Panama is the Happiest Country, 2nd Year in a Row!

Why Panamanians are so happy

I don’t post a lot but I thought this was worth the time to pound the drum. Long story short is that Panamanians have a “Positive Outlook”. That to me is SO important!

A woman wearing a traditional "pollera" -big one-piece skirt- takes part in a parade to commemorate the anniversary of the declaration of the Panamanian indenpendence in Chorrera, 30 km from Panama City on November 10, 2014. Panama will celebrate 193 years from its independence from Spain next November 28. AFP PHOTO / Rodrigo ARANGUA        (Photo credit should read RODRIGO ARANGUA/AFP/Getty Images)

A woman wearing a traditional “pollera” -big one-piece skirt- takes part in a parade to commemorate the anniversary of the declaration of the Panamanian indenpendence in Chorrera, 30 km from Panama City on November 10, 2014. Panama will celebrate 193 years from its independence from Spain next November 28. AFP PHOTO / Rodrigo ARANGUA (Photo credit should read RODRIGO ARANGUA/AFP/Getty Images)

I remember listening to a motivational tape that stressed “DO NOT ASSOCIATE WITH NEGATIVE PEOPLES”,  English wasn’t the speaker’s first language but it made the phrase unforgettable to me.

Wondered exactly why I feel so good here in Panama. Being around folks with Positive Outlooks is a BiG reason why!





Video of Ed Horna- Rental Property Available in David/Boquete

Ed wanted to make a new video since the old one was two years old and I’m making it available here. DO NOT CONTACT ME (JOEL), contact Ed (Eduardo Horna 507-6567-1127, 507-6757-0005 ) for any and all rental/purchase questions.

Special thanks go to Kris for the camera work and uploading to Youtube!


Contact information: Eduardo Horna

507-6567-1127 507-6757-0005




David/Boquete Rental information from Ed Horna

I just received an email from Ed Horna, my friend and the guy who showed us the house we live in. I’m posting it here as a favour to Ed and the readers of the blog.
If you have any questions about the properties, address them to Ed, his contact info is at the bottom of the page since I am not going to act as a middleman! PLEASE CONTACT ED, NOT ME!!!!!!!!
Hi guys ,

Just so you know if any one ask you about rentals in the david

boquete area , this is what I have at this moment :

David , located near El Rey super market , a very nice 3 brm 2 bath fully furnished house fenced in fast internet available , 900. a month .

David , located in the down town area , 2 brm 1 bath apt Unfunished .

AC in each room , fast internet available ………….300. a month .

David , cozy 2 brm 1 bath house comes basically furnished …..500.a mo.

Boquete , located in down town area small efficiency studio ,perfect

for a single or couple …………………………….250. a month.

(Rent included electricity, cable tv , water )

Boquete  , Furnished 3 brm 2 bath fully fenced in with studio or office …800. a mo.

Boquete , A New 3 brm 2 bath house furnished (washer & dryer included)

super great view , king size bed , large refrigator ………..800. a month .

A min of 6 month lease is required and Unfurnished means no appliances no furniture no beds , (sorry thats Panama !)

Thats all for the moment ,

Thank you and enjoy !

Eduardo Horna 507-6567-1127 507-6757-0005 AGAIN, PLEASE CONTACT ED, NOT ME!!!!!!!! Later, j

How should I go about finding the right place for me in Panama?

I get some “what/how/where” type of questions and Kris get MANY on her blog. I’ve explained before but rather than repeating I think I’ve got a way that folks can get more suggestions in one place.

Oh, and you will never see a scene like below here in Panama 🙂

001Chris is a blogger friend in Panama City and wrote a good post that is pretty helpful for folks who are wondering where the best place for them. Also included is a list of Panama bloggers and many describe how they approached the decision making process. Here is the link to Chris Power’s Blog.



Great steaks in David-Su Carne re-visited

Dropped by Su Carne which I mentioned in an earlier post and got some stew beef and 2 rib eyes. The rib eyes had increased from $4.25 lb to $4.50 lb due to the new wage law but the quality of the steak was worth the small extra charge. I don’t know if what type of cow the earlier steaks came from but I was told that these new steaks were Angus. The owner also told me that the meat was aged for 15 days in his locker. They looked good and I was looking forward to tasting one. I took them home and put them in the freezer

A few days later I decided to take one rib eye out and see how I liked it. I knew that a wood fire would give me the best flavor so I went into the forest across from the house and brought back enough wood to do the job. I took the steak out of the freezer  to let it get to room temperature since I read that it cooked up better that way. I also put a coat of olive oil on all the surfaces and flavored it with some garlic salt and Nature’s Seasoning. The fire had burned down to coals so I got the steak and proceeded with the grilling.I cooked it for about 6 minutes  before flipping and only a few minutes later removed it from the heat.

