Panama City: Costs of Living in 2024

When you first think of moving to Panama, your mind may wander to pristine beaches or lush mountains. However, this little country has more than just beautiful nature to offer its visitors and residents. Those drawn to the cosmopolitan lifestyle will be happily surprised by the lifestyle in the country’s capital, Panama City.

As the largest and most influential international hub in Central America, Panama City has a rich history. It also makes it an appealing place to settle for those who want the perks of the big city, at an affordable price. Many ex-pats can enjoy the city’s cultural offerings such as art, music, food, etc. While this city is pricier than other parts of Panama, it’s still affordable when compared to other international cities (Miami, New York City, Los Angeles).

So, let’s examine some reasons why people choose to move to Panama City and the cost of living in this important city.

Reasons to Live in Panama City

There are plenty of reasons why people choose to uproot their lives in their countries of origin and make Panama their new home. The affordable cost of living is one of the most important reasons.

However, this diverse country has plenty to offer, and Panama City is no exception. Expats can live a life of luxury in the city without breaking the bank. Setting aside the affordable cost of living for now, here are some of the top reasons people decide to live in Panama City.

casco viejo panama
Casco Viejo in Panama City

International Airport

When you live in Panama City, you’ll easily be able to catch of flight to anywhere in the world. The Tocumen International Airport (PTY) is conveniently located just outside of the city. You can quickly get there by taxi, bus, or metro. As an important city in Central America, there are daily flights to the U.S., Canada, and Europe. So, if you’re looking to live in Panama but often travel internationally, Panama City offers a convenient location for a home base.

Panama Tocumen Airport Expansion
Tocumen International Airport

Culinary Scene

Since Panama City has had such an eclectic history, its typical foods represent that diversity. Primary influences include Spanish, African, and Chinese. Of course, being a tropical paradise, you’ll also find some Caribbean dishes as well. And, since Panama City is a large, cosmopolitan city, foodies will be happy with what they find. You will enjoy not only delicious traditional dishes but also international cuisine. From delicious street food to high-end restaurants, Panama City’s gastronomy will satisfy your stomach (and your wallet).

Excellent Hospitals

Affordable, quality healthcare tops the priority list of many expats when looking for their new home: Panama City checks this box. As the capital city, Panama City has some of the best hospitals in the country. Four private hospitals within the city are affiliated with U.S. medical institutions: Centro Medico Paitilla, Clinica Hospital San Fernando, Hospital Nacional, and Hospital Punta Pacifica. These private hospitals and clinics offer their patients the best in care, equipment, and experience.

punta pacifica hospital
Pacifica Salud, the Johns Hopkins affiliate

Public Transportation

For those relocating from the U.S., the public transit system in Panama City will be a surprisingly convenient system. The city offers its residents and visitors various ways to navigate the city. Bus and metro are the best ways to get around if you need to go longer distances or aren’t able to walk However, the city is quite walkable if you don’t have to go so far–and it’s a great way to discover your new home! Both buses and metro are quite affordable, costing less than $0.50 per ride.

panama subway
Panama City Metro/Subway

Green Spaces

Living in a large city has many benefits and conveniences, however, it can often feel like a tradeoff: convenience for nature. The good news is that in Panama City you won’t have to compromise too much! Plenty of neighborhoods have many green spaces (San Francisco, Costa del Este, Clayton, and Panama Pacifico). In the heart of the city, there is also a 573-acre nature. The Metropolitan Nature Park is a wildlife reserve where you can go hang out in the tropical forest, within the city! So, while Panama City is the perfect launching point to other nature havens in the country, you can still find some natural beauty within the city’s parameters.

Omar Park in Panama City
Parque Omar in Panama City

What is the Cost of Living in Panama City?

Your monthly costs when living in Panama City, just like anywhere else in the world, will greatly depend on your lifestyle. However, you can certainly live with more luxuries, for less money in Panama–and Panama City is no exception to this rule.

Generally speaking, monthly costs for a single person or couple can range from $1,500-3,000 USD. This depends on the neighborhood in which you live, how often you dine out, and other factors. But, to better understand what you can get for your money in Panama City, let’s take a look at the monthly cost of Karen, who moved to Panama City:.

