Moon Living Abroad in Panama
By Miriam Butterman
Paperback, Avalon Travel
Reviewed by Volker Poelzl
Panama has become a popular expatriate destination for North Americans, who are attracted by the warm climate, political stability, low cost of living, and great natural beauty. But dreaming about a tropical escape is quite different from actually planning a move to a country with a very different culture, language, and way of life. With “Living Abroad in Panama” author Miriam Butterman has taken away the guesswork faced by many would-be expatriates about Panama as their planned destination. “Living Abroad in Panama” is the latest installment in the Moon Living Abroad series published by Avalon Publishing. It is part of a growing number of country guides aimed at readers who are planning a move overseas. The book covers all the important topics about moving to Panama and settling there, and provides important tips, advice, and information for anyone interested in living in Panama.
Author Miriam Butterman is an American freelance writer who decided to stay in Panama after a 2-year work contract. Her book “Moon Living Abroad in Panama” reveals her insights and thorough knowledge of this small but diverse country she now calls home. The author writes in the introduction: “If your experience is like mine, living here will open your senses to new sights, smells, and feelings, fill your mouth with savory tropical flavors, and probably teach you about things in the natural world you never knew existed. But it may also leave you exhausted and confused.”
The author not only helps readers navigate through all the logistic and bureaucratic hurdles of moving to Panama, but she also sheds light on the uniquely Panamanian characteristics that distinguish it from other Central American countries. She points out the subtle differences in culture, attitudes, way of life, and governance, as well as the unique Panamanian Spanish dialect, which is a result of the many migrants that have come to Panama over the centuries to live and work.
In the introduction readers learn about Panama’s history, government, economy, as well as customs and etiquette, Panama’s multicultural roots, social values, religion, and the arts. This chapter also covers important topics that need to be addressed before settling abroad, such as “Planning Your Fact-finding Trip,” which provides important information about the logistics of moving to Panama. The section about “Daily Life” covers important practical aspects regarding living in Panama, such as making the move, visas, housing, education, health, employment, finance and taxes, communications, and transportation.
The section about “Prime Living Locations” introduces readers to the various towns and provinces in Panama, and suggests the best locations for expatriates, depending upon their interests, lifestyle, and career choices. In this chapter the author also covers topics such as the lay of the land, daily living, culture, where to live, and getting around. The “Resources” section at the end of the book includes useful contact information for government offices, embassies, education, moving companies, banks, communications, employment, transportation, etc. There is also a glossary, and a list of suggested reading.
For anyone planning to move to Panama, “Living Abroad in Panama” is a well-researched and practical companion that provides all the necessary information and resources.
For more information, and for a preview of the introduction and table of contents, visit the Moon Living Abroad in Panama web page on the publisher's clean new website.