Is Panama worth a visit?
#1
I've not yet got the chance to visit central/ south america yet in my travels. I want to start slow, so I've been thinking of Panama. In particular, Panama City, and maybe one of the smaller resort towns along the coast, where I can learn to surf and meet other world travellers in a hostel-type environment. Maybe do some work on the side, and start on my book.

I have several questions... if they seem a bit basic, forgive me, because I have little to no familiarity with latin America..

Costs are lower, it is said. Is it reasonable to do 1000 a month for living and other expenses?

What is crime like. I see from some basic research there is a lot of scamming and robberies. As well as some express kidnapping:

Quote:Express kidnapping (Spanishsecuestro exprésPortuguesesequestro relâmpago), is a method of abduction where a small immediate ransom is demanded, often by the victim being forced to withdraw money from his or her ATM account.[1]

Known in the US since at least 1986,[2] they are more commonly associated with urban areas of Latin America, such as MexicoVenezuelaPeruBrazilColombia and Argentina.[3] In some parts of Latin America, express kidnappings known as a millionaire tour (in Spanish paseo millonario) involve an innocent taxi cab passenger and a criminal driver, who stops to pick up associates. The passenger is taken to a variety of ATMs, and forced to "max out" their bank card at each.[4]

How easy to bang Panama?

Good places to live?

How essential is spanish?

Would you consider living there, or spending time there for a month or two?
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#2
I've only been to Panama City. I found it to be very expensive for little value. For example, the cheapest meal I could find cost $10. It was buffet style, low quality food which tasted decent but not great. Even supermarkets weren't so cheap. I bought a rotisserie chicken at a mid-high end supermarket and got food poisoning for the next 5 days. The place has US prices and you don't get so much. I didn't get laid the week I was there. There was an event where they welcomed the Pope for an entire week, and many of the locals left to avoid crowds. I went out with a couple of Venezuelan girls from Tinder. They were both quite good looking, but I wasn't able to bang.

You're better off just going to Colombia. It's cheaper and girls look better. Panama City is quite safe around the main city area, so it's not a bad place to begin your LATAM journey to feel more comfortable. Panama City was the first place I visited in Latin America for that reason. However, I think the outskirts are probably not so safe. I walked around one of the more dangerous area of Panama City (which ironically is right next to Casco Viejo, the main tourist area). In one part I saw a bunch of homeless people and human feces on the ground. It was the most filthy scene I've seen in my life. Did not feel safe at all.

I would not recommend visiting Panama unless you have extra time (n that case visit for a week and make your own judgements). If you're on limited funds and limited time, I'd absolutely skip Panama.
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#3
Thanks for the info. I've heard the prices are high, maybe of consequence of using the dollar, and the fact that panama city is gentrified.

Yeah, I would feel a lot more comfortable visiting panama before jumping into colombia. The other option would maybe be argentina or chile.
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#4
The crazy thing is that Panama is so expensive, but locals are so poor. Seems like locals really struggle to survive there.

IMO it's overblown how dangerous Colombia is. Personally I'd rather go to Chile than Panama if it were my first time in LATAM. Chile looks amazing (but I hear the women are less than amazing...). Supposedly Chileans have the best English in Latin America, so that's another plus. Chile is high up on my list of places to visit, but I'd probably like to travel there with a Colombian girl by my side, jajaja.

If you're worried about Colombia, just go to Medellin and stay within a 5 block radius of Santa Fe mall in El Poblado. You can live in a complete safety bubble if you're there. It's unlikely anything will happen to you around that area, and you'd have access to everything you need. That's about as safe as it gets in Colombia.
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#5
I haven’t been but everyone tells me that the most attractive women there are the Colombian whores so why not just go to the source?
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#6
The last time I was abroad shit went so off the rails, I told myself when I visited Central/ South America, I was going to take it easy the first time.
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#7
(06-03-2019, 03:27 PM)Heuristics Wrote: I've not yet got the chance to visit central/ south america yet in my travels. I want to start slow, so I've been thinking of Panama. In particular, Panama City, and maybe one of the smaller resort towns along the coast, where I can learn to surf and meet other world travellers in a hostel-type environment. Maybe do some work on the side, and start on my book.

