Costa del Este
Panama City, Panama 





Since we began our investigation and move to Panama, we have been really fortunate to run across some great people that have made our transition much less stressful than it could have been. If you are considering Panama, you will need to get to know some of these people. We don't hesitate in suggesting you contact any fo the following people as they would not be on our list if we did not feel comfortable recommending them to you. There are many others we could list that we recommend you avoid but we don't think that's prudent. In each case of a professional listed, unless it states otherwise, we went through one or two or three of their colleagues before we found one that actually knew the words "customer service" or that we felt were actually competent. Before you hire someone, ask someone if they have had any experience with them -- like the lack of an MLS, Panama lacks a good BBB for us "newbies". If you are still unsure, email us and we'll ask for you.

Important People to Know

Eduardo Arango - Panamanian Consulate General for the West Coast of USA & Canada -- we were so privileged to have met Eduardo when when we were starting the process of obtaining the visas and documents necessary to move to Panama. At the time he was the Consulate General in Vancouver for Western Canada. In hindsight I am not sure we'd be in Panama without his help. Depending on where you reside before you move to Panama - find the Consulate General or Ambassador and get to know them. The first thing it will do is introduce you to someone that will help you see the best side of the Panamanian people before you get here. 


I've had a few lawyers in my 4 short years. What I was looking for was a lawyer that could listen to what I wanted to do, make sure they understood what I was trying to accomplish and then give me some alternatives with the positive and negative elements of each. This seems to be the hardest thing - there are lots of lawyers, the ones I've used could perform what I asked them to do but I got no "advice" - maybe I need to add that to my interview the next time.

Giovanna Avendano - when we were looking at a property on the Caribbean side of Panama we found it to be a Right of Possession, not a titled property. In spite of almost everyone's warnings, we were convinced we wanted to purchase the property ROP or not. But we decided we needed a lawyer comfortable with ROP, and Marquelda's response was she knew the laws, owned some herself but did not want to do the paperwork - sound like a warning -- well we went ahead. We again posted our need on a Yahoo group and through a lady from northern B.C. Canada we met Giovanna. Giovanna is very professional, understood our desire and had worked with a number of people buying ROP and did everything in her power to ensure the purchase was as solid as was humanly possible.
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Rodrigo Julio Molina O. - Rodrigo and Teresa were a great help to me when I first moved to Panama. They rented a desk to me when i did not have an office and drew up some contract labour agreements. If you are looking for a lawyer who specializes in ex-Pats, Rodrigo would be a good place to start your discussions.
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Jair Tuñon and his partner Jair de Rozas - Jair is a partner in Rodulfo, de Rozas & Tuñon - I met Jair Tuñon when I first arrived in Panama. He is currently our personal and corporate lawyer. He is attentive, responsive and reasonable with his fees. I have recommended him to numerous people and have never heard any complaints. You can reach him at


Petra Pedilla -- and her son Gerardo Harris - our previous lawyer introduced us to Petra as an accountant/bookkeeper that could look after our payroll and other government filings. If you are going to have any kind of business or any kind of employees, you need someone to file the paperwork for you. I sign it, and I know I would not want to create it.
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Professional Translator

In this respect we are very blessed. We have on staff a certified translator. Do not venture into any agreements without hiring one of these people to translate the document for you. Nothing is drawn up or signed in English, and unless you are fluent in Spanish you need someone to translate the documents before you sign them so you can ask intelligent questions

Real Estate

this spot is intentionally left empty at this time -- which means if  you can read between the lines we haven't found anyone we'd feel comfortable recommending. That doesn't mean we haven't met any. In fact we've had 4 we've worked with in the 9 months.  


When we arrived in Panama almost 2 years ago, we were very fortunate to meet a lady at the HSBC in Obario but she has since moved from Panama so we have no personal references for mortgages. However, having said that, we've heard several Expats say how well they were treated at the Scotia Bank, so it might be worth your time checking with them if you are in need of a mortgage. We have now opened accounts with the CITI Bank here in Costa del Este - Hector and his team are very efficient and have been taking great care of us. - Update - we opened CITI and Scotia - but use Banistmo for our main banking - looking at Balboa Bank and Trust for savings


Dr. Lee --  – Dr. Lee runs his practice in El Cangrejo with his wife and their offices are as up to date as any we used in Canada and his prices are excellent - a fraction of the prices in Canada for the same quality of service  - 507-269-3744   

Massage therapy

Jamie, Dr. Lee;s wife is a massage therapist and while we've not availed ourselves of her service, if our friends have and they are all in agreement that she is excellent.


Dr. Jorge Paz Rodríguez -- Wellmed Clinic. - Dr. Rodriquez practiced in New Mexico for years before moving to Panama a few years ago for all the same reasons we moved here - quality of life. He is US trained and very professional and is building his clinic around serving ex-Pats and dealing with "aging" issues.
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Dr. Cerrud - The first Dr. we met in Panama who walked us through the examinations for the Pensionado visa. He has been very helpful with prescription shots and pills. He works out of the Santa Fe Hospital.
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Dr. Ariel Salaña - Dr Saldaña and his team of orthopedic specialists are excellent. They may not be the cheapest but if you want your knee, hip, shoulder  - whatever - repaired professionally - he is your man. His manners are impeccable - courteous, prompt, attentive - and best of all - his surgery is spot on perfect. He can be reached by email at - and he does answer email :}

Medical Clinics

Fernandez Medical Clinic -- Tom is a major chicken when it comes to needles and when we went to the clinic to get our 4th blood work we met Sr. Fernandez and what a treat - the needle was one of the easiest Tom ever had. 


Originally we used Animals & Pets - Costa del Este -- Since our move to Costa del Este in 2006 we have taken Cricket to Animals & Pets just down the street for all her needs from clipping to shots to check ups. The two vets on duty, Dr. Frank and Dr. Ovlidio have huge hearts for animals. On two occasions we seen this first hand. Both vets have gone out of their way to help us help a couple of strays. Unfortunately both vets have moved on and the replacements have never been the same so we began using Orion vet above the Super 99 - he has since closed - he was very good with Cricket so that is sad - but our friends Rita & Jordan take Bobby to Vets4Pets in Punta Paitilla and we have met her and she is really good with Bobby

Travel Agents

We had a travel agent for the first year or two but she has since moved on in her career to dealing with travel insurance only so Donna has gotten used to doing her booking online with Continental then either calling, emailing or visiting their offices to finalize the ticket and get her pensionado discount - you have to love that discount.


Vehicle, condo (contents and building), business and health. We have changed companies on each of these a few times in the  5 years we've been here. We've generally let the Ducruet agency source the best vehicle, condo and business insurance and they've done pretty well. Our health we started with Blue Cross but then we moved to Bupa. Bupa as it offered what we wanted - catastrophic health insurance - 1, 2, 5 million per year per person - whatever you want. Any doctor anywhere. Includes out of country. The agent is Gonzalo de la Guardia - - Update - since then we have moved to Cigna - less costly and similar coverage - Donna still takes travel insurance for her tours


Renovating a new condo can be a daunting business in Panama - this is not Kansas anymore Toto :} - small things you can do yourself but gutting a condo and replacing everything requires someone who really knows what they are doing, the best companies to work with and what kind of budget is necessary. We had the pleasure of working with Rosa Soto with Projecto Casa on Calle 50 in San Francisco - Rosa is a treat to work with - knowledgeable, a good eye for design and fussy. All great traits. email


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