Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Air Panama Jets are Landing at David Airport

All the buzz about David's Malek airport expansion and what it will mean to Chiriqui Province has folks in the travel, tourism and real estate industries here very excited. Today we witnessed the Air Panama jet doing "touch and goes" in and out of Malek airport. That means scheduled flights aren't far off. Travel to our part of Panama is getting so much easier with the long anticipated renovation underway and the expansion of the runway complete. Soon, there will be flights directly from Tocumen Airport in Panama City to David relieving many travelers of the necessity of staying overnight in the big city. Panama City is a wonderful place, but sometimes you want to get straight to your home--whether quiet mountain breezes or incredible beach scenery. And, for quite a few of our friends, well, it means getting to fish another day!

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Monday, 21 February 2011

Sam Taliaferro Passes Away

The Panama real estate industry has lost one of it's best. Sam had a vision for Chiriqui Province and through his efforts propelled our area forward. He was unstinting in his faith in the beauty and the potential of Chiriqui and generous in sharing his experience and knowledge with those who followed in his footsteps. We mourn his loss and send our heartfelt condolences to his family and his friends.

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Monday, 6 September 2010

Good News for Tourists and Part-Time Residents

Another bit of good news coming our way from Panama Investor Blog is that the length of stay for tourists coming to Panama has been extended to 180 days instead of 90. This is very important for folks who want to spend the winter months in their tropical second home without having to exit and re-enter the country.

How long a tourist can stay in Panama has sadly been a subject kicked around a great deal by the political powers here for some years giving many residential tourists cause for needless stress and concern. We hope that this new development will be the final word on the subject and encourage folks to consider Panama a viable place for a second home.

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Flights from Tocumen to David--Finally!!!!

Any one who has ever flown into Tocumen (Panama's international airport) and made the connection to Albrook (Panama's domestic airport) knows the headache and expense this little connection involves. At this writing, standard (and enforced) taxi fare from one airport to the other is $30. You can also anticipate "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride" as you careen down the corridors and across Panama City to the domestic terminal. Only the earliest flights out of the United States and careful planning with no unforeseen delays will get you from the States to Chiriqui in just one day. Usually, if your departure flight from the U.S. is anything other than non-stop, you're looking at an overnight stay (and more $$$) in Panama City. Fine, if you want a couple of days in the city, but not so swell if you are anxious to get to your beach digs and chill.

It isn't clear from the article translated on Panama Investor Blog whether the flight will be available only as a connecting flight from New York or from other cities as well. I'm pretty sure that Copa Airlines will want to make this a cost-efficient addition, so there are bound to be several flights a day. The new runway at Malek Airport in David is now a reality, with further airport improvements on the way. We're certainly looking forward to a more convenient, hassle free way for folks to reach us in Chiriqui--we think it is a fine place to live!

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Thursday, 8 April 2010

David Airport Expansion Contract to be Awarded

This is very good news for Chiriqui as we have been awaiting the promised expansion of our airport with high hopes for travel and tourism in this province that already has so much to offer. The airport expansion should really open up both the established destinations such as Boquete as well as up-and-coming areas like Boca Chica and Volcan

From "Business News America": Panama's civil aviation authority (AAC) will award the tender to expand the Enrique Malek airport, in Chiriquí province capital David, by the end of this week, an official from AAC told BNamericas. Read more...

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Saturday, 16 January 2010

Boca Chica "Under Construction"

Along with the action in David that we've been seeing lately ground has broken for several more luxury residences near Boca Chica on Chiriqui's "Lost Coast". Its always a treat to see how different residents will interpret the Pacific lifestyle in their own unique architectural creations. From the rustic and cozy to the cool and breezy modern look, most of the homes we see being built in the Boca Chica developments and on private estates seem to share at least a passing fondness for the Meditteranean. All share one big common trait, though, and that's the liberal use of windows to catch every possible view. Growning up on the beach in South Florida I am particularly taken by the variety of things that you see when you look out at the ocean off of the little thumb of land here--there are islands galore and several rivers, there's rocky cliffs that drop into the water, white sand beaches that at low tide seem to go on for miles, hills all around and the majestic Chiriqui Highlands in the distance. Nothing at all like the flat featureless beach of my salad days!

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Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Government to spend $400 million in Chiriqui

Some good news confirming what the scuttlebutt's been saying for quite a while...

From today's online La Prensa:

The government plans on spending $400 million in Chiriquí in 2010 to upgrade the province's infrastructure.

Legislator Miguel Fanovich, who is part of the National Assembly's Budget Commission, said the amount will be the largest ever government expenditure in the province in any one year.

Major projects include improvements to the Enrique Málek Airport that will allow international arrivals to land at the facility. It will be able to accommodate planes carrying up to 250 passengers after the renovations are finished. Another major improvement will be to the highway between David and Boquete, which will be expanded to four lanes. Improvements will also be made to the Pan-American Highway.

