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Panama Here We Come!

Finally Our Panama Trip is Here!

Our long preparations for the Panama trip are finally over. We leave on Saturday! We’re very excited about this opportunity to visit a new country and to check it out as a possible future home. Planning of the trip has been fun and exciting, if not without glitches.

Our biggest challenge has been figuring out which areas to visit. We want to get a good feel for the country, so we decided to do a “tour” of the major points of interest. We are essentially going to go “around” the western part of Panama. Our trip looks something like this:


Here is a list of the Panama destinations we chose and why we chose them:

Panama City:
This one is obvious. It’s where the major airport in Panama is located and is where we will be flying into. Besides, Panama City is supposed to be amazing. The banking capital of Central America. A mix of old and modern architecture. And let’s not forget the Panama Canal. We understand it’s more expensive than other areas of Panama but we still want to see it. And even if we never get a chance to visit Panama again, Panama City and Panama Canal are must-see’s for us.

Bocas del Toro:
Meaning “Mouth of the Bull”, Bocas del Toro is a province that consists of nine main Caribbean Sea islands and mainland in the north western part of Panama. We will be staying on Isla Colon in Bocas Town but visiting other islands as well. We’re going there because 1. We love the Caribbean and its amazing beaches; 2. We really want to see this green gold (oro verde) paradise; and 3. Other expats have recommended it.

I’ll be honest, we chose Boquete as the “hub” for our trip mainly based on the rave recommendations of other expats. It is full of North American expats – some estimate as much as 1/3 population. It is a small town in the green mountain highlands of Panama. Because of its high elevation, Boquete boasts spring like year-round temperatures and yet is less than one hour away to the beaches of the Pacific Ocean. Many say that there is no better place than Boquete for American expats where English is spoken, infrastructure is great, US dollar is used, and prices are cheap. We shall see!

Panama’s third largest city, located on Panama’s south western Pacific shores. It is a large vibrant city that is reportedly affluent and well established with good healthcare facilities and modern infrastructure. David also houses a large expat community. We first chose to add it to our map after a conversation we had with a gentleman in Costa Rica. He was telling us that he had just driven up from David and that he was shocked how much cheaper it was than Costa Rica. And so, we decided to add it to our list – it is on the Pacific Ocean (or right above it) after all. It’s simply intriguing to us that in one day’s drive, we can can get from the Caribbean Sea to the Pacific Ocean. Cool, huh?

Coronado Beach:
This one was a late addition. I went on the expat forums and asked others where else we should stop for our last two days in Panama. Many folks agreed that Coronado Beach is the place we should see. A very beautiful, modern area on the Pacific coast, within an hour drive to Panama City. So, we found a quaint little Bed & Breakfast and made this our last stop on the way back to fly out of the country. We hear that there are many expats there and that the beaches are amazing.

That is it in a gist. We leave this weekend and so you will not be hearing from us much while we’re scouting Panama. But if our Internet access is good, we’ll check in. In either case, we will be back with lots of pictures and many stories to tell you about our trip. We will pass on anything useful we learn and hope you learn from our experience.

You may also like our posts on Learn Spanish for Retirement Abroad and Retirement Country Scoring System.


About Joanna

is a Polish American living in Arizona with her husband Tim. She is a founding partner of JTR Tech and she is proud to be a professional geek. She had dreamt of living abroad for many years. So, she and Tim created AbroadDreams.com to document the process of making their dream of moving abroad come true. They spent 2 years in Puerto Rico and several months in Spain and Poland. Now they are exploring the American Southwest.

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  1. You’re hitting all of the hi-lights. Have a wonderful time and post if you can. I would love to see some bus station and inside the coach pictures if you can. Can’t wait to hear all about it.

  2. Muy buen viajen !
    Just one small correction, which you will learn when you’re here — but maybe it would be good to know before you get here: “Boquete… is less than one hour away to the beaches of the Pacific Ocean.” Is not true. It’s going to be closer to 2 hours, even with the new highway between Boquete & David. (Maybe you were thinking OF “from David” ? ) And, just FYI…the closest NICE beach is Coconut Beach, on the way to Puerto Armuelles (where they are now expanding the highway to 4-lane ! )
    ENJOY !
    Coconut Beach Community

  3. Well I wish you have a wonderful time in Panama, I am sure you will visit there again, Once you see all the wonders that it has to offer. I have so many recommendations to tell you, but that would take a four page index, haha.
    Im sure you’ve figured out exactly where you are going to, but when in Panama City, don’t miss, Casco Antigua, Panama Viejo, Calzada Amador and Cinta Costera. And dont forget to see the massive malls, Multiplaza Pacifica and the huge (800 store) Albrook Mall. A great sightseeing tour is on the Double Decker red buses. It has two routes that show you all of Panama City. (City Sightseeing Panama. http://www.citysightseeingpty.com) Oh and if you are looking for a great restaurant (Colombian) check out Lenos y Carbon. There are 4 of five around Panama City, when you are entering Casco from Cinta Costera, make sure you go to the fish market. They have the best Ceviche in all of Panama. When in David, there is a great family run restaurant on Calle Virgincita (across from the Bamboo Hostel), Great Corvina and Patagonies for about $4, and $1 Cervesa’s.
    When up in Boquete, if you have time, go on a trip to Volcan Baru. It is an experience you will cherish for the rest of your life.The coffee tours are great also. Also the towns of Volcan and Cerro Punta are great places to visit, actually Volcan is becoming a very nice place to retire as well as.
    Ok Joanne, I will stop now, or else I will go on forever.
    Again enjoy your trip and hope you don’t get too much rain, as this time of year is usually the heaviest