Movie Ramifications

Most North Americans actually know very little about Panama. There is the Panama Canal and the invasion by the United States to depose General Manuel Noriega more than 30 years ago, but generally, that completes the list. In a recent poll, individuals in the US, Canada and seven other countries were asked about their knowledge of Panama and the responses were, “a Banana Republic”; people “living in huts with dirt roads”, high crime, drugs and cronyism. Meals in their mind consisted of, beans, rice and plantains.

Not a hut or dirt road in sight, but most North Americans are unaware of the “real” Panama.


Don’t Judge A Country By Its Movies

Much of the misconception stems from what people see in movies and television. Panama has been the topic of several reality shows such as Top Chef, The Amazing Race, Survivor, and The Hero with Dwayne Johnson. All shows, with the exception of Top Chef, focused on difficulty navigating the rainforest and jungle, native Indians and travel by dug-out canoe.


Movies that feature Panama generally focus on drugs, money laundering and spying. Almost all are violent and come with lots of guns, exploding vehicles and bodice-ripping. For example, The Tailor of Panama, starring Pierce Bronson and Jamie Lee Curtis as a British couple sent to Panama to spy. They hire another Brit but this one is carrying secrets of his own. Watch a trailer and you’ll see bags of money, guns and, of course, the CIA.


Highlighting the Panama Papers

Not a single scene of The Laundromat was filmed in Panama, but rather in the United States.

The movie, The Laundromat starring Meryl Streep begins with a somewhat befuddled, but smart and determined retired midwestern woman who is committed to finding out why her husband’s life insurance money, which she is rightfully owed, is not being paid. In the end, the policy is useless since it is entangled in the “Panama Papers”. The rest of the movie focuses on billionaires robbing innocent people who have lived modestly, and lost their life savings; then Streep takes the unusual action of making a direct appeal for people to vote. She calls for reform “on corruption in the real-world political system.”.


Probably the most egregious film was “Panama” starring Mel Gibson which was released this year. It covers an imaginary top-secret arms deal going down in Panama which just happens to coincide with the US invasion of Panama to dispose of the dictator, Manuel Noriega. While the invasion happened more than 30 years ago, there is no question people could assume it was today’s Panama. It is interesting to note that Gibson is routinely in Panama seeking medical treatment for his father, but he filmed an inaccurate movie about Panama in Puerto Rico.


Et tu Bourdain?

Even beloved chef and entertainer, Anthony Bourdain, did a huge disservice to Panama when he filmed his uber-popular series “No Reservations”. Usually, Bourdain talks about the food and uniqueness of a location, but in Panama, he focused on “no technology” and ended the show by helping the police dispose of several tons of cocaine seized in the Darien. True, the Kunas live without technology, but he didn’t mention the world-class technology in Panama City! Instead of reporting on the amazing food scene in Panama, he chose to highlight food eaten baked outdoors in banana leaves by the Kunas.

What luck for Panama that the very unusual occurrence of a cocaine seizure happened the same time Anthony Bourdain was there filming his show “No Reservations.”


There isn’t a single hut for sale in Panama, but there are some stunning beach-front homes, condotels and million dollar views in lovely sections of the city with plenty of great technology. The food scene is amazing and just getting better for foodies worldwide.


Residency in 30 Days Still available

The ability to gain quick residency is still being offered for a $300,000 real estate investment. The multinational companies must not go to the movies because more and more are relocating mainly in Costa del Este with employees looking to rent both short-and long-term.

Balconies with sweeping views add to Nogal’s commitment to live in harmony with the beautiful green surroundings.

Nogal is the perfect spot to gain residency and have a beautiful home as your residence or as an investment. Located in the heart of Panama’s de facto business center means you are within walking distance of great food, retail and entertainment. Amenities include two pools, a gym and running track, superior internet connection, banquet room for parties, co-working business center, on-site management, private parking and up to just over 1400 square feet.


Another building, Arcadia, is under construction and moving rapidly trying to catch up after the pandemic. Located steps away from Costa del Este’s Central Park, the 46-floor residential tower is perfect for the young professional or the ex-pat executive seeking an amenity-filled lifestyle. A master bedroom with en-suite and walk-in closet, living space featuring an area for a home office, dining and living areas, a fully-equipped kitchen, and private laundry room. Arcadia has 24-hour security, a business center, concierge, social area, cinema, gymnasium, and an infinity pool. Restaurants and retail are located on the first floors.


Due to Arcadia’s popular location and ability to create an income stream through its hotel license, there are only a few units left in this amazing building in such an enviable location. Studio, one- and two-bedroom units are currently on offer.

Arcadia is located in the heart of upscale Costa del Este and is only ten minutes from Tocumen International Airport. The residences can be rented as a hotel suite.

There are other options for investment including a few close-out units in Casa Bonita and Royal Palm. Both complexes are located on the beach. Casa Bonita is just over the bridge and 15 minutes from the city. Uber rides are around $9 from the city. Royal Palm is steps from the ocean and the ex-pat haven of Gorgona. Both of these properties are very rentable and currently are priced to sell. For cash, the terms can be even better.


If you would like to know more about Panama for real estate  or investment, I’d love to show you around and answer any questions. With excellent schools and health care to go along with the fabulous food scene, Panama pretty much has it all.. Unless you already are in the know, I guarantee you will be surprised. Visit my website: or drop me an email: to connect and don’t go to a movie featuring Panama!


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