I have several questions... if they seem a bit basic, forgive me, because I have little to no familiarity with latin America..

Costs are lower, it is said. Is it reasonable to do 1000 a month for living and other expenses?

What is crime like. I see from some basic research there is a lot of scamming and robberies. As well as some express kidnapping:

Quote:Express kidnapping (Spanishsecuestro exprésPortuguesesequestro relâmpago), is a method of abduction where a small immediate ransom is demanded, often by the victim being forced to withdraw money from his or her ATM account.[1]

Known in the US since at least 1986,[2] they are more commonly associated with urban areas of Latin America, such as MexicoVenezuelaPeruBrazilColombia and Argentina.[3] In some parts of Latin America, express kidnappings known as a millionaire tour (in Spanish paseo millonario) involve an innocent taxi cab passenger and a criminal driver, who stops to pick up associates. The passenger is taken to a variety of ATMs, and forced to "max out" their bank card at each.[4]

How easy to bang Panama?

Good places to live?

How essential is spanish?

Would you consider living there, or spending time there for a month or two?

The only part of Panama I have experience in is Bocas del Toro, which would fit your inquiry about smaller coastal surf towns. I went there during Semana Santa a few years ago and it was an interesting experience. 

First off, flights from Panama City into Bocas town that week were obscenely expensive. Instead, I flew Avianca into San Jose, Costa Rica and then took the 3-4 hour (can't remember exactly) bus ride to the Panamanian border. The bus ride through Caribbean Costa Rica is beautiful. I love that country.  It's clean, safe, and has beautiful women who are very receptive to gringos who can speak Spanish. I think they're so used to dealing with gringos who know no Spanish at all that a dude who can engage in average conversation is a welcome surprise.

With that said, when I got to the Panamanian border, things changed.  From the onset, it was apparent that Panama is much more corrupt and inefficient than Costa Rica. It was also apparent that, racially, even between Limon, Costa Rica, which has lots of people of African descent, that the Panamanian side was much more Afro-Caribbean. Even though it was a holiday and there were lots of Ticos crossing the border into Panama, the little customs office on the Costa Rican side of the border was air conditioned and efficient. The customs office on the Panamanian side was a block walled building with an expensive "duty free" shop and a three hour line without shade. I stood in line for three hours and had to pay a fee to get into Panama. There's no fee to enter or exit Costa Rica. I got yelled at by a customs officer for pissing in a vacant lot even there were no bathrooms. No big deal, but one that could easily be avoided with a little foresight from the Panamanian government. After all, Panama does have money thanks to the canal and money laundering. 

After getting through the border, I took a van to the town where the boats to Bocas depart. The van ride took about an hour, if I recall correctly. From there, you get on speed boats to the islands. It takes another hour to get to Bocas town via boat. 

I'll spare you details of my experience in the islands and just describe my general observations. First off, while Bocas del Toro has lots of wild jungle, the settled areas are very touristic. For a place discovered and used by Columbus and subsequent Spanish colonizers because of it's huge natural harbor, which you'd think would be ideal for a fishing or port industry, there doesn't seem to be any industry left outside of tourism. This means that locals are pretty much out to squeeze you for whatever they can get.  

The local Afro-Caribbean population is bilingual in English and Spanish, and seem to be the most devoted to getting every dollar they can from you.  They're also your hook up for party enhancers. Unless they're tour boat operators, most  of the minority mestizo population speaks only Spanish, so if you speak Spanish, it may be easier to negotiate with them.  All of the supermarkets and corner stores are owned and operated by Cantonese people who seemed to speak neither English nor Spanish. The islands have zero corporate chains, so the Chinese can price gouge.  Supposedly, the islands have indigenous reserves, but I never saw any indigenas. 

Bocas town could best be described as a touristic ghetto. There were about 5 or 6 streets that had heavy police presence that seemed somewhat safe for walking at night. At night, the only locals out are male dealers or local males trying to pick up tourist chicks. Local Bocas women, while mostly obese, don't go out at night.  If you walk into the local neighborhood at night, you're going to get relieved of your belongings. I noticed a few missing persons posters for tourist women who'd be disappeared while vacationing there.  

