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Tourist low season in Panama

“My husband and I are headed to Panama for our first do-we-want-to-live-here? tour in early August. We’re pretty adventurous and plan to rent a car and drive from Panama City to El Valle, Chitre, Las Tablas, Pedasi, across to Los Islotes, and back to Panama City. Because this is our first trip, we would like to be flexible and spend more time in some areas than others, depending on whether we think specific locations would be a good fit for our future lifestyle.

“My question is this: At this time of year (early August), would it be necessary to book hotels in advance? Obviously, that would limit our ability to be spontaneous, but we’d also rather not end up in youth hostels for lack of available rooms!”

— Sheila S., United States

August is well into rainy season in this country, meaning it’s typically a quiet time. Don’t let that put you off, though. Temperatures are cooler during the rainy season, and it typically rains for but an hour or two each day.

Plus, the tourist volumes thin a bit, meaning that, yes, you could be ok to travel around as your curiosity dictates without worrying about making accommodation reservations in advance.

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“Kathleen, your mentions of properties are always listed by the square meter and not the square foot. One I was interested in was approximately US$2,100 per square meter. Say the house has 1,500 square feet, how much would the sales price be at US$2,100 per square meter? I’d appreciate it if you could tell me how to figure this.”

— Susan M., United States

Square meters is the standard in the most of the world outside the United States (though parts of Asia and Central America use different area measurements for land), so we’ve adopted it as our house standard, too.

The conversion is 10.764 square feet to 1 square meter. So your 1,500-square-foot house would be about 140 square meters and, at a rate of US$2,100 per square meter, would cost you US$294,000. That puts the cost at about US$196 a square foot, to give you another point for comparison.

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