Any idea of the turnover of residents in Boquete?  I know many people have different reasons for why it turns out to not be for them. I'm curious, because I read a little of this, and a little of that, so I want to know. Do you think, other than the obvious things like family tug, or health reasons, some folks just didn't think it through enough. I can't imagine money is a reason to leave, when it seems money saved would be a reason to move there in the first place. So you folks with your ears to the ground have to know what else makes them leave. My wife and I have done so much research on the Boquete area, I can't imagine someone living in Boquete would want to up and leave Panama, and start that process all over in another country. But......maybe it's just Boquete they're leaving, not Panama. Thoughts?

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As they age and develop health problems, many return to take advantage of Medicare or the national health program in their country of origin. Everyday health care in Panama is very inexpensive, but hospitalizations and the treatment of chronic conditions can be very expensive. Good health insurance is expensive and becomes more expensive every year one ages.

Others return for family reasons: to take care of a family member in ill health, to enjoy their grandchildren, etc.

By far most turnovers are due to failure to adapt to a different culture. Those who return for this reason usually are gone within two or three years, sometimes less. It has been my experience that few of these people will admit the real reason for leaving.

Thanks. My wife and I are very seriously considering Boquete in about 3 years. I can understand the health issue. I’m hopeful I can keep exercising and fend off some of those things, but very rarely, if ever, does one get to choose his or her fate. So I can see health as a reason. Family is also pretty obvious. I would like to think being retired means you can long term visit, but not necessarily move. When the family issue passes, you may regret not going back. But who knows, everybody has their own reasons. For me, it’s a failure to adapt, not my wife, but me. I have to let things happen as they happen, or I’ll struggle with it. We already know our plan is a six month stay, then we’ll see. 

Bob, outside of what Bonnie had to say I think the “Didn’t think it though enough” puts a lot of the movements in perspective. Working everything out on paper is one thing but experiencing it is another as is having a wonderful vacation verses setting up your own day to day life. Still having three years to go offers you the opportunity to spend your vacation times here at different times of the year. You can no doubt afford to rent a car but try living without one, try not using electricity and water for a few hours. Put yourself in the position of experiencing hardships and see how it feels, imagine setting out your day looking to get two or three things accomplished and maybe getting 25% through one of them. Experience what it would take to set up bank account, cable, internet, electricity . . . by visiting the office and asking questions there for yourself even though you are not ready to live here. Then understand that all the life support you are leaving behind in the U.S. such as bank, S.S. IRS and whatever else you might have will not be so simple as standing in front of someone and sorting out issues face to face. What I’m saying is use time in this three year period to put yourself out side of your comforts zone, not that you would be out of your comfort zone every day but you need to know that you can get through it move on and still believe it was all worth it.

Great points Donald. I may have to make a detour or two and try some of what you're talking about. We are going to be there to enjoy ourselves, but what you are saying does make a lot of sense. No way to do it without just jumping in, even if it's practice.

Thanks Again 

I have a different perspective. I lived in Panama for ten years and I am now back in the US. If you'd like to hear another opinion,  I have messaged you. 

Lisa, I never got your message 

Lisa, why are you reluctant to share your experiences online? I'm sure there are others who can benefit from your perspective, particularly since you lived here for so long.

This is a blog I wrote a couple years or so ago on why people stay or leave Boquete. I hope you enjoy it.

i find it interesting of the comments I

I have read all the comments to date and am curious why no one has brought up the importance of speaking the language that is native here. Bob, nor anyone else has commented on this.  If you are truly three years out, and you plan to come here regualarly which i think is fine, then start taking a crash course in learning Spanish, (assuming you do not speak it already).  It is true that even with a command of spanish, dealing with companies and their employees can be extremely frustrating, not speaking or understanding it will necessitate you hiring a translater to guide you in these encounters.  
I think at least 1/4 of those who leave do so to try another place. And there are not that many great options here in this small country if you want to be among other expats.   
Another big mistake I see are those that rush to buy here.  What is the big hurry?  Rents are so affordable imho, and your choice of location could be wrong for so many reasons.  I would suggest avoiding buying for a period of time you are comfortable with, but do not be impulsive.  You can start your search from home in the US via the web as I did when i was seeking my first rental before I even came to live here.  Of course, I did a preliminary trip to see it myself and to tour the surrounding areas, but I know many that have repeated this over and over for years before making the decision to move here.  I am more relaxed about this; and wel will pick up and move to another country simply becuase we can.  If your budget won't allow for that, you must be more careful picking the "right" place on the first move.  I hope this helps.

I met very few  retired expats, who speak, read and write proper Spanish. Consequently your group of social contacts is limited. I lived and worked in various countries for 30 years. 


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