with no fast service eateries. The people are polite and go out of their
way to make you feel welcome and with a little Spanish, it’s easy to make
interesting and lasting relationships.
be great to get away from those icy winters or sweltering summers to a
place where the weather is perfect all year? Isn’t that way everyone’s
heading to Florida? Heck! Why sweat? With the humidity 15 % less
than sea at level, the weather is superb. Did you know that the world’s
healthiest climate is in the tropics above 5000 feet?.
This area with
its moderate climate is reminiscent of our Pacific Northwest but without
the long periods of rain. What! Cool in the balmy tropics? Yes, It
is very mild as Panama has some of the highest ranges in Central America.
Even at sea level in the rainy season, it is cooler than our U.S.
summers. As we are above the haze and smoke level, the atmosphere is essentially
pollution free. The April-December wet season mornings are generally clear
with no smog or haze. It usually begins to cloud over by noon and scattered
showers (perfect nap weather) in the late afternoons. The December-April
dry season bring clear brisk windy days. Daytime attire is usually shorts
and short sleeve shirts (70-78F) and a light sweater or jacket at night
(55-65F). You can literally select your custom climate depending on the
elevation. Think of all the money saved with no need for heating or air
conditioning and the evenings just fresh enough to enjoy that fireplace.
thunder and lightning storms occur at the lower levels. It is not unusual
to go through heavy rains on the way up the slopes to arrive in a
dry Volcan. Although there may be some local lightning activity,
it is generally mild. We do experience a pleasant local phenomenon called
the “El Norte” (The North) or “Baja Reque” This is a phenomena, where
the clouds are pushed by the northern Caribbean winds up against the continental
divide causing light misty showers and spectacular
density in our rural area is about 1 per 2 acres. Our home is a 3 bedroom,
2-bath lodge on a 2-acre lot amongst a grove of tall Caribbean pines. The
1700 square foot fully furnished house was designed especially with comfort,
entertaining and hamming (radio amateur) in mind. It is unique without
being radical and the decor is an interesting
balance of wood and masonry.
master bedroom and study (ham shack) wrap around and look over the grand
room and the future fireplace. Sleeping capacity at this moment is maximum
of two couples and a child. The California style kitchen with its
modern conveniences is open to the living and dinning areas. Double
French doors lead from the dinning room to the rear patio that also serves
as a day room. With the patio windows latched to the ceiling, it provides
an unrestricted majestic view of the coffee trees and the mountainous rain
forest beyond. With the windows lowered, it becomes a comfortable
day room. This 12’ x 27” room is also used for an additional dining and
entertaining area. The use of house or individual rooms are included
as part of a complete exploratory package for potential
residents who want to come and see for themselves.
markets are well stocked with imported products as well local produce,
ham and smoked goods. All kinds of Fresh vegetables are readily available.
You can also load up on provisions in Panama City at many large modern
markets including Price Costco. Although the kitchen is more than adequate
with its new Magic Chef stove, two door refrigerator and microwave, some
prefer not to bother cooking. Delicious meals of your choice can be ordered
and served on the picturesque patio leaving you with no cooking chores.
If you prefer to dine out, there are numerous good restaurants to choose
from or you might want to throw some thick steaks on the barbie.
by the fireplace, enjoying the stereo or working a pile up on the ham radio,
there will be direct TV to keep up with the latest and Internet to keep
in touch with home. A host of outdoor events can be arranged. These
include, bird watching (there are more species of birds in Panama than
in all of North America), nature hikes through the national park rain forest
and trips around Volcan Baru. There are scenic drives to Costa Rica or
across the continental divide to the Atlantic. Tours of coffee plantations
and Indian villages can be arranged. There is horseback riding, beaches,
bicycling, surfing, fishing and white river rafting only to name a few.
Get in step with the Latin beat and take in some of the discotheques and
meet the locals and create meaningful friendships. For a nominal fee, the
nearby five star hotel Bamito has both tennis and swimming clubs open to
the public. If you have a special interest, let us know and we will be
pleased to look into it.
the international “cross roads” of the western hemisphere. American,
foreign and national airlines ply daily between major U.S., cities, central,
south America and Europe. It is a 2-3 hour flight from Miami, New Orleans
or Dallas. Let Chadwick Travel (firstname.lastname@example.org) book you flight
and all you have to do is pick up you tickets at the airport upon your
departure. They can generally get tickets booked from Panama at better
rates. Feel free to compare them with yours. You pay the travel agent not
us. Most international flights arrive in Panama early evening and depart
mid morning so it would be necessary to spend the first and last nights
in Panama City.
