Panama

  Panama  

Right Now Could be the Best Time to Come to Panama...the Hub of the Americas

 

Why do so many expats choose Panama? Often the intangibles…the feel of a place…play a big role. But there are also a lot of concrete, quantifiable reasons Panama is so appealing, starting with its modern infrastructure.

Panama’s cosmopolitan capital, Panama City, is the only true First World city in Central America. The beautifully maintained Pan-American Highway runs the breadth of the country, making travel easy. High-speed Internet and cell coverage are remarkable…as are the power, air, and water quality.

For expats from the U.S., Panama is also convenient because the currency is the U.S. dollar. No matter where you’re from, you’re likely to appreciate the fact that there are many English speakers in Panama, especially among the well-trained medical community. The hub that is Tocumen International Airport makes it easy to fly from Panama to nearly anywhere in the world…often with no layovers.

 

Choose From a Varied Landscape

 

Many of the expats here also cite Panama’s geographical diversity and location, with proximity to North America being a major factor. In a country roughly the size of South Carolina, you’ll find mountains and beaches within an easy striking distance—no matter where in the country you are. Wake up on the Caribbean and have lunch overlooking the Pacific…they’re a couple of hours apart at the isthmus’ “skinniest” sections. Choose your preferred climate, topography, population density and more in Panama’s varied landscape.

And then there are factors the lists and indexes can’t quantify. For instance, the people of Panama are beautiful, inside and out. Get to know them just a little and you’ll see they have big hearts and an even bigger zest for life. They’re welcoming to foreigners, who in turn feel safe here. Increasing numbers of North Americans, Europeans, and others are moving here and contributing to the burgeoning economy.

 

Panama: A Convenient, International Hub

 

Some expats come in search of adventure or a quality retirement destination, while others seek to take advantage of all Panama has to offer as a business destination. There are well-established expat populations (and many clubs and organizations) in Panama from all over the world.

And though Panama has always been a busy little hub (thanks in large part to the Panama Canal), it’s experiencing something of a heyday. In 2007, Panama’s economy was hailed as the fastest-growing in the hemisphere. Despite the 2009 global financial crisis, Panama’s economy has continued to grow faster than nearly any country in the region. Mega-port projects and major investment in infrastructure will continue to fuel the economy into the next decade.

There’s a palpable excitement as the country is coming into its own. You can see it in the exciting food and culture scenes and the flashy, innovative architecture and the new industries that are adding to local offerings. New laws to encourage filmmaking paved the way for Panama to get its very own International Film Festival. The annual jazz festival is a renowned event. Major international summits are held at Panama’s large, modern convention centers.

You’ll find golf, tennis, sailing, fishing, surfing, birding and every other activity imaginable—with the exception, of course, of snow-skiing. With so much going on, expats here will tell you that it is extremely easy to make friends, regardless of age, gender, or marital status.

 

Moving to Panama is Easy

 

For those looking to move to Panama or live here part-time, two new residence options make moving here even easier than it was before. (Quite a feat, as the Pensionado residence program has already helped thousands move here with relative ease.) These days, there's a visa for everyone.

The international community here has always been strong, but thanks to the new residence programs, it’s growing faster than ever. And new arrivals are introducing locals to new foods, activities, methods and more. It’s been great for Panama.

These days, you can get trendy food items like kale and chia seeds…indulge in clothes from Banana Republic and Gap…and buy specialty items, from kitchen and barbecue gadgets to sports and hobbyist gear. What other country in the region can boast such convenience?

Then there’s the cost of living. Panama is not the cheapest country in the region, but it is often cited as the best overall value for your money.

If you daydream about sunshine, tropical beaches, and welcoming locals, then Panama may be for you. A couple can live well here for $2,500 a month or less, including rent.

 

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Fast Facts About Panama

Panama
  • Population: 3,559,408
  • Capital City: Panama City
  • Climate: Tropical maritime; hot, humid, cloudy; prolonged rainy season (May to January), short dry season (January to May)
  • Time Zone: GMT-5
  • Language: Spanish (official), English 14%; (many Panamanians are bilingual)
  • Country Code: 507
  • Coastline: 2,490 km

Archives

Health Care in Panama: Excellent Care at Half the Cost of the U.S.

Health Care in Panama: Excellent Care at Half the Cost of the U.S.

I’ve been living in Panama full-time since 2005, and one of the best things about living here is the health care. I’m not the only one who thinks so, either. I’ve interviewed slews of expats here, and nearly every single person I talk to is mightily impressed by the health care in Panama.

