Living in Panama
Live in Panama and Enjoy a Better Quality of Life
If you are looking for an amazing destination overseas in which you can live both comfortably and inexpensively, then Panama may be the perfect country for you. Most people know very little about living in Panama, but the more they learn, the more they are impressed.
Panama is a developing nation, but living here doesn’t mean you’ll be living in the Third World. Panama is full of the comforts and luxuries that many search for overseas but can rarely find in combination with an affordable cost of living. In fact, most people can significantly improve their quality of life by living in Panama, and they do so without having to live in an unsafe country with poor infrastructure.
Panama is a safe country, where you may actually live safer than you might in large U.S. cities. Of course, there are the “bad” areas that should be avoided, but these are few and far between. Generally, Panamanians are very welcoming to foreigners living in their country, so expats usually experience an easy transition when they move to Panama.
Living in Panama: Enjoy Panama’s Developed Infrastructure
The developed infrastructure of Panama is astounding to those who arrive anticipating Third-World conditions. Panama City boasts a tremendous skyline of high-rise buildings, including chrome and steel modern office complexes, massive hotels, and enormous apartment buildings. Panama City is an important hub for international banking and commerce, so if you are looking to invest or start a business while living in Panama, you will have plenty of resources at your disposal. Culturally, living in Panama means five-star restaurants, theater, symphonies, ballet, and boutiques.
Yes, the infrastructure in Panama is well developed: The telephone service is quite advanced, so international calls are always easy to make; high-speed Internet is widespread; and Panama City’s international airport is completely modern, offering daily flights to many international destinations.
Panama’s More Adventurous Side
Those who want to live in Panama, but are more interested in adventure than comfort, will be equally satisfied. When you live in Panama, you have easy access to both beaches and mountains. The incredibly long coastline allows fishing, scuba diving, and surfing, while the mountains and tropical forests allow for hiking and bird-watching. You will never be bored living in Panama.
See the Diversity of People Living in Panama
Panama is so welcoming to foreigners partly because it is already a very diverse society. The population here is a true ethnic mix, with heritages including Spanish, African, Amerindian, and North American. There are several indigenous groups that live in Panama, such as the Kuna, Emberá, and Bribri. The Kuna are the most well known and recognized indigenous population in Panama, partly due to the beautifully colored attire worn by the females and the gorgeous molas they weave.
The nation’s art, in general, is a direct reflection of the diverse ethnic groups living in Panama. Traditional handicrafts include wood carvings, weavings and textiles, masks, and ceramics.
Similarly, the music is also quite varied. Living in Panama, you will hear all styles of music, such as salsa, merengue, folk (known as típico), jazz, rock, and reggae.
The music often plays a large part in the many festivals that are celebrated in Panama. There is no lack of partying by those who live here, and the biggest celebration of all is unquestionably Carnaval. The Carnaval festivities are famous in Panama, and often considered the second best in the world, behind only Brazil.
Aside from Carnaval, there are many other national and local holidays that help illustrate the pride and the lust for life held by the people who live in Panama. Nearly every village in Panama celebrates its own unique patron saint days, which provide fascinating glimpses of Panama’s rich heritage and culture.
Panama offers a very comfortable retirement solution, in part because the nation is much more developed than most visitors expect. Many are shocked by the modernity of Panama and the clusters of skyscrapers that define Panama City’s skyline. All of the amenities one could wish for are readily available.
By moving to Panama, you will enjoy the benefits of a developing economy where you can still take a taxi across town for a buck or two, get your haircut for a few dollars, or enjoy dinner for two with a bottle of wine at one of the finest restaurants in Panama City for $20 or $30.
No matter what your taste or budget, you’ll find that Panama offers plenty of quality options. Here’s a sample monthly budget for two people:
|Rental or mortgage (on two-bedroom apartment in central Panama City)||$700 to $1,500|
|Utilities with moderate air conditioning use (electricity, gas, water)||$250|
|Supermarket items (food and household)||$300|
|Maintenance and fuel for one small car||$200|
|Entertainment for two (movies twice a month and dinner four times a month)||$150|
|Communication (phone, Internet, Cable TV)||$100|
Monthly total for a First-World lifestyle in the big city: approx. $1,700 to $2,500.
*Prices as of 2013
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