Originally Posted by travellerw
You guys switched to Bocas... I'm thinking you are talking about Panama
is on my list, its fairly low down as I have a cruiser friend there right now. He advised that its probably not a good place to start with a family
as the outfitting is fairly difficult and expensive (lots of Gringo tax). Fairly hard to get in stuff that isn't available locally. Many items go missing when shipped in. He also says that Colon is an absolute dump and downright scary.
Its only his opinion though. I'm open to what others have to say.
You're friend is seriously misinformed.
Not sure what he means by "Gringo Tax", but most skilled labor, yards, and shipping
services in Panama have established/published rates which are charged to all, not just special prices for gringos. Sure, you can get "gringoed" in Panama, and anywhere in Central America
, but its certainly not the norm with boat work in Panama.
Super easy to order and ship via Marina Warehouse, competative prices & shipping
rates, and only 1% duty thru them. I've shipped into Panama via MW & other services many times and never had anything go missing nor know anyone who has (where are you hearing this rubbish about this in both Panama & the Rio?). Some gringos, both on the Rio & in Panama seem determined to make importation hard when in fact it is dead easy in both locations. Maybe they get ripped off in some of the goofy schemes they come up with. I've puzzled over this odd form of self-defeating behavior for years...gave up trying to help them...they are like Lemmings marching off a cliff.
Panama is more expensive than the Rio, but still moderately priced in the big scheme of things. Some skilled labor available, but less so than the Rio, and at higher rates. Panama would not be my first choice for a major refit
(the Rio would be), but its certainly viable.
He got one thing right, Colon is a dump, but there is no reason for you to go there. Do you think you need to for some reason?