12 Reasons to Retire in Panama

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 not 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. Most expats who live in Panama are very welcoming too. There are frequent events to help you meet people. You will feel right at home the minute you arrive! Be warned that your party calendar may fill up once you move to Panama!
  • Use of the American Dollar.
    If you’re moving from the United States, you will not have to learn a new currency system or deal with currency conversions. Panama uses the United States dollar, which makes moving to Panama much easier. However, Panama has a coin called a “Balboa,” equivalent to a dollar. Other than that, all the coins are US or Panamanian coins that look just like the equivalent US coin. A quarter, nickel, and penny may be a Panamanian coin, but it will look very much like what you are used to. All of the bills used are the United States Dollars. That said, it is rare to find a large bill such as $100.00 in Panama. Having smaller bills when going to a store or restaurant is best. 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 does 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 for Panamanians to know some English or even be very fluent in English. However, there are many areas in Panama where only Spanish is spoken, so it is best to have a translation 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 move to, it is important to be able to go back to your home country if need be quickly. Panama City Tocumen International Airport is a 2 ½ hour flight from Miami, a major hub of North America. You can often 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. Also, Panama’s economy is one of the strongest in Latin America, partly due to the Panama Canal and its strategic location.
  • Cost of the Living Is Less
    Some areas in Panama are much more affordable than others. So, it’s important to research to determine which areas fit your budget well. An all-inclusive 7-night, 6-day Panama Relocation Tour will help you find the perfect place to live! If you prefer the beach, the beach communities between Chitre and Las Tablas will be more affordable than Coronado. If you prefer the highlands, Volcan is more affordable than Boquete. Whether you live in the mountains or the beach, Panama is the perfect place to live! We can help! 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 electricity. You can just bring your clothes and your toothbrush, and you will have everything you need to retire in Panama! Most of your major month-to-month expenses will be considerably less expensive in Panama than in any other area in North America.
  • Good and Affordable Medical Care
    Many of the medications you take require no prescription in Panama. The cost is also a pleasant surprise. One expat’s blood pressure medication costs them $12.96 for a 45-count box, and their inhaler for asthma (generic of Albuterol) costs $5.16. Dental cleaning will cost about $50.00. Also, you don’t need a doctor’s 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 are all affiliated hospitals in Panama City. You will get first-world care at the private hospitals in Panama.
  • 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 by a hurricane! 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 temperature drops 4 degrees. You can literally pick your ideal weather based on the elevation! There is no snow in Panama.
Panama Tropical Paradise www.PanamaRelocationTours.com
  • Easy and Affordable Retirement Visa, plus the perks you get with that Visa
    Obtaining a Pensionado (retirement) visa for Panama is very easy and affordable. You only need to prove that you have at least $1000 USD a month in lifetime income, plus add $250 if you’re married. With a Pensionado visa, you are entitled to many discounts. 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)
  • 30% off public transportation like buses, trains, and boats
  • 25% off airfare to anywhere in the world
  • 20% off restaurants (15% off fast food)
  • 25% off electrical 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 ( most places give you 20% off)
  • tax-free importation of household goods, up to $10,000

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 American destinations! Plus, you get a 25% discount on airfare to anywhere in the world once you get your Visa. 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! Want to take a cruise? There are cruise ports near Panama City. 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. 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 forests 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?
Cerro Punta
  • 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 in a mere 7 hours. Or drive from the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean in just a few hours! 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 swimming in the ocean all day, drinking Pina Coladas on the beach, and still returning home before dark. Many resorts issue you affordable day passes that give 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!
las lajas beach panama
Las Lajas Beach Resort, Panama

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 everything 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!

Jackie Lange

Jackie Lange is the founder of Panama Relocation Tours and lives in the highlands of Boquete Panama. She has helped thousands of people relocate to Panama.

Reader Interactions


  1. 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.

  2. 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

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