The dynamics of our Panama Relocation Tours reflect who is moving to Panama. When we first started doing tours in 2010, most of the people on the tour were retirees or people of retirement age looking for business opportunities in Panama.
But over the last five years, things have changed. Now, people in their 30s, 40s, and 50s are coming on the tour and relocating to Panama too. We had a 23-year-old on the January tour. They are not Trust Fund babies who can retire. Nope! These are young people, with no retirement income, who are either digital nomads or those looking for business opportunities with less competition than North America or Europe.
Now, many of our tour clients have an online business so they can live and work anywhere there is an internet connection. Digital nomads are drawn to Panama because of the low cost of living, high-speed internet options, and variety of things to do in the country. They can enjoy the vibrant nightlife in Panama City. They can enjoy water sports or surf in the Pacific or the Caribbean Sea. Or they can enjoy hikes in a rainforest in Panama. There are always things to do in Panama! Plus there are a lot of other digital nomads in Panama so there are always plenty of other, like-minded, people to network with.
A good example is 33-year-old Joel Thomas from Wisconsin. I first met Joel at a real estate investing seminar in California a few years ago. I did the marketing for the seminar so I attended to help get everyone signed in and see many of my real estate investor friends. Joel spent more time out in the hall talking to me about Panama than he did in the classroom. A few months later, he was on a Panama Relocation Tour and was instantly hooked. He was actually thinking about relocating to Chile before learning about all the advantages in Panama. Joel moved to Panama to attend an MBA program at 2/3 less costs than the United States. The instructors are flown in from the United States to Panama City for class on Friday and Saturday. So that leaves the rest of the week for Joel to work for someone else. But he found that it was impossible getting a job until he got his work permit. And you can’t get a work permit until you get your permanent visa. Once he got his work permit, he landed a job with a multinational company making as much, or more than he would if he were working in the United States. What his video below to learn about his life in Panama …
There are more than 120 multinational companies that have headquarters in Panama. Microsoft is expected to open an office in Panama City soon. Panama offers a lot of tax advantages to multinational companies to relocate to Panama. You can learn more about the multinational companies in my free booklet, Fund Your Freedom Overseas.
Another example of a young person moving to Panama is Alice, a 23-year-old, who moved to Panama City in 2012 but now lives in Coronado. She went the freelance route and has no problem finding clients. Alice says, ” New business, it seems, is to be found at every poolside happy hour and beachfront volleyball game”. When Alice graduated from college, she realized that there would be thousands of other people her age competing for the few jobs that opened up in the United States. In Panama, she has very little competition and a great view from her Coronado condo you can see below.
Julie moved to Boquete when she was 39. Obviously, she had no retirement income so she had to find a way to make a living. She purchased an older house close to downtown Boquete then converted it into five studio apartments which each rent for $500 a month. She and her boyfriend did most of the work themselves to save money. The income from the apartments completely supports her active lifestyle in Panama.
Anne and her husband, both in their 40s, moved from France to Coronado Panama several years ago. Anne sells and rents real estate in the Coronado area and her husband is a videographer. We sometimes meet with Anne during the Panama Relocation Tours.
When you have an online business, you can live anywhere there is an internet connection.
These young ex-pats are not alone. In Panama, young people are opening up beach bars, hostels, rehabbing houses, and other businesses in Panama because it is so much easier to start a business in Panama than it is in other countries. For certain businesses, the City of Knowledge has $10,000 grant money available to start a business through their Start-Up Panama program.
There is also an increase in young ex-pats with children moving to Panama. A good indicator of that is the enrollment in International Schools. When I moved to Boquete there were about 300 children enrolled in the international school in Boquete. Now, that school had to build a new larger school in a new location because their enrollment has expanded to 750 students in Boquete. I don’t have numbers for international schools in Panama City, Coronado, or David. But my guess is that they have experienced similar growth. This growth also offers opportunities for educators of all ages!
Check out this video of a young couple who moved from Texas to Volcan with their five (now 6) children.
A good way to connect with young ex-pats living in Panama is through the Young Expats in Panama Facebook group. The site has more than 14,000 members from many different countries! Most of them already live in Panama!
Internations Panama is another way to connect with young ex-pats in Panama. They host regular events in Panama City for ex-pats to get together.
So, what’s the draw for younger people to move to Panama? When you combine more opportunity with a more affordable lifestyle, plus incredible weather….it just makes sense for young adults to consider a move to Panama. There are so many interesting places to explore in Panama, you’ll never get bored!
But, Panama is not a good fit for everyone. Whether you are a young person or a retiree, it is better to come to check out Panama before you make a decision to move to Panama. Ideally, during a Panama Relocation Tour!. If you like what you see, then you may want to do a test drive, living in Panama for 3-6 months, before you make your final decision… or you may be ready to take the leap after you see how wonderful Panama is.
Younger ex-pats live all over Panama. Some prefer the hustle and bustle of Panama City. But some prefer beach communities near Coronado, Playa Venoa, or Bocas del Toro. And some prefer the cooler weather and outdoor activities available in the mountain communities like Boquete. There is a perfect place waiting for you in Panama!
IF YOU’RE A DIY KIND OF PERSON: Our Complete Panama Relocation Guide has all the information you need to know to relocate to Panama including getting a visa, finding a rental, and more. Tourists can only stay in Panama 6 months. If you want to live in Panama longer, you’ll need to get a residency Visa.
CUSTOM TOUR! We also offer Custom Private Tours of the area(s) you are most interested if you’d prefer to not do a group tour or the group tours are sold out. Our Private Tour Guides will show you exactly what you want to see and what you want to do when you come to explore Panama.