Panama City: New Aerotropolis in the Works

Panama City: New Aerotropolis in the Works

If you’ve ever been to Panama, chances are, you remember how easy it was to fly here. For many an expat resident, the Tocumen International Airport is a big draw. Known as the Hub of the Americas, the busy airport is a connections hub, providing easy travel to and from anywhere in the region.

Panama: Positive Growth for 2011

Panama: Positive Growth for 2011

The New Year got off to a busy start as local news sources in Panama were busy reeling off stats and predictions. At the beginning of January, Panama President Ricardo Martinelli announced that the economy would grow by as much as 9% this year.

Panama for a Dollar (Yes, Really)

Panama for a Dollar (Yes, Really)

I’ll admit it. I became a bit obsessed with Facebook a few months back. It has turned into a great way for readers interested in Panama or International Living to share tidbits or post questions for the IL community.

Panama Tops LBC Infrastructure Index

Panama Tops LBC Infrastructure Index

I can hardly believe it myself…Panama has topped yet another index. This time, the prestigious Latin Business Chronicle (LBC) has voted Panama number one in the region for infrastructure.

More Direct Flights to Panama Planned

More Direct Flights to Panama Planned

Panama has long been a growing hub, thanks to Copa Airlines. The nation’s premier airline has done much to make Tocumen International the “Hub of the Americas,” as it is known.

A Caribbean Island for Every Day of the Year

A Caribbean Island for Every Day of the Year

You want to leave it all behind for that one idyllic Caribbean island…a place surrounded by incredibly vibrant and colorful seascapes…your very own hard-to-reach haven….

Boquete, Panama

Boquete, Panama For $9.25 a Day

I’m in the town of Boquete, in Panama’s luscious green highlands. The crowds that were here for the November holidays (Nov. 3-5) have dispersed, and those of us who remain find that Boquete is a very quiet place indeed.

Volcan: The Most Affordable Retirement in Panama

Volcan: The Most Affordable Retirement in Panama

It’s a stunning drive to Volcan—and that’s not just travel writer hype. As the road winds up into the mountains, one vista after another unfolds. I have driven this road many times over the past four years, and it’s still as invigorating as ever.

How to Start a Business in Panama

How to Start a Business in Panama

When I first arrived in Panama, I was like a kid in a candy store. As a real estate investor, I immediately saw the opportunities.

Panama—The Best Retirement Program on the Planet

Panama—The Best Retirement Program on the Planet

Panama earned top marks in IL’s recent Retirement Index thanks to its second-to-none pensionado (retiree residency) program. When you qualify, you can save on almost everything, with discounts like 50% off entertainment, 30% off public transport, big discounts on airfares, and even 25% off eating out.

Shopping in Panama City

Shopping in Panama City

So you’ve moved to Panama City and you want to furnish your new condo. Where will you go to find pots and pans, towels and trinkets, air conditioners and light fixtures? As one of Central America’s largest and most cosmopolitan cities, Panama’s capital boasts a varied shopping scene—and all the choices can be daunting.

Improve Your Quality of Life: Move to Boquete, Panama

Improve Your Quality of Life: Move to Boquete, Panama

It must be the best view in the country…green hills that inspire artistic tendencies in even the most mundane-minded. Rainbow-rows of flowers line neat footpaths and dress up the little cottages that hide behind them. This is Boquete.

Christmas in Panama: Holiday Fun for Expats

Christmas in Panama: Holiday Fun for Expats

If you’re from a colder climate, sunshine and beach weather may not scream “holiday season” to you. But over the past five years, I’ve learned that the Christmas season in Panama can be a truly magical time.

Panama: Competitive Economy Outranks Most Countries in the Region

Panama: Competitive Economy Outranks Most Countries in the Region

Panama now boasts the second-most competitive economy in Latin America according to the 2010-2011 Global Competitiveness Index from the World Economic Forum (WEF). A report issued this month says the tiny Central American nation came in second to Chile. Costa Rica fell one spot to take third place in Latin America.

Doing Business in Panama: Endless Opportunities for the Entrepreneur

Doing Business in Panama: Endless Opportunities for the Entrepreneur

“The year I first traveled to Panama,” says expat entrepreneur Cynthia Mulder, “I felt a contagious excitement across the country. Business and construction were booming and we were eager to do business in Panama, too. During our very first trip in 2001, we purchased the property where we would build our new Bed & Breakfast.”

How Much Property Tax Do You Pay?

How Much Property Tax Do You Pay?

Obviously, I don’t know how much property tax you’re paying right now…but I’m pretty sure I know a way you can reduce it—to as little as $7 per month…or maybe less.

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