10 Tips for Enjoying Life in Panama

Life at the beach is supposed to be simple! However, if you have lived here long enough, you’ll know that sometimes things take longer and end up being more complicated than anticipated. While we may not have the solution to every problem, here are 10 little things to help make your life a little easier. We landed on them by doing things the hard way, and thought it would be nice to save someone else a little trouble: 1)    Make your mobile provider work for you.If you have a pay-as-you-go plan here in Panama, you have probably noticed that your provider sends you a plethora of messages with a variety of daily offerings. To stop these messages, all you need to do it head into to your local mobile provider and ask. Provide any agent with your phone number and ask them to kindly remove you from their messaging database.   With many mobile providers (including Digicel and +Movil) you can load minutes automatically from your credit card. Set up prepaid payments by visiting your providers website. 

2)    Download Waze.

Waze is a Mobil phone app that provides GPS road maps and more. Waze can help navigate your way through the beach and the city.  Waze will also notify you with heavy traffic up ahead, accidents and spot checks.  Saving you time and money!

3)    Connect with friends and family back home.

Whether you are calling from Skype or a cell phone, we have found that it is cheaper to call North America from Panama, than it is to call Panama from North America. 

4)    Know when to do you banking.

Avoid the bank on the 1st and the 15th. These days are Panamanian paydays, which means long lines at the banks. 

5)    Always do the math.
If you are buying a bottle of wine with dinner be sure to ask the price of the bottle, as well as the price per glass. Be aware you might get a better deal if you buy by the glass. In some restaurants in Panama bottles are priced higher than the per glass price, despite the fact that the same brand of wine is being served.  There are 4 – 6 glasses per bottle (depending on the size of the glass and pour).
6)    Shop around if you’ve got the time.
With four grocery stores in the area, there are lots of bargains to be found. Prices from store to store vary greatly; you just need to do a little research. If you have the time its best to visit all four to find the best of what each has to offer.  

7)    Change your Vehicle Plate to Chame.

If you live at the beaches, ask to change the location your vehicle is registered to. That way, the next time your car comes up for renewal, you can save yourself a trip to the city.

8)    So your Spanish isn’t perfect, enlist some help and keep at it! 

You are speaking Spanish, and people still don’t seem to understand what your saying! By downloading a free translator application to your smart phone you will be able to show people what you are trying to say. They will generally repeat the words and you will learn the most common pronunciation.  
For mini practical Spanish lessons visit our Spanish Lessons Section.

9)    Avoid the holiday rush.

November & December are busy months at the beach. Expect hoards of people and empty shelves through out both months. Stock up well before the busiest day. Click here for a full list of holidays.

10) Print the Playacommunity.com Restaurant Guide.

Do you find you yourself wondering what is open on a Monday? Have you gone to a restaurant only to realize they are closed? Playacommunity.com has created a restaurant guide to tell you what is open and when. Print the guide, or screen shot it and save it on your phone to keep a handle everybody’s hours. Click here to see our restaurant guide!