Retiring to an overseas haven has become a reality for many in the current day, including Peg, a retired teacher, and April, a retired accountant, who have settled in Panama’s Azuero region.
Their reasons for choosing Panama were the use of the U.S. dollar, the stable economy (thanks to the canal), and the language—Spanish being a somewhat familiar foreign language. For them, Panama is affordable, full of friendly people, and its easy residency options made the move turnkey.
“I start each day with some exercise, an hour-walk to view the ocean within the hills of Los Islotes, then I take a quick dip in our pool,” says Peg. “I do house chores, gardening at some point before going for either a swim in the ocean or a kayak through the estuary.
“At about 3 p.m. I start getting dinner prepared so it is all ready before cocktails at 5 p.m. Life here is much more relaxed, more like it was in the 60s. Not a lot of hustle and bustle.”
Before deciding to make the move to Panama, Peg and April visited three times.
“Our family and friends didn’t really have a problem with our move, other than they were going to miss us,” says Peg. “We have always been travelers and adventurers so I don’t think anyone was surprised about our idea to move to Central America.”
Peg and April moved to Panama with their two dogs and two cats.
“At first we lived in Pedasí, Santa Fe, Palo Seco (just south of Mariato), and Morrillo Pacific Heights in the Mata Oscura area before moving into our custom-built home in Los Islotes,” says Peg.
“We knew we wanted to be in a development where the developer was responsible for the installation of water, sewer, and electricity. We don’t speak Spanish and didn’t want to have to navigate the hiring and communicating with workers.
“In a development you usually have someone around 24/7 that you can call on if something happens with your water or electricity, which also brought us comfort.
“It would be hard to live here without the support we have gotten from the Los Islotes development crew. Our friends all have to solve their problems on their own, we just call Martín, Dalys, or Carlos.”
As for the process and ease of moving to Los Islotes, Peg says, “We were able to put our deposit down using PayPal. The developer had the purchasing process in place with people helping us with all our paperwork.
“We made a visit three weeks before we intended to move, found a house, put down a security deposit and moved in three weeks later.
“The most challenging part was moving our animals. We ended up hiring a pet relocation company for the dogs and we took the cats with us on our plane. Animals add another level of difficulty from a timing and paperwork standpoint.”
Peg describes life in the tropics…
“It is hot, humid, and rains a lot. The one thing there are less of than I expected is annoying, biting insects. We couldn’t even sit in our backyard in Texas because of the mosquitoes, but that’s not true here or anywhere else we have lived in Panama.
There is one insect that we like to call a ‘no see ’em,’ but they tend to be around only at dusk at the start of the rainy season.
“My least favorite thing is the condition of the roads once you leave the Pan-American Highway. They are riddled with potholes; the government does its best to keep them filled, but it is hard to keep up with during the rainy season.
“My favorite thing is the natural pristine beauty. I am surrounded by blue ocean water, howling monkeys, and an abundance of birds.
“I think Panama is it for us. We can save our money and travel from here. We have a house we love in a place that is so beautiful and affordable…
“We live on US$2,500 a month. We have health insurance, car insurance, house insurance, internet, phone, TV, all utilities, groceries, gasoline, wine, etc. We deprive ourselves of nothing…”
Contributor, Panama Letter