An inventor by profession Sam developed and patented numerous technologies used by fortune 100 companies throughout the world. He built a number of manufacturing operations to build these technologies, the last one in Costa Rica in 1995.
In 2000 he had an idea to create Valle Escondido, a residential resort community in the mountain highlands of Panama that would appeal to those looking for an exotic yet first world lifestyle. The small village where the project is located has become known throughout the world as a retirement/tourist hot spot due to his marketing efforts and the success of the development. It was rated the number one foreign retirement destination in the western hemisphere by the AARP in 2002 and one of the top five best lifestyle values in the world by Fortune Magazine in 2005. The success of the project lit the fuse that started the real estate boom (and bust) in Panama.
In 2005 Sam began writing the Panama Investor Blog which focuses on the country from an investors prospective and reaches people interested in Panama from all over the world. Current subscription is about 7000.
Sam and his wife Thalia also operate the Valle Escondido resort Golf & Spa located in the center of the residential project. The resort employs about 80 full time Panamanians and is one of the areas largest employers.
In early 2009 Sam was diagnosed with late stage throat cancer and after having successfully completed treatment, hopes to live a long and happy life!
Sam and Thalia have three wonderful boys, Travis, Remington and Samuelito. Sam also has two beautiful daughters by a previous marriage, Tesla and Moriah, who live in the United States.
What others say about Sam
In 2006 Sam was nominated for the Overseas Property Professionals mover and shaker award in Europe. Although, he did not win the award, he did get an honorable mention. Here are some of the recommendation letters from various important people in Panama who provided information about him to the judges.
President-Panama/American Chamber of Commerce
This letter is in support of your nomination of Mr. Sam Taliaferro, the Panama based designer of the new community in Boquete, Panama. It is my understanding that Mr. Taliferro has been nominated for your award as a “Shaker and Mover” in the real estate field. In the 25 years since I relocated to Panama there has not been another individual (local or foreign) who had the vision, the innovation, and the follow through, often against all odds, to create one of the most beautiful and sought after retirement and second home communities in Panama.
His creation of Valle Escondido is a unique blend of modern building technology and nature that is nestled within the pristine environment of Boquete. Sam Taliaferro has shown other developers how to find harmony within nature and housing. In accomplishing what was almost the unimaginable, he has set new standards and raised the bar among all Panama developers. As president of the American Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Panama I enthusiastically second his nomination.
Robert E. Baker
American Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Panama
Calle Aquilino de la Guardia y Av 5ta B Sur, Marbella
Edificio Ocean Plaza, 17th Floor
Vice Minister of Commerce and Industry
Panama has become an important location in the past years, not only because of The Panama Canal, the logistics infrastructure and a great standard of Living. Our country has become one of the premier locations to live and retire. Evidence of this is the great number of new real estate projects that are being developed to cater to this new market of North American and European retirees.
The Panamanian government feels that this success is due to many things, among them, a US dollar based economy, excellent standard of living and security. But, the government also acknowledges that many people have contributed to this success, and among one of the most visionary is Sam Taliafierro, who just 5 years ago began making investments in our country and has become one of the most avid promoters of Panama as a great place to retire and live.
We are very pleased to know that he is under consideration for this award, with the assurance that he is deserving of this award considering his contributions to put Panama on the map for second residence buyers and retirees.
Carmen Gisela Vergara
Deputy Minister International Trade
Ministry of Commerce and Industry
International Director-National Association of REALTORS
August 4, 2006
To: Overseas Property Professional
From: Jeff Hornberger, Director of International Business Development , National Association of REALTORS
Re:letter of recommendation, Sam Taliaferro, “mover and shaker” award by Overseas Property Professional
My name is Jeff Hornberger and I am the Director of International Business Development for the 1.2 million member National Association of REALTORS, the “voice for real estate” in the United States. We also maintain collaborative partnerships with over 60 real estate associations around the world. I’d like to support Sam’s nomination for the “mover and shaker” award by the Overseas Property Professional.
