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PanamAndrew.com

Working, Living and Playing in Panamá

Panamá has many things: A great metro system, plenty of malls and shops, a couple bustling causeways, great food, fresh fruits and vegetables, and all the internet connectivity I came to expect when living in Canada. We can find almost everything we need here, and are eating healthier than we ever did in Vancouver (except for all the fried chicken… but it’s so good here!).

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However, when we can’t find a particular item, we turn to Amazon. But how do we get Amazon in Panamá?

When we were moving here we did some research and found that despite Panamá being nearly a first world country, it still lacks a decent and safe postal service. Things tend to just “get lost”. The answer? Private sector to the rescue! 🙂

Mail Boxes Etc. is a service we decided to go with, mainly because it’s super close to where we live, it’s been around for a while in many different countries, and it uses UPS or Fedex as its underlying courier company. We simply registered with them and got a postal address in Florida. Then anything we order (or that our friends or families send us) goes to that Florida address and is then couriered to the local Mail Boxes Etc. store. After that we go and pick it up. They hold packages there for a month, so it’s actually more convenient than having to be home at a specific time to receive packages.

This is my bike ride from our place to go pick up mail:

 

This all comes at a cost, of course. They charge by the weight, and you have to pay some duties or taxes on some specific items, but on the whole the convenience of it all makes up for those costs. Some months my bill is $35, but it’s been as high as $400 when we first moved here and needed to order a vacuum and our surround sound system (well, maybe we didn’t need the sound system, but, hey).

The only downside is, it’s super expensive to mail stuff out, even a letter, because it has to be couriered to Florida first. For example, I needed to send in a document to my brokerage in Canada and it cost $65! For letters that aren’t so important, it may be fine to use the postal service, but we haven’t tried yet. Hopefully we can figure out a good solution to mail out all our wedding thank you’s, or we’ll have to start a Kickstarter campaign for it!

Bike Face

Bike Face

 

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