Just Met Don Ray Williams (Chiriqui Chatter)

I was standing in line waiting to pay my gas bill in the El Rey supermarket and was surprised to hear “When I hear someone speaking English I give them my card”. I turned towards the voice and came face to face with a man whom I felt I had come to know quite well, Don Ray Williams, the creator of Chiriqui Chatter, a wonderfully helpful blog for someone like me who wanted specifics on the town and people of David. We spoke for a few minutes and then continued shopping. Don uses the photo below at the top of his blog.

I’ve probably followed his posts for 2 or 3 years and learned much from the posts and the comments. Don writes about his experiences in David, uses humor and can get pretty technical if needed. If you are considering David as a destination Chiriqui Chatter is loaded with information. He enjoys promoting local eateries, sampling their offerings and rating them compared to the competition.

Don is familiar with the local hospitals and has good advice and tips that expats  may want to be aware of. I have some experience, Don has much more and I’m glad I read his stories.

He really cares about the area and his readers and it shows,

If you are considering the area, do yourself a favor if you haven’t already and check out Chiriqui Chatter.

Don, thanks for stopping by and saying Hi! We’ll talk soon!



76 million U.S. baby boomers Prepare for Retirement, David’s Airport Readies for International Flights

“As over 76 million U.S. baby boomers prepare for retirement, Latin American countries are poised to experience increasing numbers of foreign leisure and retirement migrants.”

Some of the spectacular landscaping in David!

Some of the spectacular landscaping in David!

“An increasing number of citizens from the United States and Europe are choosing to spend their retirement years in less-expensive tropical countries in Latin America.” from a 2009 thesis http://etd.ohiolink.edu/send-pdf.cgi/Myers%20Erik%20S.pdf?ohiou1245254852

Flying directly and cheaply to a destination can make living there much more attractive. Panama City has direct flights to and from the US making it quick and easy to get to. David doesn’t. Getting to Boquete or David takes some planning; making plane or bus connections and often hotel reservations.

When David gets direct flights to and from the United States it will make getting to David MUCH easier.

David’s  airport (Aeropuerto Internacional Enrique Malek) has expanded to accommodate 727 jets. No airlines have yet committed to fly from the US to David BUT you can bet that one or two will have flights when the demand is sufficient. A three-hour flight from Miami or Houston would make a discovery or vacation trip to David cheaper and quicker than it now is.

Boquete is the darling of the press, it’s cool and gorgeous. It has caught the attention of many retirees looking for alternatives to their current situations. However, many boomers may also want to look at other warmer, dryer, and more affordable options in the Chiriqui area.

There are some very nice homes in David. We live in the north side of town so I’m most familiar with this area.  In this area there are affordable rentals, homes, and lots for sale.  Also, there are large tracts of undeveloped land that look perfect for a developer to make a community similar to ones I’ve seen in Central Florida. If homes were designed with the US retiree in mind and priced right, the race could be on. I don’t think this will happen until there are direct flights into David.

A lovely home in a quiet, secluded section of town.

A lovely home in a quiet, secluded section of town.

Many homes are gated, providing security and defining the property.

Many homes are gated, providing security and defining the property.

David is growing steadily, and at what looks like a pretty fast clip to me.

But WHEN there are direct flights to David, I believe the flood gates will open.

How far down the road all this may happen is beyond my ability to predict, but  it feels like it is inevitable, and coming sooner rather than later.

Get ready, David, you’re in the path of progress.



Thinking of Leaving the United States?-Pulled or Pushed?

This afternoon I was reading a post on the Boquete Ning site that had a link to a PDF entitled “America’s Emigrants”, got curious and downloaded the file. It was a study made in 2006 and although times and reasons for leaving may have changed, the basics may still hold true for many. I felt it was worth my time to try to distil my thoughts on the study so others who are thinking of moving or already have moved can see how others have arrived at their decisions on leaving the US or not.

Factors Considered in the Movegot my attention since my wife Kris, my mother Elizabeth and myself have had many discussions before and after our move here to David on the same subject.

Pushed or Pulled— (I hadn’t thought of moving in quite those terms)…

Push” factors (high cost of living in the states) and “Pull” factors (low-cost of living In the new country) were terms I hadn’t used but I can see why research traditionally identifies them as characteristics. Politics, political stability, policies (tax, visa, property) and a host of other factors could also affect the migration choices to move abroad and where to move to. Medicare’s non-portability across borders can affect the decision-making, we certainly gave it some thought.

The United States was becoming a “Police state” and “Big-Brother government” were mentioned as “Push” factors as was the lack of transparency in US policymaking along with a sense of anxiety after 911.

On the other side of the coin, a major “Pull” factor brought up were the benefits offered to “Pensionado” visa holders and seniors. Beneficial Panamanian tax and foreign property ownership policies were also considered important “pulls“. Exemptions from Panamanian taxes on money earned abroad or through work abroad  again were “pulls“. Panama’s stable economy and financial sector along with the convenience of the use of the US dollar added to Panama’s attractiveness.

Here are some direct quotes from the study done in 2006:

One man explained that he paid $160 a month for in-home care for his mother in Panama—care that would cost $5,500 a month in the United States.”

“One participant in Panama explained that he had paid out-of-pocket there for extensive heart treatments at the cost of a year’s worth of insurance in the United States.”

“Focus group participants in both locations indicated that the quality of medical care available was a strong consideration in their moves, and they generally said they had looked into medical care before coming. They said they had access to good, English-speaking doctors, some of whom had been trained in the United States, and good medical facilities, though these were not universally available in the host countries.”

“Approximately three-fifths in Panama listed
some type of economic consideration as their number one factor.”

“Nearly half of participants in Panama listed climate as one
of the top factors influencing their decision to retire abroad,,,,”

“Participants in Panama cited the lack of severe weather or natural disasters in the country, noting that some Floridians, tired of hurricanes,
recently retired to Panama.”

“Others in Panama spoke of the geographic diversity of the country,
including mountains, beaches, cities, and countryside.”

I’ll not add any personal comments or anecdotes today, I’m going to stop for now, I will write more on this tomorrow. Hope your found this post interesting, and possibly thought-provoking, even if you disagreed with the content.

Please feel free to comment, criticize, or just generally lay out your opinions, experiences or thoughts:)