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Archive for the ‘Ex-Patriots in Panama’ Category

PANAMA – The long awaited Panama-Canada Free Trade agreement will be signed in Toronto Canada on May 14th said Panama’s Commerce and Industry Minister Roberto Henriquez. The countries completed the agreement early this year and the agreement would give Canada immediate access to Panama’s markets and services while Panama’s access is tied to a deadline. Both countries need to ratify the agreements in order to start up trade. We were told that before the end of 2010 they would be operational.

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Speaking at the Live and Invest in Panama Conference

Speaking at the Live and Invest in Panama Conference

I was invited to speak at the Live and Invest Overseas Conference a while back in Panama City. The Conference was very well organized by Kathleen Peddicord and Lief Simon; attendees flew in mainly from North America for from several days to several weeks to explore Panama.

My subject this conference (I had spoken a number of times for previous International Living Conferences) was “Opening a Business in Panama – Our Experience”. We also set up an information table about Taboga Island and our B&B Inn Cerrito Tropical.

Conference Table for B&B Inn Cerrito Tropical

Conference Table for B&B Inn Cerrito Tropical

People often ask me, if not for financial gain, why do I speak publicly at these types of Expat / Investment conferences?
My answer is quite simply, I love the challenge of speaking to a large group, and the opportunity to speak about Taboga Island.

Expat

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The New Cinta Costera in Panama City

The New Cinta Costera in Panama City

Check it out when you have time. A super new area to walk, run, or bike along Panama Bay (Pacific Ocean side of Panama). The traffic is much improved with a beautiful new bypass for Avenida Balboa in Panama City. Nicely designed and much needed additions to Panama City – more green space, more parking, and a bypass through Chorillo and Cinco de Mayo direct to Amador and the Bridge of the Americas, and reverse – direct to the highway to the Tocumen Airport (Corredor Sur).

Walkways and Bike Paths

Walkways and Bike Paths

Parking lots

Parking lots

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It is Mango Season in Panama again!
Check out the new Mango Pineapple Marmelade recipe under our food page (link is at the top of this page), as well as other delicious tropical recipes!

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I borrowed this from Sam Taliaferro´s Panama Investor Blog where you can subscribe to his regular newsletter, very informative on Panama events from a business perspective.
http://primapanama.blogs.com

Excerpts from La Prensa

The Canadian airlines currently offering charter flights to Panama may start providing regular flight services during peak travel seasons.

Canadian Transport Minister John Baird announced that Air Transat would operate two flights a week from Tocumen, while WestJet reported it would schedule a single flight each week. Flights will operate between November and April.

Representatives for Air Transat, which has offered two weekly charter flights Montreal, Quebec, and Panama City, Panama, since 2003, said the new service will be similar to that currently offered.

As of September, some 33,649 Canadian tourists have arrived in Panama, according to the Tourism Authority of Panama.

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Playa Honda

Playa Honda

Thank you to Matt Landau for allowing me to repost this story he wrote about his weekend getaway on Taboga Island at B&B Inn Cerrito Tropical, and for the glowing review.

Weekend Getaways Reinvented in Panama, by Matt Landau of The Panama Report
View the original story here on The Panama Report

As a child, weekend getaways were epitomized by long car rides which left us so tired and cramped that, by the time we arrived at our vacation destination, none of us wanted to speak to one another. Our trips were long because, in suburban America, nothing is close. Close was the diagonal drive across the empty parking lot from Linens ‘n Things to Best Buy. The trip to the beach took four hours.

We’d usually break up our trips up by stopping at convenient stores where cheap sunglasses, beef jerky, and the burley men who bought both of them at once acted as exotic distractions if only for a few minutes, before we realized that we still had three hours to go. Our trips would take us on big highways where the only scenery was a blurry mass of metallic exit signs and generic forested wasteland.

Forbidden from owning a Gameboy, my brother and I resorted to various intellectual games as methods of self-diversion. We enjoyed word puzzles, brainteasers, and the popular road trip game I Spy, our contents of which were a tribute to America’s trashy consumer suburbia. “Something red…” I’d ponder. “Is it the Red Lobster sign? How about the McDonalds drive through overhead?”

Somewhere on one of these trips, I learned there were roughly nine million people that live in the sixteen main precincts of New Jersey, which meant that, if my family and I planned it carefully, we could visit all of them before we turned twelve hundred years old. Weekend trips required so much planning that, before we knew it, Monday would arrive and we’d be left another week to yearn.

