1. About

We are a couple of Americans who have decided to retire to Panama, specifically David in Chiriqui Province. I have made this blog to document our experiences so we can remember everything,  keep friends and family updated, and maybe it will help someone else doing the same thing or considering such a move.

I’m Kris, retired RN. I’m married to Joel, musician and construction guy, the guy who could remodel and fix pretty much anything in a house.  Before this, we lived in Sarasota, Florida. We thought about making this move for a few years, visited three times and loved what we saw, and decided to go for it! I arrived in October 2012, and Joel followed in November.

Together, we are making a new home in our new country. Follow our blog and I’ll take you with us on our adventures!

123 Responses to 1. About

  1. Thank you, Kris, for signing up to follow my blog. I enjoyed paging through your entire blog. Having visited Costa Rica some years ago, much of what you portray looks familiar. I wish you much luck and happiness in your Panama adventure.

  2. Sounds very adventurous. What do you like most about your new surrounds?

    • kristc99 says:

      Thanks for visiting my blog :) I love the people here, so warm and friendly. I like the climate, the beauty of the area, all the fresh produce, the slower and less stressed pace of life, inexpensive living, and many interesting things to do. I am looking forward to exploring your blog and through you, learning more about your area.

      • Hello Kris, we had the pleasure of meeting you at the Thanksgiving dinner in Boquete at Don and Andrea’s house. We loved our trip to David and can’t wait for our next one in June. We plan on staying in David and taking the buses to the beach cities. We are going to retire there soon and can’t wait to move there. The temperature there seems to be what we are looking for. We love reading your blogs, you see so much in Panama, we feel we are there also. You cover a lot of different subjects, which is helping us a lot. Carole & Jacky Dastugue- Jaccar Organic and Natural Sorbet

  3. kz says:

    Hi! Thanks so much for the follow! I appreciate it^^ xo -kz

  4. bebs1 says:

    Hi Kris! I just love reading your inspirational blogsite so I have nominated you for three blogging awards. I hope you accept if not I understand. It is a lot to do. Happy holidays!

    • kristc99 says:

      Oh my goodness, thank you so much! Wow. Let me know what I need to do. I’m retired now so I have more time for blogs and having fun.

      • bebs1 says:

        All you have to do is pick bloggers which you think should get any of the awards. You can decide to have people get separate awards or group them together like I did but you have to write 7 random things about yourself, etc. Thank you! Merry Christmas!

  5. Kongo says:

    Kristin, I’ve read that Panama is a top retirement destination for Americans. I have been to Panama several times. When commanding a ship in the Navy I’ve gone through the canal twice and spent time in Panama City both before and after the Noriega days. How did you decide to move to Panama and is it really as wonderful as some of the literature I’ve read?

    • kristc99 says:

      We wanted something close, warm, affordable, with decent infrastructure and reasonably safe and stable. It fit all these wishes. I think it is even better than the literature says! Panama City was a bit too crazy and expensive for us so we settled in David (west, close to the Costa Rica border) and it’s working out wonderfully for us. But, a move like this isn’t for everyone. You have to do your homework, visit, talk to people, and see if it fits your needs and goals.

  6. pennycoho says:

    What an excellent blog! Good for you. It does sound rather, well heavenly! I understand pro’s and cons still mmmmm! :)

    • kristc99 says:

      Thank you :) I think if you like adventure and can be flexible, it can be heavenly. We’re really happy for sure! Thanks for visiting my blog and best wishes in this new year.

  7. Jill Nelson says:

    It will be interesting to read about Panama. It is on our list to cruise to within the next year or two.

    • kristc99 says:

      You’ll probably be in the canal area. We’re west, close to Costa Rica but it’s a gorgeous country wherever you go! The canal is amazing, at least I think so. How exciting :)

  8. Hi Kris, what an adventure! I look forward to following you. :) thank you for taking the time to visit my post, I am new to the blogging empire, but I am loving it.

  9. petrel41 says:

    Hi Kris, good news!

    I have nominated your blog for the Liebster Award.

    The rules of this award are at



  10. Eva says:

    I’m happy to find your blog. My husband and I visited Panama for 10 days on a relocation tour in early December – I didn’t want to leave. We spent several days in Boquete and a little bit of time in David. What’s your take on David vs. Boquete. Do you like the conveniences and prices there better? My husband has Air Force pension income, but we’re not “retirement age” yet, so we may wait a few years before moving.

