Raul Saavedra in Boquete also goes by the name Raul O’Donnell, because his mother’s family name is O’Donnell & he likes to tell people they are well known
I rented a 2 bedroom casita from Raul in Alto Dorado, Alto Boquete which is very close to the San Francisco small strip mall. This was back in August of 2013, & the cost was $375/month. At first Raul seemed like a nice enough landlord. He said he would store my things that I couldn’t fit into the casita & if there were any problems with the house, he’d fix them.
The casita was very very tiny, so I had to immediately ask Raul where to put my boxes full of all my other things. He hadn’t even though this through & just told me to put them in the car port. I didn’t think anything of it until a month or two later, I realized most of my boxes were soggy from all the rain AND his children who played soccer there ALL the time making noise, had ripped some of my boxes. Plus his dogs would either chew on them, or urinate on them. I lost photo albums, they broke a lamp shade I never got back & I can’t remember now, but I know there were 2 other things broken & yes they were all in boxes. Some of the items Raul stored in his house, but that’s risky giving a local any of your things to store.
Even his chickens jumped all over them. I found an egg once which I did think was cute.
Within 2 weeks of moving into the casita, I had another lightening scare that brought me to tears, as I thought I had lost every single piece of electrical equipment attached to my office.
I had rented another house in Boquete prior to moving to Raul’s, & I lost my entire computer & 2 different Cableonda modems. I had to fork out almost $1,000 to replace the computer, wasn’t able to work on my desktop so it was harder for me to work on my laptop, lost several days of work, & was stressed to the gills because of shitty Cableonda taking their time when showing up to replace the modems. They also came by the house when I wasn’t there without calling first (which is their procedure), so I lost another day of work because of that. I had been nearby at the San Francisco plaza working on my laptop at the time & had called Cableonda several times to see when they were coming. Of course that did NO good. I’ll never forget that day, I had been waiting so long for them to come & when I found out they came & left & wouldn’t come back, I almost had a nervous breakdown. I had clients & I knew that I may lose them because of my situation.
Because of the lightening scare at Raul’s casita, I had to hire an American electrician who tested some things & said there’s no ground rods anywhere near the house or inside the electrical box connected to my house. I told Raul you HAVE to fix it. I mean give me a BREAK, it’s his job to protect the electrical items of his tenants if the house isn’t safe. Of course I had to pay for the electrician & it ended up being $60 which is a lot in Panama.
Raul agreed to fix it, but I was the one who had to arrange everything otherwise I know it would never get done. I also stated I would pay for 2 more ground rods to put additional protection around the house.
I eventually had 2 locals come over. One never showed up after he said he would, the other was recommended by another American (who does plumbing work) by the name of Scott. This local electrician got his lacky guy to do most of the work, but then never came back to finish up the rest.
Thank gawd whatever was done proceeded to protect me from that day on, because even though there was constant dangerous lightning strikes, I never had another scare. I don’t know how I would have handled the stress. Every time I left I had to unplug the modem & even when I was there I never knew if I could work or I’d have everything fried if I continued.
Within 3 weeks of moving in I started to notice there were issues with my Nikken water filter. The sponge inside was getting brown spots all over it, & I started to feel sick after drinking the water from the Nikken water filtration system.
I had been using this filtration system since I came to Panama & it’s always worked in every house & area I’ve rented including the other apartment in Boquette, but it wouldn’t work in Raul Saavedra’s house. I thought it was maybe the filter, so I spent money having it replaced. That didn’t work, the sponge continued to get brown & I KNEW something was really wrong with the water. I kept telling Raul, but he didn’t want to hear it citing that no one else ever had a problem.
I brought 2 people over to look at the black water tank outside, one was even American (Scott) & the other was some Italian guy that I later on found out had been in a car accident with Raul (there was some bad blood between the two of them.) Both said there was nothing wrong with the water, but all they did was look inside the tank.
Someone else said I should have the water tested. After that local electrician said he would get me a guy to test it (never listen to what locals or even several expats say, they all lie), I waited 1 1/2-2 weeks & finally gave up & found another place to test it. A lab in town.
That took a few days & again more money out of my pocket & FINALLY I had proof! I say this because everyone had been trying to make me out to be some looney. There were HUGE levels of bacteria in the water, AND fecal bacteria as well.
I became sick with the stress of knowing what I was drinking, washing my face with, taking a shower with, washing the dishes with, my hands with, etc.. I was soooo upset, that I wrote an e-mail to Raul & told him I wanted him to replace the money I had spent on 2 different filters. I had also bought a new set of filters for my ionizer which I later found out I couldn’t use because it would break the system with that much bacteria running through it. I had wasted ALL this time arguing with him because he refused to take responsibility.
Raul reaction was to be an asshole. He told me to leave his house AND the country & find a perfect place to live.
I was FURIOUS.
I stopped paying rent because I wanted to be reimbursed. After all the work I did to help Raul & all the money I spent, plus I wasted more time going into Boquete 3 times trying to get someone there to fix the problem (this was NOT my job), & no one including the mayor of Boquete would help.
