COSTA RICA VS PANAMA

C.R.  the crime rate in c.r. is out the roof and will get worse. many of their beaches are so nasty that just swimming in it will make you sick.   the crime rate has also started to take its toll on tourist that are going to other places, this is killing their cash flow to the hundreds if not thousands of people who work in that field.  add that with the u.s. slow down it really is hurting them.

so in turn that person is out stealing instead of working to be able to live.

If your thinking of moving there and buying something. think of this, c.r. really doesn't have a base for income, outside of tourist. They have no oil or any other huge large source of income to help the government run the country.  without tourist bring in millions of dollars per year, where do you think these people are going to start looking for the money to make up for that loss?

why the rich gringo's of course, how about a new tax hike?  right now they are even changing the amount of money you must show each month to even live there, it use to be 500.00 per month income, now they want you to show you have 2k per month income. even tho the avg. paid to a C.R. person is around 200.00

this is just the first steps to try to bleed money from the gringo.

duty tax to bring in cars and goods. some are 50 to 100 percent.

a few years ago they were having a huge problem and still do, with gringos that would come down and buy a large farm.  They had a team of c.r. people that would get the call when this happen, and they would all get together and over night would move onto your land. set up stick homes and tents and plant crops on your land.

the law of squatters rights is still on the books, this law was designed years ago allow poor people who would set up on land no one really wanted and farm it and care for it. after a short time they would have legal rights to that land.

now they use this law, not that they need a place to live, but because they know you the gringo have money. if you don't get these people off that land with in a years time, they will have rights to it, as you do. you will find yourself in court fighting to keep what you paid for. the out come of this sometimes, is the judge ordering the land sold and each person will get a percentage of the money from that sale.

In the past there have been killings of them and gringos over land rights.

they don't use the u.s. dollar.

PANAMA.

is use to seeing gringos after all we were here for 100 years. 

they use u..s dollars here and don't print their own.

they have no army

when they shut down the army they made them all police officers. we have around 400k police officers for 3 million people.

we do have crime here, but it is lower then a avg u.s. city.

they give you 20 years tax free on any new home you buy or build.

the main thing here is they have all the money from the canal. which runs this country. this in turn allows them not to have to look at the gringos for that money to run this country.

duty is around 10 percent of whatever you bring in.

th ocean in panama city bay is not good, much of the sewer from the city ends up in it. in other parts outside of the city its clean and safe to swim in

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Hello. I am a 20 year old

Hello. I am a 20 year old american thinking of moving out of country. What central american country do yall think would best fit me. I want somewhere with good surf, inexpensive, and the best job market. I am considering CR and El Salvador. Realy just want a small house or app on beach with good surf and any basic job to pay rent an essentials. Any input would be great. Thanks

what is better than cr?

marks question:

well, the answer is that it depends on your budget and your family situation. if you can afford it, living in any first world country is better than a second, third or forth-world country, just for the choices and for safety. the best country in the world is probably france. even internationalliving came to this conclusion.  i do also like italy a lot.

if you want to have fun, peace, safety, good food, warm weather, you will need to live in thailand.  there are not many alternatives, the filipines are more expensive, food is not as good but people are friendlier. malaysia is the best cheap country in asia for families, safe, cheap, good food and warm climate. but it is a moslem country.

australia, japan, singapore, hongkong, new zealand are good but very expensive.

i spend winters in asia and summers in canada. in canada there is nothing really disturbing. food choices could be better, but that is only an issue if you are spoiled by having grown up in europe

manfred

 

ocean

my home was in Santa Ana, homes there are high, no way near a bad part of town.  I agree with you 100 percent on the ocean at the bay of panama, it is the worse water I have ever seen. It's not from everyday trash, and I am sure the boats do add there junk to it, but the main reason it is bad is due the sewer they pour into it, all coming from panama city.

It stinks down there at low tide really bad, like gas. I would hate for anyone to buy a condo there, yes you have a great view of the ocean and you can see all the huge ships waiting to go through, but you can't swim there at all.

you have to get out and away from the city to swim. and as manfred said there are areas that have undertow so you must make sure that where ever your going to swim its safe to do so.

