What they don't tell you about Living in Panama

May 23, 2006
Living at the Beach or Mountains

Living at the beach or mountain areas of Panama can be everything you ever dreamed of… morning walks on the beach with your dog(s), afternoon naps in your favorite hammock, and watching the tide roll in while enjoying a cold beer and fresh ceviche, but there are a few things you should know.

Up until a few years ago, about 2-5 to be exact, beach homes, and mountain homes too for that matter, were used primarily as weekend homes, escapes from the hustle and bustle of business in the city.

As a result, there was not a large need for the everyday amenities that one would require at their primary residence… such amenities as grocery stores, shopping centers, schools, entertainment, ect. And although there has been a steadily growing population of permanent residents along Panama’s Pacific coast, and in the last 2 years alone, a handful of resorts, golf courses, supermarkets, restaurants, various service providers and even a casino have sprung up along the coast, it is still necessary for permanent residents to commute to Panama City for at least some of their living requirements.

This will inevitably change within a few short years as the number of Pacific Coast and Mountain residents continues to grow, as does the demand for more services, and as it does, real estate values in these areas will inevitably continue to appreciate, but for those of you who require lots of social activities, the current lack of infrastructure is something to take into consideration.

Panama’s Postal Service

An alternative to Panama’s national postal service, which is not the World’s fastest, nor its most reliable, is a P.O. Box in Miami with a forwarding service to Panama.

There are a few private companies who make this process a very simple one, pricey, but simple. Aerocasillas and Mail Boxes Etcetera are the leading providers of this mail service. Sending and receiving mail through these companies generally takes about 3 to 5 days longer than it would if mailed within the United States and costs about 30-40 percent more.

As a rule these mail forwarding services are fairly, reliable and quick, and although a little expensive, currently the best substitute for FedEx, DHL and Panama’s national postal service.