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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama
Old 11-09-2005, 10:56 AM   #61
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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama

I have been particularly interested in the Retire in Panama thread and have been considering moving offshore for awhile. Have contacted some of the links to gather more information and supplied a personal e-mail address. Then I learn more about Panama also being a haven for people who want to escape and live underground due to past criminal behaviours.*

Anybody out there who is or has lived in Panama, Brazil or Argentina can share your personal experiences

I am especially concerned about this cyber-crime and phishing stuff in gathering info over the i-net. (Pagar, any more input to continue the thread? I have enjoyed your input and thought of you yesterday when Matt Lauer was broadcast live from the Panama Canal...I am excited to come for an exploratory visit in the near future).
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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama
Old 11-12-2005, 10:58 AM   #62
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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama

My personal belief is cyber crime is an international problem of major proportions, but I don't think it is originates in Panama more than in the USA or many other countries. As for criminals hiding out here, those from the USA that are here are apparently bundled up and put on an airplane pretty quick once the FBI pinpoints them as being here. They are probably the lucky ones, compÓred to running afoul of the Panama legal system and ending up in one of Panama's prisons

For those looking for more maps and in about specific areas or towns in Panama,
this site may help: http://www.fallingrain.com/world/PM/
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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama
Old 12-28-2005, 02:59 PM   #63
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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama

Great forum, glad I found it. Thinking seriously about Panama for retirement in another year or so. I'd like to ask Pagar a question. Are you familiar with any of these high rises in Panama City?

http://www.viviun.com/Real_Estate/Panama/Condos/
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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama
Old 02-16-2006, 03:21 AM   #64
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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama

I feel good in being able to actually contribute to a topic in this most excellent forum.

I am defiantely not an expert on Panama, but spent some time down that way recently. Like yourselves..looking for a cheaper and better way. I was VERY impressed.

The majority of my time was spent in and around the city itself. An absolute fabulous place with a drop-dead gorgeous skyline. Think little Hong Kong. Panama city is not 3rd world...far from it. The tapwater is the best I've ever had and while challenging, I could drive there (I live in Honolulu).

The condos on that link are all very nice. Punta Paitilla (sp?) is the upper end and while a very nice area...probably over priced at this time. Some of the other cheaper condos offer similiar qualities...but you have to be careful. The bay is a cess pool. It stinks like the streets of Bangkok. If you were to look at one of these (random) condos on a day that the wind was lite, you may not realise that you would be gagging soon after moving in. Definately a problem Panama needs to solve...and I am sure they will.

I would consider the city a 5 for safety on a scale f 1-10. I would give it a better rating if I spoke spanish. My fault but the fact remains that lack of familiarity adds risk. The casinos suck. I know my way around a casino....and unless you are playing a) alone B) with one dollar bills C) out of your mind...do not play cards in Panama casinos. Their un-ethical tactics are some of the sloppiest I've ever seen. Enough about that.

Some areas, like all major cities, are more dangerous than others. The downtown is fine and the Amador causeway is awesome. An area called (I beleive) El Chorillo is worse than the worst projects you've ever seen. And much bigger. One thing i noticed...or missed, is a lack of organized gangs. I had the feeling thatif anything were to happen to me...it would be random and not an organized or hate thing. That was comforting.

The weather was quite pleasant compared to my other shopping grounds like Viet Nam, Thailand, etc....but like those countries, if I maybe so bold, the women are stunning...especially the columbianas.....I mean, if that's your thing.

Being from Hawaii, I was less than impressed with Coronado and other beaches. but I have felt this way around the world. hard to beat Hawaii's beaches...and if I wasn't so spoiled, I probably consider them quite nice (?).


I had hoped it would be cheaper. Certainly not as cheap as Thailand but probably half of Hawaii. Again, i remained close to the city and seldom shop for value (though I now must start). Depite the stench of the bay....it is pretty clean overall. There is a wonderful, almost constant breeze that keeps the sky clear.

Needless to say it is a very historical place. One can get lost looking at the many ruins and the area of Casco Viejo is charming by day....but one must keep their wits about them at nite. I had no problems and Ruben Blades lives there. There is many great eateries and fantastic vistas.

I grew up in a boxing family and boxed for 9 years. Roberto Duran was my hero and I got to spend a couple days with him and his family while there. One of the highlites of my life. i will definately return to Panama. When you go...(not "if" because you deserve to go), take some spanish with you. I was able to getby....but mytrip would have been 10 x better knowing the language.