The tourist crowd is mostly in the 20-35 range, similar to Thai islands, with the exception being (mostly heavier) 30-40ish white women who come down to try and hook a Caribbean male, and 65+ North Americans who buy retirement properties out on other islands. Since it was Semana Santa, there were a lot of Costa Ricans there who were mainly comprised of families with school-aged kids and groups of gays and fat fag hags. Unbeknownst to me, Bocas attracts lots of gays.  The rest of the tourist contingent was mainly North Americans, Western Europeans, Argentinos, and the ubiquitous 22-24 y/o Israeli set.  Nightlife was relegated to about 5 or 6 establishments, which, while having decent ratios, closed early (around 2 am?) and had a heavy police presence looking for any signs of weed or cocaine usage. If you're going to do drugs, only do so at your lodging.  Cops are looking to shake tourists down. I was there for a week and pulled two chicks, an American college student and a Bronx Puerto Rican, but in a place with similar tourist composition, such as Koh Phi Phi or Koh Phangan, I've done much better.  

As for activities on the islands, this where it's at. The islands are incredibly beautiful. The harbor in front of Isla Colon is like a giant swimming pool with cool, clear water that gets carried in on a current from way out in the Caribbean. It's great for just swimming and relaxing.  Out on the ocean facing beaches there's great surfing.  There are dozens of islands in the archipelago and you can hire a boat with captain for a day and go out touring and snorkeling.  The water is crystal blue and the archipelago is dotted with deserted islands that you can pull up to for a day and chill out on. 

Prices were more like the US or Canada and much, much less like Colombia.  I'd say it's similarly priced to Costa Rica but without the Costa Rican quality, safety, or hospitality.  The islands are even more expensive because none of the vegetables or meats are raised on the archipelago.  Everything is brought in by boat.  

Overall, it's a beautiful island chain, but with unfriendly locals and a bit expensive. I think it's a destination where you bring your girl to instead of one where you go to pick up.  I wouldn't stay there more than a week unless you're really looking to go jungle bushwacking or you're really into surfing.
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#8
Thanks for the info. Appreciate it. Sounds like the part you were in is absolutely horrible for girls.
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#9
(06-03-2019, 05:48 PM)Scotian Wrote: I haven’t been but everyone tells me that the most attractive women there are the Colombian whores so why not just go to the source?

Lol Scotian bro, before I even scrolled down to see this it was one of my first thoughts and memories about Panama. It is indeed true!

One of the more awkward and memorable moments I've had was going with my dad to a bar in Panama City that turned out to be filled with Colombian whores.

Panama City is a decent place to go for a short time if you're an American/Canadian who's been in Colombia for a long time and want a little break, perhaps for some familiarity- go hang out in a casino and eat some decent Chicken Tenders etc (they will serve them to you right at the table!). That's all it was good for in retrospect, for me.

The girls are really nothing to talk about. Same with the local food.

Personally, I felt less safe walking around some parts of Panama City near the presidential residence than I did in poorer areas in Bogota. Probably safe enough, but I didn't like the vibe. Colon on the other side really did not feel good. There is something about dilapidated Caribbean places that feel much worse than say a rough part of Bogota.

Here is what I said in the past elsewhere:
Quote:As pointed out above, Panama City has a small glitzy area where tourists hang out at casinos and the rest is somewhere between crap and bombed out dilapidation. Neither one of those is interesting, to me at least. You'll have trouble experiencing any middle ground, anything 'real'. Tons of prostitutes trying to scrape up business. Any bar you go to will have them bothering you. Someone mentioned Colon... god no. Most of it is pure shit hole, and not in a charming way.

OTR summed it up similarly:
Quote:Panama is skid row with a wealthy city center, lots of high rises, lots of rich shopping, some outer resort type hotels, and a huge mass of poor central america. Its stinking hot and humid. It is VERY transient hence the whores.

In the very small nice areas it may be slightly more familiar, have the dollar etc, but in many ways you will stand out more in Panama than say Colombia. You will also have a more difficult time connecting with locals in my experience.

