The Beginning

6-7 2David and I never thought about retiring to a foreign country until visiting Costa Rica. Even then, we had reservations about the rising costs, high crime and lack of infrastructure. Then we went to Panama, specifically Boquete. When we were at PTY airport on our first return trip back to the US back in 2011, I said that it felt like we were leaving home, not returning home. From that point on, we were hooked. It took 2 years and many return trips, but we are now expats living in Boquete.

14 thoughts on “The Beginning

  1. Great blog guys; We have been following blogs by Kris and Holly and just read yours today. We too are looking to follow the trail blazed by all three of you adventurous couples. We live in the Florida Panhandle near Ft. Walton Beach. I work for the State of Florida Dept. of Health and we have reached the point that this move has gone from an abstract idea to one of certainty. Just had to settle on a country first and then a location. We too visited C.R. and found it beautiful but lacking so much that Panama seems to offer us as Expats. I will be making the trek to Panama alone on July 16th and staying for almost a week. My wife, Jennifer, cannot travel with me because she has scheduled surgery on her neck in August, but we will both make the next trip together in October. I plan to be in Boquete on July 18th and will be staying at The Oasis Hotel. If possible I would love to meet you guys and share a meal and drinks (selfish motives though – as I would love to hear more of your story and get any advice you may offer us.) Thanks again for sharing your great blog — it is very encouraging. Jerry & Jennifer Moellenkamp –

  2. I’ve nominated you for the Liebster Award. There are no judges and no special rules, and no trophy, you were simply chosen. And we all like to be chosen every once in a while, don’t we? This award is what you want it to be. Your mission, if you chose to accept it, is to go to my blog post titled “The Liebster Award ~ Wow, it’s a little bit of work.”, read it, follow the rules and pass along the love. Go ahead, have some fun with it! 🙂


  3. Dear Tombseekers,

    My name is Joyce and I work for is a free one stop website for people preparing to move or working and living overseas. We provide a myriad of services for expatriates and we have over 2,000 articles to help and support the people moving around the world and we are now creating an interview section to help the expats with real life experiences!
    We quite enjoy your blog about living in Panama, it is very interesting and informative. Would it be possible to interview you to further share some of your tips and feature some of your first hand experience as an Expat and your interview will be published on our Expat Interview section as a guide for our expat readers. The questions are mainly about the day to day lifestyle of an expat. If it would be possible, could you also send some photographs that we can use?
    Of course, if you accept, we can add a link to your blog or some of your website.
    The questions are enclosed, feel free to respond freely. You can return the doc with your answers if you accept this invitation.
    Thanks in advance and do let me know if you prefer other means to conduct this interview and we would be happy to accommodate your terms.

    Best regards,

  4. Hi there,

    My name is Barbara Ross and I’m an editor at International Living magazine. I’m looking to talk to expats living in Panama and I think your story would really inspire our readers.

    If this is something you would be interested you can contact me on


  5. Hello!

    Me and my girlfriend have one week left here in Panama City. We were actually in Boquete last week on our way to Costa Rica when we found out (at the border) that we were not allowed to take the rental car with us. The $30 a night hotel was a huge success for us in David. Please continue with the blog. We are also considering investing in property either here or in Costa Rica for our eventual retirement. Naturally, we’re interested in the best way to see properties in any area. Whenever we hear of a place that might be interesting we drive up only to discover a gate and a guard with a shotgun. Going out towards El Valle wasn’t much better. The homes were practically on top of each other. Any tips on finding an honest broker (there is such a thing, right?) would be most appreciated!


    • We have no gate and no guard. One thing about Panama, there’s something for everyone. Suggestion- wait until you get here to buy and don’t believe all the hype of prices going out of sight. Example, we looked at a house which needed a lot of remodeling but was on an acre and you could see the lights of David (35 km away) at night. Then we found out that “low income” houses were being built on the other side of the fence and a skating rink was going to be built. Noise and traffic! We would not have known without living here and the realtor of a large Boquete office neglected to tell us. There’s also property that’s sold multiple times. I know a guy who built his home on a lot that doesn’t belong to him. Horror stories! It’s tricky enough when you are here but as a casual traveler – no way!
      Next time you’re in Boquete, give us a shout

      • Hi, hope all is well with you guys. We read where you relocated with cats(we have two), and are considering a move similar to yours in the near future. We live in Florida, and any helpful information on the subject of transporting cats that you would be willing to share would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, Ken S.

