What Does It Cost to Move to Panama?

No matter where you move to, there will always be upfront moving expenses. Even if you just move across town or move within the same state/province, there will be moving expenses.

Though you can reduce your cost of living when you move to Panama, there will be significant upfront costs when you move to a different country. Luckily, there are things you can do to reduce these costs, which we’ll talk about later in the article.

One of the biggest upfront costs when moving to Panama is getting a residency Visa and renting a place to live. See the chart below with estimated moving expenses for a couple to move to Panama. The costs would be less for a single person.

Airfare to Move to Panama (est $700 each)$1400
Pet Relocation$600
Pensionado Visa$1500
Panama Driver’s License$140
First Month’s Rent & Security Deposit ($900 rental)$1800
Stock Up on groceries$300
Eating Out Expenses$200


If you buy a car, that could be an additional $5,000 to $20,000, depending on the car you select. For full coverage insurance for a $20,000 car, it will cost about $600 a year, but you can opt to pay monthly.

If you ship household goods or a car to Panama, that can add an additional $5,000 to $15,000, depending on the container size and which moving company you use.

If you get any visa other than a Pensionado Visa, you can add $100,000 – $200,000 or more to your cost to move to Panama. Unfortunately, any Visa besides the Pensionado Visa will require a substantial investment in real estate, a deposit into a Panama 3-year bank CD, or a business in Panama.

If you pick the wrong immigration attorney or the wrong real estate company, it would increase your costs substantially. Some lawyers and real estate companies pad the price… a lot! We have reliable recommendations in our Complete Panama Relocation Guide.

If you don’t have pets, you can remove that expense from the chart above. But if you have more than one pet or a large pet that needs to go in cargo, the expense could be substantially more than $600. The $600 is the estimate for vet visits to get shots, an international health certificate, authentications, pet airfare for in-cabin, and help to get your pet into Panama.

Use Umbrella in Panama

The first month that you move to Panama, you’ll be more likely to eat out more often to try out different restaurants so I added in $200 for eating out expenses.


To reduce your costs to move to Panama, you should wait to get your Visa until after you move to Panama. If you get the Visa before you move to Panama, you’ll have the extra expense of airfare to Panama two times ($2800) plus hotel and meal expenses for about 10 days ( $100/day x 10 – $1000) SAVE $3800 if you get your Visa after you move to Panama.

If you rent for less than $900 per month, that can reduce your upfront moving expenses, but if you rent for more than $900 a month, it will increase your upfront moving expenses. Ideally, you should find a furnished rental that includes all utilities so you don’t have any other upfront rental expenses like electricity or internet. It is not customary to pay the first and last months’ rent in Panama, so avoid agents who ask for that. Never push your budget to the limit.

We advise that you only rent a furnished rental; otherwise, you’ll also have the expense of buying furniture, which could double your upfront expenses. See what a $695 per month furnished rental looks like. Save $5000-$6000

695 rental boquete panama

An affordable place to buy furniture, bedspreads, curtains, kitchen appliances and more in Panama, is Conway. It’s similar to a Target store. SEE FURNITURE PRICES ON THEIR WEBSITE HERE.

If you buy Panama health insurance, it will add another $102 per person if you are 60-69. International Health insurance could be an additional $250- $500 per month per person. You can also self-insure with no fixed monthly expenses. Self-insure means that you’ll pay for a doctor visit as you need them. It’s $2-$20 to see a doctor in Panama, depending on where you go.

Doctor Visit in Panama

We really recommend that you come TO visit Panama before you decide to move to Panama. As much as we love living in Panama, we know it’s not right for everyone.

Use our recommended immigration lawyers in the Online Guide to avoid paying way too much to get a Visa. Our most affordable attorney charges $1500 for a couple to get a Pensionado Visa. Another attorney, who we do NOT recommend, charges $7500 for the exact same visa! You can SAVE money and avoid costly mistakes with the Complete Panama Relocation Guide.

