5 Things to know before you relocate Coronado Panama
Relocating to Coronado Panama? The first thing to know about relocation is that it’s not something to jump into. A trial of 6 months to a year before starting the relocation process is a good idea!
1. There is no Uber!
If you plan to spend time in Coronado, and you want easy access to amenities and the beach, you may want to consider transportation. While public transportation is an option, there are buses and taxis, there is no Uber or ride program yet, that can offer a pickup anywhere, anytime. Since the community of Coronado is situated between the beach and amenities, With the beach about 5k from the city centre, no matter where you’re staying (no matter how close the listing claims it is to everything) walking or waiting, is in your future without a rental.
My advice is to rent with a local company as oppose to an airport rental. For a couple of reasons:
Driving in Panama City is absolutely mayhem.
The airport rental companies often have hidden fees like insurance...
which is not covered by your credit card company, I assure you.
Active Auto Coronado, can help with a rental and work with you to source a reliable used vehicle once you are sure that Panama is for you.
2. You will Experience Culture Shock.One thing you need to know about Panama, is that things do not happen with any sense of urgency here. From getting your hair cut, to doing something at a government office, it’s all slower. Things like checking out at the grocery store or getting banking done just take longer here! Sometimes services are not provided as expected with no other explanation other than, “voy mañana,” in English, I’ll go tomorrow (FIY mañana in this case can also mean weeks from now).
While at first the thought of slowing down may seem nice, especially if you’re leaving a 9 to 5 in a major city. You might even be thinking, “I’m into all that, I’m looking for that slower paced life… that’s the whole reason I’m relocating!” I’m telling you now, the mañana approach will at some point or another get frustrating.
I don’t think it’s just about patience, but rather it’s an ability to assimilate into a different way of life. I find a lot of people who relocate to Panama end up thinking “this just doesn’t make sense” or “the logical way to do this would be, like so”, and I’m not saying they’re wrong, Panama is is just never going to meet their expectations. If you try and change the way the country works (or doesn’t), you are not going to be happy here.
Another way to speak about this topic is in the perimeters of something called culture shock. Culture shock is a cycle of feeling that occur when you arrive in a new country. Experts divide culture shock in to 4 stages: The Honeymoon Stage, The Negotiations Stage, The Adjustment Stage and Mastery.
3. There are two Seasons
There are two season in Panama, dry season which lasts from January until April and wet season. A quick google search will tell you the best time to visit Panama is summer a.k.a dry season, because who goes on a tropical vacation for the rain? However, if you are here for more than a week of sunshine and Pina coladas, you are going to encounter some downsides to dry season, and there are two big ones.
Using fire to clear large portions of land or even smaller lots in Panama is a common practice. This is almost exclusively done in dry season since the ground is dry.
For this reason dry season can bring with it a lower air quality, which can become an issue for those suffering from respiratory issues. If you are on the ground floor and prefer open windows to A/C, you can expect some ash on windy days. Also, don’t be surprised if you pass fires that seem out of control (which they often are). In Coronado Burning is permitted two days a week, Tuesday and Thursday.
You are going to want to ensure your property is equipped with a well, or reserve tank if you plan to be in Panama during the dry season. Idaan, Panama’s municipal water source often runs dry in Coronado, especially on holiday weekends when there are a lot of people visiting the beach area.
Side note - Improvements In Progress: This year, a $4.5 billion water supply plan aims to mitigate the affect this drought will have on the population. The plan, coming from the administration of current president, Laurentino Cortizo, is a five year effort to guarantee water supply in Panama.
Dry season also has it perks, among which are a nice breeze, less humidity and the start to melon season!
rainy season in Coronado, Panama is that it’s really not that rainy. Coronado is the ‘dry-arch’ of Panama, offering more sunny days than anywhere else in the country. When it does rain, it usually rains in the late afternoon, not all day. Tourism outfits often refer to the rainy season as green season, and they’re not wrong! Panama is absolutely gorgeous in her winter months. And since rainy season is also Panama’s off-season, falling mainly in the North American summer months (May - November), the cost of rentals and flights are often significantly cheaper.
There are a couple downsides to rainy season too. The main ones you’re sure to notice are:
If you’re lucky you can find a place that has a backup generator, but if not be sure to have lantern, flashlights and candles on hand. You will also want to have matches to light the stove, since most stoves are gas in Panama it isn’t a problem to cook without power.
With the damp and humid climate comes mold. The best way to fight it is running the A/C on dry a couple times a week, or investing in a dehumidifier. Damprid can work for a small area, but typically there’s just to much moisture for it to work.
4. You should learn to Speak Spanish
While you can get by with little to no Spanish here, if you manage to get conversational Spanish under you belt and it will improve you daily life. To get there you will need to step out of your comfort zone. Since connections are such a primitive human need, we naturally gravitate to those who speak our language. Speaking Spanish will allow you to connect with people beyond other English speaking expats. Without a basic understanding of the language you will limit your ability to integrate into Panamanian life.
The biggest tip I’ve received was don’t be afraid to sound like a total fool. Find a few people who aren’t shy, and happy to correct your mistakes. If your not there yet use technology - download Duo Lingo!
5. You won’t need most of your stuff.
You might want to think about taking a minimalists approach when relocating. For a couple of reasons, your new lifestyle might not require all the things you’ve collected over there years and because shipping is expensive!
Consider leaving behind, leather jackets, boots, heavy sweaters and clothes you’ll never wear. You also probably do not want to pack a container full of appliances and furniture. What you do want to bring is electronics. Computers, cameras etc. these things are more expensive here, and it can be difficult to find a computer for example with an English keyboard.
Another thing that can be quite expensive is a second-hand car. Finding a reliable used vehicle can be hard and expensive. You might pay more for a less quality car, then you would in North America.
While deciding not to bring your winter coat might be an easy decision answering the question to import your car or not, is more difficult. This is because it really depends on the individual car. The cost of importing a car is quite expensive, and import taxes are a bit unpredictable. Some cars, you can’t find parts for in Panama. To make this decision, you will want to speak to someone who has knowledge of the use vehicle market in Panama. Active Auto Coronado works with port specialists to give you an idea of import taxes and can help map out what it will cost, to help you decide if importing will be worth the time, money and energy.
This article was written by Coronado Panama Relocation. We stand by our commitment to the community to provide honest guidance, with a no-fluff approach to information. Tell us your story, we’ll connect with the best resources we have to get you, your family, your pet(s) or your business on their way to Panama.