At the table the first cut showed me that I had a steak that was more tender than the one I had cooked months earlier. The flavor was excellent and while not quite as tender as some of the steaks I’ve had in the states it was still VERY good and a pleasure to eat. Kris was having fish that night but  agreed that the pieces I gave her were quite good indeed.

I have a link to my earlier post in case the location of Su Carne is of interest.

The owner speaks some English but  called up his brother who speaks great English to let me talk to him and make sure I was getting what I wanted. I handed the phone back to the owner and got what I wanted with no problem.

Oh, by the way, his brother was in the states at the time of the call! Calling the US to get an order straight? Darn good service, I’d say!



Re-visiting the Cost of Living in David, Panama

My wife Kris tells me that she gets inquiries concerning the prices and cost of living here in David every day from her blog, The Panama Adventure. I sometimes read on other blogs that someone says that it is as expensive in Panama as in the U.S.  That may be so for where they lived, but compared to Sarasota, Florida we are paying SO much less for food and housing. Granted, our house in Sarasota was bigger, nicer and had whole house a/c but I sure paid much more for it. The mortgage was $1100 @ month, PITI, electricity ran about $150, water $100, cable/internet $115, total of somewhere around $1500+-.023

Our rental house here is smaller, no A/C and not quite as nice, but quite acceptable for us. $385 pays the rent. Landlord pays the water (8 bucks a month). Electric runs $45+-, cable/internet is $54, gas $5. The total is somewhere around $450+-.

Sooooo, for starters it’s Sarasota $1500 vs Panama $450 for housing/basics. I think you can see why we feel like Panama is cheaper than Sarasota. And I haven’t even included car insurance, cell phone, or food.

In Sarasota we spent about $600-800 for food, car insurance was $125, cell phone $150. In David food is around $400+-, car insurance is $xx, cell phones and Skype about $20.  I’m not going to get specific, it’s broken down in more detail here Cost of Living.

Sarasota living was costing us about $100 a day, or $3000 a month.

David living costs us $38 a day, or $1100 a month.  Much more affordable!

I like that my monthly Social Security check pretty much covers the bills. Savings and investments provide a safety net. Kris will be eligible for Social Security next year.

Both Kris and I have been fortunate to have been brought up by parents who experienced the Great Depression and taught us the value of thriftiness and self sufficiency. But for us the great kicker is that we are eating so well, with  fresh fruit and veggies available YEAR ROUND, all while paying FAR less than we did in Sarasota or in Santa Rosa, California. The veggies were great as was the rest of the food but MUCH more expensive.

I don’t know what food costs are where you live, but if you are in the USA and are wondering if you can stretch your housing and food dollar here in Panama, you may just be right!



PS Kris and I say Hi to the folks from Denham Springs LA who will come to our area in August to see for themselves what it’s like here. Don’t take my word or anyone else’s, come here and see for yourself.

*The Highlands of Volcan, cool and only 1 hour away!*

Kris said, “Hey, let’s jump in the car and go to Volcan!” Why not, Volcan is only 55 minutes from my house in David. We live 6 minutes north of the Pan American highway and just go west on it for about 25 minutes then turn north at Conception and start heading uphill until we reach Volcan. And what a ride it is-I was driving so Kris got to look at the scenery more since I REALLY needed to keep my eyes on the road, two lane and twisty as it was.But I did get to go slow or stop and took a few pictures. Please ignore the incorrect date on the photos:)009005004006007008The last shot is of Volcan Baru, the highest peak in Panama. Volcan the town is at the 4,200′ level, Baru rises to 11,398 and gets down to 30 at night.

Kris will have more on an upcoming post, be sure to take a look, we have some interesting shots of veggies being grown on impossibly steep hillsides!

The trip was good for the body and mind, we saw some friends, cooled off compared to our area (70 vs 90) and saw some pretty magical landscapes. If you are in our area I highly recommend taking the drive, I think you’ll like it.



