In the News from Panama

Toronto Couple Finds New Life in Panama

This is a story we hear all the time. A couple finds themselves in a rut in the big city and decides to start a new life in beautiful Panama. We never grow tired of hearing it, which is why it was great to read about Anthea Stanley and Ryan Somes and the life they have created in the little beach town of Santa Catalina.

The couple bought a property in the popular surfing spot in 2013 while still working jobs in Toronto’s financial sector, according to a nice article on blogTO. They felt like their lives were “devoid of passion, stuck in an endless cycle of work, party, kids, repeat,” they told the publication. They longed to “recapture the magic of their honeymoon in Bali and international travels.”

Sound familiar? Their answer was Panama Real Estate.

They shipped a 40-foot container to Panama and started their new life. COVID delayed construction, but today they are owners of Catalina’s Hideaway, a nine-room hotel, with a 26-person capacity and a 5,000-square-foot outdoor restaurant and bar. The hotel sits on six acres outside of town with 200 meters of beach, the type of setting you can’t find anywhere else in the world.

The construction and transitional experience weren’t easy. “We slowly learned the language, parts of the culture, and the idiosyncrasies of moving to a small jungle beach town from the biggest city in Canada,” Somes said. “We were in a foreign country, barely able to communicate with the locals, building a tourism business with the entire world’s airports being closed.”

Despite the COVID restrictions, they were able to move forward with construction on their dream project. 

“We kept on building. The final months leading up to our opening day were chaos with our team working around the clock,” Somes.

Their family is now entrenched in Panama and they have no regrets.

“From a family perspective we all have more time together and more time in nature,” Somes says. “It has not been without its stresses, some really major ones, especially when you walk away from very stable careers, but waking up in warm weather and surrounded by palm trees and the ocean definitely makes managing your stress a little easier.”

They no longer remember the day of the week and work when they need to. They have no plans to move back to Canada. “We don’t know if we’ll live in Panama forever but right now there is no place we’d rather be,” Somes said.