I'm super excited this morning because I'm about to participate in a live video chat with Michael from the Canada Panama Connection. His website is: http://www.canpanconnection.ca/ if you want to check it out. Karen from Local Travel Excursions (http://www.localtravelexcursions.com/) will also be on the call. She's been working with the Canada Panama Connection to put together some really cool relocation tours.
This Google+ Hangouts chat will be posted on Youtube after the conversation takes place, for anyone who wants to check it out. I'll be talking a lot about blogging, about living here, and about www.PanamaForReal.com.
I'm a little bit concerned because I got some feedback the other night from someone (you know who you are!) who seemed to feel that I was kind of abandoning this Stay At Home Gringo blog for my new site at Panama For Real. That's not the case at all. They're kind of one and the same. In fact, I copy this blog over there on that site, in the PFR Blog section. Every blog post I write will show up here first, then will be copied over there. But there is a lot of other info at PanamaForReal.com. It's much more than a blog.
For anyone who isn't sure what Panama For Real is, let me explain. I moved to Panama a little over 4 years ago and it was a lot to handle. And I had my wife's Panamanian family to help. Most people moving here don't have that support system waiting for them. So I want Panama For Real to be like that extended family, that support system for people moving here. It's the only site, as far as I know, that takes people to each and every province, town, and neighborhood in Panama and shows through very detailed written and video reports, what it's like to live in or visit all of these places in Panama. And it's 100% free. All the information on the site will always be FREE. I will probably sell a book in the sidebar at some point, or add a section about developments and investment opportunities you can get involved in, but I'll NEVER sell my reports and information about living here. I don't believe in charging people an arm and a leg like some of these other companies out there, just for info that everyone should be privy to.
Here's an example of what I'm talking about. I'll post the first couple of paragraphs here, then, if you like what you're reading, click the link and read the whole report at Panama For Real. This is our most recent report on Cerro Azul, the closest mountain town to Panama City, Panama. I won't post the whole thing here because it's just double the work, and I really do want you guys to check out the new site and become comfortable with it.
Cerro Azul--Mountain Living Only Minutes
From Panama City, Panama
We moved to Panama with the intention of living a different lifestyle from what we were living back in the States. We're still a young family, trying to figure out where we're going to settle down, and a constant challenge for me has been the debate over whether to stay in Panama City (where Marlene wants to remain) or move out to the interior of the country (where I believe I'd be happier). So far, the closest thing to a happy medium seems to be Cerro Azul.
This is a mountain town, or really I guess it's a mountain gated community, that's only about a 45-minute drive away from Panama City. It's so close that I'd actually consider it part of Panama City. This is a place where I can easily see owning a home and basing my writing studio, with 360-degrees of fabulous views. I can imagine looking out over the Chagres National Park while penning my next novel or working on these PFR Location Reports. I'll tell you more about the views later. First, let's talk about how you get to Cerro Azul.
Getting to Cerro Azul
To get there you just hop on the Corredor Sur, in the direction of the Tocumen Airport, and keep going until the corredor ends. Then you keep going straight until you reach 24 de Diciembre (not the date...that would be a hell of a drive, but the town).
At 24 de Diciembre you'll see all of the usual Panama City findings, from large supermarkets, gas stations, and local department stores to small clinics, banks, and fast-food chains. A left hand turn behind the Xtra supermarket, then a right, and another left, and you're on your way to Cerro Azul. You turn left right after the Fucer park (just try to pronounce that without giggling). My wife swears it's pronounced Fooser, but I refuse to believe it. It will always be FOOKER in my book.
You never feel more welcome than when some says to you
Be advised, there is a police checkpoint at the corner of Fucer Park and the street you need to turn onto to drive up the mountain. The first time I visited Cerro Azul, I got stopped and had to show my passport and all that. This time I got lucky and drove right through, but make sure you have your paperwork or ID ready if you're planning a trip up the mountain.
To read more about Cerro Azul, click here.
To see the video we put together on Cerro Azul, click here.
To see a quick budget comparison of all the locations we've covered, click here.
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I'll continue to post every blog post here, but these location reports are completely different and will only be at Panama For Real.
We've also put together a special series for kids being dragged to Panama during a relocation. Hopefully it'll help relax their minds about the overwhelming overseas move. It's called Kidpats and you'll find the first video in that series here.
Thanks for reading,