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To sum up-

(06-03-2019, 03:27 PM)Heuristics Wrote: How easy to bang Panama?

The better question would be- is it worth it anyway? You could get something pretty damn easy, but you probably won't want it, and could do better elsewhere.

Quote:Would you consider living there, or spending time there for a month or two?

I would not. There are too many better places next door, in either direction

You mention possibly surfing. Check out Peru. Some nice towns on the coast
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#10
Only been there on an overnight layover on Saturday night and tried to swoop someone from tinder. Eventually I opted out for a sleep instead of going out and/or meeting a Tinder 6.

Indeed there are attractive Colombian pros but now there are more Venezuelans doing this job, for obvious reasons.

The city at night feels like you are in a sewage but honestly the old centre worth a visit. But probably 14 hours in the country were enough. Better way of seeing the country would be to game a chick in Colombia and bring her to Panamian beach for a mini vacation.

Just a couple of funny stories form tinder chicks in Panama. One Venezuelian would keep telling me that she is a serious girl but after hearing that I am there for just one night she quickly offered to exchange sex for money (I can imaging someone staying longer will easily fall into her scam and may even marry the bitch - she was good looking). Another mediocre girl would spam me on whatsapp asking for money in exchange for anything, even after I said No repeatedly she would proceed begging and explaining how desperate her situation was. She is the only person I ever had to block on whatsapp.
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#11
I was talking to a Venezuelan girl and she loves it there because she gets treated like a queen, she said that Panama chicks are so ugly so she has a long line of orbiters buying her shit and doesn't even do go out with them, or fuck them.
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#12
Panama is a good place to visit and use as a hub for adventures in Central America. While you are there begin to gather information for the future, particularly in regard to residency and banking. If you do more travelling in either Central or South America later in your life, residence status and or banking there is practical. As for infrastructure and business Panama City in in the top 50% of major cities in Latin America and one of the top in Central America. The expat women are generally better looking than Panamanian women.

Consider a trek and a stay up in the hills around Boquete and the coffee region, you may find some good opportunities there, especially on weekends. However, over the past decade, the number of expats there has increased dramatically as the weather is like Medellin. This can be either a positive or a negative thing depending on what you want. David is a small city (with an airport) that many in Boquete use to get more supplies and there are (Pacific) beaches within a 20-30 minute drive of David. The government invested $10 million on this road as they expect the region to grow. The quieter beaches near David are in Chiriqui as compared to Bocas Del Toro. With an hour drive east along the Inter-American highway is a cool beach named Las Lajas that many of the locals frequent on weekends. Another low key option is Boca Chica as it is a scenic coastal area with quiet beaches and nearby islands. There are hotels as well as weekend cottages along these beaches. However, as time passes these low key options are becoming more popular. You can look at some deep sea fishing adventures launching points along this route.

The surfing is better in Costa Rica.
Get busy living or get busy dying!
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#13
(06-06-2019, 04:13 AM)P.T. Wrote: Panama is a good place to visit and use as a hub for adventures in Central America.  While you are there begin to gather information for the future, particularly in regard to residency and banking.  If you do more travelling in either Central or South America later in your life, residence status and or banking there is practical.  As for infrastructure and business Panama City in in the top 50% of major cities in Latin America and one  of the top in Central America.  The expat women are generally better looking than Panamanian women.  

Consider a trek and a stay up in the hills around Boquete and the coffee region, you may find some good opportunities there, especially on weekends.  However, over the past decade, the number of expats there has increased dramatically as the weather is like Medellin.  This can be either a positive or a negative thing depending on what you want.  David is a small city (with an airport) that many in Boquete use to get more supplies and there are (Pacific) beaches within a 20-30 minute drive of David.  The government invested $10 million on this road as they expect the region to grow.  The quieter beaches near David are in Chiriqui as compared to Bocas Del Toro. With an hour drive east along the Inter-American highway is a cool beach named Las Lajas that many of the locals frequent on weekends.  Another low key option is Boca Chica as it is a scenic coastal area with quiet beaches and nearby islands.  There are hotels as well as weekend cottages along these beaches. However, as time passes these low key options are becoming more popular.  You can look at some deep sea fishing adventures launching points along this route.