To reduce your costs to come to check out Panama, you could buy the Complete Panama Relocation Guide for only $595 to learn all the things you need to know to have a hassle-free move to Panama. Then you could do a 2-day Private Tour in the area you are most interested in for $250 per day or do a self-guided tour with the tips we provide. The Complete Panama Relocation Guide has recommendations for reliable immigration lawyers, and property managers, where to buy affordable health insurance, how to find a rental, and so much more.

The Complete Panama Relocation Guide will SAVE you money and help you avoid costly mistakes.

Panama Relocation Guide

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. Chris Pursley says

    Thanks for the good info. Is it common or reasonable to consider driving down to Panama from the US?

    • Jackie Lange says

      pre-covid driving from the USA to Panama was possible but not advised. Now, with Covid, it would be impossible because many land borders are still closed and each country has different rules for Covid tests before you can enter the country.

    • peter kolvig says

      When getting a pensionata visa, is it required to put $1000 in a Panama
      bank account monthly?

      • Jackie Lange says

        to get a Pensionado Visa, you do NOT need to deposit money into a Panama bank account. They just want to see proof that you have that income.

  2. Marci Camenisch says

    I was planning on applying for Pensianado a couple months before our PRT tour next August, then finalizing it during our August trip. But above it states that the cost will be less if we apply after we come to Panama. The quote I have from immigration attorney is $2800 for me and my spouse/dependent. Will it be less if I wait and apply from Panama?

    • Jackie Lange says

      The immigration lawyers we work with charge LESS, much less!

      You can certainly apply before or after your tour but you’ll have the added expense of hotels and eating out.

      You can save money if you use one of the lawyers we recommend and if you wait until you move to Panama to apply

  3. Lyle stephens says

    Is there someone that I can get to help me do this I’m not to educate I can pay for some help to do all the paperwork I’m 57 an wanting to move to Panama an retire I have 4000. A month come in .thanks

    • Jackie Lange says

      Hello Lyle

      YES! We have people to help with the entire process of moving to Panama. We list all the contact in our Complete Panama Relocation Guide https://panamarelocationtours.com/guide

      There are companies who can help you gather the documents you need, immigration lawyers who will help you get a visa, honest real estate agents who will help find a rental, where to buy health insurance, etc etc. Everything you need to know AND the reliable contact to help you move to Panama.


  4. Donald Schleicher says

    Even if I’m unable to obtain a pensionado visa, I’d love to come down for a month or more; ( I know i’m limited to 6 months as a tourist ). Two questions ; #1, is it possible to rent a house, apt. or condo month to month ? I plan to buy the relocation guide depending on what I hear from one of your recommended lawyers.
    #2 ; Do you think if I email a recommended lawyer there documents showing I served a year diversion for a DV charge, due to being a veteran, and the courts dismissal paperwork, ( no conviction), that they could at least give me the odds of obtaining a successful bueno vista , so I could pursue a pensionado visa while there ? Thanks so much !

    • Jackie Lange says

      You can email your criminal report to a Panama immigration attorney to determine if you’d be able to get approved for a Buena Vista. The best place to find a month-to-month rental is Airbnb.com

  5. Márk says

    Dear Jackie,

    Thank you for the detailed guidance
    According to the table above:
    “Amount of the first month’s rent and Security deposit” payable at the start of the rental period
    Below it says: “In Panama it is not customary to pay the first and last month’s rent, so avoid agents who ask for this”.
    Please help me, what exactly does this mean?
    If I want to rent an apartment, when do I have to pay the first month’s rent and the security deposit?

    • Jackie Lange says

      first months rent and a security deposit is common before you move in

      first months, last month, and a security deposit is NOT common

  6. Xenia Vergara says

    What do you think about bringing all your stuff when moving to Panamá? I mean, we are planning to move there, but we don’t want to sell our furniture and the rest of our stuff, what could you recommend us?

  7. Paul Johnston says

    Hi Jackie
    How long can you rent in Panama, is there a time stipulation where you would need to purchase a home?

    • Jackie Lange says

      There is no limit to how long you can rent. Many have been living in Panama for 15-20 years and still prefer to rent.

  8. Sharon Hill says

    I would love to visit Panama to get a good feel of all its beauty. Could I do this with just a 6 month Visa? L

    • Jackie Lange says

      Tourists from North America can stay in Panama for 180 days

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