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I was browsing the Expats in Panama Facebook Group earlier this week and came across a great story that I wanted share by Canadian expat Cryss who is living in Bocas del Toro, Panama. She was in a situation that no one wants to be in: walking alone at night and being approached by a group of drunk men. The situation really could have turned out for the worse but I think her confidence and bravery kept the guys from further messing with her. And in the end she got the best revenge on them. Here’s her story:


Coming home from work 4 nights ago; I forgot my freakin’ keys in a different purse.

I proudly live in a ghetto that most cabs here won’t drive me all the way through; they drop me off at a scary lil bridge and I walk the rest of the way down dark back alley, through an amazing amount of murk if its been raining, and my god it’s been raining a lot..

So I get to my 10 ft reinforced fence with coiled barbed wire gracing and incasing it’s summit, when I realized I don’t have my fucking keys.

I whistled loudly for hopeful attention from my friends and neighbours, nothin’….

Then I look to my right as I held the bars (with hands of desperation) of the locked and very pointy steel gate that I cannot gain entry to…

It’s the whistling of 3 young, horny (Im a bartender, I can smell horny from 2 blocks away… at least) beginner bandidos from two buildings away, “Chica!! Watu doin’ mami? you ok?”.

I cried too pitifully at them in my moment of distress, “Si Senors! I forgot my keys, I cannot get into my building!!”.

Oh yeah, my phone fuckin’ died too, so I can’t phone a friend; but no one answers their phones in Bocas because we are often drunk because most of us party like a herd of Pirates, just the way it is here.

[adrotate banner=”18″]So I assess my situation, do I accept their “generous” offer or take my chances standing in an unlit, muddy, rainy (it was even cold for a Canadian that night, go figure..) back alley and…?

I went hoping for sanctuary but certainly not fooling myself as to my predicament that I put myself in..

They stole my purse, my phone and my tips I got for the evening off my bar.

I said to them as I looked at them right in the eye “What now? I guess I get raped and killed??. Its my fault I am in this position, but when you all offered to help me, what choice did I have. I am a gringa who will be looked for, thats a guarantee and I live where you can see me, you’ll be found”.

Thankfully, they left me alone and passed out from all the rum they had consumed, I stayed awake in a chair still worried about my chances in a dark, rainy alley..

The moment it got light enough, I stepped over their unconscious bodies; got my purse, phone and money back… and because they did put me through such undeserved shit (without the rapings and murderings thank god).

I stole their money, ran home and my friend who lives in the front apartment woke up and let me in because I was pounding frantically on his glass patio door.

Then my roommate let me in my apartment, I threw myself on my bed/sofa in tears of fear and success.

After I calmed down, had a good nap; then went and got my hair done with their money, and it looks fabulous.


Well done! Those guys definitely deserved to get their own money stolen and I love how she decided to spend it.

I find Panama to generally be very safe and I haven’t run into any issues like this myself yet but you should always be aware that this can happen just like it does everywhere else in the world. Two things that others can take away from this story if you happen to end up in the same situation is to remain confident and give the robbers what they want. She was freaking out on the inside but didn’t let the guys see her fear and she gave them her belongings before they got violent. I wouldn’t recommend going back to retrieve your stolen items but props to her!

Experience Panama


I'm Joey, a guy from Louisville, Kentucky that packed up and studied abroad in Panamá at the age of 20 and haven't moved back since. What started as a semester trip to Panamá has turned into 10+ years of living in Latin America and becoming a full-time travel blogger. I now rotate between living in Panama City, Bogotá, and Lima. Follow me on Instagram @joeybonura for more updates on my life abroad!

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