If you’re thinking about retiring abroad for a new adventure, for the lower cost of living, better weather, or just because you’ve always wanted to be a gypsy? The perfect country to choose is Panama! Below are a dozen reasons why retirees move to Panama. This is by no means all of the reasons, but this will give you a small sampling of why Panama is the perfect destination for your retirement!
- Acceptance and Welcoming of Foreigners
Panama is very friendly to foreigners who retire in Panama. They welcome you! The Panamanian people are the friendliest and most kind people in the world. You will will feel right at home the minute you arrive! We warned that your party calendar may fill up once you become friends with Panamanians.
- Use of the American Dollar.
If you’re moving from the United States, you will not have to learn a new currency system or have to deal with currency conversions. Panama uses the United States dollar which makes moving to Panama much easier. Panama does however have a coin called a “Balboa” that is equivalent to a dollar. Other than that, all the coins are either US coins or Panamanian coins that looks just like the equivalent US coin. A quarter, nickel and a penny may be a Panamanian coin, but it will looks very much like the coin you are used to. All of the bills used are the United States Dollars. With that being said, it is rare to find a large bill such as $100.00 in Panama. It is best to have smaller bills when going to a store or restaurant. Generally, you will be fine if you carry $20.00 or smaller bills when paying for anything in cash in Panama. Most places take credit cards, but you may find a smaller establishment that do not accept credit cards. For instance, some of the smaller family owned “Fondas” (Panamanian restaurants) will have a sign saying “Efectivo Solo” (cash only). So it is wise to always carry some cash with you.
- Use of English in Panama
Several towns in Panama have a large expat community. In those towns, it is quite common that Panamanians will know some English or even be very fluent in English. If you just beginning to learn Spanish, many times a wait server or shop keeper will tell you to speak English when you are trying to speak to them in Spanish! With that being said, there are many areas in Panama where only Spanish is spoken so it is best to have a translate app like Google Translate on your phone. You can start learning Spanish with a free app called DuoLingo.
- The Ease and Proximity to North America (both speed and cost of the airfare)
In choosing a different country to retire, it is important to be able to quickly go back to your home country if an emergency arise in your family. Or perhaps you will choose to become a “snowbird” by living part time in Panama and part time in your country. Panama is a wonderful part of the world to choose. Panama City International Airport is a 2 ½ hour flight away from Miami which is a major hub of North America. Many times, you can find special deals on flights that make going back and forth both affordable and fun! There are non-stop flights all over the world from Panama City.
- The Stability of the Government and the Economy
You will not have to worry about the government of Panama being overthrown by a dangerous faction. For more than 30 years, Panama has had a very stable democratic government. In this day and time, that is very important! Also, Panama’s economy is one of the strongest in all of Latin America partly due to the Panama Canal, it’s strategic location and exports.
- Cost of the Living Is Less
Some areas in Panama are much more affordable than others. So, it’s important to do research to determine which areas are a good fit for your budget. A 6-day Panama Relocation Tour will help you find the perfect place to live! If you prefer the beach, Pedasi and Las Tablas will be more affordable than Coronado as an example. Whether you choose to live in the mountains or the beach, it is best to do your homework in finding your perfect location. We can help! With that being said, living in Panama will help you stretch your retirement income substantially. Rentals in Panama usually include furniture, utensils, bedding, cable, internet, a gardener, and in the mountain areas even electric. You can literally just bring your clothes and your toothbrush and you will have everything you need to retire in Panama! Monthly rental prices can be as low as $350.00 a month in some areas. Living on the beach, or in higher scale gated communities will run you roughly $1,000 to $1.500 a month. Your phone bill with unlimited data and minutes is $25.00 a month. A trip to the doctor (with a retiree discount) will be $15.00 a visit. Many of your major month to month expenses will be considerably less expensive in Panama than in any other part of North America.
- Good and Affordable Medical Care
Many of the medications you take require no prescription in Panama. Blood Pressure, Cholesterol and Asthma medications for example can be purchased by just requesting it from a local pharmacy. The cost is also a pleasant surprise. One expats blood pressure medication cost them $12.96 for a 45-count box, and their inhaler for asthma (generic of Albuterol) cost $5.16. Dental Cleaning for example will cost $50.00. Also, you don’t need a doctors note for blood tests in Panama. A complete panel of blood work will cost $45.00, and a cholesterol check will run you around $20.00. X-rays cost about $12 in Panama. You can get an EKG for about $45.00. All the equipment in Panama is top notch. Panama has some of the best hospitals in the world. John Hopkins, the Mayo Clinic and the Cleveland Clinic affiliated hospitals are all in Panama City. You will definitely get first world care in Panama should any emergency arise.
