“Kathleen, I just signed up and received my first issue of your Panama Letter, and I am very excited now to come explore this beautiful country. My intention is to live in Panama from January to April 2011 to check it out.
“I have two critical questions as I make my plan for this trip, and I am hoping you can help me.
“First, as my work requires me to make and receive many phone calls to the United States, every day, I need a low-cost way to do this. Do you have any suggestions?
“Second, I also need reliable and fast Internet access. Ideas here?
“I am planning to live on the ocean, not in the city, but I am flexible in terms of where. I would like to be able to bike around, to go to a coffee shop, to have access to some good restaurants, to be in the ocean every day, and to be part of a community of people who are interested in a simpler life, closer to nature.
“Any suggestions you might have would be greatly appreciated.”
–Laurie L., United States
With Skype, Vonage, or any of the other VOIP services, you can have a U.S. telephone number that rings and that you can dial from here in Panama. If you order the service while in the States, you can bring the hardware for this (it’s a small box) down with you to Panama. As it’s a U.S. number, you won’t pay any international costs for U.S. calls.
Note that, for this to work, you’ll need a high-speed Internet connection. For that, you won’t be able to base yourself too remotely.
As you’re looking for a beach lifestyle, I’d suggest Coronado. It’s a relatively large beach community, a place where you could ride your bike around, have easy access to services (grocery shopping, etc.), restaurants, some like-minded fellow expats…plus high-speed Internet.