Living in Affordable Penonome Panama

Beach destinations and highland towns are popular places to retire in Panama. But if you’re looking for an affordable and comfortable life where you can experience the real Panama, check out the less famous areas.

Foreigners and Panamanians can have a good quality of life in Penonome. And it’s not too far from the beach or the mountains:

Penonome (Coclé Province)

Penonome is about 30-45 minutes from the Pacific coast and about a 2-hour and 30-minute drive from Panama City. There’s also an international airport (in Rio Hato) just 45 minutes away though it currently only serves non-stop flights to/from Canada.

It is not a touristy town. So, you can have an affordable lifestyle here compared to many Panamanian cities and towns. As the Coclé province’s capital, Penonome has good amenities, including shopping, restaurants, and a public hospital.

If you love the outdoors, there’s plenty to do in the nearby hill country or the beach area. And you can embrace the real Panamanian culture here.

Let’s learn more:

Population of Penonome

The population in the metro area of Penonome is 88,000. Most residents are Panamanians. But you’ll find that more foreigners are calling Penonome home because of its affordable lifestyle and many modern amenities.

More expats are discovering this hidden gem despite being a less famous destination. The nearby town of Anton is also becoming popular, and it is equally affordable.

Watch this video to learn more about Penonome.

YouTube video

Climate in Penonome

The province has a dry climate that’s great for outdoor activities.

The year-round temperatures usually range from 73-91F, with average temperatures around 78-82F.

Like the rest of Panama, the dry season is from December until April. The rainy season starts in April. But there is not much rain until October and November.

The Church of Saint John at Penonome, Cocle- Panama.

Cost of Living in Penonome

Penonome is one of the most affordable places to live in Panama.

Let’s dive into some numbers:

(Source: Info from our clients)

Rent furnished house

1-bedroom, 1-bath – $220 per month
2-bedroom, 1-bath – $300 per month.
3-bedroom, 2-bath (sometimes with a pool) – $650 per month.

You might find rentals for even less.

I did an online search and found these furnished rentals currently available.

Penonome $650 – Furnished 3 bedroom 2 bath

Penonome $750 or $650 for one year lease – Furnished 3 bedroom 2 bath
$450 for 3 bedroom 2 bath unfurnished


Average costs per month (for a couple):

• Electricity – around $50-$100 for a 2-bedroom house.
• Water – $10 (usually included in rent)
• Gas – $5 (propane tank for cooking and hot water)
• Internet – $50 (may be included in rent)

The price of electricity will be determined by how often you use an air conditioner. In Panama, each room usually has a “split unit” air conditioner. You can keep your costs low if you only use an air conditioner as needed in the room you are in. Often, ceiling fans will be sufficient to keep the house comfortable.

Eating Out

There’re many restaurants in Penonome, including some international food options. On average, you can have a meal at a mid-range restaurant for about $6-$10 per person.

If you love Panamanian food or want to try some, check out Restaurante Gallo Pinto. If you feel like some ramen, go to Oh-Toro.

Oh Toro Restaurant
Popular place to eat in Penonome
Typical $6 meal at a Panamanian fonda.
Foster’s burger with onion rings
Yukas Grill Pizza


If you are a couple, you might pay about $400 for your monthly groceries. The exact amount will depend on what you buy and where you shop.

Penonome has great shopping options, including several supermarkets and mercardos. Street vendors selling fresh fruit and veggies will be seen often..

Super 99 is a popular large grocery store
Super 99 in Penonome

You’ll get better prices for fruits and veggies at the local markets or roadside stands.

Mercardo in Penonome

Getting around

A car is convenient, especially if you want to explore the country freely. Penonome and the surrounding areas also have public transport options and taxis.

• Local bus in the city: around 50 cents to $1 per ride
• Local bus to Panama City: around $6
• Taxi to Panama City: around $60 or less

Traveling between Penonome and Panama City is easy because of the Pan-American highway.

