“Kathleen, my wife and I have been reading your newsletters about Panama with great interest. We are very close to retirement and are considering several options, all of which involve moving overseas. The big challenge is finding a country that would be friendly to both of us.
“I am a white American, and my wife is a naturalized American who was born and grew up in China. We have thought about China but, for many reasons, have about given up on that route.
“Now we are considering Panama. We have heard there are many Chinese in that country, but we have heard little about whether or not there is a Chinese community or if they have dispersed throughout the country.
“Is there a sizable China town in Panama City? Do you hear Chinese spoken on the street? Do you have any idea if an American-Chinese would be welcomed?”
— Clyde R., United States
Yes, there is a large Chinese community in Panama, not only in Panama City but elsewhere in the country, too. And, yes, the Chinese here tend to concentrate themselves in “Chinatowns,” both in Panama City (where Chinatown is in Casco Viejo) and in other parts of the country.
That said, you meet them everywhere, and, yes, you do hear Chinese here and there on the street, especially in shops, as the Chinese community in Panama seems to have cornered the market on both neighborhood corner groceries and dry cleaners. Everywhere in the country, even in the interior, these two businesses are run (efficiently and well) by Chinese families.
I think that you and your wife both would be welcome here and that your wife would have no trouble finding Chinese friends.