After a nice long sleep we got on our phones trying to find a car to buy. We needed something to pick the four dogs plus their crates up at the airport the following day, so it was the only task for the day. The termperature all day was very high around 34 Celsius and the humidity was high! You cannot really prepare for what its going to really be like, but I might compare it to a steam/sauna, hot moist and you can’t get away from it!
So after spending a few hours on our phones we headed to a used car dealer that we had seen the prior day on the way in to town. The dealer (as it is in the states) wanted way too much for the quality of vehicles he was selling. It seemes like our only option until the phone rang and it was a friendly voice saying he could meet us to show us the Jeep we had messaged about on Craigslist. We met him about 30 minutes later, did a test drive and more or less said “we’ll take it”. Now the tricky part begins…..
In Panama as I said before you have to purchase insurance before you can drive. This applies to purchases as well as rentals. We lucked out that “Tom” our new favorite person in the world, had the day available and could sort of walk us through the process. We contacted an insurance agent who was located right in Coronado and agreed to meet us at his office to get it all going.
POINTER: Car buying process
find a car you want
get signed title, paperwork, etc
get proof of insurance
take all of that to an auto repair shot to have a “Revisado” done
then here’s where it gets tricky, you either go to the city or you can pay someone to go to the municipality where your car was originally licensed and do all the paperwork (sort of like the DMV)
As you will come to learn from our stories much of what happens in Panama is backwards or very different from what happens in the states. Takes license plates for example, you get a new one every year! Yes a whole brand new plate! Not just stickers (that would make too much sense), whole brand new stamped plates. Our Jeep needed them so we decided to pay the $150 to use a local man named “Tyrone” to take care of it for us. We didn’t have the time or the knowledge to get it done on our own so we paid for his expertise!
Once we had the insurance in place we took the Jeep in for the “revisado” and at least knew we were somewhat legal for our trip to The City the next day.
We had done our homework about the things to do in town so we knew Wednesday night was the happy hour at Picasso’s in Coronado. We made the trek in our new Jeep and very happy we did! There were lots of ex-pats, visitors, and happy friendly faces around! We saw some young faces (which you will learn are few and far between) so we sat down and said hi! They were a young couple in from Colorado that were considering a move to Panama.
Since we had just made the same “leap” we had much to talk about with them. It also made me feel better about our decision as “kids” fresh out of college were considering making this their home also. We wrapped up our night shortly after as we had an early start planned in the morning! Our dogs were coming the next day! YAY!