We are off
the beaten track, but that is exactly what makes it special, unspoiled
and worth that “extra effort”. Volcan is 250 miles due west and slightly
south of Panama City. The best way to get there is by car. Although
this may seem a bit far, it is a very pleasant 6-7 hour drive over the
modern Pan American highway and a good way to see the country. Volcan is
very easy to find and there are many convenient gas stations and restaurants
along the route. An hour out of Panama City you encounter the Pacific coastal
beach towns of Coronado, Gorgona and Santa Clara. Then you come to Rio
Hato and Anton followed by Penonome, Nata, Divisa and the half way
point, Santiago. These are agriculture and farming communities. From here,
the terrain becomes mountainous almost to David. 20 minutes past David,
you turn right at Concepcion. After 30 minutes up the western slope of
the volcano you arrive in Volcan.
run around $35 a day or $168 a week. Prices vary between rental agencies
and types. You can drive on any valid driver’s license for up to 30 days.
A typical trip would be to meet you at the airport and take you to the
hotel. Pick you up in the morning and tour the Panama Canal locks and leave
for Volcan around 10:30. This would put you at the house before dusk.
If you prefer, we can be available to be your personal guide translator
and chauffeur for the entire trip. Another alternative is to take one of
the daily shuttle flights to David (45 min from Volcan) and rent a car
there. A round trip ticket Panama/David/Panama is $110.
are right out of the fifties. At the low end, you can still get a square
for $1.75. and they are very good. How about a half rotisserie chicken
for $2.25? Top it off with a genuine cappuccino and a fresh baked pastry
for 85 cents. There are also good restaurants providing delicious meals
for 6-8 bucks. When was the last time you could buy an ice cream or a coke
for 25 cents? But on the serious side, where could you survive in a paradise
for only $450.00 a month? This includes direct TV and the finer things
that make life worth living. Slightly higher if you did not own your property.
Here you can live like a king on your meager Social Security and still
have cash left over for travel, projects and fun.
is no need for air conditioning or heating, your electric bill runs about
$25-$30 per month. In the states, it is not uncommon to have to sell your
hard earned “American dream” because you simply cannot afford to pay the
unjust tax nor physically take care of it. Here a retirement home tax is
frozen at the your original prices. Forget that hard work keeping up your
estate as housekeepers, yard boys and caretakers are $7-8 per
day! If you want to build something, professional laymen are available
from $16 to $20 a day. Even though the beef may be grass fed, it is delicious
and you can buy 6 thick “T-bone” steaks for under $10. They may not have
peaches and plums but there are many tropical fruits to make up for it.
They import apples and grapes. The fruits, vegetables, meats, poultry
and breads are half the price you pay in the states. We pay a mere $3.00
a month for an unlimited supply of spring water. Property prices depend
of course on the location, availability of utilities and access.
Land is sold in meters, 1 meter = about 10 square feet. In our developing
tourist area, it runs around $4-5.00 per meter and climbing. The only draw
back is that premium gasoline runs about $1.70-1.80 a gallon.
There is a
strong retirement lobby here as Panama has one of the most generous retired
tourist incentive programs anywhere and it’s nice to have respect
They have special “express lanes” in all public offices for retiree’s.
If you obtain a retired tourist visa, you can also bring in a new car every
2 years and your furniture.
movies and sports events 50%
Airlines (national) 25%
through Thursday 50%
Hotels Fri-Sun 30%
25% Fast food 15%
w/no insurance 15%
and surgery 20%
15% Property taxes *
(if under $50 per month) 25%
Telephone/ water 25%
tax remains frozen until you sell your home. This means, that unlike in
the U.S., your taxes will not go up as the area develops. Also, on new
homes, you can get a 20-year exoneration from taxes.
You must be
a legal resident to buy and own property in Panama. A Retired Tourist Visa
is considered a legal resident. Your property is fully owned
and “titled” to you. It is yours 100% and can be left to your next
of kin. Instead of an escrow service, all legal binding documents go through
a government designated notary public. The district chief notary
reviews and signs off on all documents. First, the seller and buyer come
to an agreement and the terms dictated to the notary. This agreement is
called the “escrituras” (writings) and includes size, location, cost and
description of the land. Then a visit to the tax office to pay for the
sales tax. After the agreement has been reviewed for legal
terminology by the chief notary, it is signed off and you take the papers
to the national registry where they verify that the land is clear of leans
and it is then registered. As part of our consulting service, we can help
assist your through this process. There is no yearly property tax on land
(including structures) valued under $10,000 which is generally the case
in rural areas.