Sam, a US entrepreneur, moved to Panama and decided to build a residential development called Valle Escondido (Hidden Valley), a highly successful master planned community catered towards foreign buyers. This project, located in a beautiful remote section of Panama called Boquete, has inspired dozens of other projects in the same area and is one of the “sparks” of what is now the hottest second home market in the Americas, Panama. The project is nothing like a typical cookie-cutter development you would find at typical projects, but rather a beautiful, master planned community with high-quality, unique construction with true character, a pedestrian oriented “pueblo” with shops and restaurants, which is all built along a rushing river that brings a sense of place. Publications such as Fortune and Modern Maturity (magazine of the American Association of Retired Persons) have recognized this development, and the result of the region has been a powerful “multiplier effect” of jobs in construction, tourism, and other related services. This attests to the powerful economic tool that is residential tourism in Latin America, a phenomenon that is in its early stages in the Americas, as US baby boomers, retirees, and investors look south for lower prices and a different lifestyle.
But the story of Sam is not about one development in Panama. He has recently started a new company called Prima Panama, which seeks to help other developments all over Panama by luring foreigners to Panama on an innovative travel “passport program”, where Panama travelers can take advantage of low airfare, hotel and car rental with rebates and incentives should they purchase property there. This marketing “passport program”, unique in its inclusiveness and lack of traditional “pressure tactics” found in the timeshare industry, is introducing the world to Panama. The result of this travel program is thousands of foreigners falling in love with a country and wanting to get a piece of its booming second home market.
Evident in Sam’s character is his willingness to share his knowledge, expertise, and enthusiasm with the industry. He recognizes the importance of collaborating with real estate professionals in Panama, REALTORS in the United States, and property professionals from all over the world and enrolling them as catalysts or “soldiers” who are welcome to share in referrals and commissions in offering their clients Panama as a viable option for residential tourism. Thousands of Panama enthusiasts, both professionals and consumers alike, have subscribed to Sam’s BLOG which updates and shares information at no charge. The well-designed and informative Blog will tell you everything you know about Panama’s second home market, from Trump’s movements to dispelling rumors about Disney opening up a theme park there. His Blog and collection of articles has interesting global perspectives in real estate in Panama, comparing the US and Europe trends in residential tourism as well as drawing parallels between Panama and Dubai in its potential in the residential tourism industry.
Perhaps most significant is Sam’s thought process on the higher purpose of the residential tourism market. He is not the typical American developer off to profit in a foreign market. Sam has a belief that residential tourism is an inexpensive tool of spreading democracy around the world and improving the image of foreigners (particularly Americans). His philosophy is that foreigners who buy property in turn have a stake in the country and help spur economic activity, resulting in a capitalistic process which in turn spreads democracy and freedom. This economic activity increases the middle class in a region of the world that has vast differences between wealth and poverty. Sam’s thought process is that the Americans and other foreigners who come there and invest in property bring a positive influence, and in turn create charitable organizations, volunteer time in local communities, and overall improve the image of their country abroad. A middle class is created. The US government and other governments are seeing the positive impact of residential tourism in overseas markets. In today’s troubled and conflicted world, residential tourism can be a positive force.
Both me and members of the National Association of REALTORS and its partners around the world are with great hopes that you will nominate Sam for “mover and shaker” of the year award. Thanks for your consideration!
International Business Development Director
National Association of REALTORS
430 North Michigan Avenue
Chicago IL 60611
Tel: 312-329-8272, FAX: 312-645-7749
Visit our website at http://www.realtor.org/international
President-Panama Chamber of Commerce
To whom it may concern,
Having participated in business leadership positions in the Republic of Panama as the former Panama Chamber of Commerce President and active in the construction industry, I can assertively make a very positive reference on how Mr. Sam Talliaferro has influenced the real estate industry in our country.
Mr. Talliaferro had a vision many years ago of Panama’s potential as a destiny for baby boomers from the USA and other developed countries looking for a second or retirement home. Through his real estate developments and very well focused promotional efforts outside Panama, he has managed to get the attention of various organizations and magazines that have made Panama an evermore widespread destiny of interest among baby boomers.
In addition, through his efforts, many local and international developers have decided to follow in his footsteps, providing them with experience and sometimes well intended criticism to the industry where it’s needed.
In short, in Panama, we realize this emerging market as extremely important for our mid term economic development with an impact that could be superior to that of the Panama Canal expansion that still needs to be approved through a referendum. Sam Talliaferro is a true industry leader and has awakened a country to enormous opportunities and economic welfare.
Corporate Development Manager
Bahia-Marriott, Multi Plaza-Developer
I would like to express, as a Panamanian and as a developer, my testimonial of Sam Taliaferro’s efforts in promoting Panama worldwide as a destination for retirees and second home seekers interested in purchasing properties offshore.
