People often refer to themselves as country folks or city folks. I don’t think you could take someone who is used to living in Manhattan and move them to Volcan. I am sure someone used to living in small town Ohio would have to adjust to living in Panama City. Both city and country have their advantages and disadvantages and they are more pronounced in Panama than in many other countries.
Panama City has a lot to offer visitors and residents. There are great restaurants, many bars and nightclubs, shopping malls, more banks than you can imagine. Getting things done in the city is a lot easier than getting things done in the countryside. Granted, it takes longer to get around, but pretty much every thing you need can be found in the city. That is not so true once you are outside of Panama City. In the interior of Panama it can be hard to find many items. Food shopping becomes more difficult in the countryside if you are used to buying certain brands. Shopping for clothing can be just as hard. Some of the larger cities in the interior will have a handful of banks, but not all banks are represented outside of PTY.
There are less options for entertainment outside of Panama City as well. There are just a handful of movie theatres, and they don’t show the same movies you’ll find in the city. It can also be hard to find a restaurant that serves something besides Panamanian or seafood. The interior is full of cantinas, but there’s not much nightlife besides that. However, cantinas can be a great source of entertainment if you go on the right night. There’s nothing like enjoying an impromptu concert by the locals, fuelled by seco! Towns in the countryside also have some of the best festivals in the country. Those towns spend the entire year preparing for these festivals, so they are big hit with locals and foreigners.
Panamanians living in the countryside tend to be a bit more friendly and open than those living in the city. The pace is a lot slower in the interior as well. That’s not always a good thing though. If you think service in Panama City is bad, service in a small town can be even worse!
Prices tend to be cheaper in the countryside. Gas is the main exception. Once you leave Panama City, the price of gas goes up sometimes 20 cents a gallon. Food, drinks, labour and entertainment are less expensive in the countryside.
Both the city and the interior have a lot to offer as well as drawbacks. If you are planning a move to Panama, it is best to spend time in different locations to figure out what will work for you. Some expats love the city and others prefer a more calm existence in the countryside. In an ideal world, split your time between the two to enjoy the best of both worlds.
|Written by Rebecca Tyre|
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