- Located in Central America- bordered by Costa Rica and Colombia
- Slightly smaller than South Carolina
- Tropical Climate with rainy and dry season (just like the rest of the rain forest!)
- Steep rugged mountain range and coastal flat-lands
- Spanish is the official language, but most Panamanians are bilingual
- The Panamanian Balboa is pegged to the US Dollar; exchange rate of is one to one and the U.S. Dollar is often used exclusively
- Government is a constitutional democracy; civil law system
- 10 provinces
- Economy is largely a services economy
- Telephone system is well developed; internet is rapidly becoming more accessible
If you’re reading this article, then you’ve likely already been tipped off to the fact that there are quite a few places to relocate in Central America, South America and the Caribbean. You have undoubtedly read other articles ranking the various locations on “best places to retire” lists. If you pay attention, a few locations will keep appearing on those lists. Panama is one such location.
Like most of the Caribbean, Panama is just a short two-and-a-half hour flight from southern United States. That two hour flight can take you from a snow and ice covered driveway, and place you on some of the most beautiful white sand beaches that our world has to offer. We’ve all seen the pictures of the turquoise blue water and people enjoying some fruit juice drink on the white sands. It really does exist, and it is affordable.
One of the things that relocators find to be so wonderful about Panama is the improvement in their quality of life. All of the factors listed above certainly contribute to this phenomena, but so do the cultural aspects of enjoying a life that is innately less stressful. Fresh foods, healthier lifestyles, accessible top-notch medical care, and the ability to afford things that used to be luxuries have expats professing Panama’s benefits from a pulpit.
Panama has been likened to living a “first world lifestyle at third world prices”. While this may be a bit optimistic, it is true that you can live on significantly less that you could in most places in the U.S.. The amenities available in Panama City are in fact first class. All of the activities you’d expect from a major city in the States are available there: theater, first class restaurants, opera, movie theaters, a nightlife, and just about any leisure activity you could think of. Many of the same fast food restaurants that we have in the United States exist in Panama as well. It is a busy city like any other.
If you are seeking a quieter day to day life within reach of the excitement of the city, that is easily (and inexpensively) accomplished as well. While, conservative estimates of a cost of living in the city are about $2000 USD a month and up, in the more rural areas, some are living as cheaply as $800 USD a month. The range and expectations of quality are just like anywhere else: if you demand penthouse suite of a building on the water, you’ll pay more!
Panama is extremely retiree friendly and extends retirement visa benefits to those who can show a lifetime monthly pension of any kind. Included in the benefits of this immigration status are discounts on just about every type of service or good one would use: entertainment- 50% discount; travel- 30% discount; hotels- 50% discount; sit-down restaurants- 25% discount; hospital bills- 15% discount; closing costs on loans- 50% discount; and so many more. In addition to the discounts, banking and investment laws are extremely favorable for internationals.