I lived in cali colombia for years before I got married and started having kids, after I married tho, I sold my house there and we moved back to my home in the u.s. for a year. It was safe I felt for me, but I wasn't going to take a chance that someone might grab my baby and hold her for money.

manfred you don't live in C.R. because of crime, where did you find a better place that you liked?

today in panama city while my wife and I were heading to our next stop, my phone rang and while I was on it, we were turning left and a police man was standing there waving people through, he waved me over for talking on the cell phone while driving. lol. I thought o boy here goes 60.00 for a ticket and all day in court!! he took a look at my passport, grabbed his cell phone and asked to speak to the u.s. embassy!!!  then handed my passport back, and said its not legal to drive and talk, get out of here.. I laughed at the thought he was acting like he was calling the embassy, like they give a huge rats behind!!!

thats a tip for you guys if you get into trouble don't look to get much help from your u.s. embassy no matter what country your in.  when you go someplace your under their laws, you break them weather you knew about it or not, your getting charged with it.

I was telling my wife on the drive home that no matter where in the world you want to live you can always find things you dislike about it. The trick is to find a place you have peace in and go forward and try to make the best of it.

I looked at c. list tonight and a guy was asking about well here is what he wrote,,"I have a question. What are the rules on squatting on a property in Costa Rica? My grandfather, against my advice, purchased a property there. It seems like he has been in court fighting these squatters for over a year and a half now. Can they really usurp a property like that? "

someone else post a web site that someone posted about this problem in c.r. http://www.coffeecup-realestate.com/squatterarticle.html

now this isn't a problem if your buying a home and small lot there, but if your buying huge acres of land or a farm you might run into this problem. 

 

 

insurance risk categories map

Manfred, that's a great map you found from the insurance industry.  I've archived a local copy of the map: Insurance World Risk Map.

Here's the link to the original version also: http://www.insurancetimes.co.uk/Journals/Newsquest/Insurance_Times/On-Line_Archive/attachments/Risk%20Map.pdf

And the link to Panama Insider yahoo group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/panamainsider/

triplecheck?

Hi Manfred, maybe we should cut him a little slack there.  I can see why triplechecking is appropriate if you are going to out Eliot Speers, but we're trying to collaboratively figure things out here, right?

Nice to hear more of the story, Mark.  But is it reasonable to compare living in a dangerous part of Costa Rica with living in a safe part of Panama?  And is it reasonable to compare your experience as a newcomer to Central America with your experience once you were already experienced here?  Maybe you learned some important expat lessons in your time in Costa Rica that later helped you choose a good place in Panama and live there more safely and sanely, than if you'd arrived to Panama fresh from the states?  Maybe you would have benefited from going on one of George Lundquist's tours?

I think there's a lot of truth to most of what you said in some contexts, but not sure about the extremity of it.  One thing I'm not sure about it - where do you get the idea that Costa Rica's [Pacific?] Ocean is more polluted?  I think Panama's are worse, first because of the additional Canal traffic, second because Panama is in more of a bay, whereas Costa Rica is more in the open Pacific.

Where did you live in Costa Rica?

crime cr panama

it is better to doublecheck and triplecheck before you state anything as a fact.

i believe you that cr is very dangerous because i have lived there. i have also lived in panama. i like costa rica but i do not like panama. the reason why i do not live in cr is crime.

the amount of crime that happened to you is unusual and it sounds unbelievable but having lived there i can add that everyone i met and knew became a victim of a crime. in asia or in america i did not meet anyone who became a victim of a crime.

crime is risk. risk consist of safety risk and political risk. there is a uk company with offices on all continents specialized on managing risk.  insurance companies worldwide use their expertise for quoting premiums.

this report says that safety risk is lower in cr than in panama and political risk is much lower in cr, because cr is more stable. you can read the report in the panamainsider yahoogroup

no chip here

The posting of that law which they had passed was only reversed a few months ago,  This I didn't know. I don't spend my time trying to keep up with what they do in c.r. week to week.  That law came down and was passed and that was the last I heard of it.

