Here is a wonderful opportunity to move abroad, live on the ocean, in the tropics and open your own business all in one foul swoop. Have you ever dreamed of running your own boutique hotel/bed and breakfast? In the dream was it possible you were viewing a beautiful beach from your hotel? Well if that´s the case or you are genuinely adventurous and would like to begin a new life in Paradise then you should take a peek at this.

The hotel is in Las Tablas on the Azuero peninsula, also known as the dry arc because it has the least amount of rainfall in all of Panama. It is on the Pacific coast, the area has a lot to offer, Isla Iguana for it´s world famous diving, Playa Venao, arguably the best surfing in Panama which will hold it´s second international world championship this spring, deep sea fishing, Las Tablas itself where Carnavale is celebrated every year, nearby Pedasi the folkloric cradle of Panama.

It is my favorite part of Panama and my favorite part of the world. I planto retire there (if the wife let´s me), enough about me. This is worth looking at, it is a fire sale as the owner is departing for Europe.

There are many lovely and varied neighborhoods in Panama City, all of which have something to offer. It is rare though to find a penthouse that has it all, a combination of what every great neighborhood has to offer and at a tantalizingly low price. By everything I mean, a lower price per sq metre, ocean view , city view, large terrace, 5 minutes to Multi Plaza, 5 minutes to Parque Omar, next door to to the new Metro, 5 minutes to the banking area.

Coste del Este, Punta Pacifica, Ave Balboa are all contenders as being considered the nicest neighborhood however for the most part they are over priced, over developed or too far away to be considered Panama City. In my opinion it is idiotic to pay too much for anything or a small fortune to live in the armpit of Trump Ocean Club or another small fortune to spend your down time listening to traffic but I digress. The markets is so transparent that your reason for wanting to live there would have to out weigh how much money you are willing to spend.

Having lived here since 1994 I feel I am qualified to say this is a beautiful penthouse, it is a great price, it is PROPERLY centrally located, it has beautiful sea views it has beautiful city views,, it will sell for $200,000 less than similar penthouses less than 5 minutes away.

Have a look for yourself,

The PanamaPropertyExpat,

Panama is becoming a prime destination for international conferences with growth in this sub sector of the tourism industry increasing by over 50% from 2011 to 2012. Once again there are several dynamics that are making this happen, connectivity, safety, welcoming immigration, tax breaks for US companies, complementary convention space and more, dare I say a liberal city with something for everybody. One could even say “what happens in Panama is illegal everywhere else”

Let´s get back to the conventions and the right side of the law for now, first up, connectivity, Panama is the hub of the Americas and therefore Panama´s Tocumen International airport is a major factor for organizers of events, be they corporate, religious or stag or hen parties. Prior to 9/11 Miami was the chosen destination for Latin American conferences but now Panama is more attractive because of it´s infrastructure and welcoming immigration policies.

When it comes to safety the World Tourism Organization (WTO), says Panama City is the SAFEST capital in the Latin American region. say no more. What about TAX BREAKS anybody? Hold on to your britches corporate types because one of the most attractive aspects of the new Trade Promotion Agreement between Panama and the United States is that US companies can claim expenses incurred from holding an event in Panama against their US tax returns. WTF? Does that include the Colombian girls you ask, probably not but contact your local Secret Service office for confirmation.

Holding an event in Panama as opposed to Miami or Las Vegas can already represent significant savings and so tax breaks can make it even more attractive, plus what about deep sea fishing, jungle treks, Pacific beaches, lap dances, scuba diving in the Caribbean, all possible and within reach of Panama City. Need I say more?

How about a “free convention”? Currently Panama´s site for major events is available for free to organizers of events who meet a minimum set of requirements in the number of international visitors that will come into the country. That´s it, I am sold, are you?

Sitting in traffic this morning driving from San Francisco to Obarrio I was looking at the finishing touches being put on to the massive extension being added to the Punta Pacifica shopping mall and my wandered back to 1994 when I first arrived in Panama. This very spot in front of me used to be Paitilla Airport. Punta Pacifica did not exist and neither did the mall, there was no Punta Pacifica hospital, no Trump Ocean club, no Cartier, no Hermes. no Apple store….
I have two memories that came to mind of Paitilla airport, the first is because it is where 4 US Navy Seals were killed in action during Operation Just Cause in 1989. They came in from sea (as they do) to secure the airport and prevent General Manuel Noriega from fleeing the country.

The operation began with an assault of strategic installations, such as the civilian Punta Paitilla Airport. U.S. Navy SEALs destroyed Noriega’s private jet and a Panamanian gunboat. A Panamanian ambush killed four SEALs and wounded nine.

