My father grew up in the canal zone, spending 17 years there before moving to Florida to finish high school. In turn, I grew up with stories of his time in the country, and his own plans to eventually retire in Panama. That meant research trips to the country, patacones for dinner growing up, and a myth about living in Panama that I hoped to see for myself.
When my dad and I visited Panama in , some of his retirement plans were a bit squashed. While we looked at property in Gamboa and Boquete, there are actually many other spots.
By Moving to Panama You Can Move to Paradise
Each city has their own pros and cons. As a digital nomad myself, I have lived in Mexico and Thailand for years. So, together we decided to explore what Panama has to offer. We found that where in Panama you choose to live has a strong impact on living costs.
Keen to access this information offline? Why Panama?
Panama is an excellent spot for expats, retirees, and even an increasing number of digital nomads are calling Panama home for part of the year. The currency is pegged to the USD, a good deal of English is spoken in the popular cities, yet the food and culture remain solidly Panamanian.
There is a lot of U. Panama City has high-end malls, English is spoken widely in Boquete. This means many of the expats are there for the very fact that it has the U. During my research trip with my dad, we did the reconnaissance work looking at areas, but also visited an indigenous chocolate plantation , visited family friends , and enjoyed the history in Panama City.
A lot of the online expat guides are for the more sanitized areas of the country, but all of Panama has a lot to offer potential expats. However, this is only in very specific cities. Consider this comparison of costs of living around the world for perspectives on where Panama fits. Many people choose Panama because of the weather and ease of living. All general estimates in this guide assume living costs for two people.
Panama City has a younger expat scene, and you can often find digital nomads or long-term backpackers holing up in the Bocas del Toro islands for three- to six-month stints. Safety : Relatively safe. Petty theft, opportunistic crime, credit card fraud, and muggings are common in major cities like Panama City. Visas : US citizens do not require a visa to enter Panama.
A comprehensive guide to moving to Panama
To gain entry you will need a passport that is valid for three months after the date of your departure from Panama. Upon entry to Panama, you will receive a day tourist card, which can be extended to a day tourist card. If you wish to retire in Panama, visit the U. Child Friendliness : I know of several families who have relocated to Panama, with many settling in places like Panama City or David.
Pet Friendliness : Panama is relatively pet-friendly, however the process for bringing your pets can be a little overwhelming.
Cost of Living in Panama (12222)
And start well before your planned move so you can get the vaccinations and documentations in place. Water : Safe.
You can drink tap water in most of Panama. Even more, Panama offers a special discount program and an easy visa process for foreign retirees. For instance, living in a small apartment rather than a house will cut down your costs. Choosing to eat out less often is another choice you can make to lower your cost of living. This is especially true if you live in a big city or a place popular with tourists, where the cost of food in restaurants tends to be very high. If you think you can financially handle a Panamanian retirement , there are still logistical issues to consider.
Namely, you have to make sure make you move to Panama legally, which requires a bit of finesse.
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American citizens do not need a visa to enter Panama. However, you will need a valid passport if you plan to stay in the country for at least three months. Upon entry you can get a tourist card, which lasts for 30 days and can be extended for an additional 60 days.
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If you like the US, stay there! Yes, sometimes the differences will drive you nuts! But it can also be stimulating, challenging and fun. Reason 7 Not to Move to Panama: to make a killing.
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A lot of folks came down here from the US to make a fast buck. But it takes work and time to create anything. There is no fast way to success in business or quick way to make a lot of money. So, now they know.