As soon as he started Valle Escondido in Boquete several years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting his acquaintance and had the opportunity of listening to his reflections on how Panama had the essentials for becoming a magnet for foreign investors in the real estate arena.
Soon thereafter, Panama began to get coverage in important publications and, all of the suden, we all were astounded by receiving the recognition of being one of the top places to retire in the planet. This started an stampede of potential buyers that were curious to find out what we were all about and that started the snowball effect among developers that immediately reacted to this situation and began raising to the occasion by producing projects of different nature to this new market that began knocking on our doors. I also remember Sam stating that this people would be interested in a variety of products in locations around the city, island, beach and mountain environments.
Several years after our first encounter with Sam, we developers are producing projects with products of different nature to cater customers with assorted requisites. Our office is steaming with projects not only in Panama City but also in the Pearl Islands and the Pacific ocean rim. Another phenomenon is the transformation of real estate prices which have increased to new levels. Interestingly, we still score very high in best value for the dollar while measured with other offerings in the international markets.
I consider Sam Taliaferro’s as being the stepping stone in giving Panama a competitive edge in the international real estate market and for putting us in the radar screen of prospective foreign home buyers. We developers have benefited tremendously by his initiative and publicly give him total recognition as a true pioneer in this new frontier that has become available to us and for giving Panama and Panamanian businessmen the “opportunity of our lifetime”.
Carlos Troetsch-Morgan Bank
It has been brought to my attention that your distinguish organization is considering Mr. Samuel Taliaferro as a candidate for the “Mover and Shaker Award” .
I have known Sam since he first arrived in Panama and it is my duty and pleasure to recommend him for this award.
Through his vision, planning and courage, Sam took a little town in the mountains of Panama and converted it into a primary tourism residential destination around the world.
His work has inspired and encourage many Panamanian developers like myself to create new projects that has resulted in a major economic impact in the region to the extent that Boquete is today the only city in Panama that has a negative unemployment rate. This very fact has award him the respect and recognition of the government of Panama as well as professional organizations in the country.
As many others, I have always found in Sam an open hand and willingness to help on all the issues and situation we developers face in this difficult industry.
For the above reasons I strongly believe Samuel Taliaferro should be among your strongest candidates.
Please feel free to contact me if you need additional information
Carlos Eduardo Troetsch
Hacienda Los Molinos
Zollinger-Mossack & Fonseca-Legal Firm
I write this e-mail to support your nomination of Mr. Sam Taliaferro for the “Mover and Shaker” award. I am partner with an international Law Firm here in Panama (www.mossfon.com <http://www.mossfon.com/> ), an investor in Real Estate in Panama for several years and also a Business Observer for what has happened over the last 10 years in this country.
When I met Sam 7 years ago and I went to see his “Hidden Valley” projects in the Highlands of Panama, I was puzzled. There was an American buying a Valley, Master planning it and then thinking that somebody would actually go up to this remote place, spend several hundred thousand dollars to buy a home to retire and live up there.
Well, not only is the “Hidden Valley”, with over 200 units, completely sold out for quite some time, this project has also created an avalanche of follower-projects not only in the area but in the whole country. In the whole Boquete Area, which no accounts for over 10 Master developments that I know of, the unemployment rate has gone down to zero. Not only has everybody who wants to work the chance to do so, several locals have made considerable wealth selling part of their pastor-land to the developers.
I and several developers in Panama asked ourselves: why was Sam so successful in his project? The answer to this is: He first built infrastructure and he went straight to pursue his dream. He made it happen!
Now Sam is a very respected Expert here in Panama and I do not know of any development where he has not been involved in the initial planning phase for his advise and comments.
Panama has had a very interesting constellation of events that came together more or less at the same time. The Americans left by the end of year 1999 and gave to the Panamanian people several Military bases in prime location and with first class infrastructure. This – besides of the up-and-coming Babybommer-Wave that is coming to Panama to buy Real estate, together with a very stable and Business-Friendly Government has allowed for this Boom which is second-to-none in Latin America, to happen.
In other words, the boom that we see now in front of our eyes eventually would have happened anyway, but it was without any doubt Sam Taliaferro whose vision and insistence made the time for a countrywide boom right.
Partner Mossfon Group
Mossack & Fonseca Co.
Tel. +507 263 88 99