Bus in Penonome

Total Cost of Living:

A couple can live in Penonome with a budget of about $1,500 a month, including rent, groceries, health insurance, and transportation. Again, this can change (up or down) depending on your lifestyle.

Credit Deposit Foto

Healthcare in Penonome

Penonome has excellent healthcare facilities, including medical clinics and a public hospital. You can see doctors and get treated at affordable rates here, like elsewhere in Panama. At the public hospital, it’s about $2 to see a doctor or $5 for specialists. There is no monthly fee to use the public healthcare system.

A large new, state-of-the-art public hospital will be open by January 2024.

New hospital opens January 2024

Check out this video interview of expat Alicia’s experience staying in the Penonome hospital for over two weeks and paying less than $1,300.

If you need higher-quality treatment and facilities, go to Panama City.

Lifestyle and culture in Penonome

Penonome has a relaxed way of life, like most places in Panama. It is also family-friendly, with good private schools.

As discussed, this is the real Panama (you can also find the real Panamanian hats here).

real panama hat
A real Panama hat

So, learning Spanish can go a long way in enjoying your new life here. Until then, you can manage with Google translate. The good news is that Panamanian people are friendly and will help you in your Spanish-learning journey.

If you love mountains and wildlife, drive (or take a bus) a few miles north of Penonome to discover breathtaking waterfalls, hiking trails, amazing scenery, and cooler weather too.

35km North of Penonome – CERRO LA VIEJA

You can get to know other expats in Penonome. And, some expats also live in the nearby town of Anton or La Pintada, less than 30 minutes away.

A famous event in February is the carnival when Penonome goes into party mode, like several other parts of Panama. You can enjoy great music, food, and parades, and join the celebrations. The area can get crowded during the carnival season.

spraying the crowd with water is tradition for Panama Carnival celebrations.

If you’re a beachgoer, the nearby beaches are about 30-45 minutes away.

Santa Clara beach and the Pacific Ocean.

If you like to learn more about Penonome’s history, visit the Penonomena History and Tradition Museum.


Penonome is considered one of the safest cities in Panama.

Crime is rare in Panama thanks to the police headquarters being in Penonome.

national police in penonome
Photo from Wikimedia

Plan your move to Panama

There are many great cities and towns to retire to in Panama or start a new life. And sometimes, it’s hard to pick one.

The best way is to get a glimpse into different areas’ lifestyles and see if they’re right for you before moving to Panama.

Panama Relocation Tour

If you like to join a Panama relocation tour, check out our:

Group Panama Relocation Tours.
These are 6-day/7-night all-inclusive relocation tours. You’ll visit many areas across the country and get an idea of the pros and cons, facilities, and meet other expats. We share heaps of information about living in Panama, including the negatives. And you don’t have to stress about trip planning because we organize everything for you.

Private Relocation Tours.
These are 100% customized tours to your area of choice. For instance, you can visit Penonome and the nearby areas over a 2-3-day period. Your expert relocation guide can show you all the important places and facilities and share the pros and cons of living in Penonome.

If you want to make your own scouting trip,

• See our Online Complete Panama Relocation Guide self-guided tour section. In addition to planning a scouting trip, you can use it like a guidebook to move to Panama and settle into your new life. We cover everything step by step with up-to-date info.

Near Penonome – JUMP IN – JUST DO IT

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. Clinton Melbourne Williams says

    Good day Jackie I watched one of your videos where you said you have a layer who I could pay around $5000 to get a friendly nation visa for me, please send me more info on that thanks 👍

      • Victor Prescod says

        Hello Mss. Jackie L, it’s been a long time, this is Victor Prescod – The Marine Veteran who works in Manhattan VAMC in New York. – We had communicated approximately four or five years ago, also with your daughter in Texas during those times. – I’m from Panama but still living in
        NY, hope everything is going well in Panama. – Take care…

        • Jackie Lange says

          HI Victor. Great to hear from you again. I hope you can come to see beautiful Panama soon.

  2. James Gilmer says

    I have one question holding me back, I have AMD, require shots ln both eye, I’m 79, what health insurance is available.

