Why Are So Many Americans Leaving the USA?

If you’re considering moving to Panama, you certainly aren’t alone. In recent years, many Americans have decided to expatriate. Sure, Panama has the allure of beautiful nature and friendly visa offerings, but there are many more reasons why many Americans are deciding to ditch the “American Dream” and look abroad for a better life.

Let’s check out some of the top factors motivating Americans to start a life abroad.

The Cost of Living Just Keeps Getting Higher in the US

Certainly, inflation worldwide has made it a difficult time for many. With flights, food, and basic necessities at their highest prices yet, many are struggling to make ends meet.

Naturally, if you plan to retire, you need to figure out how to make your savings last. Spending less money is the obvious answer. It’s much easier to cut your costs when living in a “cheaper” country. That’s to say, if you could spend $1,000 on monthly rent in Panama instead of $2,500 in a US city, you’d have plenty more to spend on other things. And your savings would go much further!

The same could be said for the cost of groceries in Panama. If you do most of your shopping at local stands in Panama, you’ll be shocked at how much less you’ll spend on food. In Panama, many report that their monthly grocery bill is $400. The same food would cost much more in the US.

Basically, your cost of living in Panama will be much less than in the US.

Therefore, many leave the US knowing they’ll have a higher quality of life for less money abroad.

They Can’t Stand Long, Cold Winters

Good news! There’s no “winter” in Panama. While there is a rainy season, you won’t find the harsh winters that many endure in the US.

There is no snow in Panama. There are no hurricanes in Panama.

Weather and the amount of time you spend in nature affect your mood. So, if you could ditch the cold, dark winter days when all you want to do is avoid the outdoors, you’d probably be much happier year-round. And, while the stereotype many know is for retirees to head to Florida to enjoy a warmer winter, Panama will arguably give you better weather and nature at a lower price tag.

And, in Panama, you can pick your ideal weather. You can live near the ocean where it’s warm every day or in the highlands where you don’t need air conditioning.

The US has an extremely divided political climate.

Let’s face it, in recent years; tensions have been at an all-time high when it comes to politics in the US. And, while politics is always somewhat of a hot-button issue, it now seems to be worse than ever.

Many feel as though the climate is angry and unempathetic.

It may seem like you have to tiptoe around every issue rather than being able to have an open conversation with someone from an opposing party or with a differing viewpoint.

And, since the US is such a large “world power” and global political influence, it’s unlikely that politics in the US will ever really be an easy topic to breach.

However, when living abroad, it’s often easy to disconnect from politics. Many people report leaving the USA to escape politics and crime.

It’s not just politics. Racial tensions are also at an all-time high in some areas of the US.

In a recent video posted to our YouTube channel, a lady who moved to Panama commented under her video,

There is no stress or racism or crime or “wokeness” to deal with. Panama is not like America, and we love it!”

Luckily, in Panama, everyone gets along. They welcome”nice” people from everywhere. Panamanians don’t care what your skin color is or about your politics. Panamanians and expats both prefer that you leave your politics at the border. Please don’t bring the divisiveness with you.

It might be a good idea to turn off the US news once you move to Panama. This will help you reduce the stress and frustration of seeing what’s happening in the United States.

People Are Searching for Adventure

Certainly, you can live an adventurous life that includes plenty of exploration, whether in nature or cities, in the US. However, it will come at a higher cost and probably won’t be as convenient to find. What do I mean by that?

Well, when you move to Panama, everything is new and exciting. Something as simple as going to the grocery store and having the whole exchange happen in a foreign language is nerve-wracking and exhilarating. Moving to Panama and starting a new life is a constant adventure and learning experience.

Panama’s a small country. You can drive for one hour to totally change your environment. If you live in the mountains, you can go to the beach. If you live near the ocean, drive one hour to be in the mountains.

And, it’s a short (and affordable) flight from Panama to go to Costa Rica, Colombia, or Ecuador.

Healthcare and Insurance in the USA is Not Affordable

This is probably one of the number one reasons that Americans move abroad. That’s right. Those of us from the US all know it: our healthcare system is broken. Health insurance costs are exorbitant, taking up a huge chunk of your monthly income or savings. And, even worse, if you don’t have any health insurance, you risk losing a life’s worth of hard work with one illness, accident, or hospitalization.

That’s no way to live.

So, more and more people are deciding to search for something better. Panama has high-quality healthcare at a much more affordable cost. This makes it appealing to retirees and younger people who are fed up seeing their paychecks go to health insurance that doesn’t even cover much.

