • Chris says:

      Thanks, Rosalba. Glad to see you found the site. Thanks for taking the time to check it out and for your very sweet words. I really do hope I can make a difference 🙂

      Chris

  15. Mike, S. Oregon USA says:

    This in conjunction with Canada-Panama Connection site info……..makes Panama info. complete. I suggest picking up book called The Grown-up’s Guide to Running Way from Home; for expat inspiration.

    Hmmmmmm, Iguess I’ll look for the donation button as well; much deserved and a terrific way to help keep this hard work alive!

    Be well Chris

    • Chris says:

      Hey Mike,

      Awesome, man. I really appreciate that and I’ll make sure I pass it on to Michael Drouillard at the Canada-Panama Connection, who has become a really good friend of mine. Ha, I’m gonna have to check out that book. Thanks again for your kind words and as always thank you for checking out the site and for participating.

      Chris

  16. Paul says:

    Chris,
    Thank you soooo much for getting this project going! I came across your blog, which in turn led me here, after searching for info on putting kids in school in Panama.

    Originally from Seattle, after 10+ years building a life, family, and business in Bolivia, my wife and I feel it’s time to leave here, but the States is not very appealing to my wife. We took a short vacation to Panama a couple months ago on a whim and LOVED it, and the idea has been getting on us ever since to relocate there.

    Your site will undoubtedly help us save a lot of time in doing initial research before we make a trip back to see in person where might be the best fit for us. Best of luck with your endeavor/adventure, and just a side note–have you considered a donation option so people who benefit from your site and would like to could be able to contribute?

    • Chris says:

      Hi Paul,

      Thanks so much for checking out the site and for your comment. I hope some of the info on the site helps you guys with your decision. Wow…Bolivia. I did recently put a donation button in the right sidebar of the page. It just says something like, “All this info is free, but if you’d like to buy us a coffee or a beer, you can do so by clicking here.” It goes to my Paypal account. So far no donations, but of course any is seriously appreciated. Right now all of the money for traveling (and everything else) is coming out of my pocket. Thanks for mentioning it and thanks again for making use of the site and for participating with your comments. That’s what it’s all about!

      Chris

    • Ivette Arias says:

      Hello I read your anouncement. Please if you know any customer or know anyone intresting in rent house temporal or for one year in aguadulce cocle pls let me know. I pay comition for recomend me a client. House is 2 bed, 1 b, 200 mt2. Whiout furniture,nice and clean. Good neighbored hood. House is 4 min from interamericana rode. And 4 min from central. Price: 350 dollars a month. For one or two person only. If you need pictures or want appoinmet Call here or skype 65910833 Profesora Ivette Arias. Panamá city.

  17. Lea Taylor says:

    Hi Chris,

    I came across you on an expat fb page for Panama, you were offering your Mirror book for free. I downloaded it and read it over the weekend. This was not the type of book I would normally have picked up, but I really enjoyed it. You have a way of writing that makes the reader really visualize the story. I think it would make a great movie or tv series.

    My husband and I are atking our first trip to Panama in less than two weeks! We will be there 12 days, with 6 of them on a relocation tour. We look forward to seeing if Panama might be the place for us to retire. It gives us the chance to retire at a much younger age as we are still not yet 50.

    Keep up the writing and I will be sure to buy your next book!

    Lea

    • Chris says:

      Hi Lea,

      Thanks so much for taking the time to pick up my book, for reading it, and for your awesome review. What you said about seeing it as a movie/TV series means a lot to me. The story started out as a movie screenplay and I eventually just changed it over to novel format. I know it wasn’t the type of book you’d usually be interested in, so thanks again for giving it a chance.

      I’m glad to hear you guys are visiting Panama soon. I’d love to hear what areas you’ll be visiting. Thanks again, Lea, and I hope you love Panama as much as I do!

  18. chuck perry says:

    stumbled here. Going thru divorce and am going to get clobbered. I work 7 days a week and if I have to give half of it away I’m through. I am a doctor. can I work, get a job there? Thanks

  19. chuck perry says:

    Hi

  20. Ross Edwards says:

    I’m from Norman, Oklahoma and we are interested in hearing your information on moving there.

    • Chris says:

      Hi Ross. Wow, another fellow Okie! Welcome to Panama For Real. Check out the site, there’s tons of great info on here. If you have Facebook, you can also head over to that page, where I post little bits of info. You’ll find the link to the Facebook page and our Youtube channel (with lots of great videos) on the page up top that’s called “Connect with PFR.” And if you put your email address into the field just below the red suitcase in the top right corner of this page, it signs you up for our newsletter, which goes out on the 1st and 15th of the month, letting you know what we’ve been up to lately and giving you links to our new reports published twice a month.

  21. Marc Patry says:

    Hi Chris,

    I am a french Canadian living in Bali, Indonesia and l am going home on january 12, 2014 to prepare my application for a PENSIONADO VISA. You are quite the ambassador! Panama seems to be the right place for me, the permanent residency option is great and it looks much cleaner than Indonesia. Asia is great to visit but l think central and south America are probably best to live, anyway this is my impression at the moment. Chris, you can help me with the name of a good layer and an idea of the cost for the visa application. P.S. Would love to meet you and your family. Thank you so much for your help and take care, Marc Patry

    • Chris says:

      Hi Marc,

      Wow, Indonesia. You’re definitely making your way around the world. Yes, I have a great lawyer to get you in touch with. I’ll send you his info via email. Thanks so much for checking out the site.

      Chris

  22. Amy says:

    Hi Chris,
    I stumbled onto your blog and have enjoyed what I’ve seen so far…still exploring and I did sign up for your newsletters.
    I, too, am an average American looking for all the info I can find about Panama as I plan on moving there soon. I’m jumping off US soil with pure faith that I’m being lead to Panama for a reason.
    Have you ever been to Santiago or the developing area where Los Islotes is being built?
    Amy

    • Chris says:

      Hi Amy,

      Thanks so much for checking out the site and signing up for the newsletter. That’s awesome. I’ve driven through Santiago, but plan to visit soon to report on it. I know people from Santiago who love it, but I don’t personally know any expats living there. I’m sure there are plenty though. I’ve visited the Los Islotes site and it’s absolutely stunning. It’s very raw though. The west coast of the Azuero Peninsula, where Los Islotes is being built is still very untapped territory, which I know is what the developers are promoting. So it’s definitely a paradise, but you need to understand before going out that way that there’s literally nothing out there. You would have to drive to Santiago, over a pothole riddled road to shop, dine out, go to a major hospital or clinic. For certain people, it’s a great idea. I know they’re planning to build something special out there with Los Islotes. I’m sure once it’s finished and a lot of people move out there, it’ll be great, but for right now it’s still very raw.

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