I have no chip over c.r.  I am merely pointing out the bad sides of both places and you can pick which ever one you want.  what might seem bad to you is a joy ride for me. to each his own. I can only point out to people who are sitting back in kansas what I have seen happen in both places.  I would say go to both if your thinking of moving here and check it out. talk to people who live there, look at it all.

both have draw backs. In c.r. I had my home broken into 5 times, once after the police came and left, I found that one of them had stolen a cell phone that was on the table that I had used to call them to report the first crime.

my car had been broken into twice, then they stole it the 3rd time. I have been robbed on the streets 2 times as well, once by gun point, once by knife.

driving down the street one day going home, some young kids thought  it would be funny to throw rocks at my car, busting the windshield. when I stopped to yell at them, one of them pulled a gun and started firing at me hitting my car 4 times.

been stopped by the police more times then I can count, and told I was doing everything from speeding to being drunk, and my paperwork was out of date. all lies, all just a shake down for money. 

I have had my outside motion lights stolen, even razor wire from the top of my wall was cut and stolen. They also poisoned both of my guard dogs.

If you go out to eat they will pad your bill with items you never ordered or even got. They will also try to cheat you on your change. and all this to them is the norm to try to do, no big deal even if you caught them doing it.

talk to people who live there or lived there and to the hundreds that are trying to get out of there.  all the crime that touched me there was in a one year time frame, I have lived in panama going on my 4th year and crime has not touched me one bit here. and my home is not a prison like it was in c.r.  no 8ft wall with razor wire on top here, no gated guarded community, no wall or fence at all. no dog.

is there crime here? sure there is. panama is no bed of roses but it is not on the same scale as other places.

panama vs. costa rica

you are welcome peter

most people make the mistake of mixing up cr and panama. there is a huge difference: cr is on the way of becoming a modern democracy, panama is a police state. in a modern democracy you can live freely and you will have the same constitutional rights as a foreigner, in a police state the government can do with you whatever they want, you will have limited rights or no rights. in costa rica you can say what you want and you can do what you want. the press is completely free in costa rica. in panama there is no freedom of speech and no freedom of press. it is a dire totalitarian country.

if you want to know more, please go to the panamainsider yahoogroup. you will find many examples there.

the only real problem in cr is violent crime.  if they get that in check one day, it will become a good place to live...unfortunately violent crime is getting worse every year, not better.

life on the countryside is much safer. anyway it lacks the infrastructure of the central valley: theater, restaurants, shopping, entertainment

 

good research manfred

This has been interesting to watch.  It reminds me of how in a lot of these countries often everything is technically illegal.  Try to set up a business or talk to someone or go to school or drive a car or build a house - technically there are so many conflicting laws, that it's illegal in one way or another.  I was nevertheless surprised to even hear of this law because it seemed so "progressive" - but it sounds like from your research it was deemed unconstitutional two weeks ago.

It does sound like Mark has a bit of a chip on his shoulder about Costa Rica.  Maybe later he will tell us why.  For me, I think that while Panama and Costa Rica in general I would say are slightly more civil according to my US standards, I maintain that all the countries of Central America share so much in common that trying to find the "best one" can lead to more problems than it solves for a person.

law cr

can you spell BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOGUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUSS:

why do you confuse people with OLD outdated information???

this law got stuck down by sala IV.

bogus bogus bogus

http://www.anep.or.cr/leer.php/2548

 

ley de panalisacion de violenzia

sala IV

bogus information from "Your friends"

Costa Rica: The implementation and effectiveness of the 2007 law on domestic violence (2007 - 2008)

Approved by the Legislative Assembly (Asamblea Legislativa) in April 2007, the Law on Criminal Sanctions for Violence Against Women (Ley para la Penalización de la Violencia contra las Mujeres) came into force on 30 May 2007 (Costa Rica 30 May 2007), some eight years after being introduced (La Nación 25 May 2007; The Tico Times 25 May 2007). In total, the law (No. 8589) contains 46 articles (Costa Rica 30 May 2007).

