If you daydream about sunshine, tropical beaches, and welcoming locals, then possibly Panama is for you. If you know you don’t do well without modern amenities, then Panama could be for you. And if you feel a solid, growing economy and stable, business-friendly government is essential to a free and happy life, then Panama may be a perfect fit.
International Living was one of the first publications to hone in on the clear and concrete benefits of retiring to Panama, though mainstream publications have begun to take notice…including Smart Money, The Street, and The New York Times. Still, Panama is far from overrun with expats.
In fact, you won’t find any so-called expat enclaves here. There are active, engaged expats all over the country…from North America, Europe, and beyond…but they live alongside locals. This is a common phenomenon in safe, welcoming countries where foreigners don’t feel out of place.
Retire in Comfort & Convenience in Panama
It’s not uncommon for visitors to Panama to experience something of a shock when they leave the main airport, known as the Hub of the Americas. A first glimpse of the capital typically features towering skyscrapers rimming the Panama Bay. A closer glance reveals that Panama is much more developed than other countries in Central America…and not just on the surface. There’s a solid foundation here—including reliable infrastructure and modern amenities.
Living in Panama, you’ll have access to familiar products and comforts from back home. You’ll likely be able to splurge on more of life’s little luxuries because of lower costs on healthcare, insurance, transportation, entertainment, and more.
Though costs have gone up all over the world in recent years, Panama continues to offer nearly unbeatable value. You can still take a taxi for $4 (in the capital…you’ll pay half that in other towns), get a haircut for $6, buy a good bottle of wine for $5, or enjoy dinner and a cocktail at a nice restaurant for under $20 a person.
And life in Panama is active. You’ll find expat-organized activities in different towns across the country. They merely enhance a local landscape that features live music, outdoor adventures, English-language movies, and so much more. You may be wondering how you’ll fill your days when you retire…but expats in Panama have found it’s impossible to get bored.
Quality Housing & Healthcare
Are you interested in a Panama City high-rise…a condo in a popular beachfront community…or a Swiss-style house in the temperate mountains? You’ll find a selection of rentals and property for sale to suit your needs and desires in Panama’s diverse regions. Opt for a bit of pampering or live like a local in a simple home…the choice is yours. You’ll meet many an expat here enjoying the property they always dreamed about but could never afford. That is, in the U.S., Europe, or Canada, where little luxuries like proximity to a beach come at bigger premiums.
Healthcare in Panama is perhaps the biggest—and most pleasant—surprise for most newcomers. The country’s major facilities are inexpensive and modern…not to mention the many smaller clinics that offer everything from dental work to eye exams.
Many Panamanian doctors speak English, having trained for a time in the U.S. Hospital standards, equipment, and techniques are on par with what you would find in North America or Europe. In fact, Panama City’s major facilities are all affiliated with prestigious U.S. hospitals…and yet they charge up to 50% less for similar services.
For a great many expats living in Panama today, some of their biggest savings stem from affordable insurance—health, auto, and more—and medication. Most drugs available in the U.S. can be found here…some of them without a prescription, which further saves time and money.
Panama’s Unparalleled Pensionado Program
In 1987, Panama’s government introduced the Pensionado Program. To this day, it’s one of the world’s most popular retiree residence programs, with the most appealing benefits you’ll find anywhere in the world today. Not only does it allow pensioner expats to live in Panama for as long as they like, but it also entitles members—or pensionados—to a wide range of money-saving discounts.
Pensionados in Panama get 10-50% off on everything from hospital visits to entertainment to travel…including flights back home from Panama! Even your restaurant meals are cheaper when you’re a member.
*Prices as of 2015
Taken from Retire In Panama