1. About

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, USA.  I arrived in Panama in October 2012 and Joel followed in November 2012. We moved to the city of David in Chiriqui Province, not far from the Costa Rica border. It has worked out very well for us and we are very happy.

This blog is an accounting of our lives and adventures here, and other various experiences, photos, stories, travels, and whatever else is on my mind at the moment. It started as a way to keep family and friends updated but it has grown and developed a larger audience, and is hopefully a useful source of information as well.

The photos and content of this blog are mine. Please don’t use them without linking back and giving me credit.

I am happy to talk with people, meet travelers who are in the area, and answer questions to the best of my ability so feel free to contact me (info@ThePanamaAdventure.com)

Remember, if you are considering making such a move, these are only our experiences. This doesn’t work for everybody. Do your own homework and don’t take my word for anything.

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog! Feel free to leave comments if you have any feedback or suggestions.


177 Responses to 1. About

  1. Zuleika says:

    Hello Kris, this is a great blog about your adventures.
    I’m from David. I’m very glad that you and your husband like it. Is a small place so maybe I will recognize you if I see you around (I’m asuming you are the one on the picture right? 🙂 ).




  2. kendall says:

    I found your blog informative and interesting. I made a film about a frog in Panama that I thought I might share with you:


  3. John Devlin says:

    Kris, I came across your blog just tonight and it looks as if there’s a lot to see here. I’ll be plowing through it in the days ahead. Long, long ago I was in and out of Panama a couple dozen times courtesy of the US Navy (1959-61) and have not been back since. All my recollections of the country are good ones and it holds a warm spot in my heart. Thanks for taking the time and trouble to create and maintain the blog; I look forward to reading through everything you have here. John D. . .


  4. RestlessTexan says:

    Hello Kris
    Have been been reading yours and several other bloggers linked PFR. I appreciate your information you share. My wife & I will be making our first trip in 07/16. Will flying into David on Copa and checking out areas north of David.


  5. Susan Wiest says:

    Hey Kris! I am enjoying your blog very much. My husband and I visited the Panama City area, Nueva Gorgona, Taboga Island, and El Valle last November. We were very fortunate to be able to stay with friends who also drove us around. I fell in love with Panama. I’ve always been drawn to anything Latin. I’m considering retirement there. Crazy enough I was directed to your post by a now mutual friend, Elza Fakz, from Estonia. My husband and I live in Panama City FL and frequent scenic hwy 30a between here and Destin. We were out for a Sunday bike ride in Seaside. Eliza rode up next to us and started talking to us. What an awesome amazing person she is! I feel like I’m getting a present each time I see a new post from you in my email. Thank you!


    • Wow, that is so cool! What a small world it is sometimes. I had such a great time with Elza and am very glad we got to know each other. She has had an amazing time out there on her bike, and inspires me to get out there and do more myself.
      It is a different life here. We love the culture and the people. It’s beautiful, warm, lots of other good qualities but it’s the friendships and attitudes of the people here that mean the most to us.
      Funny, you are in Panama City FL! It mainly complicates things when you are trying to google something. No, the OTHER Panama city 😀
      Thanks so much for your comment. I’m glad you enjoy the blog.


  6. Casey says:

    Thanks for sharing your story (the adoption post). I couldn’t find a way to comment on that page. I’m an adoptive mom (our story is at hypervigilant.org) and I read adult adoptee stories as a way to try to make sure I’m the best mom I can be to our two adopted kiddos (bio sibs). Hugs, Casey


    • Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to comment. I think once a post is 60 days old, if I remember, you can no longer comment on it.
      How good of you to be such a good mom to your kids. Adoptees have a few issues that I wrote about but mostly we just need good parents like any kid and reading the link you shared, it sounds like you have been a wonderful mom and your daughter is doing great.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Kiki says:

    Hi Kris – I’ve been following your blog for a few months and I love the glimpses into your daily routine. My husband and I are visiting Panama City in a couple of weeks. We’re renting an apartment in Casco Viejo and we’re excited to tour the city. Panama is on our list as a potential retirement location as well. We can’t wait to relax and soak in the culture and country.


