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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Good advice Nicole.  I haven't had much luck getting them to speak mas despacio, but I am learning to keep up with them.  Practice, practice.

:-) :-) :-) 

Great idea to start with Spanish classes in San Antonio. I recommend individual classes. The common Panamanian speak fast and with a dialect, like you go to a small town in Texas trying to understand their English.

Read a few of these...they are very interesting!etd.send_file?accession=ohiou1245254852&disposition=inline

Here are some questions to ask yourself that might give you a gauge on if you will like being an Expat:

1.  Are you a "go with the flow" type of personality?  Or are you a "my way or it's wrong" type of personality?

2.  Are you willing to experiment with just about everything?  For instance some foods that are common in the US are not found here.  You will need to try different brands or even different foods all together.  Depending on where you live here, you might not be able to get cable or satellite TV, so you may have to experiment with Internet TV; things like that.  Don't be afraid to try new things!

3.  Do you have respect for different cultures and can you acknowledge that things are done differently in places than what we do in the United States?  Part of what I love about Latin America is their laid back approach to life.  But at times that is a double edge sword.  When you schedule work to be done and the worker is late or shows up a day later, you have to accept that.  The main thing to remember is that is their way, it is not yours.  We now live in THEIR country, not the other way around.  Adapting more like a willow tree that bends will make things a lot easier that being a mighty oak!

Final note:  Look at the glass half full.  Look at the beauty of things and people instead of the negatives.  Don't try to "fix" things.  Go with the flow!  If a Panamanian knows that you respect their country and are trying your best to adjust to living in their country, 99% of them will bend over backward to help you.  Now that my husband and I are used to being around the Panamanian people and their big hearts and joy, I can't imaging moving back to the US.  I would be sad!

  Good thoughts Elaine, did you ever get the walls in your place fixed. lol  Patience is a virtue. Hope to see you guys again soon.  

Bryan, funny!!  Yes, we got everything fixed!  And, we got a small grill for the balcony, so we are loving everything!  Hurry up and move down here and we will party!

There have been a significant number of expats that left Boquete for other areas in Chiriqui, Bob. Some learned that the "eternal spring" weather and Boquete's Paradise were not what they expected. Boquete is a rural, mountain farming community still. The dogs bark, the roosters crow, and the bands practice their drums and bugles non-stop. Then, there is the rain.

The floods caused a few folks to rethink their relocation, especially those in Valle Escondido whose homes were too close to the creek. The waterways in Boquete drain a mountain valley and when the Nino parks off shore, the rainfall can get impressive.

The new 4 lane highway to David was going to make David and escape easier but then the water project and road destruction made that access difficult (at times, impossible). The floods that took Boquete's bridges did not help.

Then, there is the issue of electrical usage. The local residents have lived in Boquete since before electric lights were available. Hurricane lamps and flashlights were common in every house. Even now, electrical outages don't phase the older residents. And being on the end of the electric feedline from David means that a tree falling in Dolega can disrupt power until the crews can locate and fix the break. The electric loads on the line have increased as well. Folks with large refrigerators, freezers, backup water pumps, and other high usage appliances are causing heavy consumption as never before. Even if the power is not actually out, the drops and spikes in the mains voltage has caused electrical equipment to be damaged.

Boquete has changed more in the last 20 years than in the previous 50 years and change is not something that Panama's infrastructure is good at handling. Improvements in Panama City, where most of the voting public lives, happens faster because that is where politicians get elected. When one thinks of Chiriqui, one should think of the fly over states in the US.


Either learn to be happy with electricity that will be out on regular basis for a couple of minutes to a couple of hours, or not the place for you.

Actually, is does vary quite a bit over time. Last year (our first), I went ahead and got an inexpensive generator. But then power was stable for quite a while so I wondered. But then we came back from Panama City (getting residency, one of several trips) at night and power was out. It was much easier to fire up the generator, then trying to get things done in the dark.

I wish I had bought an automatic system, but far too expensive. For the cost of the generator and a few cords was about $500. Now in a larger house, I figured out and set up a system with instructions where I just flip off a few breakers, turn on some switches connecting the generator circuit to most of the house, and we are functional. I didn't go whole house, just the parts we use (kitchen, living room and my office). The fun part is guessing how long will the power be out. Anywhere from 2 minutes to 4 hours (a couple time longer, but that is the average). Most of the time it is less than 10 minutes. Until here lately, the internet stayed on, I don't know what changed. But I have movies and old tv shows on digital recordings and I always have books I am reading.

So, you keep around you small LED flashlights and area lamps (like the battery ones they sell that you stick in a closet).

To be honest, extended water outages have bothered me more than the electricity. Yes, we lose water pressure occasionally, but last year it was more of a problem. Boquete has been redoing their water system, so that may have been part of it. But because of the upgrading the system, the roads are far worse into and around town than they were when we arrived. But you learn to keep those 5 gallon jugs with a dispenser (we got a table top hot/cold one from a charity sale and it has been great) and I refill Vinegar gallon jugs and such with water for flushing toilets. Oh yes, best investment was a clean water system we bought used when we first got here (people returning to the states). I keep a 5 gallon jug with a backup with a cheap dispenser (used the pump type at first). I use that water to extend the paid for water and for cooking and coffee. Actually, with a rough filter, a carbon filter and a UV lite for sterilization, I haven't noticed any taste issues.

Ok, maybe I am going a little long with this. My wife and I are not retired. We came to serve a church and have just stayed, even though the church isn't any more (Pastors went back to the US for long term health reasons, they hope to come back). We are learning how to make an income online, but are having to work out long distance money.

Here it is: At times, "why am I here", but then I will get up one morning and just say in my heart, I am so glad to be here. Some day we might move on. We would like to spend time in the Asia, S America, Africa, and Europe. But, that will be another day. Oh did I mention that in our 60's we rode motorcycles (each on our own) down from New Mexico. But that is another story.

Bob,  another thought about your decision, how mountainous is it around San An?  Here you will be traversing sort of paved mountain roads which may seem doable in dry daylight, but having to drive into town for an emergency at night in the rain may be real test of your fortitude.  Getting a rental in town will give you a chance to "microscope" the surrounding areas for more permanent accommodations  if you want to make your stay long term.  People here can advise you to the "ins and outs" of living in their specific areas.  Remember, mañana doesn't necessarily mean tomorrow, it just means "not today".  So with that, I bid you "Bienvenido a Panamá!"


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