    • Kris says:

      Hi Eva :) For us, Boquete is too chilly. It also has a lot of wind, rain, and humidity. We were in Fl before this and love the warm weather, so we like David. We also like being in a city with all the shopping, doctors, and whatever else you need on a regular basis. Boquete is more expensive, so much that it has priced many of the locals out of their own town. There is also a large expat community which is good for some, especially if you don’t speak Spanish. For us though, we are really enjoying our Panamanian neighborhood. We’re glad Boquete is fairly close though because it is a gorgeous area, and there are some activities there that we enjoy.

      • Debra Fiscus says:

        Hola! I appreciate all the time it takes to answer all the questions. Thank you so much for sharing with all us wannbes. Can you please steer me to a site that answers the questions about the costs of monthly living-utilities to food and entertainment in your area. I read one of Mexican food and prices and it sounds like stateside prices to me. Thank you so much for your consideration and time. Debra

  11. Eva says:

    Kris, thanks so much for your input. I thought Boquete was beautiful, but my husband (who’s from FL) felt it was too cold, too. We live in Dallas now and before that in West Palm Beach FL, so we can handle the heat. I’ve been in touch with others in David who say pretty much the same as you about community, conveniences, cost. . . We are saving money and I’m trying to come up with a small source of income I can earn from home so that we know we can make the move and live comfortably. I hope to meet you someday soon – until then I’ll live vicariously through your blog!

  12. Anonymous says:

    Hi Kris:
    Thanks for taking time to share your experiences with visitors to your blog. Do you have any knowledge and/or comments regarding cost of living in Puerto Armuelles or Boca Chica? We will be moving in 3 to 4 months and are considering your neck of the woods to settle.

    • Kris says:

      I haven’t explored those areas but I would think they would be similar to David. Have you visited there? I wish I knew some expats in those places but unfortunately I don’t. You could check with some of the discussion forums. Try the first two listed on my page http://blog.thepanamaadventure.com/external-links/ How exciting, and good luck with your move!

      • Anonymous says:

        Hi Kris:
        Thanks for the reply. We found a webpage for Americans living in Puerta Armuelles at http://www.livinginpanama.org but repeated attempts to communicate failed. I guess they are no longer there.
        We lived in Belize for 18 months in 2000 so are somewhat familiar with living in a third world country. We lived like the locals and enjoyed a simple, healthy lifestyle. We had to return to Texas to care for my aging mother who has since passed on. Were it not for that….I suspect we’d still be there. Perhaps the culture shock won’t be as severe with this move as it was our first round in CA.

        • Kris says:

          We find that sometimes too, that people are no longer paying attention to their websites or blogs. I can’t find any dates on that site to see how current it is. How was Belize? If you like a simple life, maybe you will like it here too. That’s what we were looking for too. We experienced less culture shock than I expected but I think everyone is different with that. Have you visited here yet? I’ll be interested to hear how things go for you so please keep in touch.

  13. Anonymous says:

    We considered moving back to Belize since we got our residency while we were there. However, we are getting older (65) and descent healthcare needs to be a consideration. Belize has very poor healthcare available so we considering Panama. Thanks again for your replies. We’ll stay in touch.

    • Kris says:

      My husband’s mother has been with us and visited a number of doctors and a dentist. We were extremely pleased with the quality of care and the time spent with her from all of them. They helped her with some things that no one in the US was able to solve.

  14. Pingback: Liebster Blog From Shammee | Not the Family Business!

  15. Shelley says:

    Hi Kris! My husband and I are planning on moving out of country, I am so happy that I stumbled on your blog when I was looking into the “border shuffle”. I will definitely read the blog and would love any further insight you have on moving out of the US. Thank you!

    • Kris says:

      I have been contacted by more and more people thinking of making such a move, so I try to include info on my blog that might be useful. I’ll send you an email so we can be in touch, and if you have other questions I’ll do my best to answer.

  16. michele says:

    I saw your article and wondered if we could buy you (& your hubby?) a beer when we visit this Dec. We’d like the opportunity to ask you a few questions and maybe get a few recommendations for various area’s we plan on visiting. If you could email me and let me know if you’d be willing to meet up for an hour when we are in town or even just correspond thru email Id appreciate it! Our email is mjgbrit@hotmail.com We currently live in Colorado. Cheers! Michele & John

  17. Thank you for following my blog.

    • Kris says:

      But of course! I think the Golden Gate Bridge is so beautiful, and I love photography, and you post really interesting things so it is my pleasure :) BTW I am visiting my daughter in Santa Rosa next week, so I will think of you as I go over your bridge.

  18. Michelle says:

    I was born and raised in Panamá and am curious to read about others’ experiences there. It still surprises me, but I know it shouldn’t, how folks in the USA view places outside their own comfort zone. Ironically, I now live just north of Sarasota, in St. Petersburg, precisely because it’s close to the water and it reminds me of home.

