Panama/Beach Bungalows


Hello Elizabeth,
I am a 59 year old, Caucasian, single male living in Tennessee U.S.A. I am searching to rent a super economical beach bungalow in Florida or the Carribbean area,(for the sake of cheaper airfare), for a couple of weeks or a month every year or so, during the worst of Winter weather...nothing fancy, just a hut or bungalow on or near the beach where I can relax, fish, read, and catch up on stuff and stay warm. I will be by myself. Not into night life, the club scene, or woman chasing. Just a simple, no frills or luxuries, primitive stay where I can get cheap eats, stay warm, and rest, but in a safe location.
I've found bungalows for low as $10.00/night on Corn Island, Nicaragua and beach bungalows in India for the same price, but I fear either getting robbed or the possibility of having someone plant drugs on me because they might dislike Americans, and then the nightmare or possibility of dealing with their legal systems and possibly a long prison stay.
Can you provide me with any recommendations or provide information on any links, books, etc. that would help me with what I have described above; preferrably in a country which utilizes a legal system as used in America?
I checked on airfares to some neat bungalows in Thailand but round trip would cost $1600.00. I think maybe Florida or the Carribbean area might be best economically.

Thank you greatly.

Mike E.

Hello, Mike--I live on the Pacific side of Panama, up in the mountains, but I will offer a few suggestions. The Caribbean side of Panama I am not familiar with, except for the Bocas del Toro, which is a high tourists area and not cheap. On the Pacific side, I suggest you check out the village of Horconcito which is about 10 minutes from Las Lajas, a great beach. Horconcito is a small village with bus access to the InterAmericana. Another option up near the Costa Rica border is Puerto Amuelles, a nice, growing small town on the water. Lots of beach access, more amenities, easy transportation. I feel certain that you could find very inexpensive rentals in both of these places--probably a small, simple concrete block house with electricity, water for about $200. Do you speak Spanish? If not, learn, because if you are going to live local, you will need it to find your rental, negotiate a lease, buy groceries, navigate life, etc.

Nicaragua is pretty, in places, but has a very high crime rate. I don't advise it.

Crime in Panama is opportunistic--that is, don't leave your valuables in plain site, don't leave the house with windows or doors unlocked, practice common sense. There is almost no anti-gringo sentiment here, unless a person behaves badly and deserves it.

No Central American countries have a US legal system. Most are based on Napoleonic law--i.e. you are guilty until proven innocent, the opposite of US.

There are direct flights from Florida to Panama City, daily.

Many people come to Panama...some stay and are very happy (me!). Others are frustrated by the language, the customs, or the fact that it isn't 'like the US' and leave. It will depend on you, your expectations, and your flexibility.

Good luck!
Elizabeth Worley  


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Elizabeth Worley


I can answer most general questions about: 1. Vacation planning in Chiriqui and Boquete, including references for hotels, restaurants, guides, tour operators, etc. 2. Questions pertaining to alternative and traditional health care. 3. Cost of living and retirement related issues 4. How-to questions about purchasing real estate, getting a driver's license, where to buy things, what to do (and NOT do) in construction.


I have lived in the Chiriqui highlands of Panama, just outside Boquete, for 8 years. I can answer most questions about residency requirements, immigrations, purchasing real estate in an ethical and safe manner, health care availability (traditional and alternative), planning a vacation, tours and sightseeing, references for hotels, restaurants, service providers, etc. I grow organic coffee, so I can definitely answer questions about coffee!

Atlanta Journal/Constitution Sunday supplement Reader's Digest Southern Living Panama Living Noticias Bajareque Times Panama 180

Master's degree in Psychology. In addition to having a private counseling practice and working for many years in the non-profit sector, I am a nationally and internationally published author.

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