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We are living most of the year in PANAMA (in Panama City) now that we are retired. We visit the kids and grand babies in the US two times a year, Spring and Fall. It has been interesting living in a different culture and attempting to learn a new language, Spanish. Since I am gluten and dairy free, food also has caused some adjustments. The traditional Panamanian diet is based on rice, meat or fish, mostly roots or squash vegetables, and lots of tropical fruits. So, there's a lot that's safe here to eat. However, Panama is very much a melting pop of cultures from around the world because of the Canal, and so are the available foods and restaurants. The supermarkets, very similar to any of those in the US, carry quite a variety. But, I find I need to go to a number of different places to get what I need. I find that Ribba Smith (chain of stores all over town), and Super Kosher Deli (bottom floor of Multicentro Mall), and one small "health food" store in Paitilla called Organica, are the best places to shop for specialty items. I also, can find some things in El Rey and Super 99 (especially tapioca/yuca flour). There are NO gluten-free dedicated bakeries here, so if you want bread you will need to bake it yourself. Items come in by ship through the Canal, so at times there may be stretches when items are missing from the shelves. Plus, there is not the variety of flavors or bands that are available in the US. So, we pack very light when going to the US and plan to do lots of shopping to bring things back. Medical care here is excellent, and in some ways we are finding BETTER than what we experienced in the US...certainly a lot less expensive! There is much medical tourism because of this.


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I know it's been a very long time since you've posted, but I am a super sensitive celiac thinking of traveling to Panama. How did you find people in Panama were in regards to your allergy when eating out? Did you have problems explaining the dangers of cross-contamination?

Thank you so much for your help!


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