ley de panalisacion de violenzia

my friends actually told me that this law got turned down by sala IV time ago.

today there was nothing in the news or in lanacion. it is an old hat. bogus information

 

 

cr vs panama

at least you put some humor in it which is good..

slander: the legal word is defamation, a malicious and FALSE statement or speech that may give an entity a bad image. if the statement is correct, based on facts, there is no consequence in a civilised country. the guy in panama has just ctiticised hsbc, nothing to do with defamation or badmouthing because what he told in the newsgroups was TRUE, i have read his posts. hsbc could freeze his account for stating TRUE information, unthinkable in any civilised country, cr included.  i know that it does not happen in more than 30 different countries that i know, where i have worked and lived. even in the us of a you need a judge to freeze money. i have not heard about any case of an investor in the us of a who got his money frozen because he critizised customer service. legally, this is not possible. what i know is that customer service is excellent in the us of a, no bank would ever go after a wealthy customer. even if they would it would take months or years of lawsuits before they could touch any accounts. in panama there is no law, just corruption. a bank can do with you anything they want. anyone can do with you anything they want. there is no legal certainty unlike in costa rica.

the new domestic law in cr sounds shocking to me, i am in the process of getting more information before i can comment.

property prices: condos are built with the expectation of people coming, those people are not there (yet) and might never come. what other word would you give that other than 'speculative bubble'. in 2006 when i was there the highest prices were 1000 per sq, now up to 5000, in two years time. bubble is a cozy expression for that...

two years ago i have founded the group panamainsider

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/panamainsider/?yguid=221727193

 

i know what panama has to offer and what not. if your preferred food company is macdonalds you are covered.  i need healthy food which is impossible to get in pc except for self-cooking. delrey balboa is 24 hrs which is good, but the choice is ridiculous. compare carrefour argentina or supermarkets in chile! now try to buy anything else and it gets really frustrating. no customer service, skyhigh prices, most items not available and big items like cars always a monopoly.

drugs: did you read my post? i was talking about any free country. who told you that the us of a is a free country? i have never heard that before.  maybe it was long time ago and maybe it will be again after 5 black presidents, who knows. where i come from you can smoke a joint freely. and it is the richest, cleanest and safest country in the world. violent crime is unknown.

drugs are even more liberalised in the netherlands, where you can buy them in a shop. unlike most cities in the us of a amsterdam is clean and safe even at night.

saludos

 

facts and dreams

"i do believe statistics but in 4th world countries most crime goes unreported."  I agree with you on that point.

"what government would anyone who looses a passport report to? answer: his home country only."    I believe I wrote that the crime where a passport was stolen was reported to the EMBASSY.  which would be that persons embassy from their country. which is why they know that those crimes against a american had even taken place. C.R. would not report them and why would they? would be like shooting their cash cow wouldn't it?

 "bank account frozen because of venting opinion in a newsgroup. you justify that? are you serious? that can happen only in a totalitarian country, nowhere else."   Not so my friend, if you started writing bad things about one of my companies in the u.s. which was causing me to lose money and your complaint was based on getting your feelings hurt and not based on facts that I did wrong,  that you could back up, its called slander: Slander refers to a malicious, false, and defamatory spoken statement or report. This could be you speaking to your friends or you posting on a web site or chat room.  All I have to do is prove your writings or statements caused me to lose money, or damaged me in some way,  and I have the right under law to sue you for that loss. IN any U.S. COURT.  It's the same here.

"what problem do you have with drugs? in any free country in the world people can do what they want and take any drugs they want. again: in totalitarian countries not." WOW I must have missed a new law on that one, could you please show me that law number?? If you think that's so, next time your in ANY U.S. STATE, please go up to the first police officer you see and stand by him and fire up a joint and have a puff. I could be wrong on this one, but I believe you will find yourself locked up and not so free in your free world. maybe free to move about it your cell.

