David, Panama, report by IL

Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve written on the blog. Sometimes life just gets in the way and I’m off doing other things. At the moment I’m with family so I’m getting even less done, but we are having all kinds of fun!

Joel told me about this article by International Living. We all know to do our own research and get our own information. But, this article seems fairly accurate, though heavy on the rosy outlook which is typical of them.


We are very happy in David, but our ideal location might not be yours, and life will not be problem free no matter where you live. I’d hate for people to move to “paradise” only to find it’s not what they expected and they won’t be happy.

Usually the first reaction to “we live in David” is, It’s so HOT! We find the mountains too chilly so David works us, and we have AC for hot afternoons. Many people don’t seem to realize that it’s humid at all elevations. it’s dryer in the Azeuro Peninsula and in the dry season but if you hate humidity, Panama is not for you. It is the tropics, after all.

As for David, it’s true that it’s affordable and convenient. Everything you need is nearby. It feels like a very happening place with construction projects everywhere. The biggest one is the Federal Mall which is just getting finished, and it’s huge. We have seen the middle class thriving here. There are many opportunities for education and employment, and we have seen better cars, home improvements, and new homes. But, with all this comes traffic. The joke is that traffic rules are merely suggestions, and there are very few traffic lights even in busy areas. The driving style is hard for some people, though drivers are also considerate and there isn’t road rage.  They are starting to put up road signs but finding your way around can still be challenging.

Other challenges?  Anything to do with government and bureaucracy may be tedious with different processes to learn, things that don’t always make sense, and copies. One must have copies of everything!  And, though we are finding more people who speak English in David, they are still a minority and Spanish is the daily language.

But, much of the hassles are not unique to David, or even Panama. When I get frustrated I remind myself that the local people have been thriving here for generations (and we will be fine too), and when things take a lot of time, I remind myself that we are retired so we don’t need to rush back to the office. Things always get worked out one way or another, and people are always willing to help if you get stuck. Our daily needs and most of our wants are always met.

I’m sure I haven’t mentioned all the hassles but whatever they are, for us, they are insignificant compared to the benefits we enjoy – the natural beauty, warm weather, freedom from hurricanes and other weather problems, affordable cost of living, affordable and good quality health care, delicious fresh produce every day, and most of all, the welcoming and friendly people. I never thought I would be made to feel so at home in a different country!

So, do your own research, and I hope all of you find a place and a life that makes you happy.

About Kris Cunningham

We live in David, Chiriqui Provence, Republic of Panama! This blog is about some of our experiences in our new country.
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6 Responses to David, Panama, report by IL

  1. Edie Baxter says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to both of you!
    I agree that the article seemed fairly accurate, not over done with all that is wonderful but logic should dictate that nowhere is perfect. There is still no substitute for “boots on the ground”. 5 years ago when our boots hit the ground, we fell in love with Boquete and haven’t fallen out of love yet.
    Hope your Thanksgiving is perfect,
    Edie and John


  2. Steve Muse says:

    As always thanks for your posts. Happy Thanksgiving to you and Joel.


  3. catfriend99 says:

    If you’re spending this weekend with the daughter in Seattle it is unusually cold for this time of year, something you never have to worry about in Panama.


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