    I hope you continue to fall in love with Panamá.

    • Kris says:

      I know what you mean! So many people were afraid for me, going to live in a third world country and all. Little do they know how much better it is for us here. But, it’s the same here. Panamanians think the US they see on TV is real, and it’s not. We could have a lot of interesting conversations about these things! I also see you are in nursing school? I was a nurse for 34 years. I hope someone manages to fix the problems in our health care system. It will be interesting to see how it goes for you.

  19. Thanks for liking my photo challenge blog post. I will enjoy reading about Panama. We completed a Panama Canal cruise this spring and one of my posts is a photo story of the trip through the canal. I was disappointed to learn we wouldn’t be stopping in Panama at all, just transiting the canal.

  20. banjaxd says:

    Hi Kris,
    Just thought I would drop you a note to let you know that I have read your blog from the beginning and have found it very informative and very easy to read. I have been following several blogs written by expats in Panama. I have never visited Panama but from what I have read I feel that I may have found the country that I would like to retire to. I live in the U.K. and have just booked the flight for my first visit to Panama. I will be there for two weeks in November.I haven’t booked any accommodation so I can be flexible in the length of time that I spend in any one location. My intention is to travel by bus and spend a couple of days each in David, Chitre, Las Tablas and Pedasi. I’m hoping that I will be able to find accommodation in each of these places when I arrive.

    I will have a list of potential hotels and hostels to stay in for each location. One of the places I’m hoping to stay at in David is the Bambu Hostel. Reviews for this place seem positive and I’m sure I’ve read about this place in one of the blogs I follow (maybe even yours). If you have any recommendations on where to stay in David in November I would love to hear about them and I will add them to my list of places for David. Even though I’m not booking hotels ahead of time (to remain flexible), I don’t want to end up sleeping rough through lack of planning.

    Thanks for your blog and your time. Cheers, Kevin.

    • Kris says:

      How exciting! It will be interesting to see how you feel about Panama. Bambu is a good hostel. We stayed there on our first visit and have been friends with the owner ever since. I’ll email you, so if you have any other questions we can be in touch.

  21. Hi Kris, I just discovered your blog. We moved from the Orlando area to Las Tablas, Panama last year. We looked at David, but it just didn’t strike our fancy. :-) We totally agree about Boquete, though — too cold for us!

  22. Rob Brown says:

    I am trying to find Jorge who makes the Noni and Borojo wine – any idea how to contact/buy the wine? Rob

  23. Rob Brown says:

    I am meeting Frank on Aug 3rd – thanks! Roberto

  24. petrel41 says:

    Hi Panama adventurers, congratulations!

    I have nominated your blog for the Liebster Award.

    More about this nomination is at


  25. Elvira says:

    Hello, I am a retired German woman but lived the last 20 years in Florida.
    I was thinking on moving to Panama, I did a lot of homework already.
    Because I am very health oriented I do have 2 important questions.
    Where can I buy organic food, especially fruit and veggies in David for example?
    And do the locals ride all those motor bikes and you find them in swarms all over. It is like that in the Dominican Republic, where I live now for 6 month. And you can feel all the time how you inhale the bad air all the time.
    Thanks for your time-

    • Kris says:

      Hi Elvira :)
      There is lots of good produce in this area, better than FL and I think generally the farmers can’t afford a lot of chemicals. If you prefer something certified organic there are some farms in the area like Finca Santa Marta http://fincasantamarta.biz/. And no, there are not a lot of motor bikes. There are a few motorcycles but no more more than in the US. There is excellent public transportation and most people use it instead of having cars, and many walk or ride bicycles.

  26. Angeline M says:

    Wow! I’m so glad to meet you here on WP (thanks for finding me); I am going to retire end of this November (I’m 66), my husband is planning on working for one more year, and then we, also, will be moving out of the US, but probably some where in Mexico. I’m excited to read all of your posts and find out how you’re doing with your new life.

    • Kris says:

      Oh wow, how exciting for you! I hope it works out well for you too. Funny how sometimes some random thing connects you with someone that you’re really glad to bumped into :) You’re a nurse? I was too, and we just left Santa Rosa CA where my older daughter lives. And, we both love photography. I’ll be interested to hear how your journey goes for you.

      • Angeline M says:

        Serendipity! Yes I’m a nurse too. We’re taking a vacation to Cancun at Thanksgiving time as my retirement prize. Then, our next trip we’re planning on exploring some places in Baja California as potential places to live, maybe Loreto or La Paz.