A tourist card can be picked up at the airport as you leave. You will need
a valid passport. These cards are valid for 30 days and can be renewed
for another 60 days at the immigration office. You can go to nearby Costa
Rica, stay 72 hours and start the process over.
You can apply
for a retirement visa by showing you have a pension of at least
$500 per month (plus $100 for each dependent) from a government ,
such as military, employee social security or from an private company.
bearing savings account visa
$100.000 in the National Bank of Panama, you can obtain a retirement visa.
The interest from this account is proof to the government that you will
be guaranteed a steady monthly income for subsistence. These funds will
be returned if you leave country permanently.
visa By investing in a company or creating a company in Panama you can
qualify for a visa.
If you marry
a local, you can obtain a resident visa but you must still obtain a work
permit if you plan to be employed.
We have been
receiving many inquiries from people wanting to come here and work
or open a small “pay as you go” business. I do not want to dampen anyone’s
spirit. Panama is not like the “old days”. Due to the flow of international
migration, Panama has tightened it’s regulations for those coming
to seek work here. They are touchy about foreigners taking Panamanian employment.
To get a work visa, you must have a letter from a local company offering
you employment with justifying why your special talents are required.
Your only hope
is to search the inter-net for companies with contracts or interest
in the area. Here are a couple of known companies that are developing big
business in Panama. The Kansas City railroad is going to develop the new
Trans-continental (dry canal) container railway. It is rumored that the
world transporting magnate Evergreen will be establishing a central American
aircraft maintenance and transport facility at the old Howard air force
for visas accept tourist card must be made through a lawyer and total cost
generally runs between $500-800. Also you must obtain a certificate of
health (including HIV) a copy of your police record certified by the Panamanian
consulate in the country of your residence.
the area is by no means at the “end of the world”. It is sufficiently private
to provide the quite and tranquillity, yet not need a four-wheel vehicle
to reach. There is standard and cellular telephone service to anywhere
and the Internet. Beside 5 local Spanish TV stations and several FM stations,
there is direct TV providing over 40 channels of TV (many in English) plus
30 music channels. If you’re into ham radio, there is an operating ham
station and a host of antennas to choose from. There is mail service to
the post office in Volcan and there is a “Miami post office box” service
that deals with forwarding letters, catalogues and packages.
about changing your money, as the good old American buck is standard throughout
the country. Around here, they call it the “Balboa” but it still has George’s
face on it. They do have however, Balboa coins that are the same size,
value and metal content as U.S. coins and are made by the U.S. mint. ATM
machines are available throughout the country if you open a local account.
The way to transfer money is to have your pension deposited in a U.S. bank
and then open a local account. You then deposit a personal U.S. check into
your local account. It takes about 3 weeks to clear. Of course, there are
other ways of legally transferring larger sums.
There is a
relatively large American presence in Chiriqui province and growing. In
Volcan and the immediate surrounding area there is about 50 families. They
are mostly military, DOD and Panama Canal retiree’s. An American community
club is being discussed.
one of the major concerns we all face living overseas, is receiving proper
medical Attention. Excellent medical service is available both in Panama
City and David. It is 45 minutes to David. There is a local clinic in Volcan
with a qualified staff of doctors and nurses and if necessary they
have a ambulance to take the patients to the hospital in David. Since
Panama City is only a three hour flight to Miami, it would be easy to return
to the states for major Medicare treatments. Medical cost are far less
than in the states. These cost are usually under what your normal deductibles
would be anyway. Besides local insurance, there is a special insurance
available that will provide an aircraft that will land at the Volcan landing
strip for emergency medical evacuation. I have not had the chance to check
it out yet but I have been informed that there is a reasonable medical
insurance program being offered by a local medical center. I have recently
had the honor of visiting the Nacional Hospital in Panama City. This five
star hospital is by for one of the best serving Central America and honor
some types of U.S. insurance policies. I had the impression that I was
walking into a Hotel Marriott.
dental and extensive bridgework is available at one-third the cost. There
are competent dental clinics throughout the country. Panama is a good place
to come and get major bridgework done because the money you save would
pay for your trip.