"with regards to new laws protecting women i do not believe what you are saying. can you name the number of the law or the article and tell us what this law really states? can you name one case in costa rica where a rich gringo has yelled at his girlfriend and went to jail because of that? i think this is bullshit. aint happen."

With a vote of 45 in favour and 3 against, at 5:40pm today, the "Ley de penalización de violencia contra las mujeres” was approved in second reading and now is law that punishes men for physical and psychological violence against women.

The new law is controversial as it punishes men severely with six months to two years in jail just for insulting, ridiculing or putting down a wife or girlfriend.

Now there is your law, can I name a case of a rich gringo that has been arrested and charged with this new law? no I can't.  has one been charged under it yet? I don't know. can one be charged for yelling at a girlfriend or wife? the law above states yes you can.

"property prices in pc have fivefolded in three years because of land speculators. very few people want to live in panama city. it is too hot, dirty, polluted and traffic is extremely dangerous. the price increase of property was caused by speculation and scams, not demand."

prices have gone up in the past three years, yes due to a small part on speculators, speculators are people with money who try to fore see the trends on what people are doing and where people want to move to.  They pick the next hottest thing or place and try to buy low and when the rush hits they sell high.

without the rush of people who came here and a shortage of supply vs demand speculators would not be here.   high rise condos 50 to 100 stories are not built by people that will have to pour millions into it to see it done, based on it sitting there empty with no one that wants to buy a unit.

 Baby boomers from the u.s. looking to retire to a better place to live, and thousands of people from other countries that picked panama as a better place to live and retire in then their own countries, is what fueled this boom. Thus we did have a huge demand for units and property, with little supply for them.

when that happens prices jump.  be it here or any place on earth.  I would say a million people or more live inside that city.  a million is a little more then "very few" want to live there.

right now I am seeing all that slow down,  people who bought property to flip it are getting stuck with those, or reducing the prices to be able to sell them. slowly prices on everything are starting to fall. why? more supply now then demand due to the world economy.

'even in panama city the infrastructure and the choices are only slightly better than in the former soviet union or in communist cuba.'  thats funny, and I'm laughing to hard to even think of anything to say about that..

"i come to any place i want any time. and i will not ask you for permission."  the capt. has turned off the seat belt sign at this time, you are free to move about the cabin.

cr vs panama

its your opinion, not facts.

when you mention crime, what facts are you talking about? in the usa, europe or in canada i do believe statistics but in 4th world countries most crime goes unreported. what government would anyone who looses a passport report to? answer: his home country only.

bank account frozen because of venting opinion in a newsgroup. you justify that? are you serious? that can happen only in a totalitarian country, nowhere else.  in any democracy like costa rica freedom of speech is granted and protected. hsbc should be boycotted and in fact it is already by thousands who are aware of this case. i hope that hsbc will go bust like other major banks worldwide.

with regards to new laws protecting women i do not believe what you are saying. can you name the number of the law or the article and tell us what this law really states? can you name one case in costa rica where a rich gringo has yelled at his girlfriend and went to jail because of that? i think this is bullshit. aint happen.

what problem do you have with drugs? in any free country in the world people can do what they want and take any drugs they want. again: in totalitarian countries not.

property prices in pc have fivefolded in three years because of land speculators. very few people want to live in panama city. it is too hot, dirty, polluted and traffic is extremely dangerous. the price increase of property was caused by speculation and scams, not demand.

even in panama city the infrastructure and the choices are only slightly better than in the former soviet union or in communist cuba.

i come to any place i want any time. and i will not ask you for permission.

i like upbeat people and i go where i can find those, in free countries.