*All’s well in Portland and I’m home in Panama*

My trip to Portland is now history. I was quite sure that 75 State Street would be a nice place and it turned out better than we expected. I hustled and got Ma’s one bedroom apartment furnished with all that she needed in record time. M2810004The Maine Mall was mere minutes away, Best Buy and Walmart had most of what she needed, kitchen appliances, plates, containers, etc.M2810001The furniture came from Hub Furniture which was in a 100 year old warehouse with little heat. Couch, desk, recliner, end tables, drop leaf kitchen table with two chairs were qujickly picked out at 11 o’clock and they delivered and set it all up at 2. We were amazed at their delivery speed and happy with the overall quality and look of the rooms when furnished.M2810007 M2810002Portland has quite a long history and 20% of Maine’s population lives there. The roads are great, they have a good hospital (actually two), there are PLENTY of restaurants and folks are always out and about even in cold weather. Spring and summer will bring nice weather and the folks at 75 State who can get out WILL get out in the gardens and beyond. Ma is looking forward to riding the ferry and seeing old friends and relatives.M2810011Ma has a kitchen and usually takes the dinner (noon) meal downstairs in the dining hall which is bright and lovely! I ate there twice and the food is great as is the service. The staff and residents we met were wonderful and helpful. I felt that Kris and I had done the best we could in finding a good, safe place that would provide what we could not here in Panama. She now has friends of her generation and should she need assistance at any time she needs only to press the button on her medical alert device. Ma will be able to communicate with nearly everyone there and that alone is HUGE!

Ma had a fall in the hotel room when I was there and went today to have 6 stitches removed. It looked bad when it happened but at the ER nothing major was detected, and she healed up quickly as usual. It was a wake up call of how fast bad things can happen and it’s good to have help available. 022We will stay in touch via email and Skype, Ma’s been internet savvy for over 15 years and it’s a blessing!!!

All’s well that ends well and this turned out better than any of us ever imagined!



*Just a walkin’ in the Rain…The Frog Blog*

Kris and I decided to walk rather than bike, we can take time to stand and look at things as long as necessary, and it’s an nice change-up anyway. We walked through our neighborhood, out the entrance to the right, and then headed down to the river. M2650012

The sky was gray and maybe if we were lucky it could break the hot weather we’ve been having and rain. The over cast sky made for some interesting photos, mostly of frogs for me. We got halfway home before we started to get wet, the rain cooled everything off, it’s 84 inside and now I’m actually chilly with the fan on me as I type. Gotta love it! Here are the photos- Click on them to enlarge!

I'm 1/4" long, so what?

I’m 1/4″ long, so what?

Muck in a backwater area

Muck in a backwater area

Rock, feather, flower

Rock, feather, flower Click on me to enlarge!
upside down is good

upside down is good

Something we haven't seen in a while- a rain soaked street!

Something we haven’t seen in a while- a rain soaked street!

Many large bananas!

Many large bananas, looks like 100 or so!

If no one beats me to them, those bananas are MINE! I’ll push the plant over (it’s HUGE, probably 15′-20′ tall!) and chop the bunch off. They’re located across the street from our house in the pine forest. I got a bunch of small, pink bananas last month and they are just now ripening and wonderful. I don’t know about these but willing to bet they taste great. We’ll see….



Su Carne Rib Eye over a Wood Grill = Much improved Flavor!

Ma reminded me of a photo from the 1950’s where I was about 11 and standing watching some women in Guam roast a chicken on a wood fire they had started at the beach. If they could do it, so could I!M2590029I concocted a plan- dig up some large rocks from the yard, scour the forest across the street for wood, and get some sort of metal grill to put the steak on.M2590024I got the rocks and wood and the toaster oven was the grill donor.M2590029I let the fire get down to mostly coals and put on the steaks.M2590032I had run an electric cord out to the tree so I had electricity for my little light.M2590037I taste tested a bite, too rare, back on the fire.M2590048Above- Potato, sour cream and butter, cheyote, Rib Eyes steak and Balboa, YES! The steak was not too rare or done, it was the way I liked it. Ma had a separate piece, she managed to eat half and save some for tomorrow.M2590009Above – This photo has nothing to do with steak, fires or beer, but Kris took it today and I wanted to share all the colors with you. By the way, it was 95+ here today. Definitely a 4 shower day!

The verdict: the steak was a little chewy but the wood fire and smoke VASTLY improved the taste over the last steaks broiled in the toaster oven.

M2590049Kris made some Corvina, I had a bite and wow, she had outdone herself, they were fabulous.

M2590039I almost forgot about my steak. Almost.

I’m curious as to how a nice Porterhouse would taste over a wood fire. I think I’m going to find out!

PS I got more done narrowing down a place for Ma in Maine. More to come….

Wish you were here-