Cell phone coverage in Boquete, Panama

Blog by Terry Richmeier

The first month that we moved to Central America and stayed in Panama City, Panama. We thought, “What have we done!?” We were without communication to the states! Within days of arrival, we ran up to the mall, purchased some in-expensive phones and minutes, along with a phone number! Now, we thought, we will be ok!

However, I sat on the bed in the condo that we were renting and plugged in the phone to start charging it. (We had to stay in the City in order to finish up our residency.) And realized, this is a local phone with no way to call my Mom and Dad or my friends back in the states! Which I desperately needed to call! I felt lonely and scared!

So, I began to look for different ways to communicate with limited Wi-Fi. (Our condo only had a small phone device for Wi-Fi.) Well, it wasn’t easy, however, we did end up Skyping to our friend who would take over her laptop to my parents and we had set up a weekly. Boom, connected again!

So, my question is, “Is it just a problem here in Panama? Or all around the world? Is my experience an isolated experience based on my own lack of knowledge?”

Here is another story from Amy Kinnear and her experience with a U.S. carrier before moving here to Boquete, Panama:

The Joys of Communicating Overseas. Before getting a new cellphone carrier, I made sure to let them know that it was extremely important that I had a phone that could work in Panama. They promised me that when I went to Panama I would was have unlimited text and data, as well as be able to make calls. It would just be more expensive. I stupidly believed them. A few months later I decided to move to Panama and would be flying to Panama City to meet my parents, for our connection to David, Panama. I had only been to Panama once before and was nervous because my Spanish is horrible. I was not stressing much at first because my carrier assured me multiple times that my phone would work in Panama. I would just call and let my parents know when I got to Panama City, so that we could meet before the flight to David. A soon as the plane landed, I called them. No signal! My heart dropped. What was I going to do if they needed to reach me? “No worries,” I told myself. I would follow their instructions on how to get to my next gate. I had a gut feeling that they were not going to make our connection. How on earth was I going to get to Boquete? What was I going to do once I got there? I had no way to get in their house without the keys, and I needed a place to stay. If my carrier would have worked the way they promised, I could have just called my folks. I did not even have data like I was told I would. So I could not message them on Facebook either. I was able to pay to use the airport’s Wi-Fi. I tried to contact my mom on messenger, but her phone was not working. I had to message my ex-boyfriend, so that he could text my mom to see what the plan was while I was also messaging everyone I had met in Panama last year to see if I could get a ride from David to Boquete once I landed. Finally I Facebook called Manzar to see if Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast had a room available and if they knew anyone I could call for a taxi. It all worked out in the end, but needless to say I am very upset with my ex-provider. I went a few weeks without a local phone, but I felt uncomfortable only to be able to call if I was connected to Wi-Fi. The phones are very affordable here. I have a very basic local phone, but it is nice to know that I can communicate with people while I am out and about, and it only cost about $20!

So, there are several options available for you here in Panama. First, if you are just traveling here, you can get International coverage by contacting your own cell phone provider. Or you can purchase a worldwide usage phone. And another option is to purchase a SIM card upon arrival so you have a local phone number and then purchase minutes through a purchased cell phone minutes card. And also remember that you can buy a monthly data plan which has unlimited data use. This would be good for use wherever there is WIFI and you can connect with family and friends back at home through WhatsApp or contact an Uber or taxi driver without costing any more money!

Now, if you are planning to relocate to Panama, outside of the options that are listed above, you can bring with you a Vonage phone and keep your local number. You will be able to stay in touch with all your family and friends!

We here at Casa de Montaña bed and breakfast know how important staying connected is! We do our best to keep you connected and we can help you with contacting people close or far! So, come and stay with us and relax knowing that you can get in contact back at home!

Stress-free vacation to Boquete, Panama over the holidays!

Blog by Terry Richmeier

 

As I sit in front of my computer and ponder, “Man alive, I need a vacation!” I begin to wonder why I feel so stressed. I sit here thinking that I don’t have time to ponder the “whys” of feeling stressed! I’ve got to buy this gift for that person and I’ve got to get gas on the way home and I’ve got to make something for that holiday party to share, or do I just stop off and buy something?

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Meanwhile, on Facebook, many of my Facebook friends are posting newsfeeds and I can hardly keep up! I have just fallen behind and need to focus back on these newsfeeds, “like” them and possibly comment. Oh, and my cell phone just buzzed that I have a message through WhatsApp. As I look at it, I have just received a message from a friend asking for a ride into town when I go to get groceries. Of course I say “sure, no problem” and proceed to spend the next five minutes writing a detailed response letting my friend know that I will be going on Thursday this time instead of my normal Wednesday as I already have alternate plans for Wednesday.

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While writing this detailed message on WhatsApp, my phone rings and with annoyance in my voice I answer and say “Hello”. Well, it’s Manzar and he is asking me where I am. Once again, I feel the blood pressure rise. “Why the hell did you call to ask me where I am?.” What was a simple question to make sure that I am at a point and place that I can answer my phone and that I can talk to him, became an instant annoyance for me and that is where I know that something is wrong! I’m stressed!

Upon reflecting on my level of stress, I begin to realize many different things. First I need a get-away plan. Go far away from here, where I can relax. Where I can I go to renew myself. So, let’s begin to plan a trip! I will start by getting airline tickets. Log onto the airline and pull out the charge card. Next, I need a place to lay my head. Pull out the charge card and done. Then, I need to plan some activities to help me relax. Charge card and done. I notice a pattern – it is really not that difficult to plan everything once I realized that I needed some time for myself!

Ok, I can’t wait for my vacation so I can relax. Except that it’s going to take me a year to pay that Charge Card off! Oh well, that stress factor can wait until I’m done with my trip.

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Ok, the time is here to pack. I’ve got everything including my swimsuit and my laptop. This way, I can make sure all my friends on Facebook know that I’m relaxing and having a great time!!! I will post pictures of my events and of course, all the good food I am eating! I can get a Sim Card while I’m there and that way I can get to contact with the rest of the world. Also, I can check my work emails and I can still get that project done for work. Ok, so stop and look at what just happened to me. I am taking a vacation because I needed a respite from all the social media and from the electronic world and then, I bring it with me on my respite!

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How many of us do this? What has happened that we need to be in contact on the social media all the time? Why is it that we feel completely welded to our electronic devices? How many of us feel rested and ready to come back from our vacation refreshed? If you do, I commend you. As for me, I know that when it’s time for a vacation, I’m going to “Take a trip on the Wild Side” and leave my computer. Leave my cell phone. Leave my Social media. Leave all those stress factors back at home. Live in the present. I believe that this will be a difficult but worthy task and that the gain from this will be the rest, relaxation, and respite that I need.

Perhaps, for your next vacation and get a way, maybe think about eliminating the electronic connection to the stressful world that you are living in, just for a few days anyway!

I hope to tell you that I had an incredible experience. I hope to tell you that we actually spent some quality time together! That no matter what we did with our time, it was ours and it was not robbed from us. That no one we know experienced our vacation through social media until we returned home and shared it with everyone. Tranquility, serenity and renewal can all come together. Now, that’s a “Trip on the wild side”!

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While you are waiting to take that much-needed vacation, here is a link that has ways to reduce your stress right now!

http://greatist.com/happiness/23-scientifically-backed-ways-reduce-stress-right-now

Plan your vacation during the cold winter months now and stay with us at Casa de Montaña where we can take the worry (and stress!) out of your planning. Let us help you in coordinating all the activities while you stay with us. Or you can just come and chill out and not do a thing while you de-compress from all of your responsibilities back home.

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