Thinking of moving to Panama? You’ve made a great choice. In fact, the New York Times picked Panama as the NO.1 place to travel in 2012. What makes it so great? Here are a few reasons.
- Great Weather
- Cost of Living
- Health Care
- Friendly for Expats
- Politically stable
- Easy to Get a Visa
- The Food
- The Landscape
Panama has tropical weather, with breezes off the Pacific that makes the climate pleasant. The average temperature is 75 F in the mornings and 86 F in the afternoons. April to September is rainy season. There is no need to use heating system. If you are in Boquete, A/C isn’t usually needed, although you may want to use it in areas like Coronado or Panama City.
Rent is a fraction of the cost of most cities in the United States. You can rent a 2-bedroom apartment in the city for less than $1000/month, and many people have full-time housekeepers for a very low cost also. You can eat a nice meal for under $3. Services and basic supplies are also less expensive.
In Boquete, the cost of living is even lower. A furnished house or apartment can be rented for as low as $400 USD/month. Trust me, my wife and I have done it ourselves.
Public transportation is okay in Panamá, but I am a big fan of Uber. The average cost of an Uber ride to get around Panamá City is around $3. If you live in Boquete or Coronado, a sturdy 4x4 vehicle is recommended.
Health care is generally a fraction of the cost that it is in the United States. An average doctor visit, including blood work and antibiotics, generally costs less than $20. Surgery that costs thousands of dollars in the United States may only cost hundreds in Panama. The health care is top-notch; doctors are well-educated, and they genuinely care about your well-being. Doctors in Panamá are much more likely to work with you to prevent getting sick (such as prescribing a healthy diet) rather than simply pushing surgery or pills.
Many expatriates will find that local residents of Panama are very friendly. Since Panama has been an international destination long ago, Panamanians accept foreigners and Americans. In addition, U.S. currency is the main currency being used in Panama. Bills are U.S. dollars, and coins are a mix of both U.S. coins and “balboas,” which are set at a 1:1 exchange rate with U.S. coins. Panamá also uses the same electrical outlets. Although Spanish is the primary language, most people also speak English.
Panama has one of the largest rainforests in the world, and it’s home to lots of amazing creatures, including sloths, a variety of monkeys, and one of the largest varieties of birds in the world. Even just walking around Panama City, you’re bound to run into some cool butterflies, fireflies, lizards, or frogs. Of course, Panamá is also surrounded by both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean. There are plenty of lovely beaches all around the coasts, and there are lovely islands that are just a short ferry ride away.
Panama has an open and stable political system. Due to a continuing economic growth, more and more foreigners are willing to invest in Panama, and this again promotes economic prosperity. The political and economic stability have made Panama a safe country to stay.
A Visa allows you to live and work in a foreign country. Thanks to the recently introduced “Friendly Nations Visa,” citizens of certain countries, including the United States, can obtain one fairly easily. Basically, you need to register a company in Panamá and have $5,000 + $2,000 per dependent in a Panamánian bank account. Alternatively, you can stay in Panamá for up to 6 months at a time with no visa; you would simply need to travel outside the country for at least 30 days.
If you enjoy eating a variety of tropical fruits and vegetables, Panamá is a great location. If you enjoy eating a variety of tropical fruits and vegetables, Panamá is a great location. Especially in Boquete, Volcan, Cerro Punta and the surrounding areas of Chiriqui will you be astounded by the fresh fruits and vegetables grown in the Panamanian highlands.
Panamá ranks among the safest of all Latin American countries, and I can personally attest to that. Drug smuggling and general crime is minimal. The police have a very strong presence, especially along the Pan-American highway.
Panamá has a variety of landscapes and environments. It has beautiful rolling hills, pretty rivers, jungles, and white-sand beaches on both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea sides of the country.