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Singles Guide to Living In Panama

(NOTE:  A lot of the information in this article applies to couples too!)

What do you do when you’re single and you realize that if you stay where you are living now, you may never be able to afford to retire? Or, what do you do when just want more excitement and adventure in your life? For an increasing number of 50+ year old singles, the answer is to move to Panama which was recently named as the #1 place to retire in the whole world by International Living.

About half of the people who come on a Panama Relocation Tours are singles. And about half of the people who come on the tour then later relocate to Panama are singles. There’s a growing number of singles who are planning to relocate to or retire in Panama because it is much more affordable and offers a better quality lifestyle.

In a survey conducted by the website Best Places in the World to Retire, these were the top reasons people, including singles, retire overseas:

reasons singles move overseas


Singles who move to Panama will not be disappointed. The cost of living is less and there are so many things to do you will never get bored. You can live a less stressful life with better weather all year.  Panama health care and health insurance are much more affordable.  Panama is the perfect place for a fresh start. Panama ticks all the boxes!

Each area of Panama offers different things for single expats to do.  First, you need to determine if you prefer living in a warm coastal climate or spring like weather in the mountains.   Your next step is finding the place in Panama that fits your budget and that has the amenities and social life you prefer. Here are three examples:

♥ Panama City offers activities every day for singles to get involved in. organizes expat get-togethers to help expats meet each other. There is also live music at multiple venues every night. You can catch a 40-minute ferry ride to the Pearl Islands to relax on white sandy beaches next to the Pacific Ocean. There are salsa lessons, cooking lessons, ballet, photography classes, and much more.  Anything you could possibly need is available in Panama City but it is also more expensive than other towns.

living in coronado♥ The Coronado area, a beach community about 1 hour west of Panama City, is famous for all kind of water activities for singles to enjoy. There is kayaking, surfing, beach volley ball and more. On Friday and Saturday nights you’ll find live music and dancing at multiple venues. These are great ways to meet people too.  Coronado has many shops and restaurants.

♥ Boquete, a mountain town about 7 hours west of Panama City, has the largest expat community outside of Panama City. There are daily activities including hiking, card games, trivia, painting classes, karaoke, cooking classes, photography classes, yoga, tai chi, and many charities to get involved in (like the spay and neuter clinic). There is also live music at multiple venues almost every night. There is a single women’s group called the Chicas which gets together for lunch once a month and occasionally does trips together. Men can join the ROMEO (Retired Old Men Eating Out) group.

♥ Of course, there are many other towns to explore in Panama.  We visit some of them during a Panama Relocation Tour.  Every town in Panama that has expats will have expat get-togethers and other activities which give you an opportunity to meet other expats, including singles, who live in the area. Enjoy the local culture by going to a lot of Panamanian events to meet single Panamanians too. Panamanian’s love to party!

Panama is a small country which makes it quick and easy to explore areas other than where you live in Panama. Singles who live in the mountains sometimes get together for a trip to the beach.  Singles who live in Panama City sometimes travel together to the mountain towns to get away from the heat and noise in the City. There is so much to see and explore in Panama.. and it’s usually a short drive away.


Some of the singles I have met are happy staying single. Others have developed romantic relationships with other expats or Panamanians. There is something for everyone in Panama. Read what Chris and David have to say about their life in Panama.

chris duffyChris Duffy, a single woman living in Boquete says every day is like “adult day camp” with so many fun things to do. Here is how she describes her reasons for moving to Panama and what her life is like now:

“I moved to Panama to enjoy a healthy lifestyle in beautiful, affordable surroundings in a country that has a democracy and good health care so I could retire early and travel the world.

I don’t have a typical week because I have chosen to be involved in many organizations and activities. I may take yoga on Monday, volunteer at the recycling center or BCP Membership team on Tuesday, hike on Wednesday and Friday or Saturday, attend a discussion group meeting on Sunday or Thursday, a Chicas luncheon (for single women) on Friday, a breakfast group on Saturday and dinner with friends later that evening.

If it’s the third week of the month I’ll be coordinating and attending a Newcomers’ group event. In between, I’m chilling with friends, reading and enjoying the live music offered at the bars and restaurants.

It has been very easy to make friends. I live in Boquete which is a small mountain village. There are many English speaking expats here who are friendly and helpful.

In Panama, I have an excellent support system. I moved here without knowing anyone and have met many helpful friendly Panamanians and expats who provide guidance and information when needed.

Since moving to Boquete a year ago, I’ve watched people come and go. The people who leave do so because of health issues, grandchildren back home or because they become disillusioned with how things are done in Panama. Without exception, people who took Jackie’s Panama Relocation Tour and moved here made well informed decisions and roll with the culture. As a group we adjust well and assimilate because we know exactly what to expect.”