Here is what
real freedom is all about. As we live in a rural area, building anything
you want is a “piece of cake." Although a building permit is required it
is very easy to do “your thing." All you have to do is provide them with
a rough drawing and pay a moderate tax. Zoning restrictions are vague.
Go ahead and put up that 100’ tower or have a home business but on the
other hand, your neighbor might be raising chickens. No one comes around
to tell you hey! “You can’t do that”. Building inspectors are few. I have
been remodeling for four years and have not seen one yet. Even though there
may be a lack of inspectors, It is recommended to follow standard building
practices for your own protection. Quality building materials
are readily available including exotic woods. You can have custom “all
wood” furniture, doors, windows and cabinets made at a fraction of the
cost in the U.S. Block, cement, sand, re-bar, and imported plumbing
and electrical hardware are all available at very reasonable prices. Carpenters,
masons, plumbers and electricians generally run about $16-$20 a day. Qualified
Building contractors and architects are obtainable. Although I am not a
licensed professional, I have designed and built my own home. As part of
our service, we can help design and oversee the construction of yours on
& Political Stability
a Democratic Republic. After the removal of Manuel Noriega in 1989, Panama’s
growth has been a steady progression of investments and employment. As
in Costa Rica, a national police has replaced the military. There is no
political unrest accept for occasional student demonstration. There is
no guerrilla nor subversive activities accept near the Colombian boarder.
Since Panama is pursing international investment and eco-tourism, foreigners
are readily welcome. In fact, many new laws creating attractive incentives
for the foreign investor have been recently passed. Panama City and Colon
suffer from many of the same criminal problems as most larger U.S. cities.
Even after living in Panama 25 years, we have never personally experienced
an “anti-Yankee” confrontation or mugging. We have been warmly welcomed
every where we go. The crime rate drops proportionally the further you
get from the big cities. We have been warmly welcomed every where we go.
The stability of the country looks favorable. There have been thousands
of Americans married to Panamanians. The culture is very similar to the
U.S. Many of the same stores and restaurants, such as Sears, Price
Costco, Bennigans, TGIF, and others have branches here. Many people
have a big misconception about Panama in thinking it is a jungle with hammocks
strung between coconut trees. Panama City is a thriving modern metropolis
where you can get most anything you can in the states at a lesser price.
Luxury items are readily available. There is a 5% sales tax on merchandise.
diversions listed under “entertainment”, Chiriqui has many
advantages for the serious hobbyist. A true hobbyist will always find a
way to enjoy their favorite pastime no matter where they go. The serene
living conditions in Volcan enhance any hobby. Example:
Dry season clear un polluted skies with a magnificent views of the southern
hemisphere and the “Southern Cross” adds up to many a successful
night of sky gazing
Hundreds of species including the almost extinct Quetzal.
Near the tropical rain forest with it’s mired of natural flora and fauna.
Also hiking on the 11,400 volcano Baru.
With that effective 20 db from being a HP , favored propagation path
and the elevation count for some nice DX.
Horses and pets thrive. No restrictions on animals. Raise your own.
amateur can operate up to 30 days using his call (but who is counting)?.
One has to be a permanent resident to apply for a reciprocal HP call. Due
to red tape, it usually takes several months to get a license. Special
short-term calls for DX-contesting are available but have to be assigned
to an existing HP station. Feel free to use the host call HP3XBH, or your
call /HP3. There is the Yeasu FT767 w/30L-1/PK232 for the digital
modes. The two the other stations although, although working well,
are considered classics. They are, a Collins KWM2A w/30L-1, Cubic Astro
150A w/30L-1 and a complete Heathkit line (under repair).
have no hassle at the airport if elect to bring your rig;. We can provide
a 12 volt 20 amp regulated supply if you bring the connector. AC
power is the standard 115/60Hz. You can also use two of the 30L-1 amplifiers
with your rigs. The antenna system is still under construction and has
been designed so you can use two different top band beams at the same time
for contesting. The 20-meter log-yagi, TH-6 and an Alpha Delta are installed
and ready. Near future antennas include a 40 meter 2 element KLM, a 12-17
meter 2 element beam and a 30-meter rotary dipole. Plans also call for
a 6-meter beam, a 100’ vertical wire up a pine tree for 160 meters and
an 80-meter wire LPA beamed NE. A Cushcraft R-7 will be used for a spotting
antenna. There will be a master coaxial jumper panel to direct any antenna
and rotator control cables to either operating position. Although power
is usually never off for more than a few minutes, there is a 2.5 KW generator
to keep at least one station on the air. There is 2 local VHF repeaters.