The second memory I have is from 5 years later when I arrived at the airport flying in from the island of Contadora in the pearl islands. It was a Sunday afternoon and the city was quiet as it always was and is on a Sunday. At that time in 1994 most taxis were “heaps” as in you would´nt stick the mother in law in the back seat. Therefore I was surprised to see and be offered a ride in a nice looking Toyota Carina, not new but clean and definitely not a taxi. The driver asked where I was going and seemed in a hurry, a bit shifty so naturally I was hesitant to jump in. I told him where I lived and he said $5 , at the time $1.25 would have got you anywhere in the city so I asked why so much. He explained he was the president´s driver and “El Presidente” was flying in from Contadora himself in 20 minutes so we would have to hurry. Game on!

This morning I was enjoying a coffee on my balcony at 5:30am. Ever since I moved to Panama I enjoy getting up early and spending a few minutes on the balcony. It is a quiet time, the sun is not yet up and the day is just about to start. It feels to me like you have a quiet few moments in harmony before it all kicks off again and you are off and running with whatever is thrown at you. A thought came to me this morning though that back in Europe in November, it was too cold and dark to even think about what a nice day it could be, pretty much the Sun and the lifestyle that goes with it had to be forgotten about until May.

So basically I am grateful today for everything that comes with the “tropical lifestyle” , from the never ending warm and cool climate to the sandals and shorts and T shirts you can live in if you so choose. It does not take too much effort too realize you have it good, really good in fact when compared to other people not too far away that are flooded or without electricity as is the case with Colon and parts of La Chorrera. The reason for that is November is the last month of the wet season and usually the wettest, this year it was even wetter than normal and because of that parts of the country are flooded.

In some locations it was naturally unavoidable however in some others, in my opinion it was avoidable. There are new affordable housing projects (maybe a year old) under water in La Chorrera, regardless of the price you pay there should be some guarantee the developer has not built too close to a river or in flatland that are likely to flood. The fact is as well in some of the poorer areas the government is not as quick to respond simply because they do not yet have the infrastructure to do so.

The reason I mention this is regardless of where you live or where you are going to move to it will not be perfect. It may work out well for you most days However there will also be imperfections that may or may not affect you and how you will respond to negative aspects of another country is something you should decide before you make the move. There is no point in moving if you want everything to be the same as Europe or the USA for example. My attitude is for whatever reason or another I just like it here and I take the good with the bad.

In my opinion though the reality on the ground here is there are 2 countries all in one. The Panama I live in where everything works well and does not flood and is perfectly safe and could be compared to living in the US or Europe or Argentina and the Panama on the outskirts of the city or the interior where the electricity sometimes fails and right now there are floods.

Since I arrived here in 1994 this country is slowly but surely moving in the right direction, canal expansion, better infrastructure, better and more schools, more foreigners, more business, more tourism, more everything basically, simply moving in the right direction, in my opinion of course.

I think this is just brilliant, it is exciting to be in a place that is growing , that is changing, where business is being done. Long may it last.

As most of you local readers will know we at Two Oceans Properties have been focusing our efforts on selling and delivering the remaining houses from our affordable housing project, Villas de Ensueno. Our development is located in La Chorrera, a satellite town an hour outside Panama City. It is the fastest growing town in Central America and demand for housing there is as high as ever. We are as enthusiastic as ever about this demand fueled market and want to share that excitement with you but also want to get you up to date with movement and trends in the property market here in Panama City. However before I do let me tell you about a housing deficit of 150,000 houses, an investment opportunity in affordable housing and an economy that has grown every year since 2002 and is set to continue to do so until the end of the decade.

Thankfully with the success of our project in La Chorrera and additional manpower on the sales force you will hear from us with a daily update on the property market here in Panama from here on in. Now back to that deficit of 150,000 houses and investment opportunity in affordable housing.

Panama is going through an unprecedented boom, everywhere you look there is activity, in the building sector there are apartments being built with ocean views, city views, also hotels like the Hilton, Waldorf Astoria, Hard Rock are all here now, there are offices being built to cater for the massive influx of multi nationals setting up their regional headquarters here, industrial parks, the canal expansion, a $5 billion project, Panama Pacifico , not one but 2 new Metro lines, the list goes on and on.

First of all what I am about to tell you this is not sales talk from a real estate professional, expert that I am I cannot take credit for this so please read carefully….According to the ministry of public housing there is a deficit of 150,000 houses in the affordable housing market in Panama City and La Chorrera. Right now local developers are delivering 15,000 per annum which means the demand is there for the next 10 years. As I said these are GOVERNMENT FIGURES, take a drive to La Chorrera and see for yourself.

Those of you who know us know we have other projects and other businesses taking off here in the city, because of that we are offering an investment opportunity in the second phase of Villas de Ensueno, here is the link

Unfortunately that is all we have time for today however we are back with a daily blog from today so look out for the Panama City property news tomorrow and then a Caribbean update on Friday.

Until then,

the PanamaPropertyExpat,

Spectacular premiere residence located in Linda Vista, it has three levels, is 300sqm of construction, 400 sqm of land , 3 bedrooms each with bathroom, living room, dining room, kitchen, maid´s quarter, 2 covered parking spaces, fenced, fine finishes.

