The midday sunshine makes the balcony look cheerful and bright. A table and chairs beckon. “Come on out,” they say. I’m tempted to listen. To pour a glass of chilled rosé to accompany my simple lunch. But I know better. Today is hot and yesterday’s breeze is gone out to sea. I’ll eat my salad in the apartment’s cool interior.
In your November 2020 missive, we discussed rumors that the government would be making changes to Panama’s most popular non-pensioner visa, known as the Friendly Nations Visa. Now we have more concrete news for you. Just days ago, the changes were made official via an executive decree. You’ll have until August 19 to apply under the old rules. If that’s something you want to do, don’t wait—get in touch with your Panama attorney right away.
For much of last year it was difficult to travel and explore within Panamá, as only people on official business were allowed to drive west out of Panama City toward the provinces of Panama Oeste and Coclé. So to celebrate my birthday last month, I was eager to get out of town and go back to one of my favorite haunts, the mountain village of Sorá.
This year, thousands of Panamanians will celebrate Semana Santa (Holy Week) from March 28 to April 4. If you’re from the U.S., you’ve likely always worked regular hours during the workweek preceding Easter. In Panama however, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday are important holidays.
Over the 15 years that I've been living in and writing about Panama, David and Panama City have both grown in popularity. Retirees, remote workers…expats of all ages who prefer city conveniences are looking to these destinations. Each compares favorably to good-weather cities in the U.S., at a fraction of the cost. But how to choose between the two?
I write this from the swanky apartment, where I rent a room. It is in a high-rise, overlooking the ocean and I am currently on the balcony, watching one of the powerful but brief thunderstorms roll through. One of my roommates is behind me, singing in Spanish in the kitchen, while he prepares a dinner that is making my stomach growl.
Home to colorful Spanish colonial architecture, a variety of amenities, and three top beaches a 5- to 10-minute drive away, Pedasí—at the far south-eastern tip of Panama's Azuero Peninsula—is the perfect base for beach exploration.
On Sundays from 6 a.m. to 12 p.m. a network of roads from the city's Paitilla sector to the Amador Causeway are closed to motor vehicles. That way you can bike, rollerblade, skateboard—whatever you want—all over the capital, and without worrying about traffic.
I lazily open my eyes, listen to the birds singing, and once again count my blessings. It’s nearly time to go to “the office,” but that simply means rolling out of my hammock, pulling a T-shirt over my bikini, and plugging in my headset for my online lessons.
Pacific or Caribbean? That is the question…if you're looking to live on the beach, that is. And if you've been reading your way through your Panama Insider materials, you'll no doubt have noticed that we cover the Pacific coast more extensively.