Rent: $1550.00 (fully furnished 3-bedroom Condo)
Electric: $19.11 (last month’s bill)
Dining out/ordering in/Uber rides: $300
Groceries: $200
Pet care: $40
Hair Salon and Pedicure: $100
Internet and Cable: $62.00
Cell phone: $25.00
Maid service: $60.00 (twice a month)

Monthly Total: $2356.11

This woman lives in a condo, with an ocean view, in the neighborhood of San Francisco. She could cut more corners if they had a tighter budget. However, Karen stated the huge perk of retiring in Panama City:

I tell people at home that I’m living large here on my retirement funds instead of worrying about buying food or medicine.

This is by no means a unique example of the lifestyle enjoyed by many retirees living in Panama City. When you’re concerned about your money going further, living in a place where you can enjoy a high quality of life at a lower price tag makes sense. And, you don’t have to compromise on important factors such as access to excellent healthcare and cultural activities.

Another family of three people shared their costs of living in Panama City. They live in a three-bedroom, three-bath apartment overlooking Parque Omar.

Rent: $1000 (3-bedroom Condo)
Electric: $50
Dining out $300
Groceries: $300
Car gas & maintenance: $40
Hair Salon and Pedicure: $50
Internet and Cable: $62.00
Cell phone: $25.00
Health insurance $150
Maid service: $30.00

Monthly Total: $2007

Panama City is Affordable!

So, while Panama City may not be the least expensive place to live in Panama, it is an excellent choice for those looking to live city life at an affordable price. Living in Panama City allows you to access art and cultural events, delicious cuisine, and great medical care. You don’t need a car if you live in Panama City.

$1300 a month for a furnished two-bedroom, two-bath, with ocean view.

We Can Help!

Moving to Panama is easy with the help of Panama Relocation Tours!

Join us for an all-inclusive 7-night, 6-day Panama Relocation Tour to see many different areas of Panama before deciding where to relocate. We spend a day exploring Panama City and seeing rentals there. You’ll also visit a hospital in Panama City during the tour.

See Panama Relocation Tour details here.

Or, you can go on a Private Tour of Panama City to explore the different neighborhoods and see rental options.

We have a team of people ready to help you find the perfect rental in Panama City!

Since 2010, Panama Relocation Tours has helped thousands of people have a hassle-free move to Panama. We can help you too!

We’ll give you the inside info on what it’s really like to relocate and live in Panama.

Just remember, you can live the next chapter of your life without constantly worrying about affording food, medicine, and other essential items.

Come see how you can LIVE BETTER for LESS in Panama!

See these videos about living in Panama City:

YouTube video
YouTube video

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. Marc Ellington says

    Hi Jackie, I attended the PRT in Jan ‘22. I truly enjoyed my experience and have returned. My goal is to relocate to Panama City this summer. I want to meet with a local guide for a personal 2-day tour, and meet with a realtor for housing options. The ranges listed in your newsletter are within my budget. I already have my Pensionado visa and my cedula. I look forward to the journey.

    Sincerely, Marc

    • Jackie Lange says

      Hi Marc. Thanks for coming on a Panama Relocation Tour. see the Online Guide for information about who can help you find the perfect rental in Panama City (at a super price)

      • Vinson Cadogan says

        Five all info you have

        • Jackie Lange says

          There are many more than 5 reasons to move to Panama City but I did not want to make the article too long.

  2. Dennis Santiago says

    My name is Denys Santiago.Born in David down the street from Boquete. Been in the US since 1972. (Fort Ord dependant at the time)
    I really enjoy the information.I suppose I may consider moving back.Ready to move out of Las Vegas.
    Thank you again

    • Jackie Lange says

      Hello Denys. Many Panamanians who moved away a long time ago are feeling the urge to come HOME! You should come to Panama to see how it has changed. I think you will be pleasantly surprised. You may want to consider joining up for an all-inclusive 6-day 7-night Panama Relocation Tour to see many different areas in Panama. It will help you decide where to move to!

  3. Ronald Johnson says

    We are considering moving to Panama. My wife is from Panama so we have a good knowledge of the country. What is the cost of your guide?

    • Jackie Lange says

      Hello Ronald. Thanks for your interest in the Online Panama Relocation Guide. It is $595 — See details about what it includes —

  4. Suzanne Ryan says

    I’m very interested. Lived overseas for nearly three decades and see Panama as a very strong next episode in this adventure.

    • Jackie Lange says

      Hello Suzanne, Thanks for your interest in Panama! A good way to see much of the country and learn everything you need to know to move to Panama the RIGHT way is an all-inclusive 6-day, 7-night Panama Relocation Tour.

  5. Simone thomas says

    I I’m simone from jamaica and I’ve been to panama once and fine it very amazing and I’d love to live there

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