BTW....the people were all incredibly hospitible. One of the few places i've been where being an American was actually a good thing. There were signs, much to my embarassment, that stated:

AMERICANS; ALL YOU CAN EAT, ALL YOU CAN DRINK, ALL NIGHT LONG $20.00

I would like to hear more from the OP because it was the high prices of houses and condos that spooked me off. I would prefer Panama over Thailand mostly because of the poximity to the states and the better weather. Also, panama is #2 in the world behind Switzerland in banking. I would feel wayyyy more comfortable investing there. They do not want ANY bad press scaring away BIG business. Put the days of Noriega behind you...Panama has...and wants to prove it.



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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama
Old 02-16-2006, 03:29 AM   #65
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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama

Sorry about the many typos in that long-winded post. It is late, it is dark and I'm not fixing them. Good nite,
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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama
Old 02-16-2006, 08:31 AM   #66
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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama

I learned a little secret when I lived in Costa Rica: people can't steal what you don't have. You can be worth 100 million dollars, but if you drive a 10 year old hatchback and live in a moderately sized house and have old but functional appliances and don't have jewelry or expensive watches and so on, nobody will bother you. It's a very refreshing philosophy. When I returned to the US I was quite turned off by the flashy consumption and other displays of wealth.
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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama
Old 02-16-2006, 08:37 AM   #67
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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama

Thanks for the informative post Nomo. One of my favorite things about this forum is hearing first-hand opinions of various locations.
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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama
Old 02-16-2006, 10:01 AM   #68
 
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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama

I was taught long ago that to you, it is a nice watch, to a poor local, it is a years Income.

Dress Down is the Cardinal rule of International travel, wear the Timex, leave the Rolex at home.

I was in the Phillipinnes when a visiting Taiwanese Businessman had his arm lopped off so they could get his watch and his rings.

Flashing Platinum Credit Cards attracts the wrong attention.
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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama
Old 02-16-2006, 11:26 AM   #69
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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama

Howard, there are places here in the US that those rules apply to.
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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama
Old 02-16-2006, 12:09 PM   #70
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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheryl
Thanks for the informative post Nomo.* One of my favorite things about this forum is hearing first-hand opinions of various locations.

I agree, Sheryl. I only found this site yesterday and I have already spent about 12 hours reading the plethora of opinions. If I were retired...I'd spend another 12 today.

BTW...I love your signature. It has my mind (and heart) racing.
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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama
Old 02-16-2006, 12:51 PM   #71
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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama

Quote:
Originally Posted by Outtahere
Howard, there are places here in the US that those rules apply to.
They are more civlized here. They would lop off only from the wrist down.
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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama
Old 02-16-2006, 02:04 PM   #72
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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama

Quote:
Originally Posted by MJ
They are more civlized here. They would lop off only from the wrist down.*
That's less effort, too.

So, Howard, we've been wondering. It looks like you deleted your account and re-registered. What was the reason for that?
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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama
Old 02-16-2006, 02:58 PM   #73
 
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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama

This is a US Board, not sure how comfortable I am here?

I may delete again?
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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama
Old 02-16-2006, 03:02 PM   #74
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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama

Yeah, no universal health care for careless posting accidents here...
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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama
Old 02-16-2006, 05:49 PM   #75
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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama

Panama sounds interesting and I may want to go visit on an extended stay. However I just have a difficult time convincing myself to invest in real estate outsied of the US. Anyone else have similar concerns?
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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama
Old 02-16-2006, 09:12 PM   #76
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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama

Quote:
Originally Posted by atla
Panama sounds interesting and I may want to go visit on an extended stay. However I just have a difficult time convincing myself to invest in real estate outsied of the US. Anyone else have similar concerns?
-------------------------------------------

I've always shared your concerns in investing outside of the US. In the meantime, I've watched friends make fortunes in Costa Rica. I missed that ship..but have no real regrets because I wouldn't have slept well.

I think Panama is a different story. I mentioned earlier in this thread how pro-American everyone was. The cops do random stops and as soon as we said "tourista, norte americano" they would wave us on.

I don't know the exact number of us that pulled out of there when they got the canal back...but it was thousands and definately significant. They want us back.

The biggest thing contributing to my level of comfort is their banking industry. As I mentioned earlier, they do not want anything, like stealing land from americans, to disrupt what they have going on in that sector. I don't know exactly what's up down there...but something is going on. There are gorgeous highrises all over the place and many more slated to start.

