Another Central American eco-powerhouse, its rainforests, beaches, canal, and castaway islets are complemented by Panama City, the most dynamic urb in Central America, offering a UNESCO World Heritage colonial quarter, casinos, nightlife, and more.

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Unplugged paradise: the San Blas archipelago

  Panama of course has no shortage of islands, ravishing beaches, and secluded paradises. But this archipelago of around 365 islands and cays (barely 50 of them inhabited) spread over some 300 square kilometres (100 sq. miles) off the country's Caribbean coast, is a particular standout for its pristine environment. That's in large part because they're part of the province of Guna Yala, autonomously ruled by the Guna people who predate the invasion of this region by the Spanish in 1513 - meaning…

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Valle de Antón, the cute crater hideaway near Panama City

  Several years ago I visited my good Miami friends Ricardo and Charles at their holiday home in Panama, and apart from the great stuff in Panama City both old and new, I discovered a great little hideaway about two hours from the capital. It's a haven for both well heeled Panamanians and expats (these days the population's around 7,500), and also offers visitors a sweet little taste of rural life but with plenty of amenities and a few interesting attractions. Welcome to El Valle de Antón! At…

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Colón-to-Portobelo coast cited in '12 Top Destinations for African-Diaspora Travel'

  Welcome to February! Since 1970, it's also been Black History Month in the USA, and since 1995 in Canada, as well (whereas it's observed in October in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and the Netherlands). And though the reason for the African diaspora was tragic and horrific - the brutal, centuries-long trafficking of human slaves - it has also enriched many parts of the world, and indeed, world culture as a whole. So what better way to kick BHM off than with a look at a dozen of the most…

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The unplugged tropical secrets of the San Blas Islands

Just imagine this scene – you are lying in a hammock, a gentle sea breeze in your hair. Your favorite book in your right hand, freshly open coconut in the left one. You turn your gaze to the white-sand beach with beautiful turquoise water. You hear nothing, just some local kids playing in the coconut forest on the other side of the island. The other side of the island is mere 50 meters away. That is right, you're on an island - and one you can stroll leisurely around in about nine minutes!…

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  • Bocas del Toro notwithstanding, much of Panama's Caribbean coast is relatively undeveloped, and now apparently there's a concrete plan afoot to develop "sustainable" tourism along here while supposedly preserving the rainforest. Can they pull it off?
    Paradise on the Caribbean, Panama's coming eco-tourism boom
    May 05, 2023 (AB Digital via COMTEX) -- Panama's undeveloped Caribbean coast is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. And, Latam Investco, a small...
  • Here's a nice little recent encapsulation from the New York Times of what's best in Panama City:
    36 Hours in Panama City, Panama
    Explore this perpetually flowering city that is among the unsung cosmopolitan capitals of the Americas.
  • Run by U.S. travel blogger Becky Moore, the website recently ran a look at nearly two dozen of Panama's top musts which is pretty comprehensive:
  • Several weeks ago, CNN ran a 'snapshot of Panama's defining experiences, and they summed it up pretty well:
    Which Panama is right for you? -
    Here's a snapshot of Panama's defining experiences: a modern capital on the canal, near-deserted islands, and trails for spotting wildlife and waterf…
  • Free health insurance for visitors?
  • Looking for a reasonable winter rental

    We are looking for place to spend Jan.-Feb. Expat community or typically local environment. Ideally, a property we can take care of in exchange for reduced rent, but all offers welcome.
  • I just conducted a search on Tripatini for "retirement" (my youngest grandchild taught me how ! ) and I found this discussion. I have not read the International Living review, but Forrest's comments are perfectly in keeping with an observation I have made. Often, journalists who are too young to retire publish advice based upon criteria that is a little bit off the mark. Maybe this is because they are thirty years old and unable to put themselves in our shoes.
  • I just reviewed the article on They have Thailand ranked #25.
    So, I reviewed how they rated stuff. In my opinion. they weigh things wrong.. They give a lot of weight to "special benefits" for retirees. One of the reasons Panama scored so high, was what they call a "really great" pensionado program. That my friends is over rated. In four years there asa pensionado, the only thing I ever used my discount for was airfares within the country (it does not apply to intl flites) and hotels. The hotel discounts were somehow not so attractive, I got better rates just booking through!
    The catagory of purchasing a Thailand a foreigner CANNOT own property. You can own a condo, but not land. In Panama, yes you can buy and build, but be careful Real estate scams are numerous, especially on Island properties!
    In short, I do not think internationalliving does much international living!
  • No, I would not retire in Panama. I lived there for four years, and if you want reasons why I would never retire there I can list them for you. But I will start with this important one.
    Unless you are lucky, retirement comes with age. The need for good healthcare also comes with age. Outside of Panama city, healthcare is a non-starter. And Panama City is noisy, expensive, and there is a lot of crime.
    I am going to cjeck out this site and see what their criteria is
    . I am searching for the best retirement spot myself. I just spent two months in Thailand, and in all the criteria I can name, it is much better than Panama. I notice Chilke is on the list. It would be on mine as well. I lived there for five years.
  • Like sports statistics geeks, runs the numbers on eight different factors to come up with an annual ranking of the best countries for retirees. This year, Panama came in second, with Ecuador just barely squeaking in for #1. (The U.S.? #15.)

    Here are the top ten, with numerical scores on a scale of 100:

    Ecuador - 81
    Panama - 80
    Mexico - 79
    France - 78
    Italy - 78
    Uruguay - 77
    Malta - 76
    Chile - 76
    Spain - 75
    Costa Rica - 75

    Would you retire to Panama?
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