Do not miss this opportunity to live close to everything

Estrene espectacular residencia ubicada en linda vista, la misma cuenta con tres niveles, 300mts2 de construcción y 400mts2 de terreno, 3 recámaras cada una con su baño, sala, comedor, terraza, cocina, cuarto y baño de empleada , 2 estacionamientos techados, completamente cercada, finos acabados

Ten homes were destroyed and another ten houses were affected by flooding in the sector of Pueblo Nuevo of Gonzalo Vásquez, in the district of Chiman, by strong waves that have been recorded since last Wednesday. This was announced by the National Civil Protection System (SINAPROC). Another 40 homes were flooded in the area of Gonzalo Vásquez Centro. The Regional Deputy Director of Panama East, Kerly Gutiérrez, together with officials from the Technical Department of the SINAPROC, came to the affected communities to make a report of what happened, and so to present the situation to the authorities, so they may take the necessary measures.

The community of Gonzalo Vásquez is divided into two sectors. The first is Pueblo Nuevo which has a total of twenty houses, and of those ten were completely destroyed. While in the area of Gonzalo Vásquez Centro, the homes suffered minor damage. Officials of the Ministry of Social Development arrived to provide humanitarian aid. Another of the sites affected by strong waves is Puerto Caimito, where there have been waves of up to six meters, which have already destroyed two shops.

Experts have explained this natural phenomenon is a result of a low pressure system accompanied by strong winds, the products of the Inter Tropical Convergence Zone, typical of the season, which has produced such damages. It is noteworthy that the SINAPROC staff conducted an assessment of the damage caused by the strong waves recorded during the days August 30th, 31, and September 1st in the early morning hours, in addition to maintaining a continuous monitoring of these affected areas. The Director General of SINAPROC, Arturo Alvarado, recommended that people living in these areas that are highly vulnerable to this phenomenon of nature, should take preventive measures – especially children, people with special needs, and older adults – who should move to a safe place and be alert to the presence of these high tides.

Al Capone wore one. So did Winston Churchill and Ernest Hemingway. We are talking about the Panama hat, which is traditionally made in Ecuador. The elegant headwear woven from palm fibres, considered a status symbol for men for decades, is now making a slow comeback. Custom-woven Panama hats are in worldwide demand and numerous German milliners are in the business of refining ones imported from Ecuador. ‘These days when people want to treat themselves to something special, they buy a Panama hat,’ says Andreas Voigtlaender with satisfaction. He is the chairman of the society of German speciality hat shops (GDH) and runs a hat shop himself in Wiesbaden, central Germany. The headwear, which is also popular as an elegant sun protection, has now found its way into famous boutiques along the Berlin Kudamm and the Kö in Dusseldorf, the main retail and shopping centres in the cities. ‘The Panama hat will never be a mass product like it was in the 1920s and thereafter. But you can definitely say it is experiencing a comeback,’ said Voigtlaender. One man who is pleased to hear about this positive trend is Kurt Dorfzaun, a Bavarian whose company in Ecuador has been preparing these hats for decades. ‘Golfers especially have learned to appreciate our products,’ said Dorfzaun from his company in the Andes.

‘We have been working with the Dorfzaun family for decades,’ said Klaus Rock, sales manager of the company Mayser in the Bavarian town of Lindenburg. Seamstresses in the Mayser factories give the final touch to some 10,000 prefabricated Panama hats per year.

The name Panama hat comes from the times when the headgear was stored in the central American country of the same name prior to being shipped all over the world.

The hats can be wide, skinny, slack or firm. The hat ribbon can be classic in black material or casual from leather. Women’s hats are often decorated with a hand-made flower. The palette of colours is huge, ranging from light and beige hues through to green and bright red.

Men prefer the classic Panama hat and the prices range from 70 to 1,400 dollars.

‘It is all a question of quality. The finer the fibres, the more expensive the hat,’ explains Katt Schweizter-Nacken of the federal hat-makers guild. The customers are usually men aged over 30 but the clientele could change with the hat already being worn as part of the ‘gangsta-look’ adopted by artists such as reggae musician Daddy Yankee.

If you have time to kill and you´re over by Albrook, decide to stop into the Albrook Mall. They have recently opened a new section of the mall, which has been built and managed by the Grupo Los Pueblos. This mall basically “wraps around” the National Bus Terminal and is probably the most popular of all of the new shopping centers in Panama in terms of foot traffic. The stores in this mall are lower priced and aim more for volume than anything else. There are stores like the Oca Loca and Conway which come straight from Ave. Central so you can find very inexpensive merchandise. The only downside to the Albrook Mall is the parking, none of which is under cover which is important in the rainy season. And, this mall is large and long – wear comfortable shoes because you have to do a whole lot of walking to get from one end to the other. You can just want to grab a few happy-snaps and then get distracted by the different shop and then run out of time. Anyway, for what it’s worth…