      • If you are coming to Boquete, you will have a lot of expat Floridian neighbors. Moving our cats was the one thing that made me the most nervous and it went off perfectly. You do not need a transfer/pet relocation person if you’re taking them in the cabin with you. You need to get their vaccinations up to date and rabies at about 30 days (it’s unclear if they mean within 30 days) Take the APHIS form to your vet and have it completed. Then it goes to the USDA, we used the one near MIA but there’s one in the Tampa/Orlando area too. Then to the Embassy or Consulate. The one in Miami is about 1 mile from USDA so you could get everything done in 1 day. Make an apt with USDA online though. Then send a form to the officials in Panama with your flight number and other info. If you send me your email address, I can send you the form but it’s called Cuarentena Para Animales Menores Quarantine for Domestic Animals. The people at PTY are so used to seeing people with pets, they will direct you to the correct office right next to customs. It took me about 5 minutes and I spoke very little Spanish. My husband sent our bags through xray and we met at the door, on our way. Super easy.

  6. Hi, Tombseekers. I just stumbled on your blog and find it so very informative. I live in NC and am considering a move to Boquete sometime in the next year. Of course, since I’ve not been there, only read about it and seen other blogs, etc., I have a million questions. I was thinking of renting my house here for a year and taking a rental in Boquete for that period to see if it’s a fit for me. What do you think?? My son and his family are traveling and in Panama now, to be in Boquete the last 2 weeks of April. I am sort of waiting to see their impressions before jumping. Since it seems it was such an instant fit for you, I wonder if that might be so for me too. If I do come, may I contact you? I would love advice on rentals, restaurants (I’m a vegetarian — might be hard??), info on buying a car, etc. Hope to hear from you soon and thanks for your blog. It’s a good one. You might enjoy my son’s They (family of 5) have left hectic life in LA and seeing the world. So far it’s been amazing — and what an experience for the kiddos.
    Take care and look forward to meeting you one of these days.
    Cynthia Baumhauer

    • Not up and moving, leaving everything behind is not a good idea for the first time. You will know if Panama is for you within a few months – long enough that you are living here not just vacationing. I only eat chicken and fish and that’s super easy here. They tell me that most of the beef is pretty chewy. Our Mercado has beautiful veggies right from the farms. I’d be happy to meet you (and your family) We are traveling a few weeks in May. I’ll send you my contact info on email. Hope to see you soon

      • Yes, you’re surely right. I think a 2 or 3 month period would be best and I can work toward that in the coming months. Thanks for your contact info. As I get a little further along w/more definite times to come I’ll be in touch. Thanks again.
        PS I like the Queen video on your FB page!

  7. I’ve read some pretty bothersome stories about banking in Panama due to some reporting regulations the US as put into place. Some people are complaining about not being able to open an account and others talk of having their accounts closed. Has this been an issue for anyone you know?

    • No, we didn’t have a problem. We went to a few banks and asked about their requirements and chose Global as they were the easiest for us. We needed 2 letters of rec. from our US bank and a local referral – we used a person we knew in town. It took a few weeks as everything had to be approved in PC. We began the process on our rental hunting trip and it was ready when we returned several weeks later. We have been very happy with Global

  8. Hi

    My name is Joyce, I am a marketing executive at which is a leading expat information and services website.

    I saw on your blog that you are and expat. I wish to interview you to further share some of your tips. The questions are mainly about the housing, the daily life etc.

    It just takes 5 minutes (or more depending if you have lots to say 🙂

    Of course, if you accept we can add a link to your blog or some of your website.

    If you are interested to participate at this project, please send me an email at

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