You can visit a new or used car dealership to buy a car in Panama. Or, you can search online ads to find what you are looking for. But, if you don’t speak Spanish and don’t know the procedures for transferring the title and getting car insurance, buying a car can be intimidating.
Using a car broker makes the entire process of buying a car easy. You tell the car broker what you are looking for and how much you want to spend. You might say you want a mid-sized SUV with an automatic transmission and low miles for under $15,000.
The car broker will advise about which models of cars are best for Panama. You want to buy a car that has parts and services readily available. Some car models are not prevalent in Panama, so avoid those cars.
The car broker will find the cars matching your criteria and send you information about each. Once you pick a certain car, they get it inspected by a qualified mechanic, verify ownership, and confirm that the car has not been in a wreck. The car broker also takes care of getting the title transferred to you.
There are many more cars in Panama City, so car brokers usually find the car you are looking for in Panama City. For a small fee, the car broker will deliver the car to your location, so you don’t have to drive to Panama City to take
The car brokers we recommend in the Online Complete Panama Relocation Guide charge $300 to $500 for their service. There is an additional cost of about $160 to get the title transferred to you.
Sadly, not all car brokers are created equal. Some car brokers frequently recommended on some Facebook groups charge $1000 to $2000 for their service plus the title fee PLUS they bump up the price from $1000 to $2000 over the sellers asking price too.
Beware of car brokers who also want to sell you car insurance because their prices are often more than you would pay if you use a recommended insurance agent listed in the Online Complete Panama Relocation Guide.
Watch this video of Ellen sharing her experiences moving to Panama and using a car broker to buy a car after she got her driver’s license.
Tourists can drive with their foreign license for the first 90 days in Panama. But the minute you apply for a residency visa, you are no longer a tourist and can no longer drive with your foreign license. You must get a Panama driver’s license to drive in Panama.
You may want to wait to buy a car in Panama until you have your Panama driver’s license.