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Retire in Panama: The Expat´s Guide

Retire in Panama: The Expat´s Guide

Thinking to retire in Panama? Retirement living offers many advantages for those looking to enjoy life after working hard all their lives.

Panama it’s an affordable place to live, where you can enyoy a pleasent climate all year, affordable healthcare and a stable economy.

But it´s not for everyone, in this article you will get a glimpse of what Panama is like.

Read on!

Retire in Panama, is it a good place to Retire?

Panama is a beautiful country with warm weather all year round.

There are many different areas to choose from when deciding where to retire.

You can find a home in one of the many gated communities, or you can live in a condo or villa in a more rural area.

When considering to retire in Panama, there are 2 choices:

Retire In Panama City

In Panama city you can have a deluxe lifestyle for a relative low budget when compare to other western countries.

For instance, for $ 5,000.00 a month you can live in a big ocean front apartment and enjoy a lot of amenities, drive a nice car and eat out at restaurants and attend events.

But, if you are on a tight budget, then Panama City may not be for you.

That is when you can consider to:

Retire in Panama: The country side.

By country side, we mean the main places where expats communities have established and call home.

The most souht after destinations are:

Beaches area, mainly Coronado.

The beaches area are around 1 hour away from the city and are well developed, with clinics, supermarkets and restaurants.

In Coronado there is even a movie theater among other amenities and infraestructure.

David Chiriqui, small town, next to Costa Rica, good infraestructure

It is like Panama citiy but smaller. Good infraesctructure, very affordable living and quick access to mountain communites, Boquete, Cerro Punta and Volcan.

Also, you have 2 beaches, Las Lajas and Playa Barqueta.

David it´s a great place to retire, you can live in a condo or in a nice gated community.

You can enjoy a slower pace of life than Panama City here.

Pro tip: the monthly living expenses in David are lower than in Panama City or Boquete.

Boquete, mountain town (you have to take the monthly budget up a notch)

In recent years Boquete have been increasing the cost of living.

It is still a magnificent place, great template climate (don´t even need air conditioner) and spectacular mountain views.

Azuero: Chitre, Las Tablas and Pedasi.

In the middle of the country is the Azuero Peninsula.

The towns are small with good infraesctructure. There is less to do than in both Panama City and David.

The upside it´s the slow pace of life and affordable living.

So, in regards to expat´s communities…

You will find:

  • Lower cost of living (in the country side)
  • Mild climate
  • Good and affordable healthcare
  • Modern infraestructure

But be aware that Panama may not be as cheap as internet blogs says (specially Panama City)

In general, outside of the City, you can live and retire in Panama with $ 2,000.00 per month for a couple.

Currency of Panama

The currency of Panama is the US Dollar.

Well, actually is the Panama Balboa, but the main currency that is used is the US Dollar.

It´s great if you are american or european.

Also, definetly better than most currencies in Latin America.

Best Places to Stay in Panama

According to Tripavisor here are the top 10 places to stay in Panama:

THE 10 BEST Panama Hotel Deals (Aug 2022) — Tripadvisor

Keep in mind, there is Airbnb in Panama, so you can check it out too, to compare amenities and prices.

Expat to Panama: The Step by Step.

One of the main reasons people move to Panama is to retire.

There are entire communities of expats from all around the world living in Panama.

The general outline if you wish to move and retire in Panama is:

Consider your nationality.

Panama is pretty open to most nationalities, there are some that do require an stamped visa and others that are restricted.

If you have a visa to enter United States, most of th European Union, Australia, Canada, United Kingdom among others, you can enter Panama as a tourist.

If you are from Cuba, China, some countries from the Middle East and Africa, you will need to apply for an authorised tourist visa.

Understanding the culture.

Panama is friendy towards expats, but the language is spanish.

English is spoken but you will encounter people at banks, restaurants and other facilites that do not speak english, keep this in mind.

Visit Panama, get to know the country, is a small one so is easy.

Get a feel of what is like and determine if it´s a good fit for you to retire in Panama.

Get a lawyers help for your residency permit and a Realtor to locate a place to rent or buy.

Residency permits and other immigration matters are mandatory to be conducted with a lawyer.

With real estate, it is good to get a realtor that helps negotiates a good deal for you.

You should get them while you are in your home country, so they can advance research and paperwork.

Meet them when you make your next visit to get things moving.

Make a trip to get legal and housing done

You will probably need a trip to start your immigration application and see the places that you will rent, so plan accordingly and make the most of it, by taking some tours as well.

This trip is also a good time to open your bank account.

When you are ready, make the move! There are some companies that help with pets if you have them.

Retire in Panama: The Retiree Visa (pensionado visa)

This visa is the best retirement program in the region:

  • Fast to get permanent residency permit,
  • easy to obtain,
  • only $ 1,000.00 of monthly pension and
  • great discounts at many places and events (same as local retirees)

You can check about it here in greater detail.

Panama Real Estate for Expats

You have learned about the top communities for expats in Panama.

Regarding Real Estate, you can choose to buy a property, Panama it´s in a buyer´s market, so you can get great deals or you can rent.

Do some research first and get a real estate broker to help you.

In this article you will learn the basics of real estate in Panama for expats.

Retire in Panama: Conclusion

While Panama is a great place to retire, because of the weather, the affordable healthcare and conectivity with main western countries…

It is not for everyone.

So, it´s important to research, talk to experts and experience the country with boots on the ground.

If you are decided to take the next steps…

We are here to help.



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