Panama has been named the best country to retire to in International Living Magazine, and it has topped the pole an astounding seven times! If that’s not reason enough for you to retire in Panama, we have an extra 14 reasons to convince you.
1. Low cost of living
The cost of living in Panama is about 15-20% cheaper than in the United States of America. A three-course meal at a mid-range restaurant in Panama costs about $30, whilst the same in the US would leave you $48 poorer. A monthly pass to local public transportation routes costs around $20, whilst in the US you can purchase it for three times the price. A three-bedroom apartment outside of the city center would cost you $770 in Panama, but you’d pay around $1,300 in the US.
2. Buy your own apartment in the capital
For a mere $149,000 you can purchase a newly-built condo on Via Brasil in Panama City, close to everything you need! The 872 sqft condo was completed in 2009 and has two bedrooms and two baths. Since it’s located in a tall skyscraper, the ocean can be admired from both the master bedroom and the living room. The condo is unfurnished, so you can bring in whatever furniture you like and decorate it yourself. The building offers covered parking for every listing, 24-hour security, high speed internet, controlled access and even a swimming pool!
3. Economic Stability
Panama is the best option in Central America for anyone searching for financial stability. It is one of the major economic centers of the Western Hemisphere, and thanks to its geography and the Panama Canal, it is fast becoming a global economic giant. The Canal provides 10% of the country’s GDP, contributing to a large, steady and dependable income for the country, while also offering thousands of jobs for locals.
4. Familiar Currency
The national currency of Panama used to be the Balboa, named after a Spanish explorer, which is divided into 100 cents. In 1904 one Balboa has equaled one US dollar, and that’s when the US dollar started to legally distribute in the country. Currently the US dollar is legal tender in Panama and is accepted everywhere. Although Balboa coins still exist, there is no paper Balboa, so the dollar is officially used.
5. English is widely spoken
Albeit the country’s official language is Spanish, English is the second language taught in schools all around Panama. A very large percentage of the local population speaks English very well, and it is the primary language in the business world. But even if you get to smaller towns or villages, you can still make yourself understood in English.
6. Well-established expat community
If you’re a bit hesitant on moving to Panama fearing that you won’t get to meet up with any Americans or Canadians, we have good news for you! Panama is home to a huge American and Canadian expat community, of around 20,000 – 30,000 inhabitants scattered all around the country. Most of them live in the capital, since many people work in numerous firms of Panama City. But even if you decide to move into a smaller, more rural area of Panama, you’ll surely find compatriots.
7. Retire Directly to the Beach
A two-bedroom, two-bath, sea-view residential property in the sought-after Bocas Del Toro area would set you back $387,950. Located on 1,600 sqft, the property features a two-story house constructed of rare hardwood, with beautiful Tabaco wood floors. The listing also comes with a lovely landscaped and fenced property. The lovely deck is the highlight of the house with amazing views over the pristine surroundings, offering the perfect place for dining, living and organizing events outdoors. The property comes with two private parking lots.
8. The colorful Bocas Del Toro area
If you decide to move to one of the most famous and popular areas of the country, you surely will not be disappointed, or bored. A large variety of activities await those who visit or choose to live in Bocas Del Toro. Locals and tourists alike can pursue numerous outdoor pastimes, such as scuba diving, snorkeling, forest trekking, bird-watching, sail boating and even sightseeing. There are also two prestigious Spanish schools eager to teach anyone interested in the language and culture.
9. Stay in the Sea Port of the Caribbean
If you want to live at an arm’s reach from one of the gateways to the amazing Caribbean Sea, then Colon is the right choice for you. Known as Panama’s second city, with a population of only 78,000, Colon is ideal for those aiming to live in a city, but still being close to nature. Portobelo National Park is located in the close proximity of the city, and is famous for its coral reefs, mangrove swamps and coastal lagoons. Chagres National Park can also be found in the province, and is rich in tropical rainforests dotted with small rivers and streams.
10. Party in one of the largest festivals in the country
Although Las Tablas is a generally quiet and small town throughout the year, it gets busy 4 days before Ash Wednesday, giving way to one of the largest festivals in the country, the carnival! That’s right – you don’t need to go all the way to Brazil for a great carnival, since Panama City and Las Tablas are also home to one of Latin America’s largest celebrations. Be sure to get out in the streets when they fill with masks, floats, costumes, confetti and great vibes!
11. Enjoy natural beauty in the small town of Santa Fe
If you’re looking for a small and peaceful town to settle down, Santa Fe might be the right option for you. With a population of only 3,200 inhabitants, the town is the ideal retirement place for those in search of proximity to natural beauty. You can purchase your own land in the pristine nature among green hills for $ 30,000 – $50,000, then build your dream cottage in some of the most beautiful scenery Panama has to offer.
12. Be close to the capital
You wouldn’t like to live in the rush of the capital, but wouldn’t want to stay too far away from it either? The corrigimento of Ancón, often considered a suburb of Panama City, is great to live in. It is located right next to Ancón Hill, where you can admire the amazing panorama of the Panamanian capital in exchange for a short hike.
13. Get home easily
If you’d like to enjoy the Panamanian life in a larger city part of Panama District, but would like to hop home every once in a while, then choose Tocumen as a base! It has an international airport that serves as a home base for numerous flights to North, Central and South America. It’s also a great choice, because the cost of living is cheaper than in the capital of Panama.
14. Delve into local culture
Although Panama City is quite an attraction itself, if you really want to delve into local culture, then head to the rural area to find true local festivities and handicrafts. Such a unique culture, the Guna people, can be found in the Guna Province of Panama. The Guna women make some of the most unique clothing pieces, attaching together several layers of different colored cloth, using an applique process known as “reversed applique”.
15. Enjoy baseball
The national sport in Panama is baseball, and they have numerous national and regional teams which compete against each other and in international tournaments. More than 140 Panamanian players, such as Bruce Chen, Carlos Lee and Carlos Ruiz, have played in professional American leagues.
Although Panama is a Central American country, the American influence can be seen around the whole country, from its currency to its national sport, making your stay even more familiar and memorable.