Just wondering what you all decided to "bring" with you when you moved there and what you left behind? What's important & what's not? I'm guessing shipping is pretty expensive and one should only ship if it's really critical. Can any of you share what shipping to Panama cost you for various things including any duty? I'm saddened at leaving behind some of our favorite paintings, etc., but imagine shipping those is too expensive and who knows, maybe they'd get lost. As I look around at just our medicine cabinet type stuff from ointments to antacids, you know how over the years you collect a lot of that? That could actually be pretty expensive to have to replace all that down there, but then shipping is expensive I'm sure. I've also heard that some airlines will let you bring extra baggage for a cost if there is room, which also might be where a lot of extras could go. Would appreciate any sage advice from you all. Thanks so much!

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P.S. I would also imagine it be important to bring some basic tools: screw drivers, etc.? Thanks again.


Inexpensive tools (Ace Hardware grade) are in good supply. High quality, professional grade, are also available if you know where to look for them. Unless a person has some specialty tools they require I wouldn’t bother because of the weight.

Thank you Keith. That all makes sense. Thanks for your input.

I am going to disagree with Keith this one time on tools.

Bring what you have if you regularly use them. Decent quality tools are rare in Panama. Everything is made in China now but it seems like the low quality stuff is dumped in Panama and elsewhere while the better quality products make it to the USA. I am a daily project tool user and have thousands of dollars invested. I still have my dad's tools that he bought. 

One detail to mention is that house construction there is cinder block, no wall stud or wooden roof truss. Hanging your pictures and paintings can be a challenge.

Thank you Jim and Nena. That really makes sense. I think in the end it's an individual thing.

Good questions.

My advice would be to pack up and ship everything that is important to you.

However, leave behind and don't pack anything that is not important to you.

Thank you Joseph. I always appreciate feedback. Thank you!

I agree with Joseph. If I had to relocate again I wouldn’t bring electrical items due to the time sitting in a container, storage and the damp season. If you are someone who uses tools regularly I would consider bringing hand tools as you grow accustomed to what you have. A question you should ask yourself is how important quality is to you as there are few places that sell high end quality merchandise. When the new mall entering David opens up maybe that will change.

Thanks Donald. All that makes sense. So much to learn. Good news that there's a new mall coming to David soon? I also read somewhere that there's a grocery chain from down in David that is going to build up in Boquete; have you heard that? Have a good day.

When my wife and I decided to retire to Panama 4 years ago, we sold everything except our clothing.  Once here it wasn't difficult to replace what was needed.  It is MUCH less expensive to buy things here versus shipping from (fill in the blank.)

When we moved 3.1/2 years ago from Saint Lucia(Caribbean) we brought 4 suitcases mainly with our clothing and our 4 dogs. Most things one can buy locally at good prices.


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