- Nice Tropical Weather Year-Round (NO hurricanes, tornadoes or tsunamis)
Because of the way that Panama is situated, it’s south of the hurricanes zone on both the Caribbean and Pacific. Boaters from around the world come to Panama during hurricane season because they know they will be safe. You can enjoy living right on the beach without worrying about your home being battered or swept away! Because Panama is 9 degrees from the equator, the temperatures are the same all year. Daytime temps at the coast are 90 degrees (+/-5) all year. For every 1000 foot increase in elevation the temprature drops 4 degrees. You can literally pick your ideal weather based on the elevation! There is no snow in Panama.
- Easy and Affordable Retirement Visa, plus the perks you get with that Visa
It is very easy and affordable to obtain a retirement visa for Panama, and there are also many discounts such as restaurants, medications, travel and even utilities you can get due to the fact that you are a retiree living in Panama. For that reason, if you are planning to retire in a country, Panama is a perfect choice. See the discounts available to retirees:
- 50% off on recreation and entertainment such as movies, theaters, sports, etc.
- 50% off hotels Monday through Thursday (30% off on weekends)
- 50% off passports
- 30% off public transportation like buses, trains, and boats
- 25% off airfare
- 20% off restaurants (15% off fast food)
- 25% off electrical, telephone, and water service
- 20% off doctors and specialists
- 20% off prosthetics and other personal assistance devices
- 15% off hospitals and private clinics
- 15% off dental and optometry services
- 10% off prescription medications
- tax-free importation of household goods, up to $10,000
- tax-free importation of a vehicle, or tax-free purchase of a local vehicle
There are many reasons to consider Panama as a place to relocate to. The Pensionado, also called Jubilado, discounts are certainly one of them.
- Proximity to Travel to: Costa Rica, Colombia, Miami, Mexico, and more
If you’d like to be able to travel after retirement, Panama is the perfect location. You have short, affordable flights to both Miami as well as Colombia, Costa Rica and other Latin America destinations! Plus, you get a 25% discount on airfare to anywhere in the world once you get your Visa. Many expats choose to take a bus to the border, walk over to Costa Rica and one block away get your passport stamped and take a bus anywhere in Costa Rica! Living in Panama has the perks of being close to adjacent countries! When you retire in Panama, you can check off more travel destinations on your bucket list! Desiring to take a cruise? There is a cruise port above Panama City that is very convenient. Panama is centrally located in the Americas, which makes travel both fun, easy and affordable for those who live in Panama!
- The Exotic Flowers, Birds, Waterfalls and the Cloud Forest
People who retire in Panama may think they have landed in the Garden of Eden. Birds of Paradise, Poinsettias and Orchids grow wild here – all year! Go on a hike in the mountains surrounding Volcan Baru to spot the rare Resplendent Quetzal, or enjoy the delightful motmots that are so magnificent. Parrots and parakeets are everywhere as well as splendid hawks and owls. Many expats living in the mountains spend quite a bit of their time outside on their deck enjoying feeding and watching all the small, colorful birds enjoying a snack of fresh fruit. Traveling up to the mountains and experiencing the many cloud forest in Panama is also a sight that will make you think you are in another part of the world! Oh! Wait! You ARE in another part of the world! How lucky are you?
- Size of Panama means the ease of exploring both the Pacific and Caribbean Coast
Speaking of the beautiful flowers, birds and mountains we have spoken about, there is another big perk to retiring in Panama on a budget. You can experience watching howler monkeys in the jungle, black squirrels in the mountains, and parakeets and iguanas near the ocean all within a few hours’ drive. As stated above, Panama is a narrow country. You can drive from the border of Panama/Costa Rica to Panama City is a mere 7 hours. Or drive from the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean in just a few hours! . For these reasons, Panama is a wonderful country for day trips. For those living in the mountains, in a little over an hour’s drive you can enjoy a tropical resort all day swimming in the ocean, drinking Pina Coladas on the beach and still be back home before dark. Many resorts issue you affordable day passes that gives you the comforts of their amenities such as the use of their pool and changing areas that many retirees take advantage of! Now that is what is called a perk!
You can see why living in Panama is a retiree’s dream.
Panama is one of the safest countries for retirement and offers a variety of different areas to enjoy. The weather stays at a constant temperature depending on where you live, so it is very easy to forget that there is winter in some parts of the world! (The photo above was taken in January!)
Panama is one of the top retirement destinations and a dream come true for many retirees! Come see how you can live better for less in Panama!
We can help!
Since 2010, we have offered all-inclusive 6-day 7-night Panama Relocation Tours to show you the most popular places to live and teach you all the things you need to know to have a smooth, hassle-free move to Panama. We’ve helped 1000s of people retire in Panama the easy way!
Karl Testa says
If you put a deposit down on a tour do you get access to the online guide?
Jackie Lange says
You get access to the Online Guide after our tour. If you want to buy it in advance, you will get a $200 rebate on your tour.
Janet Powell says
Jackie, Well done! If I wasn’t already convinced Panama is for me ~ I would be ready to go from this article!
Cheers, Janet Powell
Jackie Lange says
Janet, I’m glad you enjoyed the 12 Reasons to Retire in Panama article