Published On: November 22nd, 2023Categories: Central America, Best Of ListsTags:

12 Great Reasons to Move to Panama

12 Great Reasons to Move to Panama

Are you an American looking for a new place to call home? Look no further than Panama!

Panama is a small country in Central America with a lot to offer expats from the United States. It has a warm climate, beautiful beaches, a low cost of living, and a friendly population. Panama is also a politically stable country with a strong economy.

Here are our 12 favorite reasons for Americans to move to Panama. We’ll cover everything from the low cost of living to the friendly people to the abundance of outdoor activities.

1. Incredible Nature

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No matter what type of outdoor activities you’re looking for, Panama has them. From the Caribbean to the Pacific coastlines, Panama offers incredible beaches, stunning mountain scenery and lush rainforest filled with exotic wildlife. In Bocas Del Toro, you can swim with thousands of starfish or watch sloths in the trees. In Isla Bolanos, you can watch humpback whales with their new babies. In Boquete, you can sample local coffees and tour the industry. Pack your hiking boots and swimsuits!

Guide to Moving to Panama

2. Affordable Property

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It’s no surprise that housing in Panama is much more affordable than in many other countries. Whether you are looking for a city condo or a beachfront villa, there are properties available in virtually every price range. Plus, laws ensure foreign ownership of property without discrimination against non-residents. Panama City itself isn’t cheap, by any means, but for the quality of life in a world-class city, it’s very reasonable. For bargains, consider Boquete, Coronado, and other outlying locations.

Guide to Moving to Panama

3. Lovely People

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Panamanians are some of the most welcoming and friendly people you’ll ever meet. The locals are known for their graciousness, and they will make sure that you feel right at home. If you’re feeling worn down by the current phase of American culture, being among friendly faces will be a welcome respite. Be sure to catch the spirit and return the hospitality.

Guide to Moving to Panama

4. Low Cost of Living

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A reminder that what’s a low cost of living on an American budget might be pricier for locals, but it’s also an opportunity to escape the rat race and embrace simpler values. Panama does offer a great price point for American expats when it comes to daily living costs, and that price is in U.S. dollars! Costs for basic necessities such as food and utilities are substantially lower than in the U.S., making it possible to stretch your budget further, especially if you’re on a fixed retirement income. For retirees, there’s also the Pensionado or Jubilado discounts that can save you a TON on entertainment, dining, and even healthcare and prescriptions!

Guide to Moving to Panama

5. Easy Residency

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There are several options available that make obtaining residency in Panama relatively easy for Americans. From the Pensionado program (which requires an income from Social Security or another pension) to the Friendly Nations visa, there is something available for almost any circumstance.

Guide to Moving to Panama

6. Modern Infrastructure

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Panama City is one of the most modern cities in Central America, with an extensive network of roads and highways. Panama is also a major banking and business hub in the region, making it easy to stay connected and conduct business from anywhere in the country.

Guide to Moving to Panama

7. Excellent Healthcare

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Panama has one of the best health care systems in Latin America. High-quality medical care is available at reasonable prices, allowing expats to rest assured that they are in safe hands should any medical issues arise. Public hospitals are nearly free, but you may experience long waits. Private healthcare is still much more affordable than in the U.S.

Guide to Moving to Panama

8. Tax Benefits

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In addition to its retirement visa program, Panama also offers tax incentives for retirees and those who are employed within the Free Trade Zone of Colon. This can be a great way to reduce your taxable income while still enjoying all the benefits of living abroad.

Guide to Moving to Panama

9. Entrepreneur-Friendly

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In addition to the tax benefits above, Panama makes it easy to start your own business, from startup costs to labor laws and average wages that benefit both parties without exploiting local employees.

Guide to Moving to Panama

10. Cultural Diversity

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It’s no secret that Panamanians have a unique culture, but what many don’t realize is just how diverse the country really is. With influences from Latin American, Caribbean, African, and European cultures, Panama is home to a wide variety of backgrounds that all contribute to the vibrant culture.

Guide to Moving to Panama

11. Great Weather

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If you’re looking for an escape from the cold winters of the United States, Panama definitely delivers, but with year-round highs and lows in the 70s and 80s, you won’t be sweltering. For even cooler weather, look into Boquete and other towns in the highlands. There’s a long rainy season that brings afternoon showers, with the Pacific coast receiving about half as much rain as the Caribbean coast and mountains.

Guide to Moving to Panama

12. Easy Accessibility

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While living in Panama offers numerous benefits, one of the most noteworthy is its easy access to both North America and South America via direct flights or boat. This makes getting around a breeze and allows for easy access to major cities such as Mexico City, Bogota, Lima, etc. So many choices for weekend getaways!

We didn’t even touch on the food, the arts & entertainment, or the Panama Canal, but you get the idea. Panama has better infrastructure than Costa Rica and the rest of Central America, better safety than Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, or Belize, and lots to offer Americans who want to move abroad. Panama often ranks tops for retirees, but its cosmopolitan capital is also a winner for working families and digital nomads.

Guide to Moving to Panama

2023 Guide to Panama Residency Visas Including the Pensionado for Retirees!

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For those looking to make Panama their new permanent home, the government offers a huge variety of residency visas. I would venture to say it’s almost TOO many, but I guess it’s always good to have options. Applying for residency in Panama isn’t a DIY process — you must use Panamanian immigration attorneys to apply. Use the guide below as a starting point to see what visas might appeal to you.

Guide to Panama Visas

10 Countries Where You Can Retire With $2,000/Month (One Will Make You Say Ooh La La!)

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If retiring in the U.S. feels unattainable, there are options for moving abroad that may be within your budget.

10 Countries Where You Can Retire With $2,000/Month

Expat Guide: How to Get Healthcare in Panama

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Panama is considered one of the best places in Latin America, which is especially impressive given its small population of 4.5 million. Johns Hopkins Medicine, considered the gold standard of care in the U.S, even operates in Panama City. Many providers speak English, which can offer comfort as you work on your Spanish, and doctors and nurses are considered to be especially compassionate.

➤ Panama Healthcare Report

Jen Barnett Expatsi headshot
Co-founder at Expatsi | Website | + posts

Jen Barnett is an expat influencer and co-founder of Expatsi, a company that's helped thousands of Americans on their moving abroad journeys. She created the Expatsi Test, an assessment that recommends countries for aspiring emigrants based on lifestyle data. Jen has an MBA from Emory University with concentrations in marketing and innovation. She's written for BusinessWeek, Health, Cooking Light, and Southern Living. Prior to Expatsi, she created Freshfully and Bottle & Bone—two businesses in the local food space—and spoke at TEDx on being brave. She's moving to Mexico in 2024, along with her husband and co-founder Brett, pitbull mix Squiggy, and three rotten cats. How can she help you move abroad?

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Jen Barnett Expatsi headshot
Co-founder at Expatsi | Website | + posts

Jen Barnett is an expat influencer and co-founder of Expatsi, a company that's helped thousands of Americans on their moving abroad journeys. She created the Expatsi Test, an assessment that recommends countries for aspiring emigrants based on lifestyle data. Jen has an MBA from Emory University with concentrations in marketing and innovation. She's written for BusinessWeek, Health, Cooking Light, and Southern Living. Prior to Expatsi, she created Freshfully and Bottle & Bone—two businesses in the local food space—and spoke at TEDx on being brave. She's moving to Mexico in 2024, along with her husband and co-founder Brett, pitbull mix Squiggy, and three rotten cats. How can she help you move abroad?