French couple (I am retired and Chantal is a artist). After 5 years spent in the USA (Pacific) we are looking for a new place where we can spend most of our time. We have been advised to look at Panama and I am presently planning our first visit in June (Costa Rica and Panama) learn about teh countries, meet Englsih speaking people and see if we can schedule to buy a propery (House or flat).
We read many books and surfed Internet to get as many information as possible about Panama but we will be very interested to get some direct feeling and information from people like you having some experience.
We both speak English and of course, we will definitely learn to speak Spanish if we decide to settle in a Spanish speaking country. As we did before we will look for a place where we could have a social life as well as contacts with local people and other "english speaking expats".
If you decide to help us the main questions you will be very kind to answer.... are:
- We will certainly wait for a while before becoming residents and we will not stay more than 90 days each time BUT: Is it possible to leave....for only one week or two and come back?
- Is it easy to learn Spanish where you live?
- What means exactly the wet season? Just heavy rain for some short time and sunny most of the time or awful days or weeks when it happens.
- When the langage barrier is broken, is it easy to have contacts with local residents?
- We do no look for any extra luxury so is it better to look for a flat or "condo" or for a house or villa, having in mind that we will travel from time to time and leave the place unoccupied. We can consider to live some miles away from the beach and other touristic places (Some 20 minutes away for example will be fine).
- Did you buy your furniture and car or did you move most of it from .....
- Would you advise us to look first for places not to far from some large city to avoid to feel lost and unsecure in the country side.
- Compared to your life in.... are you able to get everything you need (Food, clothes...) at reasonnable prices.
- How about cost of electricity, telephone calls, petrol, car...?
- What about Internet communcation and satellite TV (US or british channels).
I am looking for an active time during my retirement and Chantal who sold quite well her art (Original as well as high quality reproductions*) when in the USA would be keen to keep painting and complete her range of subjects. Is it possible to stay active (Sport, safe swimming, gardenig, safe local travel, benevol help, club activities...) and is the local art business active as well.
I am aware of the long list of questions but if you can answer some, we will be very happy.
In any case thank you for your help
Maurice and Chantal
* (Incidently, if you want you may have a look at her "Pastel" and "oils" in visiting her web site www.chantelleart.com ).
I am currently living about 20 minutes NE of Grecia, Costa Rica. I have traveled to Panama on several occasions and am considering moving to Boquette for several months to see how I like it there. Would it be better to wait until the rainy season, assuming there are "snowbirds" leaving Boquette during that time of year and more homes available and possibly even a house sit? Warmest regards, Bill