 

 

nicaragua/ belize

I spent 5 months kicking around there, and I didn't care to much for it myself. You will find a lot more poor people there then other places. The towns are dirty. ms 13 which is one of the most violently dangerous gangs have a hold on it. they also are in the u.s. in L.A. and other parts. I have not seen them in C.R. nor panama, not saying they are not here, but just not enough to make a impact.

you have to think about the history of some of these places, and see what wars have taken place and what kind of fall out is still there because of it.  if you move to a country that has had wars in the past and fighting, killings, and gangs rule then your going to have problems.

a blanket of lawlessness rules. like in mexico, times there are getting like a war zone. I have spoken to many people I have met here that say they had to leave because its like all out war in the streets.  you have to be in a country that will and can protect your investment and your life. whatever you buy, you must have the same rights to own it and use it as the people who were born there.  places like nicaragua they can take it away from you and the law won't be fair towards you at all.

belize, I went there to look at some hotels on the beach for sale, everything I read looked really great, like huge acres of open land for sale at give away prices. so I flew in to check it out. I had planned on a four month tour, I left after one month.  it was hot, very hot, for one thing. I took a taxi ride for three hours to get to one of the hotels, and saw maybe 10 people the whole time. miles of open land in between, but all of it was wet lands, not fit for much of anything. all the cows I saw where sick looking, thin, and all had blow fly knots the size of baseballs on them.

the bitting bugs in that country would carry you away and eat you, I kid you not. at 3 pm I took a walk down by a wonderful river, and I stood there for a few, and saw a black cloud coming at me, I had to run back to the hotel to get away from them. every bed has to have netting on it.  and your not going to be sitting outside watching the sun set.

I took a short flight to a island in the middle of the ocean, and as long as the wind blew you were ok, but once it stopped the bugs got you. the nosee ems on the beach and sand flies would eat you alive.

duty is 100 percent, taxes are very high on everything, that is why the hotels were for sale, one had been shut down due to back taxes, a couple that worked there, and were left to watch over the place told me that the onwer couldn't pay them even tho they had many guest. they also add 10.00 to 15.00 per night to hotel rooms that goes to the government.

also that road we took for two hours was red clay and rocks the whole way.  I saw very few places to buy anything, if you did find a store they had bent cans and few goods to offer. now you do get two to one on your money there, but a coke will cost you twice as much.  if you get badly hurt or sick, people there say they have the fla health plan,, which means get on a plane and fly back to the states, in fla. for help.

 

to each his own

I didn't touch on violent crime you are right in that reguard,  but your totally off base comparing violent crime that panama has to anything close to the crime rate in c.r.   violent crime here tends to be drug dealers. when a shipment comes through here and it is stolen or the police get it and arrest people, then afterwards there will be a shooting of the people that had a hand it in.

we had a well off american lady that was stabbed to death and then cut up, put in a suit case and then taken out and burned. who could do such a crime?  another american lady that was her friend and two men that were both their lovers. she is in jail for this crime, have to wait and see how that turns out.

again go by FACTS.  The facts showed that last year 4000 u.s. passports were stolen in COSTA RICA,  PANAMA HAD 100.  HUMM DO THE MATH ON THAT ONE.

now break that down, 4000 americans in one year had to report being robbed in C.R.  because during that crime their passports were taken, how many others were robbed but didn't have their passport on them at the time or were not stolen, so therefore those crimes were never reported? this is from the u.s. embassy stats, because these people had to report it to be able to get another passport to leave C.R.   so what your looking at is 10 people ever day of the year were robbed in C.R.  and then add the other ones that were robbed that didn't have to report it to the embassy, so lets be nice and say maybe half that number, so your looking at 15 people,, no sorry, 15 AMERICANS ONLY were robbed each day of the year there.  then add to that number the people from other countries that had to report it to their embassy. 

''his bank accounts frozen because he complained about the bank in yahoogroups."  The guy your talking about placed 5 million dollars into a account, and the word is that he was going into the bank many times and wanted to only deal with the bank president. The bank president could not be bother with him everytime he came into the bank and told one of his workers to deal with him. this did not sit well with this man, so he started writing a lot of bad things about the bank. the bank in turn asked him to stop because this type of talk would hurt their company, same law I believe is in the u.s. slander I think they call it,, anyway he kept on doing it, so they filed in court. the court froze his money until the out come of this, this man hired a lawyer. The bank not wanting to keep fighting with this man, offer him a deal, to stop writing bad things about them, and tell them he was sorry for causing problems and they would drop the case and let him take his money to some other bank.

he said he would do that, but wanted the bank to pay his lawyer fees, which the bank would not do nor should they.  so that's where it is. I have not heard anymore about it.

you didn't find any safe place to swim, well we swim all up and down the coast, one place not 30 mins from my home. there are places that do have currents tho, I guess all oceans do.

