Why did expat Susanna Perkins from Florida move to Panama?

When you are considering moving overseas, the best way to learn about a prospective country is to talk to other expats. Even after living in Panama for more than five years, I love to hear other’s stories of how they got here, what brought them to move to Panama, and what their experience has been. Every single person I talk to has an interesting story. I’m pleased today to share a recent interview I did with Susanna Perkins, who just celebrated her first year of living in Panama on March 13, 2013.

Susanna Perkins

Susanna Perkins, an expat in Panama

Susanna and her husband moved from Orlando, Florida to Las Tablas, a small town in Panama’s Interior in March of 2012. While her husband is retired, Susanna works full-time in her own online consulting businesses. One is Future Expats Forum, which she began to chronicle their process of moving abroad in 2009. The other is WordPress Building Blocks, which helps non-technical people get educated about building their own websites.

Elizabeth Vance:  Susanna, why did you choose Panama as your new country?

Susanna Perkins: Elizabeth, first of all, thanks for the opportunity to speak with you. I always say when people ask me that question ‘Do as I say, not as I do.’ The short answer is that we were whacked by the economic meltdown in the U.S. in 2009. We were interested in a more affordable lifestyle – where we could actually live comfortably on our income. We wanted to stay close to the U.S., so we could travel easily to see our grown children. After a lot of evaluation, we cut down our list to three countries: Mexico, Ecuador and Panama.

Susanna’s story is very interesting – especially for those seeking lower costs of living, and also looking at Panama for retirement. To read the full interview, please get The Gringo Guide to Panama II: More to Know Before You Go, and get the whole story.

Special thanks to Susanna Perkins for her willingness to share her Panama story with The Gringo Guide to Panama! If you have not read my personal story, consider getting an e-copy or a paperback of my first book on Amazon. Because it’s the things you need to know before you go that will ensure your success as an expat in Panama.

(Photo courtesy of Susanna Perkins.)

About Elizabeth Vance

Having lived in Central America for the past six years, and traveled extensively around the world for the past 36 years, Elizabeth Vance considers herself a world citizen. She's been fortunate enough to gain a global viewpoint through her experiences, while cultivating a love for the human condition and her fellow people. Author of The Gringo Guide to Panama - What to Know Before You Go and The Gringo Guide to Panama II: More to Know Before You Go, Elizabeth loves to share and connect with people moving to Panama and the Panama expat community.


  1. Elizabeth, it was a pleasure speaking with you the other day. Thanks so much for taking the time to get acquainted.

    • Thanks Susanna! Your story will help others who are checking Panama out and considering making a similar move. Congrats again on your first anniversary!

      • islandAntoinette says:

        Aloha Susanna and Elizabeth Vance : I did what you said to do to find out information on this site. It sent me to your post here.
        I see where you say: Susanna Perkins: We’ve also found a really good vet in Las Tablas, which is important because as I mentioned, we brought our three dogs with us.
        I really need to know the NAME of this vet and any contact information i.e. phone number address etc. From either of you nice ladies. I have been calling there is no directory assistance in Panama from what internatinal operator tells me. Please help: Thank you Antoinette
        THANK YOU Antoinette Jackson

        • hi Antoinette, thanks for your comment! I don’t have the particular name of the vet in Las Tablas unfortunately. Let me send a note to Susanna and ask her to get back to you with that.

          You are correct that there is no directory assistance per se (like we enjoy in the U.S.) here in Panama. And, if there were, it would be in Spanish, of course.

          Good luck to you!

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