  27. Zac says:


    I wanted to reach out to you because I’ve been following your blog, and I think you can bring some insight to a situation. Panama clearly has a decent healthcare system, but being from Scotland, it’s not quite as accomplished. Does the healthcare in Panama ever bother you/your family? And should a serious incident arrive, do you trust Panama’s health care system, or would you prefer to go back to Scotland for care?

    I ask because I work with a company called Global Rescue that provides emergency evacuation coverage in the extent of a medical or security emergency. A family friend is actually considering being an Expat (he’s undecided on Singapore/Panama/Costa Rica), and I personally thought it might be important for him to have Global Rescue’s coverage in case of a medical/security incident. We currently don’t have a presence in the expat community so I’m attempting to survey some influential individuals who are expats to get their opinion, both from a personal standpoint for my family friend, and a business standpoint for Global Rescue.

    I’d greatly appreciate a reply.

    • Zac says:

      I apologize – I thought I read Scotland rather than America!

    • Kris says:

      Being a nurse, I have a lot to say about healthcare. I am happy to be in Panama. I think the health care here is very good and if there was an emergency I would feel comfortable being taken care of here. The only reason I would go back to the US is if I was old enough for medicare and the costs would be covered there. This is just me though. Other expats may feel differently. Thankfully I’m healthy. And, since I was uninsured for most of my adult life I’m really happy to have access to affordable health care if something did happen! If you have any further questions feel free to contact me directly at info (at) thePanamaAdventure (dot) com. Give me a couple weeks though because I may not be on line much for the next week.

  28. Marlene says:

    Hi Kris:
    I just read your reply regarding healthcare. I might have missed this in reviewing your blog previously. My question, you mention about coming back to the U.S. if you were old enough for Medicare. Do you mean you would come back only for the medical procedure if needed? My reason for asking I am on Medicare (65) and this is one of my concerns. I was struggling if I continue to pay the Part B premiums, now at $104.95. I know each person has to make a personal decision, but I would be interested in your thoughts. Thanks

    • Kris says:

      When I reach 65 and get Medicare A, I might consider coming back to the US for a medical procedure. Would the 20% copay be less than the out of pocket cost in Panama? I’m not sure it would be. And, I’ve seen too much of the US system to feel more confident about it than the care here. If something arises I’ll just have to see what seems to be the best option at the time.
      Yes, I was saying I would only come back for a medical procedure. I have no intentions of moving back to the US. Even if I could afford the living costs there, I’m happier living here in Panama.

  29. Rita says:

    Hi Richard, my husband and I are planning to visit Panama City, Panama the first week of October 2013. I see that rain is in the forecast everyday during that week. This is our first time coming there. Is this rain simply showers here and there, or will we basically have to spend most of our time indoors?

    • Kris says:

      Usually it’s sunny in the morning and the clouds gather in the afternoon. It may start raining in the mid afternoon or not until it’s closer to dark, and it usually stops sometime in the evening. Some days it doesn’t rain at all or only sprinkles, and other days have a major downpour for awhile. So, be prepared for rain especially later in the day, but unlike up north the rain is warm so it isn’t nearly as unpleasant. This is my experience in David and I don’t think Panama City is too much different. If you want to see what goes on in Panama City and the canal, one of the webcams is http://webcams.pancanal.com/common/photo/webcam-hd-miraflores.html

  30. Hi,

    I am not sure if we reached out to you before but we would like to invite you to provide a guest post about moving/retiring to Panama on our site Retirement And Good Living http://retirementandgoodliving.com

    Our blog is entirely comprised of posts by guest and many have posted about retiring overseas.

    Please let me know if you are interested and I will forward additional information.



  31. Loca Gringa says:

    I am awarding you the Versatile Blogger Award for the quality of your work. I realize that it is a tremendous amount of work to accept this award and of course do understand if you do not have the time to do so! Jejeje, it’s taken me months to getting around to accepting this myself!
    Congratulations! Keep up the good work. I enjoy your work immensely!

    Please refer to the following for instructions:


  32. kp Attman says:

    I just visited Panama a few days ago and enjoyed the visit very much. I look forward to reading more about your adventures there!

  33. Anonymous says:

    Hi Kris. How was your “getting legal” experience in Panama? I assume your Pensionados? I have many more questions. Some may be abit personal. Feel free to say no comment. Maybe we can “talk” email? David.

  34. Loca Gringa says:

    I am awarding you the Inner Peace and Sunshine Award for the inspiring quality of your work. I realize that it is a tremendous amount of work to accept this award and of course do understand if you do not have the time to do so!
    Congratulations! Keep up the good work. I enjoy your work immensely! Thank you for helping to provide me with pure sunshine and inner peace!

