The reason many expats feel like royalty in Panama is because the dollar stretches so much further. Things that would have been outright luxuries in North America are pocket change in Panama. Here are just a few examples of how I live a royal lifestyle in Panama.
- Maid Service. You can have a full-time, live-in maid for just a few hundred dollars a month. I had no idea how much I would love my maid until she entered my life. Now aside from basic cleaning that you might expect from a cleaning service, she launders my clothes, changes my bed, opens my curtains, waters my plants, washes my windows, organizes my drawers, walks my dogs, hand washes my wine glasses, and even cooks my food. I could never afford the same type of service in the US, but I honestly can't imagine life without her.
- In-Home Services. I love going to get a massage, but after I'm done relaxing, I don't want to re-stress when I get in my car and drive home. In Panama, in-home services are so affordable that you'll feel like Robin Leach's best friend as you live the life of the rich and famous... without being either. Some of the in-home services and their hourly costs are: mani/pedi ($20), massage ($20), yoga/pilates ($25), Spanish lessons ($15), dog grooming ($16) and more.
- Room Service. I always used to joke that room service and valet parking were two of my favorite things in life. Now I get them both, even though I live in a condo and not a hotel. At Playa Bonita, we have a "room service" menu that allows us to order food and have it delivered in about 30 minutes, just as if we were in a hotel. It's then billed to my credit card, so all I have to do is sign for it. When I'm feeling too lazy to go out, room service and a bottle of wine puts me right back into Princess mode.
- Freshly Baked Bread. I love fresh bread when it's still soft and hot, and nothing makes my weekend more queen-like than having my freshly baked bread delivered to my door. At Playa Bonita, we can order from an extensive list of bread varieties and have it delivered fresh-from-the-oven every Friday. Today's bread was a a hearty Campesino, which is a country-style Spanish bread made from whole grains and nuts. Next week I'm ordering the Kalamata Olive Bread and the Coconut Bread. Mmmm.... heaven on earth.
- Charity. I enjoy giving to charity, but I never felt like I was able to give enough when I lived in the US. No matter how much I gave, it seemed paltry in comparison to what was needed. In Panama, small contributions make a big difference. On my birthday last week, I bought groceries for an elderly woman. I spent every dime in my wallet--a whopping $27--and I was able to buy her enough groceries to last a week. Today, I emptied my change purse and gave it to a deformed beggar on the road. My change purse was only full of nickels, dimes and pennies--something I would have been embarrassed to give someone in the US--but he was thankful and offered me a Spanish blessing in return.
Do you long to live a life with more time for relaxation? If so, Panama may be the answer. Book a trip and check it out for yourself. I have plenty of condos to rent in Playa Bonita and the Coronado area. Isn't it time you experienced what it was like to be king--or queen--of the world?