Ciudad Panama


Public Park, Ciudad Panama

So we’re off to Panama City to check it as a possible retirement site. The first picture is a shot of the public promenade in PC, the waterfront park that seems to be the favorite gathering spot for Panamanian families, teens, retirees and anyone wishing to escape the heat & cacophony of the big city. In many ways, Panama City is a typical large town with the usual noise, traffic, chaos and confusing navigation. In other ways it seems almost quaint, a throwback to an older, more settled and laid back existence, especially in Casco Viejo, the old part of town as Kris and Joel explain at The Panama Adventure.

We walked one end of this park to the other, soaking in the sights, smelling the exotic aromas from the Mercado de Marisco, the local food vending area. We saw the local people basking in the late afternoon sun, lovers hand in hand along the promenade, photographers busy with their compositions and f-stops and the standard crowd of chillaxing relaxers. This picture was taken at 5 pm. It’s obvious that much daylight remains to be enjoyed, so part Panama’s appeal to us, especially after living in Hawaii, is that the days (and the nights) are twelve hours long. Like in Hawaii, there’s no daylight saving’s time in Panama. At 9 degrees north of the equator, every day is equally long.


Waterfront, Panama City

It’s likely this shot could have been taken on July 15th instead of November 15th, (which it was). The obvious point is that shirtsleeves and suntans are worn year round here. Yes, that is what we’re seeking. We looked around for a snow shovel, but stores seem to be sold out of them.


Miraflores Locks, PC

No one should travel to Panama without seeing the Canal, ‘the world’s best shortcut.’ I could go into the history, engineering, politics and operation of the Panama Canal, but that requires at least one book. And there are several good ones out there. Go to Amazon for that. Suffice to say the Canal is an awesome accomplishment, one that Americans (U.S. types) should be quite proud of, for two reasons: One, the astonishing engineering feat; Two, the fact that this country recognized Panama’s sovereignty and gave the Canal back to the people it should belong to, and should benefit from it. And they do. Much of Panama’s prosperity comes from Canal revenue, and it’s distributed fairly, with little or no corruption and to worthwhile projects throughout Panama. Below…one of those projects, a world class public transport system in operation in Panama City, with ambitious plans to expand.


Light Rail System, PC

Another benefit provided courtesy of the Panama Canal: This clean, safe, efficient and well run rapid transit system is muy barato. Mariah and I hopped aboard the train at Albrook Mall, traveled five stops and jumped off. Total price for both of us? $2.25. For those who’ll miss the old Diablo Rojo system, those flamboyantly colored converted school buses that jigger and chug and smoke along PC’s congested streets, lo siento, sorry, they’re quickly being replaced and will soon be gone.


Here’s the system of Diablos Rojos that’s giving way to light rail. Anyone who breathes, and values their hearing will breathe a sigh of silent relief. Colorful, oh my yes. Dirty, noisy and obnoxious? Si, si, si!!! Adios Diablos Rojos.One other note concerning public transit: taxis. They, too, are muy barato, very cheap. And here’s an interesting side note. Unless you intend to become a taxi driver in Panama, forget about buying a carro amarillo. Yellow is reserved for taxis, and all taxis MUST be yellow. Our friends at Loving Retirement in Panama Blog supplied this valuable insight.

More later on Panama City and our research there. Stay tuned.