Their pensionado thing is great and the tax breaks are unparralled. 20 years in some instances where your residence is tax free. However...if I am not mistaken, I think the taxes then become rather high (at least by Hawaii standards) I should probably not make that comment because I am not positive. But check it out.

I understand there has been some shady land deals up there in that Bocas del toro area. like anywhere else..i imagine you have to be smart. I would get a good realtor..I used Diana Bishop of panamarealtor.com , great lady and very hospitiable. She's a Canal brat..or whatever. American born and raised in Panama. I have 100% faith in her and IF I decide to buy...I will look no further.

Hope this helped.

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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama
Old 02-16-2006, 09:28 PM   #77
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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama

PS...I should elaborate on why I trust Diana so much. I was looking at a place in Punta Patilla. 10,000 sq. ft. condo called Belagio, insanely huge and stunning. The servants had their own area of 2000 sq. ft. (including main kitchen) as well as their own elevator. They wanted $600,000 unfinished. I would have spent about $ 750,000 total when complete.

A heck of a lotta' money..yes, but that condo in Honolulu would be about 7 million. In fact, we don't even have anything like that in Honolulu.

Long story short....we became buddies and she talked me out of it. Thought I should wait and look at some smaller properties for less money that would offer a better return if I chose to sell.
I then unexpectedl had to come back to Hawaii. She lost out on a huge commision by being a nice person. I spent over two weeks with her (and often times her husband) They were realtor, tour guide and friends. I gave her $1000 bucks the day I left even though they protested.

Thank goodness I didn't buy the Balagio...she really saved my hyde.
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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama
Old 02-17-2006, 12:29 AM   #78
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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama

Quote:
Originally Posted by nomo-aloha
-------------------------------------------

I've always shared your concerns in investing outside of the US. In the meantime, I've watched friends make fortunes in Costa Rica. I missed that ship..but have no real regrets because I wouldn't have slept well.

I think Panama is a different story. I mentioned earlier in this thread how pro-American everyone was. The cops do random stops and as soon as we said "tourista, norte americano" they would wave us on.

I don't know the exact number of us that pulled out of there when they got the canal back...but it was thousands and definately significant. They want us back.

The biggest thing contributing to my level of comfort is their banking industry. As I mentioned earlier, they do not want anything, like stealing land from americans, to disrupt what they have going on in that sector. I don't know exactly what's up down there...but something is going on. There are gorgeous highrises all over the place and many more slated to start.

Their pensionado thing is great and the tax breaks are unparralled. 20 years in some instances where your residence is tax free. However...if I am not mistaken, I think the taxes then become rather high (at least by Hawaii standards) I should probably not make that comment because I am not positive. But check it out.

I understand there has been some shady land deals up there in that Bocas del toro area. like anywhere else..i imagine you have to be smart. I would get a good realtor..I used Diana Bishop of panamarealtor.com , great lady and very hospitiable. She's a Canal brat..or whatever. American born and raised in Panama. I have 100% faith in her and IF I decide to buy...I will look no further.

Hope this helped.

Plenty of people have made fortunes in real estate in the US/worldwide over the same period. The RE bubble (low interest rates) rippled around the world. I think property in Costa Rica has been run up by speculators and won't sustain current levels. The whole appeal of that lifestyle is that someone can retire down there to a 50k condo/townhouse that would cost 300k in Florida. But now the 50k condo/townhouse is 200k...

And there is simply a LOT of land that can be developed - not just in CR but all up and down the coast. The last time I was down there I saw speculation as far as the northern parts of Nicaragua. Ridiculous.

Also there is not the same access to health care there (or in Panama) as in the US. Someone may uneventfully reside south of the border until they are mid 70s. After that, *I* at least would want to be near a US medical center. Costa Rica (et al) certainly has wonderful, talented doctors, but they don't have the same access to infrastructure (imaging equipment, cath labs, etc) or the same access to medical devices that someone in a moderately sized US city does.
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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama
Old 02-17-2006, 08:52 AM   #79
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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama

Quote:
Originally Posted by nomo-aloha

BTW...I love your signature. It has my mind (and heart) racing.
Dorothy Parker - she's a gold mine of great quotes. I liked this one because I fear I'll be burning some bridges when I ER...
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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama
Old 02-17-2006, 12:43 PM   #80
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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheryl
I liked this one because I fear I'll be burning some bridges when I ER...
How 'bout:

"Living well is the best revenge."
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English clergyman & metaphysical poet (1593 - 1633)
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