Moving Away From Panama City – the Decision-Making Process

by | Feb 11, 2022 | Panama | 1 comment

After three years living in Panama City as an expat, I have decided to move on. Find out why here.

I am looking for greener pastures now, a quieter life, and perhaps even an improvement in the quality of life.

Greener Pastures in Panama by Austin Neill
Greener Pastures in Panama by Austin Neill

All expat moves start with a dream! I dream of a garden, riding horses, a local watering hole for an occasional beer or a glass of wine, perhaps even a dog.

I wonder what DQ, my parrot, would say about that.

So, here then are my criteria, a wishlist for my new location, the must-haves, and the nice-to-haves.

I am rating them 1-3 on a scale based on research I have done primarily here on TCI and talking to TCI Alliance members, checking maps,, various expat blogs, and YouTube. A “3” is not fulfilling the criteria, and a “1” is a perfect score. So, the columns with the lowest score should be my front-runners.

I like to keep it simple.

Moving out of Panama City Selection Criteria
Moving out of Panama City Selection Criteria

Fiber internet is stable, and given the work I do online, a must-have. It’s always on, it’s fast, and not metered. I don’t use cable TV, so I stream a lot from the US and Europe. It also my lifeline for family and work via video conferencing. Seriously, who needs a GSM phone when we even have portable internet these days? A friend of mine recently attended a staff meeting from somewhere in the desert between New Mexico and God know’s where. Reliable internet is a MUST-Have.

Quality Housing In Panama by Fran Hogan
Quality Housing In Panama by Fran Hogan

The proximity to a larger town includes access to quality healthcare facilities, Costco, stores, etc. Low crime – well – common sense applies. There are areas which I would not want to move to in the country – just as anywhere else. Common sense applies. is an excellent resource.

Electricity supply; it’s been painful the first year in Panama, but outages have been rare in the last two years. I protect my equipment with an Uninterruptible Power Supply, which gives me about 90 minutes to keep my computer and internet alive if the lights go out.

Water? One place, Coronado, seems to have issues with the state supplier of water IDAAN. So, water tanks or a freshwater well could mitigate the situation if Coronado was my destination. I would heavily rely on expats in the region to tell me what’s what.

A supermarket nearby? I don’t go grocery shopping that often, but I do like to have a store nearby rather than 30 minutes out. It is just a convenience thing. Am I spoiled? I’d be willing to lower this to an “N”.

My two pet birds are low maintenance. I want to train them for free-flight, so they need to be allowed in the house (rental), and I might even consider getting a dog. A terrace or a garden, perhaps both, I would love to have. It’s Panama, after all!

A Dreamy Place in Boquete, Panama by Fran Hogan - Can I afford it?
A Dreamy Place in Boquete, Panama by Fran Hogan – Can I afford it?

I would need a car for a couple of reasons: to travel to view houses wherever they are, and to get around once I settled. Here in the city, I live comfortably using cabs, Uber, public transport, and walking. This may not be as convenient in a smaller town. Quality accommodation is cheaper when they’re not in proximity of a supermarket or commercial centers.

I am researching what I need to do in order to get a reliable car, sort the paperwork and insurance, all without overpaying. I am looking at a vehicle in the $5000 range. I won’t drive every day so a used car in this price range will be just fine, I think. I might write about that, too, once I get wheels.

Then there is the feel of a place, something I cannot quantity but will know when I see and experience my new home – wherever it may be.

My favorite at the moment is Coronado (closer to the big city), followed by Boquete (cooler climate), followed by David (cheaper accommodation). David is also boiling hot, as is Coronado. But it’s just a 30-minute drive from either place to get into cooler mountain regions. Decisions, decisions. I will just have to see a place to fall in love with it. Let’s get a car first, now.

Where will you land?

by: LP Wirth