Expat Life In Panama

Our Favorite Panama City Taxi Driver Speaks The Truth

Taxi drivers can be one of your best sources of information about a place. They’re connected to their city at the street level. They know their way around, of course, but, more than that, they also know how to get things done.

Our favorite taxi driver in Panama City is Alberto. Though, to clarify, Alberto is no longer a taxi driver. He retired from that business six months ago and now works as our full-time personal driver.

Alberto knows all the shortcuts and back entrances from one end of Panama’s capital to the other. And, while he drives us to and fro, navigating this increasingly crowded, congested city, he entertains us with colorful commentary…

“Do you see that?!” he’ll exclaim. “Do you see that?! That guy is making a left-hand turn from the far right-hand lane, three lanes over! Who would do that? Only a Panamanian…”

“This traffic! Dios mio! They’re building the new metro to try to ease things up on these roads, but the subway work is making everything so much worse. They’re digging big holes in the middle of all the major streets. Then they stand around and look inside the big holes. Does anyone know what they’re doing? How long all this will take? How much difference it will really make? I don’t know…but nobody’s asking folks like me what we think. Ah, Panama…”

Alberto has a true Panamanian perspective on life in Panama City. That’s why, starting in the February issue of my Panama Letter (in subscribers’ e-mailboxes tomorrow, Feb. 1), we’ve asked Alberto to share his insights and wisdom on navigating day-to-day life down here in the Hub of the Americas.

Panama City is at a turning point in its history. It’s pushing hard to move from developing world to First World status. Big picture, the benefits will be tremendous, and the transition is creating serious opportunity.

Down at street level? The consequences of all this growth and change can be maddening. Knowing how to get around, where to go to get things done, and the secrets to operating on the local level, rather than the gringo level, can be the difference between success…and losing your shirt and maybe your mind.

Again, our new “Ask Alberto” column debuts in the February issue of the Panama Letter.

Other new, expanded, and (we think) improved elements in the February issue of my Panama Letter include…

  • Broader budget comparisons, to help you thin-slice the cost of living in this country. The February issue includes detailed budgets for El Cangrejo, in Panama City; Cerro Azul, in the highlands outside Panama City; and in Clayton and Albrook, this month’s featured destinations…
  • Cuidado“…or Caution…a new regular column giving subscribers the heads up on important things they should look out for when spending time in this country…
  • Expat Topsy Turvey“…another new column that shares the hard-won wisdom of expats already living, investing, and doing business in all regions of Panama…
  • Simon Says“…Lief Simon’s chance to share his personal insights into life as a Panamanian expat. Lief is known for telling it like it is. As a local friend remarked when he heard about Lief’s new regular Panama Letter column, “Oh, no, now you’ve given him a regular forum…”
  • What’s On In Panama This Month“…a guide to events and activities in the country this month. Where to go to watch the Super Bowl…how to plan your Carnavale adventure…who’s appearing live in concert this month…and what’s playing at Panama City’s English-language theater…

And much more. This February issue of the Panama Letter is a full and fully illustrated 36 pages of insider insights and intelligence, all from folks currently living full-time in the country. Real-time, real-deal information from both expats and Panamanians on real life in Panama.

If you’re a subscriber, watch for your expanded February issue in your e-mailbox tomorrow.

If Panama is on your radar, but you’re not already a subscriber to the Panama Letter? What in the world are you waiting for? Subscribe here now.

Kathleen Peddicord

Make a Profit And Have The Adventure Of A Lifetime