The surfing is better in Costa Rica.


My first thought reading this was that it doesn't sound like someone speaking from their own thoughts and memories. Perhaps some is, but mostly not. It has an article style to it. I just have a feel for these things.

My second thought was- let's find out if I'm right.

The results are in: A decent portion of this post was taken directly from the following article and slightly re-worded: http://expatsparadise.com/boquete

Some of it is "original" plagiarism, in other areas the re-wording effort is not as good.

The rest is just basic filler, encyclopedia facts like about infrastructure, or things like unimpressive girls that many have already stated.

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(06-06-2019, 04:13 AM)P.T. Wrote: there are (Pacific) beaches within a 20-30 minute drive of David ...The quieter beaches near David are in Chiriqui as compared to Bocas Del Toro
↓↓
From article:
Quote:near David, there are quiet beaches in Chiriqui compared to those of Bocas Del Toro .... Playa La Barqueta is only 20 minutes from David.

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(06-06-2019, 04:13 AM)P.T. Wrote: With an hour drive east along the Inter-American highway is a cool beach named Las Lajas that many of the locals frequent on weekends
↓↓
From article:
Quote:Many of the locals like a beach called La Lajas, a little further, yet within a one hour drive east on the Inter-americana highway

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(06-06-2019, 04:13 AM)P.T. Wrote: Another low key option is Boca Chica as it is a scenic coastal area with quiet beaches and nearby islands. There are hotels as well as weekend cottages along these beaches
↓↓
From article:
Quote:Another option is Boca Chica, a scenic coastal area with beaches and nearby islands ... some of these rather quiet beaches have weekend cottages      

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(06-06-2019, 04:13 AM)P.T. Wrote: However, as time passes these low key options are becoming more popular
↓↓
From article:
Quote:these quiet beaches are slowly becoming more popular

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(06-06-2019, 04:13 AM)P.T. Wrote: You can look at some deep sea fishing adventures launching points along this route
↓↓
From article:
Quote:... along the water that bring ... deep sea fishing sportsmen. World Class fishing waters continue to gain more recognition.

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It appears that PT has met someone in South America, but as many of us have come to learn over the years that doesn't mean the person isn't also a fabricator. Ironically, this is the Panama post that Heuristics liked the most.
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#14
^^thanks for your comment.

I was reading what he posted and had the feeling it sounded like tourism copy, or something commercial, the writing was a bit stilted even, passive.

Thanks for doing background on what he wrote.

Deleted the rep I gave him and the like.
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#15
(06-06-2019, 04:13 AM)P.T. Wrote: the weather is like Medellin. 

I agree with the above poster, you don't sound like somebody who has actually been there. Have you been to Medellin or Panama City? The weather is nothing alike. If you step outside for 3 minutes in Panama City you'll be dripping in sweat.

I can't fathom what would motivate you to write such a post about a place you haven't even visited.
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#16
I think he was referring to the David/Boquete area when comparing the climate to Medellin, I recall seeing ads for real estate built by Canadians up there and the mild weather was one of the selling features.
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#17
Yeah I think he was comparing it to Boquete which does have a milder climate, but I think the larger point is that the guy just plagiarized an article with some re-wording NTP style.
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#18
Ya fucking lame, kinda reminds me of Dash back in 2012 on RVF lol.
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#19
its not panama but Florianopolis is the safest place in brazil if safety is your #1 concern. very hot girls there but...its spaced out and not cheap.
generally the richer more expensive a place is the more safe it should be as people already have money. not always the case but a generalisation.
e.g Norway you could probably shout in peoples faces and they wouldn't do anything.
finland 19/20 people handed back a wallet they found on the street (an experiment they did in public)

its just finding the south American version of those places

found this
https://www.tourradar.com/days-to-come/s...n-america/

https://www.aworldtotravel.com/safest-co...n-america/

don't think the amazon is safe tho.

peru, costa rica, panama, argentina, uraguay, Paraguay keep being mentioned.
havnt heard of people have problems in peru and its cheap. or argentina but hear its more expensive.

ideally speak to locals if at all possible.
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