Thinking of moving to Panama? Knowing what to expect can make life easier!
Housing - Things are not built the way you might be used to. Items like dishwashers, screens on doors and lighting fixtures are not standard and might be missing when you get delivery of your new house or condo. Check with your builder or agent to know what is and is not included in your purchase, and be prepared to spend more than you expect to for a North American or European style home.
Water - Water pressure is not always consistent. Running water can vary from place to place and even season to season, depending on where you live. Some areas also face regular shortages. Be sure to ask about water problems in the area you a thinking of moving to. In most cases, having a well will ensure you have running water, even if the area does not.
Are you seeking a quiet retreat from technology? Try a night beneath the stars in La Yeguada, Panama’s first forest reserve. Located in Calobre Veraguas, La Yeguada offers two well-maintained campsites with a large lake, waterfall and volcanic range to explore. While facilities are basic, the landscape is breathtaking.
History The La Yeguada forest reserve was created in 1960 in an effort to preserve a part of the San Juan River basin it surrounds. The 1.125 Km2 lake is an old volcanic crater that supplies an abundance of clean water to the Yeguada hydroelectric plant. Today ANAM, Panama’s National Environmental Authority protects the lake and over seventy square kilometers of the surrounding area.
Who is the Panama Man you ask? Its Rich Novak of Re/Max Beach & City! Did you know Rich is also the host of The Panama Show, an internet radio show that speaks with expats living in Panama. We met with Rich to speak about his internet radio show. Rich explained that the show offers people who are interested in moving to Panama first hand information from real people who are already living here. Rich was looking for the perspective of a young expat living in the Pacific Beach area, so Jeff Hayden of PlayaCommunity sat down with the Panama Man himself to speak about life in Panama.
For a sneak peak of next week's show (Jeff's interview) listen below: Download
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To listen to Rich's shows, shows tune in every Tuesday at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Standard time on www.overseasradio.com.
Rotary International headquarters approved the Rotary Club of Playa Coronado on June 17, 2014. Only one week after getting their charter the Rotary Club of Playa Coronado took on their first International project, the Wheelchair Panama project. The Rotary Club of Playa Coronado has set a fund-raising goal of $30,000 before the end of August. At the date of publishing they had received a total of $17,600 in donations.
UPDATE: By Sept, 15 the goal was exceed by $3000, with a total of $33,000 raised.
We spoke with president Jackie Kendziorek on how the Rotary Club of Playa Coronado was formed. Jackie and her husband Mark have been Rotarians for 23 years, having belonged to several clubs in the United States. “We knew they wanted to continue their service as Rotarians in Panama” explained Jackie. “So, reached out to members of the community introducing them to rotary.” Community interest was high, and a group quickly formed. Jackie told us only once the group had 25 members, could they apply to become an official club.
Confucius say, “Man with one chopstick go hungry.”
Dragon Asian Bistro, where the Orient meets the beach. Having opened on May 29 as part of the Tryp Hotel in Coronado, Dragon is a refreshing addition to the playa community restaurant scene, offering a combination of Japanese, Chinese, Thai, and Vietnamese cuisine. The two spacious dining rooms are tastefully adorned with minimalist Asian accents, in a black and red color scheme. The restaurant is well equipped with capable and attentive kitchen, dining, and bar staff.
The menu features some traditional dishes as well as some new twists on the classics. Head Chef Wilson Lozano offers 16 different rolls and makis (5 or 10 pieces from $7-$15) as well as a lovely assortment of nigiri and sashimi. There are three soups and salads, and several hot and cold appetizers. We’ve dined at the restaurant several times and always try to order a couple of new things. On a recent visit we sampled the combination gyoza (beef, chicken, and veggie), which you can order steamed or crispy.
I’m going to try to be generous and gentle, as best I can. I just tasted 7 wines made from Chardonnay grapes France, Argentina, Australia and USA (California). I really liked 1 of them, found 1 or 2 passable and the other 5 reminded me why I wrote a previous column titled ABC (Anything But Chardonnay)
At its best, Chardonnay can be elegant, complex and even exquisite. A sublime expression of the land upon which it is grown and the hand from which it evolves. I have had excellent chardonnay based wines from nearly every wine producing continent, so I don’t think I am pre-disposed or biased against the grape. However, it has become so over-grown, over-produced and over-sold that the term “chardonnay” has become synonymous with slightly sweet, insipid, industrially produced plonk.
But heck, I thought I’d give it another try, maybe even 2! So I gathered a selection of chardonnays from the above mentioned countries and gave them a pop. Each wine was properly chilled and tasted separately.
This year, the Triathlon Coronado Xtremo will take place on September 14, 2014 leaving the Coronado Beach Club at 7:00 a.m. While the event is a sprint, or short-distance triathlon, it is called an “extreme triathlon” with good reason. The race begins with a 750-meter swim in the unpredictable Pacific Ocean, continues with a 20 km bike ride through Coronado’s rocky back roads, and ends with a 5k run finishing on soft sand.
The Coronado Extreme Triathlon has been taking place during the months of August or September for the past 14 years. The event, popular among locals and expats is organized by Union de Triathlon de Panama. The Coronado Extreme Triathlon is among the oldest triathlons in Panama, the oldest being Tri Xtremo Portobello.