I was also turned away from the local small claims court & told to go into David for mediation. I did that & wasted another 1 1/2 months of my precious time gathering evidence, trying to mediate with Raul, but there was problem after problem. The first translator I brought wasn’t certified so they turned us away. After that I told Raul I would settle with him & either he was to give me $1,200 (a VERY good deal compared to what I lost financially, my time & all the emotional stress) or let me stay here until I move out in December or January. He never responded one way or another.
For the second meeting with mediation Raul didn’t show up all & I wasted a whole day & money getting to David. I arrived with it pouring rain & he almost locked me out of the property.
This went on for a couple more months until I had to make a trip to the US for an interview in November. When I got back, Raul had locked me out, & taken all my things. I was exhausted from my trip & all I could do was sit outside in the car port with no cell phone minutes trying to figure out what to do, where to go, how to get my computer back, how to live, etc.
I got all of my things back in after an expat helped me break into my house & get the stuff from Raul’s house, but I eventually figured out 2-3 things went missing because of this drama & my things being all over Raul’s house. The only reason Raul allowed me to take my things, is because he found out his lawyer had misinformed him & he wasn’t allowed to do what he did. There had been no notice, no court hearing, NOTHING. You can NOT just throw someone out onto the streets & steal their things.
I also had no food because everything in the fridge had been taken out. Raul’s wife was distraught because I don’t think she ever wanted to do what Raul did. She doesn’t speak English, & Raul certainly wasn’t going to tell me the truth, but she cried while I consoled her even though I was the one who had been thrown out on the streets.
Oh & when I did move out, my battery backup went missing. Either the expat I gave my things to to sell “lost” it, or Raul’s son took it while I paid him to help me move.
Raul told the expat that I would have 2 months to leave. I had pondered for weeks whether it was better to move to another place for the 1-2 months before I was leaving Panama FOR GOOD, or stay in this terrible house & tough it out. Even with the 3 months of rent I didn’t pay it never covered all the stress I lost, all the extra money I paid for all these things & all the work I lost, not to mention I was sick most of the time living there.
I was due to leave there around January 15th, 2014.
I’m writing this so you know what I went through living in Boquete Panama, & so you know that this house’s water is toxic.
I had to stress myself every few days trying to get those 5 gallon bottles of water to my house. This was NOT easy, as taxis don’t answer their phones to pick me up. And then when I would go to get it on my own either by walking, bus or taxi, getting a taxi to stop at the supermarkato & drive me back could take 30-60 minutes. I would be standing out in the sun with nowhere to go.
I work for a living & this all cost me hours every few days, not to mention I couldn’t eat the same veggies I normally eat because I couldn’t wash them since broccoli requires a large amount of powerful water to clean it & that could only ever be done via the tap water which I would NOT use.
The bottled water was SHIT. I was drinking the Montana water thinking it was okay until I was in Miami & I drank the filtered water from the house I was staying in. When I made the mistake of pouring some of the Montana water in a glass, I could taste how terrible it was.
The water in Boquete is TERRIBLE. I don’t care what anyone tells you & when I researched Boquete, I was told lies about how great the water is there. And it’s NOT just Raul’s house, but his is worse because of the high levels of bacteria & fecal bacteria coming into the house. I even tried his water from his house & had the same problem.
The lids to my plastic food containers constantly got yellow or black guck stuck in them & I would literally have to spend 20 minutes cleaning each one with a sharp knife. Once I left Panama & NEVER had that problem again.
My head & face constantly had crusty stuff caked on it so much so that I had to scrape off my face. I know this because I once took a shower at The Haven spa, & I didn’t like the water there either as it was clearly over chlorinated, but within a few days I could tell that my scalp didn’t have that caked shit on it & my hair was very shiny & looked ten times better.
If you are going to rent from Raul, rent at your own risk. I would have wanted someone to warn me about this terrible house & no one did, so I’m warning you.
And for anyone who feels sorry for the guy because all I ever heard was “he isn’t in control of the town’s water”, well too BAD. He doesn’t give a shit, I know he doesn’t, because he hasn’t done one thing to solve the problem other than to e-mail me & tell me that the entire town has this kind of water & then he accused me (this is how stupid he is) of somehow knowing about the bad water before I moved in. That’s BS. I did NOT have this problem at the other house in Boquete I was rented & I do NOT listen to the news & I was new to Boquete.
I heard that there are certain areas of Boquete that have terrible water as the Indians bathe & shit in the water & Boquete does NOT want Iddan to come & set up shop in Boquete.
Boquete has the highest priced houses in ALL of Panama other than Panama city & yet they let people drink, shower & live in toxic bacterial laden water.
It’s now 9 months after I left Panama & I see that Raul is trying to rent his place again.
The local Realtor I do not like as he lied to me about the first place in Boquete I rented & caused problems with me & the landlord, is trying to find Raul a tenant. Here are his details – Eduardo (Ed) Horna, 6567-1127 & 6757-0005 – [email protected]
Hope this helps you in some way.