    Please refer to the following for instructions:


  35. I would just like to notify you officially that I nominated you for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award! Info on how to respond, if interested, is below! Congrats!


  36. Pingback: Expat Blogs to Enjoy | Future Expats Forum

  37. lordjamil says:

    Hey, I love your blog and I am following in your footsteps. I am planning a move to Panama in July. I need a rental, do you happen to know any good real estate agents who are reputable? Thanks for all the valuable information and time you have put into this blog, my wife and I really appreciate it!

  38. lordjamil says:

    Thank you for the link! I will email Eduardo asap. I will be happy to call you “neighbor” in a few months.

  39. Karen T says:

    Thank you for sharing your experience with us. You’ve helped inspire me to have a blog also. It is karenamapanama.wordpress.com. I always enjoy your posts, so thank you!

  40. Richard says:

    Kris, I’m currently living in Cocle and struggling to adapt (a year, now!) despite applying my international, humanitarian work background! I even married a Panamanian and taught her good English! We are currently looking to relocate to David so we can enjoy the best of many worlds: beach, her family, and better Internet! How do we get “plugged in”?

    • I’m not sure what you need to get plugged in to. It sounds like you have already decided to live in David, so come on over! If there is anything specific I can do, let me know. I hope it works out well and you are happy here :)

  41. Lori Wilkerson says:

    Hello Kris.

    Hope you are having a fantastic day! I need to ask you some questions regarding my project due on Wednesday. I have been waiting for your email but have not received one. Lets set up a Skype meeting? and please send me an email so I can send you some of the questions i will be asking before hand! Thank you so much. I appreciate it!

  42. jerry reidelbach says:

    Hi Kris , What should we expect to pay for a small 2bdrm. house or apt. furnished in a nice gated community in David?

  43. Silvana says:

    Hi Kris,
    I’ve been reading your posts for over a year now. Thank you for all you share. I have a vast interest in relocating to Panama, although I have never visited before. I was hoping you could give me a small overview on how you and Joel made the transition.

  44. Mark says:

    Hi Kris,

    I’m heading down to Panama from NC in a couple of days. I am definitely excited about seeing the country. I agree with you that when in Rome… If I were to live there one of most first orders of business would be to find a great school to learn Spanish! Any suggestions?

    I have enjoyed your blog and would love to contribute with how my story unfolds.

  45. Ruthi says:

    Hi Kris great blog thanks.I would like to know how to teach English in Panama.I have looked extensively online and not found a whole lot.Maybe you have some friends who could help us.I am a retired High school teacher with an MA and teaching certification and 30 years experience.Just taught for 3 years in CHina and would now like to try Central America.

  46. rsheffer says:

    Thanks very much Kris.We are also retired but we would just like to make a bit of extra money and also be involved in Local life in some way.I will check that out.

  47. Swav says:

    Panama sounds very exotic to me… and also interesting as well ;)

    • In many ways it is, but in other ways it’s still just people living their regular lives so it’s not as different as you would think. It is very beautiful though and the people are so warm and friendly. I hope one day to have a chance to visit your country too!

  48. Jean Shankles says:

    Glad I found your blog. My husband and I are considering relocating to Panama. We visited there for two weeks in 2007 and loved it! Since I have a very good ebay business in the states, I’m wondering if there is ebay in Panama?

    • The problem with doing ebay business here is shipping things. If you have a drop shipping sort of biz it could work. If you are going to the post office with items you’d have to pay for something like Mailbixes Etc, and even that isn’t as fast as most ebay customers expect and the costs might cut into your profits a lot.

  49. thetravelarian says:

    Hi Kris! I’ve been following your blog for some time as my husband and I have been dreaming of moving to Panama. Finally, our dream is being realized and we will be in the San Carlos area this July – your posts have been inspirational and invaluable to us in helping prepare and get an idea of what to expect. Though reading about and actually experiencing are completely different animals! But you have great information, clearly presented and I know we will be coming back to your blog for information repeatedly once we are there.

    I noticed many of the topics are closed for comments and I have questions on some of them, is there a way to contact you or somewhere to post a question on topics that are now closed?

    Thank you again for your fantastic blog, keep up the great work!!


    • Thanks! I’m glad you have found the blog helpful :)
      I found that almost all comments on posts over a month old are spam, so I set things to close comments on old posts. You can always comment on something newer to catch my attention, or write me at info@thePanamaAdventure.com
      July? that’s only 4 months. You will be here soon! How exciting

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