One is located on top of the Volcano and the other in the city of David,
Panama’s second largest city.
U.S. dollar is the basis of the Panama currency, it makes investing simple.
Major U.S. and international banks are well represented. Volcan is
a blossoming community with tremendous untapped tourist potential. Investment
in these areas can become very profitable. As the community grows, there
is an increasing need for more lodging, stores restaurants and tourist
orientated services. A friend of mine opened a restaurant specializing
in roasted chicken and freeze ice cream. He sold $710 worth of chicken
in one day. He started the business just to have something to do when he
retired. Even though it’s just a small place, he has been offered
many times over his investment. A successful Cyber cafe just opened in
one of the hotels, a result from another friend who established a computer
server. Unless you had your own business, it would be impractical to work
because of the low salary base. However, this same low salary base is what
makes investing more attractive. There is a local paved airstrip with no
facilities and no golf course. Although there are McDonald’s, Burger King
or KFC, franchises in Panama City, there are none in Volcan. The
tourist related investment potential in this developing area is colossal.
In it’s effort
to offset the losses from the Panama Canal and the closure of the military
government has created a host of incredible incentives to attract foreign
related industry:To build hotels, restaurants, tourist agencies and any
tourist related business.
develop hostels, motels, and restaurants within the recognized National
Park tourist development zones.
3. To crow
and produce natural woods.
4. To buy
and restore national land marks.
For those qualifying
under these special laws, here is a brief on some of the incentives. The
type and length of the basic incentive will vary depending on your particular
1. 20 year
tax exoneration from payment of taxes on real property.
2. 15 year
tax exoneration from the payment of taxes on the companies activities.
3. 20 year
exoneration from the local ITBM sales tax and taxes on imported items
used solely for your tourist business. This includes no taxes on vehicles,
furniture and any other items not locally available in equal quantity or
quality and must be business related.
and benefits are to lengthy to detail in this writing. For those seriously
interested, further information can be obtained at www.ipat.gob.pa.
or build in an area fraught with floods, fire, earthquakes, hurricanes
or tornadoes. Rest at ease at night. Volcano Baru is extinct. It’s last
known activity is estimated to be about 800 years ago. Although it is being
monitored, there is no sign of serious activity. There are however, frequent
earthquakes (2.5-3.0 on the Richter scale). With the so much activity,
there is no build up for a “Big One”. The Platonic plates are pretty well
broken up as South America and North America separate. Since Volcan is
on a slight slope, there is no flooding. As common sense dictates, don’t
live near the river. Tornadoes can not develop due to the high surrounding
mountains and hurricanes do not come this far south and even if they did,
the same mountains would lessen their punch. During the dry season, there
are brush fires. Keep you grass cut and it will not even burn the trees.
Most homes are made of block masonry with metal roofs.
We are the
sole owner and proprietor of this venture. We are interested in providing
consulting, lodging and guide service for those contemplating
retirement or establishing a second home in Panama. We propose
working with you directly to offer a complete survey package. This
is not an investment scheme or land development venture. We
will act on your behalf (bilingual) and put you in direct contact
with land owners, contractors and any one else needed to establish
your home and legal residence. All travel and Panama City hotel arrangements
can be made through a well known local reputable travel agent. We
do not handle your money. As a world traveler, (40+ countries), we
have the experience and resources to make your visit an enjoyable one.
You may contacted me at the below address &/or e-mail. More information
about Panama can be obtained via www.panamainfo.com or www.canal1.net
On a Personal
The age is
65. I originally came here 1964 working with a company involved with off
shore oil exploration in Central America and elected to stay. For the first
14 years, we worked on the electronics communication and navigation equipment
on the vessels transiting the canal. We also traveled
extensively though out both central and south America maintaining
communication equipment for various U.S. government and military. In 1979
we returned to California and worked as a Latin American Regional Sales
manager for Cubic and then Transworld Communications. In 1988, We
returned to beautiful Panama and resumed my old job
507-284-4175 day, 232-5443 eve,
R. de Panama