B&B Inn cerrito tropical

B&B Inn cerrito tropical

In Panama, the concept of weekend getaways is reborn.

The amount of interesting destinations within a several-hour drive of almost anywhere in the country is enough to keep any tourist or local entertained for some time. One of my favorites is the literal hop over to Isla Taboga. Ridden with stories of pirates and conquistadors, the island of Taboga was founded back in the 1500s and is as rich in history as it is in sublime relaxation. It’s a low-key vacation option, located about 12 miles off the coast, which reinvents, for a kid from penny loafer New Jersey, the concept of a weekend escape.

The city has a way of depleting you. Traffic, pollution, noise, phones: it’s a hodgepodge of activity common to any large city that, over time, slowly sucks the energy and innovation from your bones leaving you robotic and dull as if just going through the motions. It was the kind of sunny weekday morning that inspired me, upon waking up around seven, to drive to the Amador Causeway and catch the Calypso ferry to Isla Taboga ($11 round trip) to get some of my mojo back by the beach.

I arrived on Taboga and was greeted by the caretaker- chef of a local hotel where I’d made a last minute reservation. The man, a longtime local named Aristedes, offered to take my backpack which I told him (citing the relationship between wit and leisure) was better left on my back considering it was filled with a team of baby turtles.

He walked me (and my turtles) through the town of Taboga, a narrow labyrinth of cobble-walkways and dangling bougainvilleas, then up an inclined path to B&B Inn Cerrito Tropical, my new favorite Taboga hideaway. The hotel itself is situated on a hillside higher than most establishments on Taboga and, while within walking distance of town, is blessed with its own serene Caribbean-like mountainside quietude. Cerrito Tropical is a beautiful retreat with a Creole ambiance offering both bed and breakfast rooms and vacation apartments: not the sort of thing that’d be out of place in Martinique or any other Caribbean isle. The place oozes relaxation.

My days on Taboga consisted of rigorous activities such as eating fried fish, downing cold pineapple juice, and relaxing on what amounted to my own private beach which was once a pirate´s hang out . I wandered up to a clifftop lookout that afforded a spectacular view of the same Panama City skyline I left not long before. I even went for a snorkel on the opposite side of the island, which is protected and offers a much improved water quality.

Aristedes, who I took to calling “A” (which in Spanish sounds more like “Ah”), is also the private Cerrito chef who prepared everything from ceviche to grapefruit salad from scratch. When I wasn’t eating his food or hanging out on the beach, I took full advantage of B&B Inn Cerrito Tropical’s wireless internet connection (having brought my laptop) and picturesque upstairs balcony which I converted into a temporary office complete with breezy palm fronds and lazy hammocks. Although work wasn’t something I had planned on accomplishing during my stay, to say that the atmosphere was conducive to intellectual stimulation would be an understatement.

The weekend jaunt to Isla Taboga was a far cry from the over-planned vacations I used to take as a child. There was comparatively very little organization and the trip in its entirety cost less than $150.

B&B Inn Cerrito Tropical Bed & Breakfast Inn plus Vacation Apartments
Tel: 507-390-8999: Cell: 507-6489-0074
http://www.cerritotropicalpanama.com

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Medical Care in Panama City, Panama

Medical Care in Panama City, Panama



Punta Pacifica Hospital Orthopedic Clinic in Panama City, Panama: Pensioners´ Experience

Following my story on Santo Thomas Hospital in Panama City, other friends relayed the following experience to me. Our friends are jubilados (pensioners) and live here in Panama. They both had some orthopedic trouble and set off for the Orthopedic Clinic at Punta Pacifica Hospital (affiliated with John Hopkins Hospital in th US). One had foot problems and the other had pain in their knee. They were attended to immediately by the English speaking specialist who ordered xrays, analyzed them, gave a cortisone shot, and wrote a prescription. The couple were with the doctor and at the clinic for two hours.

They were extremely pleased with the doctor, the service, and the price which came to just under $150 which included everything except for the prescription medicine.

Medical Tourism is on the increase here in Panama, and more and more services are being provided for visitors who are looking for quality economical medical care. One of the main benefits of Panama is that is is close to the USA and Canada with a number of daily flights.

If anyone reading this requires the doctor´s contact details, please comment on this article and I will get more information for you.

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