Jackie Lange founded Panama Relocation Tours in 2010, when she moved to Boquete, Panama. Jackie has been an active Panama resident and business owner ever since. Jackie relocated to Boquete from Texas with her husband, to whom she was married for 45-years. Sadly, her husband unexpectedly passed away a few years ago and Jackie has been on her wonderful Panama journey on her own ever since. Her journey, which had only one, but non-negotiable, requirement: it must include great weather! As Jackie stated, “I wanted to live in a place where I’d never need an air conditioner or a heater again. I spent 18-months exploring many different countries before I found the perfect place for me; Boquete, Panama!” Jackie has found many advantages when she made the big move to another country. The biggest ones, of course, “Many areas in Panama offer a much more affordable lifestyle. The weather is the big draw for many people who move to Panama. You can literally pick your ideal temperature based on the elevation in Panama.”
Of course, Jackie points out that there isn’t any place that is entirely perfect. As she stated, “There are always some disadvantages to living in Chiriqui province (where Boquete is located), as it is not easy to get to. Given there are no direct flights to North America from David, so you have to go through Panama City, which often requires an overnight stay.” Picking your preferred temperature is nice, but it may require some extra travel; but given the natural beauty and weather in Boquete.
If you ask Jackie, she will argue that those extra miles are well worth it, which is why, since moving to Panama, she has lived exclusively in Beautiful Boquete. As she always advises her clients, when Jackie first moved to Boquete, she rented a house, she did not buy. “A year after moving to Panama, however, I purchased the house I had been renting. So, I have lived in the same house since moving to Panama.”
It is in that house she started one of the most prominent businesses in Boquete: Panama Relocation Tours. We asked her how this company was started. Jackie replied, “I’ve been a real estate investor for 30-years and have another company where I offer online training for real estate investors. When I told them I was moving to Panama, they were curious and asked me to organize a tour of Panama. I did a tour for eight people in 2010 to teach them the things I had learned about, such as how to get a Visa, how to bring pets into Panama, where to buy health insurance, etc. Shortly after that, I got calls from their friends and neighbors asking when my next tout would be. I did another tour and the request for information kept coming. So, I built a website and started offering tours.” Tours that are literally booked every week – all year long. Not bad for someone who planned to retire, but instead has completed “More than 150 all-inclusive 6-day Panama Relocation Tours.” Remarkably, 67% of the people who attend a Panama Relocation Tour move to Panama have relocated to Panama. Since 2010, Jackie’s company has helped tens of thousands of people move to Panama. Jackie continues to support BVB, in fact, in her upcoming fund-raiser, Jackie is donating a percentage of the proceeds to our non-profit organization. Thank you, Jackie Lange and the Panama Relocation Tours; you are amongst the Boquete Best!
The company that Jackie started by accident, is called the Panama Relocation Tours, which offers all-inclusive 6-day 7-night tours of the most popular places to live in Panama. When the (big yellow charter) bus is traveling from one location to another, it’s like a rolling seminar to teach people all the things they need to know to have a smooth move to Panama. By the end of the tour, the tourists go from clueless – to – totally confident in being able to make a move to Panama. After a tour, at no additional cost, Jackie offers ongoing support before, during, and after they move to Panama. Jackie now also offers Private Tours of the most popular places to live in Panama and most of our Private Tour Guides are Panamanians.
For additional support, Jackie offers her very comprehensive and informative Complete Panama Relocation Guide. This helpful tool is for those who prefer to explore Panama on their own, but still need accurate information and reliable contacts when moving to Panama.
Although Jackie is thrilled by the success of her company, she did find some struggles getting it ‘rolling.’ As Jackie stated, “It is very difficult to start a business in Panama. Initially, I got a Pensionado Visa, but you cannot work in Panama if you have that Visa. So, I renounced that Visa for a Visa that allowed me to get a work permit – so I could legally work in Panama. There is a lot of red tape and many expenses to open a business in Panama.” Her hard work finally paid off, but that was after five long and arduous years, which is when Jackie finally saw a profit in her business. As she urges, “It’s important when you have a business to reinvest money into marketing, buses, etc. Luckily, I had income from my other business.” The payoff is not just for Jackie and her tourists, but Panama Relocation Tours also pumps a lot of money into the Panama economy, which helps to provide jobs for Panamanians.” A success story for the community at large, indeed.
The success is not just the employment of locals, but it also being able to support non-profits and waking up every day in awe of the beauty in Boquete. Certainly, there are always challenges running any business, but as Jackie states, “It’s rewarding to see people happy when they move to Panama after going on a Panama Relocation Tour, a Private Tour, or buying the Complete Panama Relocation Guide. So many people have told me that they could have never been able to make the move without our help.” That is a very rewarding feeling for Jackie. She also finds it gratifying that she has been able to help many people in Panama set up their own online business to supplements their income, which relieves much of their financial stress. Jackie also recognizes that her hard work affords her the good fortune of giving back to Panama by way of charitable donations, which is a wonderful way to demonstrate one’s humanity.
Given her many accomplishments, we asked Jackie if she believed that she had met the goal she set for her company when she first started it. Her response was not a surprise, which was a resounding, “YES!” So, what was this goal? Simple, “To always provide the information (good and bad) about living in Panama so people can make an informed decision about relocating to Panama…or not. If someone comes on a Panama Relocation Tour, then determines that Panama is not for them, we have done our job. We want to help people avoid expensive mistakes. When someone comes on a Panama Relocation Tour or buys the Complete Panama Relocation Guide, then that person has a smooth hassle-free move to Panama, we did our job; and that accomplishment makes me proud!” Jackie, in our estimation, has a great deal for which she should be proud!
For those of you contemplating a move to Panama and you are looking for some free (very expert) advice, Jackie offers you these nuggets:
1. Never ever rent a house without personally seeing it yourself. Get a hotel room or an Airbnb for a week while you go look at rentals. Always demand to speak with the owner, because some real estate agents charge much more than the owner was really asking.
2. Never ever buy a house without living in Panama at least a year. A year gives you time to get your permanent Visa, to make sure you like Panama, and time to make sure you like the area you have selected. You should not buy a house until you have your Permanent Visa, because (although it is rare) some people get denied a Visa. Also, 70% of the people who move to Panama, move to a different area within 6 months. Many people find that, the weather in the first place they have selected, is either too hot, too humid, or too cold.
As Jackie notes, flexibility to move in your newly adopted country, can lead to future happiness. If you find happiness, then you can just sit back, relax, and enjoy the spectacular views from your beautiful Panama property, just like Jackie does during her free time; well, that and giving back to the Panama community that has given her so much. As Jackie stated, “There are so many needs in Panama. I am proud that I am able to donate money to help make Panama a better place to live. Buenos Vecinos and other charities provide much needed services in Panama. Panama is a better place to live due to their efforts. I always recommend that people pick a charity, then volunteer their time if they can or donate money if they do not have time. Every person can make a difference in making Panama a better place to live.” There is no doubt that Jackie Lange has made a difference for Buenos Vecinos and for the entire Boquete community she loves immensely!
Thank you, Jackie Lange for all you do to support us and our Beautiful Boquete community!