Expat Interviews: Lee Zeltzer of Boquete Guide in Panama
Lee Zelter knows Boquete, Panama. It’s almost as if it’s in his blood. His blog Boquete Guide is a must read for those who are considering the move to Boquete or for those who have already made the jump.
Viva Tropical took a moment with Lee to dig a bit deeper into his reasons for calling Panama home for the past 7 years. His answers might just surprise you.
Why did you choose to move to Panama and specifically Boquete?
We researched for several years while waiting for our youngest to finish high school. We visited Europe, Mexico, Costa Rica and last Panama. We decided on Panama for several reasons.
Cost of living was lower than Europe and the U.S. Mexico was getting too violent. Costa Rica was a boat we missed and crime was heading up as an anti-gringo attitude was developing.
The pluses of Panama were that in a time when the dollar was falling against other currencies, Panama used dollars so we would not be hurt by varying exchange rates. Panama has a hundred years of U.S. involvement and to Panamanians Americans are nothing new.
Gringo is a description not a swear word here. We loved the temperate climate and relative isolation of Boquete. It was time to leave city life and try something new.
There was a significant English-speaking international community in Boquete which made for an easy integration. My wife lasted 18 months, it was too much of a change for her. I stayed and love it here.
How long have you lived there?
Seven years in August 2013
Where where you living previously?
Tucson, AZ, U.S.
What do you do with your time?
I work online, write online and play online. I also travel extensively in South and Central America.
What surprised you when you first came to Boquete/Panama?
How many shades of green exist!
What advice can you give someone who is thinking about moving to Boquete/Panama?
Learn Spanish first, leave your preconceived attitudes at home and do not check your brains at the airport. This is a different world.
Anything else you’d like to say?
I have much more about the entire experience at this link. The entire Panamania series reflects the move, transition and experience.