Best Places to Retire in Panama - A Guide
Panama is one of the most best and most popular places for expatriate retirement. There are several reasons for this:
- Warm, year round climate
- U.S. dollar is the local currency
- Heritage as a place friendly to North Americans and other countries
- Stable government
- Easy to gain residency here
- Many choices when it comes to finding a place to live
Let's talk a little bit about Panamanian retirements.
Health Care. Panama City offers the Johns Hopkins-affiliated Hospital Punta Pacifica in downtown. Services here are reputed to be very good and at a fraction of the cost of comparable ones in the U.S. There are clinics in other towns that provide medical services. Most doctors speak English. We do know some expats, however, who return to the U.S. for very complicated procedures, particularly if they are covered by Medicare of company insurance.
Cost of Living. It is no longer as cheap to live in Panama as it once was. However, you can still maintain an excellent lifestyle at greatly reduced cost. We have seen figures that call for about $2,000 a month to live comfortably.
Residency. There used to be big backogs in immigration that could delay your visa application. The "Friends of Panama" visa, however, is a new program that greatly speeds up the process.
Airport. Tocumen International Airport has been steadily expanding and offers flights all around the world.
Where to Live. Panama City is the big town and one choice. You can also live on the coast or more in the highlands. Boquete is one of the most popular expat retirement spots, which is located at over 3,000'. There are numerous other developments that cater to the international set. See our Panama Directory of Active Adult Communities for more.
Climate. Face it, it's hot in Panama - year round. At the beach you will get some relieving winds to cool things off. In the mountains the climate is much more manageable. Believe it or not, the highest point in Panama, Barú, is 11,500'.
Security and Crime. Life inside the gated communities is not that different from what you see in the states. But outside the gates you are in another country, if not the 3rd world then the 2nd world. The U.S. State Department advisory on Panama warns about travel to the Darien Province and the Mosquito Coast, both of which are fairly inaccessible. It also states that Panama Panama remains relatively safe when compared to other Central American countries, yet crime rates are still higher than one would encounter in most of the United States. This constitutional democracy has a rapidly developing economy but also faces problems of corruption and has a weak, non-transparent judiciary.