"in cr people are upbeat, always smiling and in a good mood. that is addictive." addictive is the key word here. he is right on this point people in panama go about their lives and will speak to you if you speak to them, will offer you help if you need it, but over wise they don't wave and smile to every person they see.

one huge thing I found was in C.R. many people are using drugs, and while I was there drugs were offered to me almost daily. I saw many people mainly young people hopped up on drugs, which they have to steal to buy, in panama drug use is no where near a problem.  I have been offered drugs here one time by a older american guy. never from anyone that lives here.

heres another little bit of info you single guys should know about  in C.R. they passed a law, that states if you belittle or yell or hit your wife or girlfriend you will be arrested, spend a year or more just waiting to see a judge and if found gulity serve a two year term for it.  now if you hit a woman ok you need to be in jail, but the ladies in C.R. understand what power they now have, so the game is to hook a rich american, move in with him, and then once she has pulled all the money she can from you and your about to put her out, she calls the police and tells them you hit or even YELLED, at her, so say goodbye, enjoy the food in prison camp for a year or more, while she moves in her real boyfriend and family and lives in your home. right before your due to be released they will move out and take everything you once owned with them..  no such law in panama.

"overpriced in panama city, the only place in panama that has a reasonable infrastructure"  well I do agree the prices here went up a lot, because at the time, most people who did their homework knew this was a better place to live then most other countries down here.  for the better part of last year 1200 people per day from venezuela were flying to panama and buying condos and homes all over this country. These were rich people who were leaving their home land to protect their wealth.  we also were getting a flood of americans and people from all over the world, so yes prices did go up, why wouldn't they? supply and demand. 

now it has slowed and the prices will start to fall back down to where they should be.

reasonable infrastructure, well this depends on what your looking for again, there are places here that are  wild and untouched, and then there are places that  have a lot to offer. the size of the town has a lot to do with it.

where I am, two hours away from the city, we have a atm machine, ice cream shop, four bars, 8 or 9 hotels, maybe 10 eating places, schools, churches, police and fire dept, clinic, testing labs,  two gas stations, coffee shop, 6 quick shop stores, building supply houses, horse back riding, hot springs, mud baths, water falls, a open aired market, for food and arts and crafts, libary, park for the kids, park for the grown ups and a zoo. If you need more then that don't come here.

Mark: What about

Mark:

What about nicaragua?????

panama vs costa rica

i do agree with the posters evaluation of cr.

with regards to panama he forgot to mention that violent crime in panama has become at least as bad as in cr.

unlike in cr panama is not a modern democracy, there is no freedom of press in panama and anyone can be put to jail for no reason and his money taken away from him. it happened to a guy who got all his bank accounts frozen because he complained about the bank in yahoogroups. cr is an easygoing modern democracy, panama is more like a dire police state. i was molested more than once by the police in panama, in cr the police will leave you alone.

cr has become expensive, panama has become even more expensive, real estate is ridiculously overpriced in panama city, the only place in panama that has a reasonable infrastructure.

beaches in panama? those are far away from pc and very dangerous because of strong currents. i did not find any beach that was safe for swimming but i did not go to bocas which is more than 15 hours away from bc. in cr you can find clean beaches in guanacaste or at the caribbean side 4 hrs from sjo.

panama is very boring compared to cr. i left panama and went back to cr.  in cr people are upbeat, always smiling and in a good mood. that is addictive. pura vida.

also in panama they are trying to keep poor gringos out by increasing the threshholds for immigration.

saludos

manfred

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