    • Jackie Lange says

      James,no health insurance is available in Panama for pre-existing conditions.

    • Maria rojas says

      I want to buy a house, how to sale later if i decide to move back to USA, talking about taxes , paying the panamenian government and usa government, how that work .

      • Jackie Lange says

        Hello Maria. It’s easy to buy a house in Panama but it’s not so easy to sell. It could take many years to sell a property in Panama. When you sell a house in Panama, you will pay a 5% tax on the total sales price to the Panama government and if you are a US citizen, you will ouw capital gains taxes there too — unless the house in Panama is your personal residency for at least 2 year prior to selling, then you will qualify for IRC 121.

  3. Cindi says

    Trying to figure out how to get fingerprint clearance to start process
    My husband who is 68 yr old has a DUI from when he was in his 20’s
    How do I find out if he is ok to relocate with me to Panama
    What kind of clearance does he need? Wherefore we need to go? We live in Tucson Az, USA

    • Jackie Lange says

      You can go to an FBI approved Channeler to get your electronic fingerprints. Then send the report to an immigration lawyer in Panama. They can let you know if he would be able to get a visa. We have a list of recommended and affordable immigration lawyers in the


    Hi jackie, can i get my visa started when i come to panama?, as long as i bring all checks like income statements and FBI clearance or rcmp clearance since im Canadian,or should i be doing this in Canada?

  5. Sheila Albert says

    Hi Jackie, I am seriously thinking about signing up for a tour, but I’m wondering if you have single people on the tours. A lot of the photos seem to show mostly couples. Thanks!

  6. Rob Roy says

    Hi Jackie.. Do you need to be vaccinated to travel to panama.. Thank you. We have just retired and are looking at panama

    • Jackie Lange says

      HI Rob Roy No vaccines are required to come to Panama.

  7. gary shade says

    During the 2020-21 season, flights to panama were cancelled or there was no entry. I am not covid vaccinated and will not be. What are the entrance requirements to panama now (March 2023) for american citizens? what documents are required?

    • Jackie Lange says

      Currently, in 2023, the only requirement to come into Panama is a valid passport ( at least 6 months before it expires)

  8. A.J. says

    Is there a Seventh-day Adventist Church there?

    • Jackie Lange says

      a google search shows several Seventh Day Adventist churches in Penonome

  9. willard forehand says

    First I would like thank you for sharing your, and others, experiences in Panama.
    I had planned a trip to Panama pre-covid and was delayed. I am revising my plans and was wondering if your online guide had dentist recommendations, David area.
    I watched your interview with Sonica, Golden Years, and sent her an email to schedule a visit.
    I am very interested in the area surrounding Boquette. Your recent video on Penonome is really interesting and only proves why one needs to visit before committing!!

    • Jackie Lange says

      Hello, yes, the online guide has dentists and doctor recommendations. Panama has so many great places to live! Hope you can visit soon. Consider joining us for an all-inclusive Panama Relocation Tour

  10. Allen Burrell says

    I felt a slight body chill and tingle of excitement reliving my “self-directed” exploration and tour of Penonome in March of this year. Your video of Penonome was exactly as I remembered and found myself thinking, “I was there! I was there!”

    I guess I’ve been pretty lucky to somewhat aimlessly do what your tour service could do so much more competently and efficiently. I guess I’ve also been lucky to aimlessly do things as you recommend. I am sold on the benefits of professional assistance in seriously considering an international relocation.

    My thoughts about using a top notch relocation-tour service have changed. I feel it will be an investment rather than an expense considering this is such a life changing decision and the beginnings to living my best life, how ever many years that will encompass.

    We will definitely be in touch in the next several days as the flights are now booked for November and Boquete. I even feel a little stress relief in coming to my new conclusions!

    • Jackie Lange says

      Hi Allen. You came to the right conclusion. A Panama Relocation Tour (group or private) will help you have a stress free move and help you avoid costly mistakes.

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