In Panama, with no insurance, you can see a doctor for as little as $2 at a public hospital or $20 at their private office.

Check out our video about emergency surgery for only $350 (with no insurance)

People Want a Freer Way of Life

Plenty of rules and restrictions are in place in the US and Canada too. When you move to Panama, you’ll notice things are simpler in many ways. However, that doesn’t mean things are more efficient. It just means that you’ll enjoy benefits such as lower taxes and less general regulations.

Let’s look at one example: In the US, to rent a home, you’d have to pay the first and last month’s rent, show references, allow the landlord to do a credit background check, and maybe even show bank statements. And you’ll likely have to pay a year-long lease.

While that might be the case in many upper-end, luxury condos in Panama City, it’s certainly not the norm. You could find a place, pay the first month’s rent, sign no contract, and be moved in within the day. It’s as simple as that. And there are countless more examples!

Additionally, if you relate freedom to nature and the outdoors, then Panama will grant you what you can’t always find in the US. Many homes are indoor-outdoor, and the weather makes being outdoors a year-round possibility. You may discover that you spend more time on your patio/balcony than you do indoors.

It’s a better way to live!

The ability in many places in Panama to do your daily errands by foot also allows those not wanting a car to have the freedom to get around–something that’s impossible outside of the big cities in the US.

Live the “American Dream” in Panama

A large part of the “American Dream” is having the means to live comfortably. While that might not be plausible for many in the US, with the high cost of living and taxes, it can certainly be done in Panama.

If you’re considering leaving the US, you’re certainly not alone.

Millions of Americans have decided to make lives for themselves abroad. And while the initial push may be for practical, economic reasons, many fall in love with their new country. We see this happen every month here in Panama!

If you want less stress in your life.. if you want a more affordable lifestyle… you should come to see how you can LIVE BETTER for LESS in Panama.

Why Panama is the Best Choice?

Panama is often ranked as the top retirement destination! Here here are 11 reasons why Panama is the ideal place to relocate to if you’re from the United States:

  1. Panama uses the US dollar as their currency, so you don’t have to deal with an exchange rate.
  2. Panama has non-stop flights to many US destinations. It’s only a 2.5-hour flight to Miami.
  3. Panama does not have hurricanes or tornados.
  4. Panama offers a variety of places to live to fit any budget. You can live in metropolitan Panama City, near the beaches of the Pacific Ocean, in the mountains where you don’t need air conditioning, on an island near Bocas del Toro on the Caribbean, or in a colonial town.
  5. Panama has a strong economy and stable government.
  6. Panama grows food 365 days a year and has fresh fish from two oceans daily.
  7. In Panama, you can pick your ideal temperature based on your elevation. Near the ocean, it’s about 90F (32C); for every 1000-foot increase in elevation, the temperature drops 5 degrees.
  8. Panamanians are the friendliest people you will ever meet. They are very welcoming to foreigners.
  9. Panama offers an EASY Pensionado Visa for retirees. You only need to prove that you make at least $1000 monthly in lifetime income to qualify (add $250 for your spouse). Panama has many other visa programs to make it easy to relocate to Panama.
  10. Panama is picky about who they will let get a visa and live in Panama. They require an FBI background check. If someone has felony or assault charges, they cannot move to Panama. Some countries do not require a background check.
  11. Panama’s famous Pensionado discounts make saving even more money each day possible! These are the discounts you can enjoy when you move to Panama:

    >50% off on recreation and entertainment such as movies, theaters, sports,
    >50% off hotels Monday through Thursday (30% off on weekends)
    >30% off public transportation like buses, trains, and boats
    >25% off airfare to anywhere in the world!
    >20% off restaurants (15% off fast food)
    >25% off electrical, landline telephone, and water service
    >20% off doctors and specialist
    >15% off hospitals and private clinics
    >15% off dental and optometry services
    >10% off prescription medications (20% off at many pharmacies
    >tax-free importation of household goods, up to $10,000

These discounts, combined with the lower cost of living in Panama, make living for less in Panama possible.

As good as Panama sounds, we realize it’s not right for everyone. That’s why we recommend visiting Panama before you sell everything to move to Panama.

Check out our all-inclusive 6-day, 7-night Panama Relocation Tours options to learn more about relocating to Panama.

Why is Panama Relocation Tours Your Best Choice?

Since 2010, Panama Relocation Tours has helped thousands of people have a hassle-free move to Panama. As of August 2023, we’ve completed 220 all-inclusive 6-day, 7-night Panama Relocation Tours PLUS hundreds of Private Tours.