On a Thursday afternoon I ran across an article about a coast to coast bike ride, from Panama’s Atlantic to the Pacific, 86kms/53miles, coming up the following Sunday…how cool is that! The idea got me excited, what a great way to see this beautiful country we live in. I have some experience bike riding and my husband rides regularly. I knew he’d be excited to do it.
When I got home and showed him the article he said a couple of our friends had mentioned they would be doing this ride. He also told me I may not be in the best shape, i.e., no recent training to do this long of a ride. (Okay, so I had not been on my bike since the last Coronado Triathlon). Oh, don’t worry about me I said, I’ll just go slow and if it takes me 5 hours, what the heck. Just go at your own pace, honey. You don’t need to hang back for me. I’ll get there when I get there. I really want to do this!
So, on Saturday at 3:30 in the morning we were on the Amador Causeway with our bikes, which we loaded into transport trucks. There were about 1,030 people signed up to do this ride and many of the participants opted for the group transport from the causeway to Colon. After getting the bikes all loaded and secured on the transport trucks, it was time to transport the humans….we traveled via Red Devils.
“Unless someone like you, cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, its just not.” – The Lorax
Join the Community Beach Clean-up this Sunday starting at 8:00 a.m. leaving from the Coronado Beach Club. For more info contact Kara at
or visit the PlayaCommunity Events Calendar.
The Ocean is vital part of our existence. It is a source of food, a temperature regulator, a means of transportation and an environmental indicator. The ocean is our playground, and an integral party of our country.
While we have barely broken the frontier of ocean exploration, we are starting to see signs of human impact. With these warning signs in mind humanity is met with a choice: to ignore or, to take action. Each year Panama takes one month to raise awareness on Ocean conservation.
The Coronado area has quickly become home for many retirees from outside the country. As in areas such as Panama City and Boquete, where we also have a high concentration of expatriates, these people are aging and require a plan and a system of support for the next phase of their lives. To this end, Panama Hospice and Respite Foundation (PHRF) currently active in Panama City is establishing a local area Point of Service in the Coronado Area.
PHRF is a non-tax oriented, private interest foundation, which provides service free of charge. Its mission is to assist, using trained volunteers, hospice clients and their caregivers as well as those needing short-term help in crisis situations. The volunteers work in cooperation with the client's primary caregiver. While PHRF hopes to extend its services to all members of the community, in this inception phase it only provides service in English.
Tomorrow, Wednesday August 27th, Bobby Henderson & John July will be performing at Picasso fundraising for the Playa Coronado Rotary Club Wheelchair project. In a joint effort with the Rotary Club and the Canadian Wheelchair Foundation, the benefit concert aims to raise the final amounts needed to reach a goal of $30,000, which will be used to purchase wheelchairs.
Wheelchairs will be donated to those in need of them living in the Pacific beach and mountain areas. They will make an immediate difference in the lives of the recipients and their families. To learn more about the project click here.
Today Dr. Alexis, special police and police dog veterinarian, was one of two acting vets at the Spay the Stays clinic in Las Lajas. Dr. Alexis was accompanied by Eliecer, fellow police officer and soon to be vet technician. Eliecer was at the clinic today learning how to care for the k9 (dog) unit he works with daily. Dr. Alexis was teaching him to give treatment beyond the basic shots and stiches he already knew how to administer. By learning more about the dogs he works with and how to treat them, Eliecer will be better able to provide care in the field when it is necessary.
Dr. Alexis aims to provide training for 13 more police officers that work directly with k9 units. Once officers like Eliecer gain the knowledge they need to become vet technicians they will need to complete mandatory volunteer hours. Dr. Alexis explained “the officers gaining the knowledge must pay it forward, they can do this by volunteering at clinics like Spay the Strays”.
This weekend marks the end of Golden Frog week in El Valle, but it is not too late to get involved in the festivities. Join walkers and runners on a 5 or 15k walk/run on Sunday, August 24.
The 15k departing at 7:00 a.m. follows an intense route, requiring racers to climb hills. The 5k starting at 8:00 a.m. is family friendly route on less rugged terrain. To register go to Organica in the Coronado village mall. The registration free is $25.00 and payable by cash or check. Checks should be payable to Fundación Caminando Panamá. Proceeds from the event will go to educational programs that promote conservation of the Golden Frog and other amphibians.
Robert Brown and Yolanda Van Der Kolk have recently passed the exam to become citizens of Panama. They are now awaiting the final steps to make their citizenship official - President of Panama’s signature and an official swearing in ceremony.
Becoming a citizen in Panama is quite similar to in the United States. Applicants must have five years of legal permanent residence to apply. They must pass a citizenship interview and exam, and they must indicate the intention to renounce their former citizenship. Despite this last requirement dual-citizenship is legal, and common.
We spoke to Rob and Yolanda about some of the reasons they choose to become citizens. “Panama is now our home”, said Rob. “We love the country and want to be part of it”. Rob and Yolanda moved to Panama from Canada in 2008. Like many expats they became permanent residents through one of Panama’s Visa programs.
QUOTE: “Pull up a chair, take a taste. Come join us [in the city]. Life is endlessly delicious.” --Ruth Reichl
Traveling to the city is an adventure including the drive itself. Once you arrive, the dining options are incredible, so we polled many of our readers to see what their favorites are, and are thankful to all whom contributed in very creative detail. This is what they said: