Planning an Exploratory Visit to Chiriqui??

Planning to Visit Panama?

Some advice. Don’t visit like a tourist if you are doing a do diligence to move here. What you should do:

  • Visit the things that you would have to encounter living in David or anywhere in Chiriqui:
  1. Go to stores, see what grocery selection is all about. Super 99, El Rey, Romero. Did you know there are fresh fish markets? In David we have one.
  2. Go to pharmacies. Check out Arrocha in David, Farmacia Revilla. All grocery stores usually also have pharmacies.
  3. Go to the hospitals. Find out where they are. In David we have two good private ones. Hospital Chiriqui and Mae Lewis.
  4. Check out some of the banks. Most every bank has someone who speaks English.
  5. Visit some local fare, don’t just eat at US chain restaurants. Eat where the locals eat. You can find out a wonderful large portion meal will only be $4.00
  6. Visit some fruit and veggie stands. They are everywhere. Buy something and eat it.
  7. Go to downtown David. I know it is scary at first. Park and walk and go into the stores. You won’t be able to see anything just by driving down the street.
  8. I guess this would mean that you rented a car. If so check out the price of gasoline. Did you know we do have self serve here and it is cheaper than full serve.
  9. Get lost. Drive around the city, check out neighborhoods. David has tucked away in strange places some of the best subdivisions. But you have to find them.
  10. Go to Las Olas on Barqueta beach. Day pass to enjoy swimming pool and all amenities is $12.oo per person.

Whatever you do, do not stay in a fancy hotel only talking to expats. You must see Panama and David through your own eyes, not someone else’s. I think we did okay when we did our diligence trip. In fact we did only talk with locals who were excited to show us around.

I know the forums are wonderful things full of information. In fact I have asked many questions and gotten many helpful answers. It is a way for newcomers especially to connect with familiar people who are doing the same thing.  However, it has come to my attention that many expats use these forums as a place to do nothing but complain about being here, their ordeals with government, their ordeals with people. I find that after awhile, these forums can be nothing more than platforms for people who have nothing else to do but complain.

My experience is maybe not like everyone elses. But I have to say I don’t look for a bad experience, I look for the good and usually that is what I get here. People are friendly here and helpful. I can name countless times we have asked someone in a store for some item and wound up having 4 people scrambling to help us find it. You won’t get that back in the US.

So I guess my message is this: If you expect this to be a wonderful life changing event and look at it positively that is exactly what you will get. So get out there and have fun.


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