Is there mail in Panama? No! Well, not mail as we know it in the US. There are no mailmen going door to door delivering letters and packages. So, how do things get to people?
There is a post office downtown. You can get a post office box if there is one available, which from what I hear is rarely the case. Otherwise, you can use general delivery. If you think you have something to pick up, go to the post office with your ID and they will look through the boxes and drawers of things to see if your item is there. The post office isn’t fast but it works, and it’s very economical.
Many people would rather use a mailing service like Mailboxes Etc. In the last year, and even in the last few months, we have seen more and more mailing services pop up. They usually have a “Shop on the Internet!” advertisement out front. More and more people here are discovering, and loving internet shopping with the huge selections and better prices. People are also shopping less in person for safety in this pandemic. So, it makes sense that there is an increasing need for a mailing service.
We usually send our internet purchases to my daughter’s house and pick them up on visits, but since we haven’t visited in 16 months we are feeling the void. It’s been great to discover a service that gets packages here in a timely manner and doesn’t cost a huge amount.
It’s usually a week or less for a package to get from Miami to here, and it’s $2.50/lb. and $.50 handling per package. You may be changed more for a larger size package. For example, we have been changed $5 (+$.50) for a small box or package of clothes. But you will see your price in the invoice that comes to your email, and even with shipping costs it can be well worth it to shop on line.
How does it work? You are giving a mailing address (in the Miami/Doral area) and you can take advantage of free shipping offers to there or pay whatever it costs for postage to the Miami address. This address has the necessary information to send the package or letter on to the David office and alert your account. When something arrives you will get an email telling you the weight and cost to pick it up. Then, you stop by the office, pay, and collect your item. We always enjoy a chat with Luis, the bilingual, friendly, efficient, and fun Panamanian who works there. (He took his mask off only for this quick photo)
It gets even better! You can also get your package delivered to David or Boquete. Luis said you can request delivery by either phone or WhatsApp, and you can pay by bank transfer or pay cash on delivery. Contact him for any questions 6150 5434 WhatsApp or 399-4305 / 399-4306 firstname.lastname@example.org
You can find whatever you need locally. Panamanians have been doing it for generations. But it’s really nice to have the option to buy things on line for the better selection, better prices, and convenience. This office is between the car wash and the gas station, and across from Filipe Moto on the old Via Boquete, just above the Terronal shopping center. We appreciate that we don’t have to fight the traffic and congestion to go downtown, and it’s even right on our usual bike route.
Living in Panama can definitely put a damper on your internet shopping habits since it takes more time and money to get things sent here, but it’s great to know there is an option that works well if you do want to order something.