My husband Clyde and I have been fortunate enough to live in not one, but two of the world’s best retirement destinations. For five years we enjoyed life near Coronado, Panama. We bought a house, made plenty of friends, and relished the hot, balmy air that surrounded us daily.
Exploring Panama’s picturesque Azuero Peninsula is akin to traveling back to a simpler time. The hectic hustle and bustle of Panama City seems far away after turning off of the busy Pan-American Highway. This is the “heartland” of the country, home to traditional artisans, abundant agriculture, rolling ranchlands, and seaside fun along the Pacific Coast. Chitre, the largest city in the Azuero Peninsula, is the gateway to this bucolic area.
An infinity pool, a private beach, and a covered outdoor living room and dining area. A creek with waterfalls spilling down to the ocean, and magnificent tropical gardens which toucans and parrots visit daily. It took three years of driving around Central and South America, Mexico, and 22 U.S. states for John Korte and Anita Rogers to find their “dream” property, but find it they did, back in 2012.
Much has been written about the Pacific side of Panama, and deservedly so. Surprisingly though, this is not the case with the vibrant yet laidback Caribbean side. The historic town of Portobelo is a prime example.
Raised eyebrows…that’s what I got from people back when I said, “I live in Colón.” They weren’t exactly wrong to raise them. The province gets a bad rap because of its capital city, also named Colón. Steer clear. But outside of that one permanently down-on-its-luck city is one of the most underappreciated rainforest districts in the Caribbean.
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.
After more than a decade in Panama, I’m back in Europe, looking for a new base. I still love Panama. The reasons why I chose it as a base back in 2007 are still the same. It’s an amazing, internationalized destination, with a lively and fun capital city, a global perspective and a strategic location in the Americas.
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.
Chitré, which is about 90 minutes away, is home to several larger hospitals and a more expansive network of healthcare providers. With our pensionado privileges, the generous residency program for retirees in Panama, seeing our GP in Chitré costs $35. He usually spends at least 30 to 45 minutes discussing any concerns—in English.
Exploring Panama’s picturesque Azuero Peninsula is akin to traveling back to a simpler time. The hectic hustle and bustle of Panama City seems far away after turning off of the busy Pan-American Highway.