There is an established and growing expatriate community spread throughout the islands of Bocas del Toro. A couple of years ago I went to a Fourth of July party in the Darklands (a bay behind San Cristobal) and assumed that I would know most everyone there, I was shocked that I really only knew a small percentage of the Americans at the party. There was a whole community of neighbors from that area and the more eastern islands of Bocas del Toro that I had never run into. What I realized is that Bocas can offer a wide range of retirement situations. The islands and province are big enough to allow private retirees to remain self-sufficient and to themselves, there are areas where Americans and foreign retirees have created almost independent sorts of neighborhoods, and there is the area in Bocas town and nearby for those that want to be more included directly in the town life. All of these lifestyle options are available here.
A new program by the Panamanian government includes travel insurance for all visitors entering the country on tourist visas. The New York Times recently wrote this article and accompanied the story with a picture of a man in a bikini bottom (I’m not sure if he is in need of medical attention or not). Regardless, this is a great idea for tourism in Panama and not something I have heard about being done elsewhere.
The insurance is paid for by a $40 departure tax and the insurance expires 30 days after entry. The coverage allows $7,000 in treatment for accidents or disease, $2,000 for emergency dental, and $20,000 for accidental death. Even accidents during adventure activities (horseback riding, white water rafting, fishing, etc.) are covered, which is a good point to make clear to tourists. Continue reading