Wanting to retire in Panama

Archive for the ‘Panama canal’ Category

Panama Trip Part 1: Pedasi

Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana” – Groucho Marx

Time Flies By So Quickly! I can’t believe it has been almost six weeks since my last post.  Where has the time gone? What have I been doing for the past six weeks you may be wondering??

I have been meaning to put a post on for some time now of our trip to Panama, but our schedule has been ridiculously busy since we arrived home.   We arrived back on Canadian soil on August 1 and immediately had a family reunion to attend to that weekend.  It was my parents 60 anniversary – wow 60 years and counting…. But, alas,  this post isn’t about that so all I will say is that we had wonderful weather and an even more wonderful time.   The next four weeks were spent finishing up the basement of our son’s home in Edmonton so our daughter would have a place to stay when she went off to university.  All while trying to pack up our house for our big move at the end of the month.

Well, I am now so happy to say, we got everything accomplished!   Our daughter has settled nicely into her new home and new routine (albeit not without some tears shed by both parties – lol) and we are settling into our new, temporary home.  With all those responsibilities finally behind us, we can once again, start focusing on our move to Panama.

D and I had an absolutely spectacular time exploring the beautiful country of Panama from July 18 to the 31st and made some amazing new friends along the way. We arrived into Panama City late the night of the 18th and took a taxi to our hotel.  On the recommendation of some fellow bloggers, we stayed at the Country Inn and Suites so we could see the Panama Canal and visit the Miraflores Locks the next day.  This is definitely a must see for anyone travelling to Panama.  What an amazing feat!!   We then went to the Allbrook Mall to purchase ourselves a cell phone.  We heard a lot from people about how cheap it was to get a phone in Panama.  So we went to the local cell phone store in the mall (Digicell) and purchased ourselves a phone!  And for the grand total of $28.00, we bought a phone which included a $10.00 pay as you go card, which even gave us 200 free minutes to Canada!!  You won’t find this kind of deal in back home!

After spending two nights in Panama City, it was time for us to get our rental vehicle and head out to Pedasi.  Now, I am not sure how we got this wrong, but for some reason we ended up renting a vehicle from Budget Rental on Balboa street (downtown) instead of the one at the Allbrook Airport (which would have made things much easier for getting out of Panama City being that the Country Inn and Suites was practically walking distance away and extremely close to the Pan American Highway).  After experiencing the crazy traffic of Panama City (and I mean crazy insane – lol), D was not looking forward to navigating his way out so we hired the cab driver and followed him out of downtown and to the Pan American highway.  It was smooth sailing from here on in.

On a side note – although we did have insurance through our credit card company and through our insurance policy back home – on the advice of others we had corresponded with (apparently even with this type of insurance, the legalities are an absolute nightmare in Panama should you get into even the smallest of an accident) we opted to pay the extra for their full package insurance. Did we get swindelled??? Maybe …. But after seeing the traffic in Panama City, it definitely gave us piece of mind (although it practically doubled our bill….. cost -> $1088 in total for 13 days rental of a Toyota RAV4 SUV) .

The drive to Pedasi from Panama City took us about 4 ½ hours and we stayed here for 3 nights.  There was a festival going on in Las Tablas so we had to take an unmarked detour ….  and got lost.  Of course, we had heard about how poor the signage is in Panama, and our experience with the detour in Las Tablas and driving in general, definitely confirmed this to be correct J.  But some nice locals were able to send us back in the right direction. .  We then managed to get lost again in Chitre, and once again, another nice local was able to get us back on the right path.  From here on in, for the remainder of our trip, we managed to get around with little to no difficulty.

Now back to our time in Pedasi.  Pedasi is a quaint little town in the Azeuro Peninsula in the province of Los Santos with many beautiful beaches close by.  Upon checking into the Casa de Campo B&B (this is a beautiful B&B and we would highly recommend anyone to stay there), we met another couple from Canada who also stayed at the Country Inn and Suites and had just arrived also – what are the odds!!  As it turns out, they are from Ontario and are also retiring in Panama and have chosen Pedasi as their retirement destination.  They are building a home in the gated community of Costa Pedasi and are going to be in their new home for Christmas.  We also checked out this gated community as well as other properties in the area and this development definitely topped our list; however, this was only our first stop after all and we couldn’t make a decision yet, there was still a lot of Panama to see.   We were also torn too on whether we wanted to live in a gated community or not????  Initially, we felt we didn’t, but after visiting this area, we realized you never know what is going to come screaming out at you – and if we find the right gated community, this just might be where we decide to settle down.

During our second night in Pedasi, we went out with another couple we had met online who happen to also be from Canada…. Edmonton to be exact!   She is an amazing blogger – check out her blog at http://indacampo.wordpress.com/.  They have been living in Panama for over a year now.  We met them at Smiley’s restaurant for some dining and music.  We did, after all, have to give them their “bendy” straws from Wal-Mart and screw bits for removing stripped screws from Canadian Tire that just can’t seem to be found anywhere in Panama.  How can one enjoy a delicious tropical fruity drink without a bendy straw!!

So after spending three glorious days in Pedasi, meeting some wonderful new friends, driving along the highway to Playa Venao and checking out various properties with the local realtor as well the Costa Pedasi development, we had some good information in hand, and were ready to move onto our next location – Boca Chica here we come.

The following quote says it all for us …. “We all have our time machines. Some take us back, they’re called memories. Some take us forward, they’re called dreams” J