Right Now Could be the Best Time to Come to Panama...the Hub of the Americas.
Right Now Could be the Best Time to Come to Panama...the Hub of the Americas.
Panama has long been the prime choice for retirees, second-home buyers, and property investors alike. Today you can still find apartments in sought-after areas of Panama City for $80,000 and live well on $1,200 per month.
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- 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
Proximity to Panama City and to beaches like Coronado makes El Valle one of the world’s rare “have-it-all” locations. Here, you can live right in the middle of a display of nature’s bounty, teeming with life…and yet be close to important conveniences. And the number of expats discovering this tiny town is growing. Over the course of my visit I encountered quite a few of them and counted many nationalities. Ask them why they choose to live here, and you’ll hear a range of answers.
One of the places my wife, Suzan, and I have lived since moving abroad in 2001 is Panama City, Panama. And I must say, if it was a big, modern city I was after as an expat destination, Panama City would have to be it. The idea of craving the amenities of a big, busting metropolis as a place to retire or have a second home strikes some people as odd.
When I first came to Panama from Oregon, my Spanish was limited to numbers from 1-10 and a very gringa sounding “Cómo estás?” Lucky for me, most of the upper crust Panamanians I met during that first year spoke perfect English. They’d gone to excellent private schools like St. Mary’s or to U.S. Department of Defense schools. I got by just fine.
For every substantial, bricks-and-mortar business set up by an expat overseas, there are hundreds of small enterprises that people operate from their own homes with very little investment. Within a year of starting their micro-enterprise overseas, Jim and Mariellen Wiemann are making a profit and supplementing their retirement income.
The highlight of my journey in mastering the Spanish language came on a night out in Panama when I had to negotiate my way out of trouble with the police. My husband, Clyde, and I moved to Panama from South Texas in 2011. Before leaving we had invested in a Spanish-language program and by the time we got there we had enough knowledge to get by.
Panama, Costa Rica and Ecuador offer the most attractive programs in the world for retirees—wooing foreign pensioners with special visas and significant discounts on everything from airfare to health care, reports InternationalLiving.com.
For many years now, we’ve contributed to International Living’s annual Global Retirement Index. It’s a ranking of the 24 countries that International Living editors feel offer the best potential for anyone considering moving abroad for a more affordable or adventurous retirement.
Panama is the best place for North Americans to retire overseas, according to InternationalLiving.com’s newly released annual Global Retirement Index 2014. In putting together the Index, now in its 23rd year, InternationalLiving.com’s editors collated data from its team of experts on the ground in the most popular countries among U.S. and Canadian expat retirees.
The first time I visited Pedasi, I thought to myself, “Is this it?” Small colonial homes line the main strip, behind which you’ll find a small plaza flanked by a neat little white church. There are usually a few old-timers sitting under the gazebo, wearing the same sombreros pintados (painted hats) their fathers and grandfathers wore.
All over the planet you’ll find little pockets of prosperity…corners where you can live comfortably on a modest budget…destinations rich with opportunity for adventure and profit. Rarely—if ever—are these places you hear about on the nightly news. But that’s not surprising. Our correspondents aren’t looking under bushes for a brouhaha.
Panama City is one of the world’s top cities for retirees. There are plenty of reasons. For one thing, Panama’s Pensionado program provides the most attractive range of retiree benefits you’re likely to find anywhere. The temperature rarely drops below 68 F. And the city is jam-packed with modern amenities, thousands of restaurants, glittering shopping malls, cinemas where you can catch English-language movies…
In the heart of rural Panama, nestled in the crater of an extinct volcano, El Valle is a place of orchids, rainforest greens, and canary-yellow flowers. Though it’s relatively unknown beyond Panamanian borders, locals argue that no other town can match it. And not just because of the singular beauty of the velvety-green mountaintops.
Those of us who are sensitive to tax, financial, and regulatory events, both in the U.S. and offshore, see some disturbing developments toward currency and other financial controls. Taken together, these developments may well signal evacuating before exits are blocked.
Panama’s a place of sunshine, 365 days a year. You have hundreds of miles of beach…highland retreats with green valleys where the weather is spring-like, even in January and August…and a genuinely cosmopolitan capital city, too, with one of the world’s largest financial districts. And Panama offers the world’s most generous retiree benefits.
Wherever we live, whatever lifestyle we choose, our lives typically fall into a rhythm. Here in David, Panama, where I live, the weather is a major factor in the rhythm of daily life, and the things we do depend on whether it’s summer or winter. Winter in Panama? Yup, that’s what we call it, el invierno in Spanish.
As I sit here sweating in the middle of January it’s hard to imagine that it’s cold somewhere. Our friends back in the U.S. are still working, yet I’m only 53 years old and happily retired now for two years. The past two and a half years have gone by quickly as we’ve settled into our new life in Panama.
