Expats In Playa Venao, Azuero Coast, Panama

Panama's Best Surf Break

Dec. 10, 2014, Playa Venao, Panama: A surfing expat community is taking hold in Playa Venao on Panama’s Azuero Peninsula.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

If you made the journey all the way down to the bottom of Panama's Azuero Peninsula to visit Playa Venao seven or eight years ago, you wouldn't have found much. The occasional surf contest drew attention from around the country, and the occasional intrepid surfer from farther afield sought out Venao's famous beach break. Otherwise, this was about as remote an outpost in this country as you could imagine. Anyone who wanted to stay overnight at Venao camped on the beach or strung a hammock between two palm trees.

Today, Playa Venao is increasingly recognized as a top international surfing destination, and a small expat community has taken hold. Among the full-time residents is E.J. Gorman.

E.J. hails from Chicago. His mother worked for an airline, so every winter the family would escape the Chicago cold with trips to warmer climes. E.J. learned to love the tropics and the lifestyle that goes with them. Today, you'll find him in his office a few steps from the Venao surf...

What brought you to Panama in the first place?

My uncle invited me to come visit with him in 2004. I found Panama fascinating back then, full of opportunity but really nothing much happening yet. We were just beginning to hear about Panama in the press, but nobody knew much about the place.


Panama’s Economy Projected As Fastest-Growing In 2014

Panama By The Numbers—It's A Convincing Case

Dec. 9, 2014, Panama City, Panama: Panama continues to enjoy impressive economic growth.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

Why should you think about moving, retiring, buying a piece of real estate, or basing your business in Panama as opposed to the many other places you might also be considering for those things? 

One reason could be because this country's economy has weathered the storm of the past half-dozen years much better than most and stands today as the fastest growing not only in the region but in the hemisphere. 

In 2008, many began calling for the collapse of Panama's property markets. We didn't agree. We predicted that real estate values in this country, specifically in Panama City, would soften...fall a bit...but not collapse. We took this position with confidence because we recognized that Panama's property markets are not fully dependent on U.S. buying pools. Post-2008, U.S. buyers were thin on the ground in Panama, as they were elsewhere in this region. However, unlike elsewhere in this region, Panama continued to attract other buyers, from Venezuela, El Salvador, Honduras, Colombia, etc.


Valerie Reinvented Her Life From Toronto To The Azuero Coast

From Toronto To The Sun-Drenched Azuero Coast

Dec. 8, 2014, Pedasi, Panama: Valerie Longstaff is dividing her retirement between Toronto and Panama’s Azuero Coast, where she’s enjoying the tropical weather and building both a new life and a new business.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

Valerie Longstaff was born in British Guyana (now Guyana) but grew up in Flushing, New York. From Flushing, Valerie moved with her family to Toronto, where she spent most of her life.

Today, though, you'll find Valerie in Pedasi, on the east coast of Panama's Azuero Peninsula. Valerie loves Toronto and has retained a home there, but she's in no hurry to return. She's too busy with her new life at the beach and the thriving bakery business she's established in Pedasi.

Panama Letter Editor Jocelyn Carnegie connected with Valerie recently…

Valerie, what drew you to Panama in the first place?

I was born in the tropics, and I knew I would always return. I've spent most of my life being cold, between New York and Toronto. Finally, I just needed to feel the sun again!

And you chose Panama?

It wasn't that easy, I can tell you. I wanted somewhere with white sand and Caribbean water. I was specifically not looking for darker sand beaches (not black), so it's funny I have ended up here on the Pacific coast of Panama where the sand is glorious but not bright white as in the Caribbean.

Which other countries did you consider?

I considered Venezuela, but I wasn't mad about Chavez. The situation in Venezuela all seems a little too crazy.

Mexico was out of the question for me. It's too close the United States. I wanted something farther afield. I went to Argentina several times, and I even considered New Zealand because it's English-speaking option, but I decided both those countries were too far from Toronto.


Ups And Downs OF Retirement In Panama

10 Things You Need To Know About Panama

Dec. 7, 2014, Panama City, Panama: Ten things to consider if you are thinking of retiring or moving to Panama.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

I've been making the case for Panama for more than 15 years, and I'm more bullish on the opportunities and upsides on offer in this country today than ever before.

Bottom line, if you are in the market right now for a place to live, retire, invest, or do business overseas, I'd say you're doing yourself a big disservice if you aren't looking closely at what Panama has to offer. 

That said, you also should understand that today's Panama is a very different place from the Panama of 15 years ago. It's a different place today even from the Panama we moved to about six years ago.

Plus, of course, no place is perfect, including Panama. Even "paradise" has its downsides.

In that spirit, here are 10 things that anyone thinking about spending time or money in Panama today needs to know to make a success of the effort:

#1: Panama City is no longer a cheap retirement choice.

The cost of living in Panama's capital city has appreciated steadily over the past decade. As a result, today, Panama City no longer qualifies as a "cheap" place to call home. You can live modestly in this city on a budget of US$1,500 per month, but a more realistic monthly budget for an average couple of retirees would be US$2,000.

The cost of living elsewhere in Panama, however, can be much more affordable. A couple could retire to Santa Fe, for example, in the highlands of Panama, on as little as US$1,000 per month.


Mango Village Casitas At Los Islotes On Panama’s Azuero Coast

Announcing: Turn-Key Retirement On Panama's Pacific Coast

Dec. 5, 2014, Azuero Sunset Coast, Panama: The new Mango Village casitas at Los Islotes are a turn-key lifestyle option on Panama’s Azuero Sunset Coast.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

Since we launched our Los Islotes community on the western coast of Panama's Azuero Peninsula, we've received one question more than any other:

When will a turn-key home option be available?

It is with great pleasure that I write today to answer that question with an enthusiastic:

Right now.

Not everyone is up for building his own home in a foreign country. Some folks would prefer something a whole lot more turn-key. After months of designing and planning, that is precisely what we are now preparing to be able to offer.

Specifically, Los Islotes is undertaking the construction of a series of two-bedroom casitas, as we're calling them, in the Mango Village section of the property, which is an ideal setting for these little houses. 

As I said, we've been working on the designs for these houses behind the scenes for months. In conceiving this new neighborhood, we've had two driving ideas. First, again, we want to be able to offer a no-hassle, ready-to-move-into option for people interested in becoming part of the Los Islotes community but not up for buying a lot and building a custom house.

Second, we want these little houses to be special. We're not interested in slapping cookie-cutter structures on the beautiful Los Islotes hillsides. We don't want to build just any old little houses.

The big-picture vision for Los Islotes is to complement the extraordinary natural beauty of this coastal spot with just as impressive architectural achievements. Everything we build here will be in the traditional Spanish-colonial style. This means arched doorways and windows, whitewashed exterior walls, and red clay-tiled roofs. These elements will be part of all construction, from the Founder's Lodge to the horse stables...and these new casitas.

Two models have been designed, one with a small courtyard in the back (another typically Spanish-colonial element) and the other for narrower lots. Take a look.


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Kathleen Peddicord

Kathleen Peddicord is the founder of the Live and Invest Overseas publishing group. With more than 25 years experience covering this beat, Kathleen reports daily on current opportunities for living, retiring, and investing overseas in her free e-letter.

Her book, How To Retire Overseas—Everything You Need To Know To Live Well Abroad For Less, was recently released by Penguin Books.

Read more here.


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