In David, projects will be done to control storm water and to expand the water system.

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Friday, 2 October 2009

A Whale of a tale...

September and October are peak whale watching months in the Chiriqui Gulf and our recent trip seaward didn't disappoint. The humpbacks come to the area to give birth to their calves in the warm waters. These are rainy months here and sometimes the fishing can slow down due to the murky water being fed into the ocean from the swollen rivers. The whales can make an otherwise lukewarm fishing day a real treat. This particular day didn't disappoint on either, though, as we still managed to bring some treats for the table home from the expedition.

Still, the whales were the show, dinner notwithstanding. The cameras never stopped clicking and we lost count of how many cetaceans we actually spotted. Like their cousins, the dolphins we see in such abundance, the humbacks are a humbling reminder of our tierra-bound role on the planet and how vast the oceans are. Seeing them always prompts a moment of gratitude for how blessed we are to experience the natural wonder of Panama.

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Thursday, 3 September 2009

Scratching Our Heads...

When we moved to David five years ago, we did so because we wanted to be located in a place where we could easily access all of Chiriqui's attractions. Only an hour from almost anywhere in the province, the commercial center of western Panama offered some restaurants, shopping, banking and medical centers. We never considered David a 'pretty' kind of reminds one of a giant truck stop. Architecture is not the city's strong suit.

Fast forward to 2009. Now I know the world is supposed to be in the middle of a huge financial crisis. So it comes as a complete mystery to me why this little city seems to be engaged in a frenzy of development and improvement. There's a gigantic addition going up next to the El Rey center that I am told is going to be a mall. Great news as the one we have now is pretty sad. Several brand new commercial centers have sprung up and low and behold, they have some style to them--cute Mediterranean architecture including the obligatory fountains! There's the large, modern "Ciudad David" in the middle of town that is going to be a convention center and hotel. There's another big commercial center on the InterAmerican highway, and yet another one planned right off the highway on the Boquete road. So what gives? Does somebody know something we don't know?

Granted, Malek Airport is slated for a big expansion designed to accommodate more international flights and Pres. Martinelli has given a big thumbs-up for that project. Is this enough to drive such growth?

And, although real estate has been really slow for months, September and October shows our dance card full. These are supposed to be the worst months in this business but we may have to postpone our slated October vacation.

Last night (Wednesday) the brand new and delicious restaurant "Mosto Bistro" was completely full and we saw at least two parties walk away disappointed that there were no tables.

It's like the twilight zone in Panama's third largest city--a paralell universe that seems to be spitting in the face of conventional wisdom. I'd love to hear some insight about this phenomenon because it certainly has us scratching our heads.
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Tuesday, 18 August 2009

A Trip to PriceMart--Market Basket

This week's market basket comes from a trip to PriceMart. PriceMart is our version of Sam's Club or Costco here in Panama. It's the place we go for bulk items, small appliances and household items like towels, sheets and the occasional shirt or tool. PriceMart has high quality meat that often isn't available at other supermarkets and in cuts that more closely resemble what we are used to. The selection in certain categories isn't great--cheeses being a major weak point--but there's enough there to help out with the budget and stock up. Just like Sam's or Costco, you see a lot of restaurant and small hotel owners shopping here. Since it has been a while since I've been to a U.S. grocery store, I'd appreciate feedback on how these prices compare. I will be as specific as possible so that we have the same reference points. Oh, and by the way, I didn't buy all the beer brands I've listed here!

Produce: (we don't buy a lot of produce here as fresh markets are much cheaper and we can get the exact quantity that we know we will use)

Garlic $3.89 for 6lbs.
Chef potatoes $4.09 for 6 lbs.
Baking potatoes $4.69 for 6 lbs.


Whole beef tenderloin $5.97 per lb.
Whole beef striploin $2.99 per lb.
Whole roast chicken $4.59
Canned crab claw meat $12.00 for a one lb. can

Paper products:

Toilet paper "Members Select" brand $12.39 for 20 rolls
Paper towels "Bounty"brand $12.99 for 8 rolls
Plastic wrap "Diamond" brand $4.39 for 2 two hundred ft. rolls

Personal care:

Colgate regular toothpaste $7.99 for four-pack of 125 ml. tubes
Ivory soap $5.99 for 16 bars (4.5 oz. each)
Scope mouthwash $4.59 for a 1.5 liter bottle


Swiss cheese from Wisconsin $6.39 for one lb.

Beverages:(all in standard 12 oz. cans)

Coke $6.29 for 12-pack
Coors Light $6.79 12-pack
Panama brand beer $9.89 24-pack
Heinekin $14.29 24-pack


Wesson vegetable oil $11.99 for 1.25 gallons

Oh, and if you are wondering why the beer is so cheap it all boils down to one little word--taxes. Panama hasn't jumped on the tax band wagon when it comes to nasty little vices like alcohol or tobacco.

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