Copleys at los Islotes

The Copleys Move To Mango Village in Los Islotes

In 2007 my husband Tom and I planned a vacation in Cancún.

Then, in October, weeks before our trip, the hotel was damaged by a hurricane.

We decided to change our plans.

Looking at the map, we picked Panama as our replacement destination… primarily because, we realized, it doesn’t get hurricanes. 

We arrived in Panama for the first time for what amounted to practical reasons. Once here, though, it was love at first sight. We were won over immediately by the country and by the people. We’ve been returning as often as we could ever since.

Finally, we agreed that we wanted to do more than come and go as tourists. We wanted to make Panama our home… at least part-time.

We’ve been reading Kathleen Peddicord for years… since she was living in Ireland. More recently, we’ve been following her husband’s writings, too.

When Kathleen and Lief began writing about their efforts at Los Islotes, on Panama’s western Azuero coast, it got our attention.

From what we read, Los Islotes had everything we wanted in a part-time retirement home—a private beach, a warm climate, lush mountainous terrain (that remind us of the Hobbit movies), and a gated community.

We shopped around… considered other coastal options in Panama… but nothing fit us the way Los Islotes fit us. Affordability was a key factor.

Now, three years later, we are moving into our just-finished home in Los Islotes’ Mango Village neighborhood.

Our plan is to spend as much time at Los Islotes as possible. We intend to be here every winter… and to spend summer months on Lake Superior in Superior, Wisconsin, where we’re from.

When we decided to build a house at Los Islotes, we weren’t sure, frankly, what we’d do with it. We’ve owned and managed rental properties in the United States and thought we could do that here, too.

Now that the house is finished, though, and we’ve gotten to know Los Islotes better, we’re thinking we don’t want to rent our new little casa. We want to live in it ourselves!

Our plan now is to hire a property manager back in the States so we can spend as much time as possible in our new home in Panama.

We’re here now indefinitely. We’re going to live in our new home while getting to know the area better and trying to gauge the real demand for rentals. Eventually, we think we might rent out this house and build another one on another lot in a different section of Los Islotes.

Back in the States, Tom worked for Motorola as a cellular communications engineer. He was in their overseas division. This took him to 23 countries, mostly in Central and South America. That travel helped to make our transition to part-time living in Panama easier.

I spent my career as a board-certified advanced practice nurse and retired from St. Cloud State University as a professor of psychiatric nursing. I bring that experience with me now to our new home.

When we were younger, we enjoyed ice fishing, cross-country skiing, ice-skating, and building snowmen.

Now, we look forward to building sand castles on our beach, helping baby turtles find their way back into the ocean, and being warm all the time.

We’re embarking on a whole new chapter. And having the time of our lives.

Darlene Copley