In our quest for a new Schauer Pack adventure and possible retirement destination, we decided to check out the country of Panama. (Yes, I do hear Sammy Hagar every time I mention the name! Panama-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah!)
We picked this country for the year round weather we are seeking to live one day. Although this is a Spanish speaking country, English is used in many areas, and they use the dollar as their currency. No converting or exchange fees! YES! If you are interested in retiring oversees one day, you may want to check out their residency requirements. Since rules are forever changing in any country, even our own. Check out this site for current information. (Panama Immigration Information)
We booked our trip for the end of January 2016. On our initial trip we planned on staying in the mountain town of Volcan, on the ocean in Boca Chica, and in Panama City to see the Panama Canal, but I fell ill the weekend before we were to travel and was unable to fly. When we rebooked a couple months later, we decided to switch it up and do a shorter visit to other side of the mountain in Boquete instead of week in Volcan, and we included the Caribbean side. Everything happens for a reason, and I’m so glad we changed things up!
Boquete, located in the Chiriqui Province, sits in the beautiful mountains of the northern part of the country, about an hour east of the popular expat community of David. You won’t be on the ocean, but you will have the perfect spring like weather all year, a much quieter community, with beautiful views. The higher elevation is much cooler than the lower area of David, but with this, comes a higher price of living. Check out our time in (Boquete, Panama)
After our stay in Boquete, we drove across a beautiful mountain to the Caribbean side. The trip is just a little over three hours, but you can be delayed if you get stuck behind a slow moving truck or caught in a cloud! (Driving to the Caribbean!) You will end up in a town called Almirante to catch the ferry to any of the islands. We stayed at a cool place on one of the neighboring Island called Isla Pastores. (link to post of Jack’s Place). Most people go to the popular location of Bocas del Toro. (Link day at starfish beach) But, we are so glad we got to experience Jack’s Villas at Starfish Reef! Very scenic and quiet!
After this adventure, we drove back across the mountain to the west coast to an area that is gaining popularity with expats, called Boca Chica. (Boca Chica, Panama). We stayed at a very cool resort, which was also included in our original plans. They were so accommodating when we needed to cancel due to illness, that we were very excited they were available when we re-booked. We highly recommend Bocus del Mar resort!
Our last part of the adventure was our flight from David to Panama City. We stayed our final two nights in the very busy City. The first day we walked around this large city full of skyscrapers Panama City reminded me of a smaller version of San Francisco in a few ways. Beautifully architectured skyscrapers mixed with rundown buildings, and the smell of urine, all surrounded by water. (insert Panama City blog).
The second day, we took a very cool tour of the historic district and the Panama Canal with the wonderful tour company, called Barefoot Tours. http://www.barefootpanama.com/
I really thought that this part was for my hubby to geek out at the Canal, but I was stunned at how much I truly enjoyed this tour! The history, architecture, and engineering of the canal are not to me missed. (link Panama tour blog)
I hope you enjoyed this Schauer Pack Adventure to the country of Panama! We hope you join us on our next adventure!