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Cerro Hoya National Park

There are just so many wonderful places to visit on the Azuero Peninsula that we needed to talk about it again this week. This time the subject is Cerro Hoya National Park, covering 200,000 acres of untouched nature along the southern coastline.

Velvet green mountains will be the backdrop for your photos, dropping off into rivers, waterfalls, ponds and eventually the ocean itself. Of course there is a wide variety of wildlife here, such as jaguar, puma and many species of monkeys. There are over 150 species of birds in the area, so any bird watcher will have plenty to see.

Depending on your level of adventure, you could take a drive through the park, or venture along some hiking Read more

Coiba National Park

Continuing our exploration of the Ezuero Peninsula, we’re taking a trip offshore today to visit one of Panama’s greatest treasures, in fact, one of the world’s greatest treasures, Coiba National Park.

It wasn’t always appreciated for the treasure it is, though. For 85 years (1919 through 2004) the island off the west coast of Panama was home to a prison with a tough reputation that thoroughly discouraged visitors. This may have helped the island, actually, as much of it was left to nature, untouched by human interference or worse, destruction. In 1992 the island was set aside as a national park and in 2005, a year after the prison closed, Unesco gave Coiba National Park the outstanding rank as a Read more

Chitre, Panama – the Low Down!

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Spotlight this week on the relatively smaller city of Chitre, on the eastern coast of Panama’s Ezuero Peninsula. Though it’s smaller than the more popular destinations like Panama City and Colon, Chitre has plenty to keep you entertained.

Where to eat – Pan & Cake

I’d suggest you start with breakfast at the Pan & Cake, located on Calle Belarmino Urriola. This popular little shop has delightful pastries that will set your day in the right mode. They are also well known for their ice cream, so either plan on having dessert with your breakfast, or else plan on coming back later during the day.

Salsa y Carbon

A great spot for lunch is Salsa y Carbon on Calle Francisco Read more

Azuero Peninsula Whale Watching

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So you’re ready to retire and you’ve decided to move to Panama. Now it’s time to narrow your options and pick an area to live. You may want to consider the Azuero Peninsula, in Spanish, Península de .

Though the country of Panama is mostly east-west along the isthmus connecting Central American and South America, the Azuero Peninsula juts south into the Pacific Ocean, providing a long west-facing coastline with daily delightful sunsets.

The eastern coastline of Azuero has been developed more and is more populated, but the western coastline is by comparison more natural, more sparsely populated, more isolated.

If this is what you’re seeking for your retirement, you may want to check out real estate websites such as Read more

Markets in Panama City

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Looking for the freshest goods at the best prices? Skip the supermarkets and head to Panama City’s street markets. Not only will you get a good deal on fresh seafood, vegetables, and handicrafts – you’ll also get a one-of-a-kind shopping experience unique to Panama City. Listed below are the markets in Panama City, what they sell, and where they are located.

Mercado de Mariscos

Mariscos means seafood, so at this fish market you will find fresh fish, oysters, clam, shrimp, octopus, and scallops sold daily. Each item is wrapped to order and can be filleted for you. There is also a restaurant on the very top level of the market.

Location: Between Avenida Balboa and Calle 15 Este, Casco Viejo, Read more

Getting a Driver’s License in Panama

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If you don’t have a foreign driver’s license that you can exchange for a Panamanian license, you will need to get a new license. Here is the process:

To get your license you need to complete theoritcal driving courses (36 hours) and practical training (20 hours) with an authorized driving school. Hoever, There are only a few authorized driving schools in Panama, but the most popular on in Panama City is Auto Depot, because everything can be done in one place. Right across the street sits the Panama Road Transport Department (Autoridad del Tránsito y Transporte Terrestre – ATTT) office where driving tests are taken and licenses are issued.

In addition, you need to take several health tests, including hearing Read more

Exchanging your Driver’s License in Panama

As a visitor to Panama, you are legal allowed to drive for 90 days on your foreign driver’s license (see our post on Driving in Panama). However, after that your license is no longer valid. Therefore, if you are residing in Panama, you will need to exchange your driver’s license so that you can legally drive in Panama.

Exchanging your license takes a bit of work, but it isn’t too difficult or costly. First, you need to have the following documentation ready, with foreign documents translated into Spanish:

Residency card, original plus a photocopy Foreign license, plus a copy which must be authenticated by the applicant’s Consulate in Panama and certified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Ministerio de Read more

The Theater Guild of Ancon

If you haven’t yet discovered the delightful Theater Guild of Ancon, now is the time to check it out. Billed as “The only English speaking theatre in Panama,” per their Twitter page, TGA produces a variety of plays each season and the 2015 season is about to begin with Cole Porter’s “Panama Hattie.”

When “Panama Hattie” premiered on Broadway in 1940 it ran for over 500 straight performances. You’ll only have two weekends to catch the show at the Theater Guild of Ancon, the weekends of March 12 and March 19.  Cole Porter’s musical production about night club owner and performer Hattie and her naval officer fiancé Nick is set during the construction of the Panama Canal. The show has Read more

Play It Safe

Nothing can ruin a vacation faster than being a victim of theft or violent crime. Here are a few tips that will help you protect yourself while traveling and help you play it safe. No matter where you are going, when traveling you need to increase your level of caution and be extra alert to any sort of danger.

Target: Tourist

While, on paper, tourist are afforded the same legal protection against crime, in practice, foreigners are more likely to be victims of crime than locals for several reasons. Primarily, tourists tend to carry more valuables: cash, jewelry, credit cards, expensive purses, briefcases, laptops, the list is endless. Second, tourists can be easily distracted, taking in new sights and experiences. Read more

In Person or via Email or In person chat? Which works and which does not?

There are so many challenges to ex-pat living: language barriers, unfamiliar laws and customs, new foods, different weather, strange critters, but the biggest challenge can be living far away from loved ones. Maybe your parents are long gone, your children are grown and moved away from what was once home, and friends you grew up with have scattered to the four winds. But still, you have left “home.”

Sure, you have plenty to keep you busy in your new home. You are making progress with the language, fewer cars honk at you, and you have acquired your favorites in local dining. But still, every now and then nostalgia creeps in and wraps around your thoughts, tugging you back to a Read more