I first visited in Panama when I was 18 in 2009 with a Panamanian friend that was studying abroad at my college in Louisville, Kentucky.

Driving from Panama’s Tocumen International Airport into the city was a mighty skyline of glistening glass skyscrapers and construction cranes. I was instantly intrigued as to how a “third world country” could look like this.

The 15 days I spent there were a whirlwind from the second I landed. My friend immediately took me out to a chic nightclub on Calle Uruguay that was then called The Loft where we bought cheap bottles of Absolut. We then had a 6am flight to Bocas del Toro that we almost missed because of the previous night’s partying. The flight ended up being on “Panama Time” so everything worked out. In Bocas I drank Cerveza Panama for the first time while I waded in turquoise Caribbean water on a deserted island. From Bocas I went to the chilly mountains in Boquete where Panama’s coffee and produce is grown and then headed back to the city.

I then booked three more trips to Panama and then finally moved on July 4, 2011 (I know it’s ironic to move from the U.S. on the 4th of July but flights were cheaper) with my dog Riley to finish my final two years of college in Panama.

I loved the chaos, the heat, and people I’ve met in Panama City so I have now decided to make it my permanent home.

In 2012, I started my blog PTY Life because there much else around at the time on what life in Panama is like through the eyes of a 20-something. In the blog I cover things to do in Panama, events, news, tips, and just overall how to have a good time in Panama. (And just in case anyone is wondering what PTY is, it is Panama City’s airport code and often the nickname referred to by locals)

I have really enjoyed my time in Panama and I hope that by sharing my experiences and what I have learned, that other people will be able to appreciate this country as much as I do.

If you have any questions about Panama, would like to feature your business on my blog, or just want to say hello feel free to contact me at hola@pty.life.  You can also follow me on Twitter and Instagram at @joeybonura.

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  1. Tamara Castillo

    I always enjoy seeing your blog posts pop up on my FB timeline. I am panamanian but have lived outside for many years now. Your blog makes me want to return for a visit and at least I would know all the best new things to see and do. Gracias!!!!

  2. Carlos

    I LOVE your blog. I just moved to Panama as well, and as a foreigner, it’s great to have a guide from somebody who has walked in the same shoes. I’ll definitely check your blog every time I want to go out (which will be very often; I’m not a stay-at-home kind of person). Please never stop posting.

    • Joey Bonura

      Welcome to Panama! Hope you enjoy it and feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

  3. Anya Shapiro

    Yo lamento que no hubiera sabido este blog cuando estudié en el intercambio en Panamá este año..ideas fantásticas (todas). Muchísimas gracias. Te echo de menos, Panamá.

  4. Anya Shapiro

    Yo lamento que no hubiera sabido este blog cuando estudié en el intercambio en Panamá este año..ideas fantásticas (todas). Muchísimas gracias. Te echo de menos, Panamá.

  5. Kendra Vanessa Wilt

    This is wonderful Joey! My mother is from Panama, and I decided to finish my school at their FSU Branch. I came back to Ohio, and my whole family will be heading to PTY for a visit early August. I can't decide if we should go to Contadora or Playa Blanca…the decisions are getting tougher the more I look. We only are staying 10 days and have to leave time to visit with family. My sisters and I would love to meet you if we had a chance. That's amazing you're from KY. Hasta pronto!

  6. Joey Bonura

    Good hotel choice, you will be right by everything. Just send me an email with any questions you have and I'll be happy to give a few tips

  7. Carlo Motta

    I wish more Patriotic Panamanian did websites or blogs like this. Not only shows the modern side of Panama…but its so clean and's got that great sense of class that attracts non-PTY viewers. Good job, you certainly got MY attention.

  8. Christian Ojeda

    Good blog Joey, I have lately read everything that is published in pty life, like you I am a foreigner in Panama, in my case i'm Venezuelan, like you I like to write but to me is because I am a journalist, maybe i'll start a blog soon, I'm looking first what themes to write for, best regards Christian Ojeda

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