Welcome to Panama

So Why Panama?
Panama is such an amazing country and surprises everyone who visits. I joke with our friends that if they are planning on coming to Panama be prepared to be overwhelmed.

So Why Panama? Is there a reason - No, There are several reasons -- the opportunities are plentiful, albeit the prices are going up.

We have really taken to the Caribbean coast as it offers so much nicer water and beaches.

Costa del Este
Panama City, Panama
The 2012 Spay Panama calendar is now available and it's their best ever! Both Panamanian AND U.S. holidays are labeled. The pictures featured are all of formerly homeless dogs and cats that were neutered and lucky enough to have been adopted. All proceeds go to support the wonderful efforts of Spay Panama to control the overpopulation of unwanted pets. Since its inception in 2002, Spay Panama has sterilized over 24,000 animals! The yearly calendar is their main fundraising tool and they really need your support. Like most other non-profit organizations, Spay Panama has seen a severe drop in donations due to the economy.

Pat Chan


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Since we moved to Panama in 2006 every time we tell one of our friends that we moved to the Republic of Panama, the first question is always "Why Panama". So we decided to build a web site to help them understand how simple the decision to choose Panama really was to us. We have included some links to other sites and to articles we think might help understand Panama. This  is  by no means exhaustive, so be sure to move through the suggested sites and explore the links and resources they suggest to ensure  you get as much information as possible.

News and events


I was reminded the other day that it had been ages since I posted anything so I thought I would do some updating today.

It was almost 12 years ago that Donna and I were in Akumel Mexico for a very short vacation (a funny story why our business partners decided to pack us up and send us on a weeks paid vacation - but for another time).

We must have been ready. I am sure we must have had similar discussions during our 20 + years of vacationing in Mexico but I really can't say for sure. This time though we must have been ready. When we talked about why we still lived in St. Albert when in reality we only loved it for 2-3 months per year because of the weather something just struck - well - why don't we consider moving to someplace like Akumel?

Funny how such an innocuous question can change your life. If you are ready. And we were obviously.

That vacation we traveled around looking at properties to build or develop and we found two.

We flew home and told our partners - "we are moving to Mexico". They were a little phased I am sure but the only comments outside of "great" and "where" came from one partner that said "before you buy in Mexico get on a plane and check out Panama."

At the time I am not sure I could have found Panama on the map but we did go home and within a short time we flew here to Panama City.

We did all the touristy things in 4 days around the city. The furthest out we got was Miraflores Locks.

On our last evening I remember both of us agreeing "we could live here".

That was April 2006 - by August I was in Panama, I had rented an office, hired two employees and was finalizing the purchase of our now condo.

Donna did all the heavy lifting - she sold the house, the car, all of our belongings, and moved here with Cricket (our pet dog) in October - - six months - start to finish.

We never recommend this to anyone - not because we had any issues or problems - just that we can't believe our luck with everything going so well. If you are considering Panama and don't have to be in the city, take the time and "see" Panama first. 

more news >>


We are well into a routine now 12 years later. We love our life here. Almost every week one or the other of us will make the comment how great it is to be here.

Have there been issues - of course - it is life. But we don't regret one iota.

We've been so fortunate to meet and enjoy so many other expats and Panamanians over the 12 years.

We love to eat and drink and explore so we make a point of every month getting out as often as we can with friends.

Our last night out was with Rita and Jordan, a couple we've come to really enjoy. We went to the opening night of "Panama - the Musical" a brand new musical written by 3 Canadian expats but with an Panamanian cast and band. What a fun night.

We love our friends visiting - and we have one of our old friends coming from St. Albert just this week. John has been coming to Panama almost every year for more than 10 years.

We still travel, especially Donna with her Gardening Tours - we just got back from visiting our oldest friends, Elaine and Wayne, in Sayulita Mexico. It was a really fun visit and we were reminded why we loved Mexico but we still love coming "home" to Panama.

We get notes often asking about something to do with Panama - because we encourage people to ask. We've been so fortunate with our move and the people that have helped us we are more than willing to help where we can.

Feel free to ask if you are you just thinking of a vacation in Panama or if you are thinking of making Panama home we'd be happy to point you at some resources or give you some suggestions - we have nothing to sell and nothing to gain except maybe meeting a new friend. We have been really privileged to get to know some great friends during our past 10 years.

Our area of Costa del Este has just continued to evolve. Not all the growth has great - the traffic in the morning and evening is unbearable. But the upside is all the new services. 

If you want, write us if you have questions - we love to help.

We add to the areas of the site like people, sites, and services as our experience with each of them change so you should feel comfortable dealing with any of them.

more news >>


Donna started iCanGarden.com and is now over  20 years later it has become Canada's largest Internet gardening resource site. Several thousand people visit her site every day. Spend some time looking over the thousands of pictures of gardens from all over the world.

We are so proud of the TV special just aired by Recreating Eden - entitled "the Gardening Tourist".

Donna recently changed the look of the site - - if you enjoy it - let her know - I am really proud of her.


In 2006 Donna started a site dedicated exclusively to her garden tours but she has been hosting tours since 1998

For more than 18 years she has been hosting groups of gardeners to gardens all over the world.

Donna has some incredible garden tours lined up for 2017 and 2018 - her 2016 tours were all either fully booked or over booked. 

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