We arrived in Panama 11/13/17 and stayed the first two nights in a hotel at the airport, then moved to our high rise apartment in Panama City.
The weather has been beautiful, though when we came in from our airport hotel Friday night in a downpour that matched anything I have ever seen in Texas. It only lasted about 2 hours and then nice again. We had little idea of what to expect with the apartment location, but it turns out we have an incredible view from a 21st floor location in a 44 story building overlooking the waterfront. Below is a panorama view from our window:
On Saturday I needed to get to a grocery store and pick up incidentals. Then I wanted to check out a big seafood market near here (https://havecamerawilltravel.
Sunday: I did little yesterday except venture out to a nearby supermarket. It was enough to find out we probably do not want to be here when it gets “hot” beginning in January. I am researching now, getting a “Home Away” in Boquete, which is a higher elevation and a favorite area for Expats. It is some 300 miles to the west and in a mountain valley.
Monday: Yesterday we went to a shopping mall, mainly to get local phone chips. The mall that we visited is apparently the newest of at least four major malls and it is huge. It appeared to have every name brand store and fast food that I have seen anywhere. The prices were high, and restaurant charges were about the same as at home. Then last night we went to the seafood market mentioned above. It was a novel experience, and certainly a dip into the local culture. So far, we have found people to be very friendly and helpful.
Getting Panama phone chip proved to be easy and worthwhile. We have been paying $10/day added premium on our Verizon to be able to have our phones available. Getting a Movistar chip here is $15/month per phone. (Subnote: OMG — the trouble that this got us into. All of our credit cards, bank access, Facebook, Microsoft account, Google — EVERYTHING now requires two-step varification — meaning you have to be able to receive SMS code varifications to your cell phone. It started with the credit card companies flagging “suspicious” activity. To prove who we were to release our accounts proved to be a nightmare. Our phones were now to Panama numbers and we could not get around it!)