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How To Buy A Yacht In Panama City, Panama

Marina Nazario | April 28, 2021

Denison yacht broker Juno Prudhomm takes us through the process of buying a boat in Panama City.

Panama City is the capital of Panama and located on the Pacific coast of the country. It’s known for its cobblestoned historic center, vibrant cafes and bars, and the Miraflores Locks, which offer views of ships traveling through the Panama Canal.

Panama City is often overlooked as a base to visit the canal or as a stopover to South America, but it actually offers plenty of activities and opportunities for visitors. This dynamic city seamlessly meshes modern and traditional cultures. Here you can visit Casco Viejo (a UNESCO World Heritage site), hike Cerro Ancon to spot wildlife, or embark on a fishing trip. As it’s surrounded by two major bodies of water, boating is a popular activity in Panama and there are plenty of opportunities to buy a boat in Panama City.

Miami-based yacht broker, Juno Prudhomm is experienced and knowledgeable in buying or selling a boat in Panama. We sat down with Juno to learn about his work and the process of buying a boat in Panama City.

Juno goes by the motto “the more you learn, the more you earn,” which has helped him move forward and be open to new opportunities. Over the years as a Denison yacht broker, Juno gained the experience and knowledge to guide clients through buying or selling a boat, not only within the United States but also in Panama City, Panama. So how did Juno end up with work in Central America?

“The first time I did business in Panama was to sell a Scout center console,” said Juno. “I sold the boat and built a good rapport with that particular client. Thanks to that connection and through an email blast, another client in Panama reached out to me and now I’m selling his sportfish.” 

By now, Juno understands the process and procedures of buying a boat in Panama and confidently guides clients through the entire process. To start, Juno recommends flying to Panama City to experience the destination and browse yachts in person. As of April 2021, a negative COVID-19 test is required for entry taken no more than 48 hours prior to arrival. A mask mandate is in effect for the entire country.

Panama City, Panama

It’s an easy flight to Panama City from the United States — a 3 hour non-stop flight from Miami or a 6 hour non-stop flight from Los Angeles. There are plenty of hotel accommodations throughout Panama City that are safe and resort-style, such as the Hilton, Wyndham, The W, and Summit Rainforest & Golf Resort.

Once in Panama City, which boasts a skyline and waterfront similar to Miami, Juno will guide you through finding a boat that’s right for you. There’s a wide variety of inventory in Panama and plenty of boat owners who are motivated to sell. Sportfish and center consoles are popular and readily available in the area.

“Most of the sportfish yachts in Panama are in really great shape because they run with a full-time crew,” said Juno. “In my experience, the boats in Panama are usually in pristine condition in terms of a late model sportfish or late model center console. They’re also located in nice marinas.”

Juno’s listing in Panama City | 38′ Beneteau Gran Tursimo 2014

When you find a boat you like, it’s easy to get it hulled out in Panama City. Juno knows which marinas are suitable to hull the boat out of the water for an inspection or survey. Although he notes, there are not a lot of surveyors in the area and recommends an alternative option.

“My best recommendation is to find a surveyor in the U.S. and fly them over to Panama to perform a survey on the boat,” commented Juno. “It’s worth it to fly someone out and cover their accommodations, transportation, and food expenses while they inspect the boat.”

Thanks to Juno’s connections in the area, he can help you find a great deal on a boat that’s in pristine condition. So after you find, survey, and purchase a boat in Panama City… what’s next? How do you get it to the United States?

“It only takes about 5 business days to ship a boat from Panama City to the U.S. It’s an easy and standard process when dealing with customs and delivering the boat to the final destination,” said Juno. “I’m in the process of selling my third boat in Panama — 2 of the boats were shipped to the U.S., so I understand the process and can confidently guide clients through shipping and customs.”

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Juno most recently sold a 54-foot Bertram convertible 2013 located in Panama with an asking price of $1,185,000. It was shipped from Panama City to Fort Lauderdale and is now heading to Japan.

But Juno’s not all work. He recommends that if you have the time, to experience fishing on the Pacific side of Panama, which he notes is phenomenal. 

“If you’re going to buy a boat in Panama City, plan a fishing trip while you’re there. It’s a really exotic destination with some of the best fishing I have ever done!” Juno commented.

Through his experience, Juno finds that boat owners in Panama enjoy working with firms like Denison Yachting because of the company’s reach and stronghold in the industry. Consider buying a yacht in Panama City and let Juno guide you through the process. And hey, if anything, at least you get to experience an awesome boating destination.