Digs in Panama – Travel Blog

Digs in Panama

While Digs operates solely in New York, we have many friends and clients outside New York who are very good to us who we try to see periodically (so they don’t forget about us).

Why Panama?

As we have written about before, every year on Thanksgiving, we host a charity auction. All our guests bring things they no longer want or need that they think someone else at our Thanksgiving will want. They auction off their services, like soccer coaching and babysitting. They auction off their vacation homes. We raised the most money yet at our Thanksgiving 2018. We were raising money for HIAS. HIAS protects refugees who have been forced to flee their homelands because of who they are, including ethnic, religious, and sexual minorities.

What does this have to do with Panama?

We had 30 guests at our 2018 Thanksgiving, including our friends Yosi and Vivi, and their beautiful daughter Raquel, who are from Panama City and were living in NYC at the time. Yosi was kind enough to auction off his mother’s amazing beach house in Santa Clara, which we all bid up, and Dan’s mom (also a Digs client) won! She was kind enough to invite the family to join her on an adventure in Panama.

It was quite a house…

And quite an adventure…

Panama Accomplishments

We spend the winter holidays in Panama this year with the whole Gotlieb clan: Dan’s parents, his aunt and uncle, and his sister and her family. Our goals on our trip: see our friends, explore Panama City and its architecture and real estate, eat good food, rest and get some much needed sun.

In the end, our first extended family vacation was a success, and our trouble maker even behaved himself! Some of the highlights:

  • We went on a boat tour looking for monkeys. We spotted three different species of monkeys, and fed them bananas and nuts out of the palms of our hands! That’s Owen’s little hand feeding a little monkey!

  • We watched massive ships being raised in the Panama Canal. You really can’t appreciate just how spectacular the Panama Canal is until you see it in person. We learned a lot about how the Canal was built, how many people died, how they eradicated malaria in the region, how difficult the terrain is (and how thick the rain forest is) which is why the building of the Canal failed more than once and took so long to build. It is a true engineering feat and definitely worth a visit. The movie we watched at the Canal, narrated by Morgan Freeman, was also pretty great.

  • We spent time with our friends at their amazing house and at the beach in Santa Clara. This was a real treat because our friends moved back to Panama City this past summer, and we didn’t get a chance to say goodbye to them. It was so nice for Owen and Raquel to play together again, and we had a lovely lunch on the beach with Yosi.

  • We explored Panama City. The Panama City skyline is really impressive. You don’t see skylines like this in too many places.

  • I took my boot off for the first time in 6+ weeks! My foot still hurts, but, thankfully, I am on the mend.
  • The kids stayed up late almost every night and woke up early every morning.
  • We all enjoyed great food, wine and company.

Panama City Real Estate

The Panama City skyline is remarkable and far beyond what we expected. 16 of the 25 tallest buildings in Latin America are in Panama City. In the early 2000s, the city experienced a construction boom, with many new buildings being built. We learned that real estate values in Panama City have increased a lot in recent years, but that salaries have not kept up, and it is hard for most people to afford to buy a home. According to our friends, the best way to make money in Panama is by owning your own business since salaries are quite low.


Digs Realty is a residential real estate brokerage in NYC that provides full service at a discount. The Digs Mission: Saving you money without compromising service. We give our home buyers up to 67% of our commission and charge our sellers up to 4% less than traditional brokerages.


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