A few months ago I wrote an article called The Best 6 Things About Living in Panama that was really popular but after I published it I realized that I forgot a few things that should have been on that list. So here’s my new list that includes 6 more things that are awesome about living in Panama:
1. Safety: One of the benefits Panama has over it’s neighboring countries is safety. There are plenty of dangerous areas of Panama like in every city but I have never had any safety issues living here. When I visited Medellin, Colombia last year I felt very safe overall but something I noticed was that not a single person had their cell phone out on the Metro. In Panama at least half the people have their giant screen smart phone out on the bus and the Metro so people don’t feel like they need to be on alert for muggers at all times.
2. Local Gourmet Coffee: I think I have tried just about every brand of coffee in Panama and I’m a complete coffee snob now.
3. Carnavales: These are the most insane 3 days of partying I have ever done. It’s drinking all day, urinating on yourself, taking a nap, and then drinking all night. There’s 1000’s of people, earsplitting music, beautiful parades, and elaborately dressed “Carnaval Queens”.
4. International Friends: Whether it be for work, opportunity, lifestyle, or safety – there’s people moving to Panama from all over the place. I’ve made friends with people from Panama (obviously), Colombia, Venezuela, Nicaragua, a few countries in Europe, and lots of people from the states that I never would have met.
5. Learning Spanish: It’s been difficult for me to learn Spanish here because all of the friends I’ve made speak English and my job is in English. But I’ve learned a decent amount of Spanish being in Panama almost three years and the classes I am taking every Saturday are really helping.
6. Mañana: Sometimes I get really frustrated with the mañana attitude in Panama because it feels like nothing ever gets done, but it’s really grown on me in the three years I’ve been living here and I kind of love it now. We don’t need to always to accomplish the world in one day, it’s ok to leave a few things for mañana and let things happen as they happen.
7. Mini Vacations: Every weekend I have the opportunity to take a “mini vacation” by relaxing at the pool or going to one of Panama’s beaches. Most people only get to dream of doing this for 1 week out of the year.
8. Cheap Public Transportation: I used to have a car in states and I have to say I do not miss it at all. I use the metro bus to get to work everyday for .25 cents and when I use a taxi it is only $2 ”“ $3 anywhere in Panama City. Although the public transportation is cheap, it comes with a price. Sometimes I wait an hour for the bus and sometimes I wait a minute. It’s also up to the taxi driver if he wants to take me to my destination so I sometimes have to stop 5 cabs before one of them will take me.
10. Always Something New: I love always having something new to see in Panama. Panama just keeps on growing so there is constantly a new restaurant, bar, nightclub, or store opening. It’s been impossible to be bored.
11. Warm Weather: When I lived in Kentucky it was freezing cold for about 4 months out of the year and this is absolutely miserable. It’s not enjoyable to be outside, I had to wear 10 layers of clothes and put them on and off when going into buildings, my skin becomes dry and flakes off everywhere, walking through wet snow makes me want to cry, driving through snow is even worse, and I have around 100 other reasons why I am anti-winter. Not dealing with winter has been a life changing decision and provides a much better quality of life. There’s no reason to be miserable for 4 months 😉
12. No Catastrophic Storms: I feel like weekly there is some state or country that is destroyed by a tornado, earthquake, tsunami, etc. Why in the world would you choose to live somewhere where that happens? In Panama there have been no catastrophic natural disasters; the only weather that we have is dry season where it doesn’t rain and is beautiful everyday for four months and wet season where it rains for an hour a few days a week.