If you're thinking of retirement or a second home in a safe, beautiful, inexpensive place with a modern infrastructure, Panama is the smart choice.
Indeed, Panama is ready-made for Americans with a USA style infrastructure, the by-product of the 90 year American presence in the Isthmus.
The nearly 50,000 Americans who had to leave when Panama took over the Panama Canal in 1999 call Panama their "Paradise Lost" The majority are unhappy living in the United States- that should tell you something.
Panama Rated as the Best Place in the World for a Home Outside the USA
Panama: One of "Six-to-Die-for second home destinations in the Americas according to Conde Nast Traveler: Your Piece of Paradise", "The Boom in Second Homes- Where to Buy Now", "The Skinny on Six To-Die-For Destinations".
"Panama is the new Central American bargain where the US dollar- the market currency- goes a long way. A former gas company executive spent a year and a half researching a retirement spot with his wife before settling on a 2.4 acre lot on a beach resort near Coronado. 'We wanted a tropical place with an ocean view in a politically and economically stable country' he said. 'Panama just kept coming up."
Conde Nast Traveler October 2004
Modern Maturity, newsletter of American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), ranks one region in Panama among the top four "best places to live abroad" in the world. International Living identified Panama and Panama City in 2007 as the best place in the world for living outside the United States.
What Panama Has to Offer the Retiree:
- Panama is one of the safest countries in the world with the highest rating for tourist safety.
- Panama is an extraordinarily beautiful country with a wide variety of residential venues including mountain, beach and city communities.
- Panama City is a modern capital city with high-speed internet, first rate hotels and restaurants and shopping almost on a par with the US.
- Panama has a reliable communications and road infrastructure due in part to the 90 year American presence in Panama.
- Panama's cost of living is a fraction of the United States.
- Panama's currency is the US dollar.
- Panama has a near perfect climate.
- Panama has the best retiree incentive program in the world.
- Panama has medical facilities on a par with the United States.
- Panama is close to the United States with direct flights to Panama from 10 major US cities.
- Retirement visa requirements are minimal.
- Foreigners can buy and own property in Panama enjoying the same rights and protections as Panamanians.
Retirement Visa Requirements
All you need to get a retirement visa to live in Panama is:
- A clean police report from where you currently reside.
- A health certificate from a Panamanian doctor.
- Proof you receive a minimum income of $1000 a month and $250 each for any dependents
Any of the law firms listed on our Legal Services page can take care of your legal work for a reasonable fee.
A foreigner can buy and own property in Panama. Foreigners enjoy exactly the same rights and protections as a Panamanian property owner.
Incentives for Retirees
A partial listing of the incentives:
- You can bring in all your household goods free of taxes.
- You can bring in a new car every two years for private use.
- You pay no property taxes on your home in Panama if that is your only residence.
- Discounts between 15% and 50% are offered on hotels, restaurants, movies, many professional services etc.
Cost of Living
The cost of rent, homes, services, utilities, food etc. are all well below USA prices.
A few examples: a full time maid can be hired for between $150 to $200 a month.
A gardener costs $8-10 dollars a day.
Panama is Close to the USA and offers a US style infrastructure and many US Amenities
In Panama you'll never feel too far from home (unless you want to).
Panama is just a short plane ride from the USA. There are direct flights to and from Panama from 10 major US cities: Newark, Houston (Continental), Atlanta ( Delta) Miami, Dallas (American) Los Angeles, Miami, Fort Lauderdale (Copa, Spirit), New York (United, Copa), and Orlando (Copa).
Panama City has 3 Price Costcos, and numerous American restaurants including TGIF's, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Pizza Hut, Bennigans, McDonalds, Subway,Wendy's, Burger King, Dunkin' Donuts etc. Supermarkets in the major cities have just about everything you would find in an American supermarket, many items imported from the States but no more expensive.
As a by-product of the 90 year presence of the United States Panama has numerous English speaking, American trained doctors and hospital and medical care nearly on a par with the United States. Hospital Nacional has an excellent staff of English speaking doctors, beautiful modern facilities and international department especially with a trained bilingual staff to attend both tourists and foreign residents. They accept most US insurance policies.