Move to Panama With These Tips

This article was written from Ross Campbell who moved from the USA to Panama City Panama in 2015.  Ross shares his advice for anyone considering a move to Panama.

Panama is a whole new world compared to the USA.  Panama exudes beauty in practically every direction you turn. From breathtaking views of the Caribbean Sea to the majestic shoreline running down the Pacific Ocean, nature abounds and you will find many great things to do in the country. When moving to Panama, you’ll also need to take in to consideration how things will be different in your personal life.

Use these tips to your advantage to prepare yourself for the move you’re about to make from one great country to the next.

zip line in Panama

Be open to new things around you that you’re going to experience. You want to ensure that you have an open mind, since not everything is going to be the same as back home. You need to be able to experience these new way of doing things without becoming too overwhelmed.

Depending on where you find a home, the area may be great but you might find that large shopping trips need to be done 30-60 minutes from home.  This can be a little frustrating at times if you are used to frequent trips to the store. The natural beauty, friendly people and grand list of fun things to do will usually override the lack of local shopping centers.

Instead of moving cold-turkey, it is better to come visit Panama during a short vacation or during a Panama Relocation Tour to check out various areas where you may want to relocate to.   This will help prepare you for the move to Panama.

Make local friends (expats and Panamanians) and learn more about the Panamanian customs.

Learn some Spanish.  You don’t need to be fluent in Spanish before you move to Panama, but a little Spanish and a big smile will go a long way.  You will feel more comfortable is you are able to communicate with those around you. Google translate will become your friend!  Making friends should be a big priority when you move to Panama, that means you’ll need to get out of the house so you can meet people.  Many areas in Panama have weekly, if not daily, events you can go to.  Getting involved with some of the local charities is a great way to meet people too.

Make sure you understand the rules for foreigners living in Panama and the requirements for getting a residency Visa.  As a tourist, you can stay in Panama for 6 months, then you need to leave Panama for at least 72 hours before you can come back. But if you are driving a car in Panama, you can only stay in country for 90 days, then you will need to leave for at least 72 hours before you can come back.  You can avoid these hassles by getting a Residency Visa.  There are many different Visa available.  This will all be explained to you in detail during a Panama Relocation Tour.

Some people sell everything they own then move to Panama with a few suitcases and their pet.


But, moving to Panama doesn’t mean that you have to leave your household goods behind. You can bring everything with you by using a professional international mover.  You can even bring your car if you use  an international car shipper such as A1AutoTransport Inc. 

International shipping companies will give you information about what paperwork is needed to bring your household goods or car in to Panama.  For cars, the shipping company will require declaration forms, the title and if there is a lien, the lien holder will need to OK that the vehicle will be moved. Additional documentation may be required from the shipper.

You’ll need to learn patience!  Things don’t always move as fast as you’d like in Panama but they will eventually happen.  Tranquilo!

By visiting Panama for a week during a Panama Relocation Tour, it will help you determine what’s available in Panama and what’s not available.  If you need specific medications, a specific food or any other specialty items, then you should find out if it’s available in Panama.   You can always order items from Amazon and get them delivered to Panama.  But importing items from the U.S. can be expensive.

Boquete Panama Tuesday market

Always give yourself time to settle in. This is a change, so you want to ensure that you’re being more comfortable with your surroundings by allowing yourself time to do so. If you’re too nervous, afraid to leave the new home or meet others then perhaps it is time to get out and find things to do. Whether you’re alone or not, this is a great experience that you do not want to miss out on because you’re unsure of your surroundings.

Know that thousands of people move to a new country every year.  There will be an adjustment period.  Others make it just fine and so will you.

Enjoy all that comes with moving to Panama and the beautiful views ahead of you. Being fully informed and prepared to move to Panama will make the move less stressful.   Move with help, move with ease and feel good with all that you decide to do. Panama may just be the best move you will ever make!

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.

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