Where to begin? Following my instincts…
Obviously one doesn’t think of retiring in (or just moving to) a country without first actually traveling there to explore a little (if one can, and has the luxury of being able to do so).
So, after having been first introduced to a company that conducts, specifically, relocation tours mostly designed for aspiring expats, namely, Panama Relocation Tours : http://panamarelocationtours.com – which as it turns out, has a conveniently timed tour in December – (5 days 6 nights), which promises many useful introductions to actually getting started on retiring in Panama, such as contacts to lawyers, banks, other expats and so on, along with a comfy bus tour between all the usual locations popular among the (mostly) gringo expat community, with hotel arrangements and three meals a day included (visit their site for prices and details), I decide (yes this sentence is getting out of hand but I can’t stop it running on)….
…I decide it would be a good idea to have my daughter join me in Panama City after the relocation tour is over (if I do actually take that tour), and do a bit of additional exploring ourselves. After all, I value her opinion and insights. Plus we could use a nice holiday together.
So off to Google I go, and after a bit of poking about, find, what my instincts tell me, is the best tour company ever (for my purposes anyway): Barefoot Panama : http://www.barefootpanama.com. According to Viator http://tourguides.viator.com/tour-guide-kevin-o’brien-6138.aspx :
“Barefoot Panama is owned and operated by Kevin O’Brien, a transplant from Boston, Massachusetts who first fell in love with adventure and professional guiding nearly 15 years ago. From Alaska to Argentina, Kevin has explored nearly every nook and cranny of the Western Hemisphere, always armed with his passion for travel and a group of excited adventurers by his side.
Now a full-time resident of Panama City, Kevin has been showing people the time of their lives in this extraordinary country since 2003.”
I found several other recommendations for Kevin O’Brien’s Barefoot Panama including Tripadvisor, Lonely Planet, among others.
Looks very promising. There are several tour options to choose from, including a customizable version, plus this one: http://www.barefootpanama.com/panama-tours/extended-panama-tours/taste-of-the-tropics/ (it’s the optional extras on that one that I really want): Isla Coiba, Horseback riding, whitewater rafting…that last one more for the daughter than myself).
Kevin is based in Panama City’s Casca Viejo – which in my mind, is the perfect place to begin a tour in Panama City.