David Van Harn, a single man living in Boquete, explains why he moved to Panama and what his life is like living in Panama.

david van harn“I moved to Panama because I couldn’t afford to live in Sonoma County in my beloved Northern California coast region any more. It was either subsidized senior housing or find another place. After eight plus hours of intense Google research on my 70th birthday in December, 2011, Boquete rose to the top of my possible choices. Less than two months later, I was here for a four month stay to check it out. I quickly fell in love with the cool tropical mountain location and the wonderful people here. I am a legal permanent Panama resident, and Boquete has been my home for nearly seven years so far.

The highlights of my week are my showing of matinee movies on Sundays at the local expat-run theater/event center. and participating at the Tuesday morning international market at the same location. Two to three days per week, I do wood turning at my shop. Beaches and great hiking trails are nearby, but I don’t take advantage of them as often as I should. I occasionally have breakfast, lunch or dinner at one of our many low-to-medium priced restaurants. On weekends there might be jazz, oldies, and even chamber music at local venues.

The people here are wonderful. I have many friends here – not only Panamanians, but from the U.S., Australia, Ukraine, Italy, Turkey, and elsewhere in the world.
I am a widower, and although I don’t have a girlfriend – and don’t feel compelled to find one – I have several close women friends who are either expats or regular seasonal visitors to Boquete, as well as a number of male friends. I can’t think of a time when I have gone to downtown Boquete and not exchanged greetings with someone I know whose path I crossed randomly.

My support system in Panama is better than it was in the U.S. With so many friends here, help is a phone call away if I need it.”


Krstl Culp, another single woman who came on a Panama Relocation Tour then moved to Panama, says that although she is in Panama alone, she has never once felt lonely because there are so many friendly people and so many things to do. You’ll make a lot of friends fast when you move to Panama.

Chery Yeager, another single woman, came on a Panama Relocation Tour. About half of the people on her tour moved to the same area and now they are all best of friends and do many things together.  Watch the video below to learn about her life in Panama as a single woman


When you move to Panama, you need to find many things that you can get involved in so you can meet others. You may want to volunteer at one of the local charity organizations or go to live music events. The more you get out of your house, the more people you will meet, and the more rewarding your life will be in Panama.

Panama is a good place to reinvent yourself. You can start a fresh new life in Panama. If you’ve been a home body all your life, it can all change when you move to Panama.

In Panama, you’ll finally have an opportunity to pursue the passions that you left on the back-burner for most of your life. You could write that book, learn how to create artwork, surf, salsa dancing, go hiking in a rain forest, learn to make bread, start a vegetable and/or flower garden, learn a new language… the list goes on and on.  Once you retire in Panama, you’ll finally have the TIME to do what you want to do whenever you want to do it!

boquete panamaWhen selecting a place to live in Panama, you need to consider what things you really NEED in your life to make you happy. A more affordable lifestyle is high on most people’s priority list. Some areas of Panama are more affordable than others. There is a place in Panama to fit every budget.

You also need to consider the climate. Panama’s coastal areas will have warm and humid weather every day. The mountain areas will have Spring like weather every day. There is a perfect climate for everyone in Panama.  And, another plus, Panama has no hurricanes.

If you have existing health problems, you will probably want to live in a town with English speaking doctors and a town has a hospital near by. These are both readily available in most areas of Panama.

When you move to Panama, one of the first things you should do is get a Panama cell phone.  When you meet new friends, add their phone number to your contact list and give your phone number out too. You can have business cards made at local print shops which you can hand out to new friends. If you do this, you will always have someone to call to come over for a visit or to invite to lunch or dinner.

Don’t move to Panama without visiting first. A Panama Relocation Tour is a great way to see a lot of different areas in Panama all while learning all the things you need to do to make a smooth transition to relocating to Panama.


Moving to, or even visiting, a foreign country alone can be a daunting task.  Panama Relocation Tours makes it easy!

When you come on a Panama Relocation Tour, you’ll be with a group of others, including singles, who are also planning to move to Panama. You’ll make some life-long friends during the tour!  Click on the TOURS link above for more details.

During the tour, you’ll be introduced to people in each area so you’ll already know someone in the area you decide to move to. You’ll have an instant network of friends in Panama.


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. Rocco Corbino says

    Everything I see about Boquete Panama says why are you living anywhere elsevI hope to visit Boquete around the First of the year … I under stand best laid plans …Thank You

    • Jackie Lange says

      Boquete is a magical place.

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