(Boquete Guide) I spent last week in Panama City, the Capital. Part of my time was at a conference held by Live and Invest Overseas. I write a monthly newsletter, the Panama Letter, for them and I speak at their conferences in Panama City. I try to speak the truth about making the decision to relocate to Panama. I am happy to say I am encouraged to write and speak what I feel, not prodded into painting a picture that might not be real.
At these meetings I meet many people, from many places, considering many options. Some of these people are realists, some are laboring in a fantasy. At this last conference many, more than normal, were considering a relocation to Panama. I tried very hard to send a message, a clear message. Do not move to Panama unless you are willing to change. Do not move to Panama because someone or some company tells you it is cheaper here. That is not a good reason to move to Panama. Move to Panama only if you are ready to change your life, learn a new language, immerse in a new culture and grow as a person.
If you are coming to Panama with a plan to change Panama into Texas, forget it, stay in Texas. If you are coming to Panama and are not inspired to be immersed in a Latin American culture don’t come. If you are coming to Panama to escape the hordes of Spanish speaking immigrants in the US, you picked the wrong place.
If you are coming to Panama and do not plan to at least try to learn Spanish you will miss too much. Panama is a United Nations, people from all over the world settled Panama and continue to come here. If you are from the United States and have not done much travelling remember this is a different country. They also waive the red, white and blue here, but it only has two stars.
If a lower cost of living is your primary goal, you can do better in rural Mississipi. Unless you are from Mississipi it will give you an equally unique cultural experience and a lower cost of living without needing to learn a new language, just a new accent.
Panama is looking for investment, Panama likes your money and what it provides in exchange is an opportunity for a new life. Whether it is better hee is subjective; for me, better, for others not.
A friend of mine just returned to Canada after years here. I suspect he returned because he could not find happiness in Panama. If you unhappy where you are consider this axiom. The one constant where ever you are is you. If you cannot find happiness where you are, it is unlikely you will find it here. Unless you are experienced in Latin American culture and speak good Spanish this experience might traumatize you. You might look at Panama and blame it for your unhappiness, despite the fact you brought it in your carryon luggage.
Do your homework if you are seriously considering immigration. Read, go to a seminar, visit, and only then stick a toe in the water. Consider doing a rental for six months. Do not buy anything until you see if this is for you. Panama is not for everyone, neither is Mississipi.