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70 of 71 people found the following review helpful
The bible for people considering Panama
on April 24, 2007
We have lived in Panama for almost three years and bought the first edition before moving here from Costa Rica. That edition had 100 fewer pages and covered only Panama City since, at the time it was first published in 2002, not many Norte Americanos lived out in the Volcan or Bocas del Toro areas. Still, it was invaluable for us and we referred to it often.
We love the insights about the people, places and where to go in order to get acclimated into the community. Getting involved makes life so much more enjoyable here and you meet many new people from all over the world.
Perhaps the single most important benefit of this book is that it is written by someone who actually lives here. The other books we bought were written by people who live elsewhere but claim to be experts. That's less than helpful and they simply cannot know the backstories and other aspects of life in Panama.
Starting from how to get things done like finding the resources you need to what to consider when looking for a place to live, Sandra Snyder has done the homework for almost anyone moving to Panama. It will be particularly valuable for people trying to figure out why things are done here the way they are. It is the subtle nature of getting what you want done that can cause all sorts of headaches for people not clued in. This book is extremely helpful in that regard. Even if you are fluent in Spanish, it will be a good guide, though it really helps those with less than perfect (read little to no Spanish) language skills.
With information about visas, banks, weather, shopping, paperwork, and almost every aspect of actually living in Panama, it sets a new standard for others to surpass. Period.
Bottom line: When researching places to live overseas, look for information written by people actually living in your country of interest and do not believe the hype on the Internet. This book breaks through that clutter and gives you the realities of living in Panama.