After your tour, you’ll get free access to the Online Complete Panama Relocation Guide and our private forum, where we offer ongoing support before, during, and after your move to Panama.

We have the experience you can trust … and need!

This is a review that Wendell posted on TripAdvisor about his Panama Relocation Tour:

Highly Recommend Panama Relocation Tours
Aug 2023 • Couples
When we heard about Panama Relocation Tours (PRT) we began to watch the videos and the live stream interviews. We were so impressed that we signed up for one of the tours. The tour is a “must do” for anyone who is interested in exploring many relocation options within Panama and desires to be well equipped with everything you need to know to make the transition to Panama.

Everyone on the tour received a copy of the PRT guide book which is packed with information on a wide range of topics and answers to a myriad of questions one may have about relocating. Then, the tour included many stops across the country. We experienced a taste of what each visited region had to offer. Every segment of the trip was well planned with stops at rentals, great places for lunch and dinner and opportunities for Q and A’s with expats.
Enough cannot be said about the wealth of information and the high quality of tour provided by PRT company.

The details and facts we received were thoroughly insightful and informative. However, it was the PRT leaders, Jolynn Bryant and J. Hawkins, who made it a very personally rewarding travel experience. They were ideal tour guides, completely invested in giving us a memorable experience. Besides being well informed and attentive to each person on the tour, they shared insights from their personal experiences with everything Panama. No detail was too large or small. We give them extremely high marks for their professionalism.

Thank you, PRT team for facilitating an awesome and life changing adventure.

Come see how you can LIVE BETTER for LESS 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. David Rowe says

    Hello Jackie,

    How are you?I have watched dozens of your videos and interviews on Youtube!I still have to work at least 8 -10 more years before I can retire with a great Pension then move to Panama.I am just worried that by that time the Panamanian Government will change the requirements for getting the Pensionado Visa just like how they change rules for Friendly Nations Visa over the years.What is closest mountain region to Panama City that offers easy access to a nearby beach?My ideal place to live is somewhere cool that offers quick and easy access to the city,Hospitals,Airport and shopping places such as ALLBROOK MALL or another mall. What do you think?IU await your ideas.

    David Rowe

    • Jackie Lange says

      David. Thanks for watching our videos and interviews. It is very unlikely that there will be any changes to the Pensionado Visa. There will always be a visa option that will work for you to relocate to Panama. If you want to be close to the City, beaches, mountains, and shopping too.. then El Valle de Anton may be a good choice. It’s about a 2 hour drive to Panama City and 45 minutes to a beach. We have several videos of El Valle de Anton.

  2. David Rowe says

    Hello Jackie,

    I have one more question.When I retire and move to Panama with my spouse on a Pensionado visa .Will she be able to work in Panama after obtaining a Pensionado visa through me?I will not be working but she is younger than me so may want to get a job.Is that possible for her to get any kind of job if she is on a pensionado visa?

    • Jackie Lange says

      David, With a Pensionado visa, you cannot get a work permit. But your wife can do an online Job working for a company outside of Panama. She will not need a work permit to do that. Check out our free Fund Your Freedom Overseas eBook for ideas about working online. https://panamarelocationtours.com/resources/fund-your-freedom-overseas

  3. Alonzo says

    Hi Jackie! Although we’ve never I feel like we have. Thank You so much for providing such valuable and pertinent information regarding Panama. ..I will make arrangements to do either a Private Tour, or the regular tour and soon as possible. In the meantime stay well and May God Continue to Bless You.

    • Jackie Lange says

      Alonzo, Thanks so much. We look forward to showing you how amazing life is in Panama — with either Private Tour or a Panama Relocation Tour.

  4. Reginald Stanley says

    Greetings Jackie,

    I am considering moving to Panama by August 2024. I am arranging my schedule for the December tour. I have volunteered all my adult life and would love to work with orphans or church groups that serve the needy. I am a fan of the city, David and wanted to know if there are opportunities to serve in that city. I will be a retired educator and pastor.

    • Jackie Lange says

      Hello Reginald. There are volunteer opportunities throughout Panama.

  5. Ginny K says

    Great article! We are so glad we were able to take a Panama Relocation Tour June 2019. Your online guide has been very helpful as we have navigated obtaining our pensionado visas, our E-Cedulas and our Panamanian drivers’ licenses. We couldn’t have done it without your assistance and valuable information. Thanks for all that you do!!

    • Jackie Lange says

      Ginny, Thanks so much for joining us for a Panama Relocation Tour. I’m so glad the information during the Tour and in the Online Guide has made it possible for you to transition smoothly to Panama.

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *