Our good friends Ray and Diane left to return home on Tuesday, but not before we showed them a couple of more of our top picks for retirement residences. We have made the decision to make a permanent move to Panama. The real estate market is tough here. Supply and demand are badly out of check and it is a buyers market. We will not buy a home here until we have had 12 months to fine tune our must haves and have not list. Our first step to that end is to find a top pick community and try to rent there for a year prior to completing the purchase. The buyers market is likely to continue because there is a huge supply of new build condo projects on this stretch of the city beaches 1-2 hours west of Panama City. Once we move down here we will be in a better position to find a bargain. Rio Mar was the top choice for quite some time until we faced the reality that the price was above our comfort. Our second choice is Casa Mar and it lies just to the west across a river from Rio Mar. Casa Mar provides almost all the same benefits at a lower price point. In addition there is a 9 hole golf course, walking trails, a children space (splash pool with water slides), and increased privacy. The entire project is on 190 acres and has a future shopping plaza at the gate. It is also closer to Rio Hato where we will find lower prices on groceries and other daily needs. It is close enough to Coronado to easily make the journey if we would need the clinic or a visit to the dentist. We also showed our friends Bahia. Bahia is a 2 building high rise in Nuevo Gorgona which lies just to the east of Coronado. We were able to look at the condo directly next door to the guys from Dallas who bought their condo on International House Hunters. We did not meet them, but you can check out the YouTube video of their house hunt. We shared it previously in our post titled We survived Carnival . We do feel like a real life episode of House Hunters. Our episode would be more like Beach Front Bargain Hunt though. Seriously, The Bahia was a bit loud and lacked privacy. The unit was a bit smaller than we wanted and, while beautifully decorated, it was dark. We have ruled out Bahia. We will not maintain 2 residences even though we will be renting here in Panama. Before we make any decisions here we will be selling our house in the States.
We spend a little time at the pool and/or on the beach every day. We also continue to have our hour with the Spanish tutor weekly. Our Espanol is coming along well and we try to use our skills daily with one another. We plan to continue meeting with the tutor weekly by Skype once we return home. We are making arrangements to meet with an insurance agent in Panama to get actual insurance quotes for health insurance. We are currently paying $1267 per month for health insurance in the States. We think once we get settled here in Panama we will cut that cost by about $1000 per month for similar coverage. We can cover our monthly expenses here with that savings alone. We will share our actual expenses in future posts. One of the biggest reasons for our move is to save money. Everything isn’t cheaper here, but if you get out of the tourist areas you will find the cost of living to be less. I got the best haircut ever in a Barbaria for $5 (I was the only gringo in there). I also have an appointment on Thursday with a dentist for a routine teeth cleaning. It will cost 1/3 of my dentist back home. More about that next time. Jen had her hair done at a very high end salon, that caters to Americans and Canadians, yesterday. Her cost was less than her salon back home and she was thrilled with the result. We had Chinese take out for lunch yesterday. It was delicious and priced about the same as we would pay in the States. Tonight our friends and family back home will be changing the clocks for daylight savings time. In Panama we are only 9 degrees from the equator. The result is that we have 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of night every day, so daylight savings time doesn’t happen here. We don’t change our clocks.
We had a former co-worker of Jen’s here Thursday with her family. Her family was a delight to meet and we enjoyed sharing our afternoon entertaining them on the beach and at the pool. They are staying in the mountains northeast of Panama City. It sounds as if they have had a great vacation here in Panama.
On Sunday we are planning to take off for our next adventure. Boquete and David are about a 5 hour drive northeast from Coronado. We planned this adventure and posted what we are likely to find there in December of 2017. Check out that post in our archive or click the link #InSearchOfEternalSummer . We will be returning to Coronado on Tuesday after we go to the Tuesday Market in Boquete. We also hope to check out more of the country along the way. Panama and its people are beautiful and very welcoming.
Please continue to follow along. A great deal of time goes into this blog, and we want to share our experiences. Please drop us a note or comment if there is something you want to see or learn about Panama. Today’s Spanish lesson is two simple words…Se Vende. Translated it means For Sale. When we return to Michigan we will be putting our home on Gravel Lake up for sale.
Greg and Jen