  8. Chuck says:

    I am alone and want to get away from where I live in (Ga) just retired and based on my last few years when the housing industry fell apart my monthly is only just over 1 k..
    If you can, please tell me if there is any chance at all for me in Panama or if ya’ll know of another country that would be safe and cheaper.
    Thank you,


    • $1000 is enough to qualify for residency for a single person in Panama, and it is enough to live on depending on where and how you live. Panama City, Coronado, Boquete, etc where there are lots of expats are more expensive. If you live in a smaller town, shop like the local people, ride the bus, etc you can live very well. https://onemoregoodadventure.com/ This guy has been doing it for years. He is currently moving back to the US for medical care and for a grand boating adventure, but you might find his blog interesting. Look for my cost of living page where you will be my husband and I live for around $1200/month, nice house, two cars, happy life. Learning Spanish is strongly advised though because outside of the expensive expat areas you will find few English speakers. There are other countries that are cheaper – Thailand is supposed to be great. Around here maybe Nicaragua? I know of a book that might interest you too, A Better Life for Half the Price http://timleffel.com/travel-books/


  9. Joyce says:

    Hi Kris-
    I found your blog looking for Buddhist resources here in Panama. Your meeting with Lama Lobsang Santen turned up. So interesting to read! Have you had any further adventures with the Kadampa Buddhists? We live on board our boat in the San Blas, and I’d love to find a meditation group here, whether in Panama City or other parts of the country.


  10. Joyce says:

    I’ll tell you what I find in Panama- going in to shop tomorrow.


  11. David George says:

    So excited to find your blog and all it’s info
    Coming soon to David and explore the area.
    Would you suggest a rental car or bus/ taxis?
    Hoping to get Boquete and Boca del Toro
    Thanks for your blog


    • You might think of renting a car to explore Chiriqui. Depending on where you want to go it might be easier. There is a guy, Cowboy Dave, in Boquete who is known for renting cars at reasonable prices. Google should lead you to some contact info. But if you are just in Boquete you should be fine with walking and taxis. Take a bus to Bocas, or there are flights from Panama City. You get to Bocas yeah by water taxi so a car would only sit on the mainland.


  12. Tory says:

    Would love to talk to you more about retirement in Panama! Will be down in August 18. I sent our information to you on Facebook because I wasn’t sure how to comment on this until now.. Thanks!


  13. James says:

    Hi Kris,
    To my delight I just discovered your blog whilst doing research on Panama. I am contemplating retiring (for the 2nd time) next fall. Currently I work for the US gov’t in Germany and my wife is German. We are so tired of the seasonal cold weather and are looking for a more temperate climate and more relaxed way of life. We are also planning our next vacation (Nov-Jan 2019) to get to know Panama. We are considering making David our “base” to discover if and where we might want to settle down. Any advice, tips and guidance in preparing us would be greatly appreciated.

    Best regards,



    • Hi James. A friend of mine here is German and she likes the more relaxed way of life here much more. David has worked well for us since everything we need is close by, Chiriquí is beautiful and there are many nearby places to visit, or to live if you want to be a bit out of town. You have to come and see how it feels to you though. Start working on your Spanish


  14. Julya says:

    Hello Kris, my name is Julya and I am from Toronto, Canada.
    I would love to talk to you in private, I have some questions and you maybe able to answer.
    Hope to hear from you soon, love your blog! Thank you for taking if your time to help others!


  15. Chuck and Heather Braun says:

    Hi Kris,
    Chuck and Heather again from Canada.
    We are actually in David for paperwork and dental work. We have continued to follow your blog and just want to say thank you again for taking time to give great info to folks like us.
    Keep up the good work and maybe we’ll run into you sometime to thank you personally.
    Best Regards,
    Chuck and Heather Braun


  16. Adina says:

    Hey, Kris! I came upon your blog trying to find out more ab Panama. I would like to book a flight, but i am not sure when it’s better to visit the country.
    We would like to arrive just in time to catch all the exotic fruits available, as we will be travelling with a kid that loves fruits. Could you, please, write me which month would do better for this?


    • Is there anything in particular you are looking for? Many are available all the time, and some are seasonal. Maybe latte summer (March) has the most seasonal but it’s also very hot and dry.


  17. Kent says:

    Hi Kris, I’m a “pre-expat” doing my research on Panama and a few other countries. Your blog caught my eye because David is on my short list, and also because I’m a part-time musician. I’d love to chat with you or Joel about the local music scene there. My email address is below; hope one of you can reply,. Muchas gracias!


  18. Barbara Cohen says:

    Hola Kris! Just discovered your blog as a result of a search about Buddhism in Panama. We live in the mountains above Boquete. What contacts do you have for the monks who were here in 2018? Do you know if they are coming in 2019? We wish to participate and have space to host a group. Hope to hear from you🙏🏻 Barbara


    • Hi Barbara. I don’t know of any other visit. I was invited by a friend who heard about it through other friends so I’m not “in the loop” and only know about the 2015 visit. It was said he goes to Costa Rica every year and made a side trip to visit here. Sorry I can’t be more help


  19. DAN TUCKER says:

    Hi Chris, Thank you for your down to earth blog. I am an RN here in northern Michigan, working nights at a small community hospital in Gaylord on the med surg floor. Long story short, my Panamanian wife and I, and our two daughters (ages 12 &14) are having some serious conversations about relocating to Panama. I know I cannot work as an RN there, or can I with expats? We are considering David as it seems less expensive than Boquete and closer to high school/college for the kids. Have you found a way to continue to serve as an RN there? Started a home health care or something? I just haven’t found a answer to the question how can I support my family, aside from TESL–which means leaving nursing behind and going back to school. Sigh. Thanks for any suggestions you can offer.


    • Hi Dan. Yes it is true you can’t work as a nurse here. It’s one of the protected professions for Panamanian citizens only. Perhaps you could get some private duty work with expats but I don’t know if there would be enough need to support yourself. Most expats start their own business or work remotely because finding work here is tough, and the pay won’t be what you are used to either. I’ve heard of nurses doing case management for insurance companies or other kinds of on line work. Maybe something like that?


  20. danpaultucker says:

    Hi Chris, thank you for your down to earth blog. I live with my Panamanian wife and two teenage daughters in northern Michigan. Here I am a med surg RN at a small community hospital in Gaylord. I am curious if you have found a way to continue to work somehow as an RN in David? Can expat nurses serve expats? Or is nursing restricted only to Panamanians? We would like to relocate, but I cannot seem to solve the puzzle of how to earn an income there, unless becoming a TESL instructor…and that means leaving something I like and starting over professionally. Your thoughts are appreciated.


    • Hi again. If this is your first time commenting, WordPress won’t post your comments until I approve them. Spam control, ya know 😉
      No, I am not working and have no desire to work! You might be able to serve expats privately, but not as a licensed nurse here. And, there aren’t a lot of expats in David. Also, most expats who get to the point of needing in home care go back to their home country and family. You might search for the hospice in Boquete. I think their workforce is volunteer but it might be somewhere to start to assess the needs in this area.
      Sorry to rain on your dreams but you are right. You have to be able to support yourself and your family.


  21. Kelly Stahl says:

    Hi Kris, My husband & I are taking advantage of Covid and working from home. We’re taking this time to check out retirement options. We’d love to stay in David November-January. Besides aribnb, are ther any other resources for finding short term furnished rentals? My husband works for Google so he needs reliable internet to work. How is the WIFI and cell service in David? ANy other advice youhave to offer would be appreciated.
    Thanks, Kelly


  22. I have begun scouring WordPress for “Panama expat” and came across your blog. The Husband and I are seriously considering retiring to Panama, so I can’t wait to delve into your posts a little deeper! We’re still in the research phase, but we keep getting more excited about the prospect the more we learn. Looking forward to following your adventures!


  23. Antoinette Acfalle-Merrell says:

    So just wondering where you found the breadfruit? I’m currently in Coronado and no one has heard of it.


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