Frances Jones leans back in her chair and motions to the rolling view from her terrace. Forest and coffee field-flecked hills stretch for miles to the Gulf of Nicoya and the Pacific. “When we found this place the house was simple—no porches—but the view was just killer. Even if it was a tent, we still would have taken it,” says Frances.
My friend Ben lives in Panama City and wouldn’t live anywhere else. He thrives on the metropolitan vibe, the non-stop activity and being in a major commercial and business center. If you love city life, Panama’s capital has it all, with skyscrapers, huge shopping malls, live theater and music, and cuisine from all over the world. On a much smaller scale, the city of David, where I live, has the commercial and cultural advantages of a city, but in the countryside of western Panama.
“You’re starting a business where?” That’s the question you’ll get, over and over, when you tell your friends you’ve decided to pack your bags and move to Panama. They’ll likely know that Panama is famous for its canal. But they may also think of Panama as a Central American “Banana Republic.” Nothing could be further than the truth, of course. Thanks to the Panama Canal, this has long been a destination for international business. So Panama has always focused more on its business infrastructure than on luring vacationers.
InternationalLiving.com’s annual Global Retirement Index 2014 profiles the best destinations for good-value living around the world today. The Index considers not only a wealth of statistics, but—critically—more than three decades of expertise and current insights from a network of correspondents around the world.
In my early years writing for International Living, I researched most of the countries drawing expats today. The different options for residence always caught my eye. One country welcomed retirees with a special visa. But the fine print? “Foreigners can own construction, but not the land it is built on.” Another country offered 10-year visas, but not permanent residence. (And you had to show a monthly income of over $3,000.)
Like many, I have said that someday I would like to write a book. The idea remained just that for years. There was never enough time to squeeze anything else into an already hectic schedule, making it easy to keep on postponing. As
soon as I made way for a new freer lifestyle, I decided to see if I could be a writer.
International Living has just released its Annual Global Retirement Index for 2014. This Index ranks the top 24 retirement havens in the world across 8 important categories. This year, Panama has come out on top as winner of the Index and gains the title of being the best country in the world for retirement.
Integration into your new community is very important. When you move overseas, you want to know that you will be accepted into the community and make new friends quickly, which will in turn make the transition between countries and cultures easier.
From special discounts to front-of-line privileges, the respect for elderly citizens and residents shines through in these three countries, ranked best in the world for retiree benefits in International Living’s Annual Global Retirement Index 2014.
When moving overseas you may be worried about seeing your family back home or saving your money to get to the U.S. when you need to. However some countries offer discounted airfare to retirees—which will lower your travel costs.
For more than 30 years, International Living has been researching the best retirement havens in the world…and every January the Annual Global Retirement Index is released—highlighting the best places for you to retire. This Index ranks the top 24 countries in the world for retirement in 8 categories. The top 10 countries that feature on the list this year each bring spectacular benefits for retirees living overseas—from great health care and ideal climates to a low cost of living and financial perks for retirees. Starting with number 10, here are our top retirement havens for 2014.
I’ve lived in Panama for the past eight years and the country has always been a winner in my book. International Living ranked Panama the best retirement destination in the world well before the mainstream press caught on. In fact, it took the number one spot in IL’s Annual Global Retirement Index not once or even twice, but seven times in a row. This year, it takes the top spot again in the Index as the best place in the world to retire.
Whatever you see on our leader board, just remember, we measure here only the very best havens. So the country last on our list—newcomer to the Index Cambodia—is still one of the best in the world. In each of these destinations, you’ll find thousands of folks who have already found their dream retirements. You can too, and this 2014 Retirement Index is designed to get you started. It covers all the bases, revealing a wealth of choice when it comes to a comfortable life overseas…
We all dream of giving up the rat race, packing our belongings, and moving some where warm and sunny, but why wait until you retire? Moving overseas can be a big decision, even bigger when you have children—but the benefits that make living abroad a good thing for adults are similar to those that make it a good thing for kids. A lower cost of living, healthier lifestyle, varied life and cultural experiences…they all benefit your child’s life in some way. Here are some of the best places to retire for families.
International Living’s Annual Global Retirement Index 2014 has just been released, detailing the top 24 countries in the world to retire to. In the Special Benefits for Retirees category in the Index, we consider whether retirees get a good deal for health care, importing goods, entertainment, airfare, utilities, tax rates, residence and more. Panama, Ecuador and Costa Rica have topped the list in this category.
On a lazy weekend afternoon when I was 13, I thumbed through my school geography text book, pausing from time to time to admire the amazing photographs of some of the wonders of the world. I was inspired. So began my dream fantasy to visit these wonderful places myself. Today that’s exactly what I do.
In much of Panama, sultry tropical days average 88F…but there are places where you can experience more temperate weather. Think mild and breezy—up to 10 degrees cooler (or more, when the sun’s not out). Places where rain will be your biggest concern…where there’s no hail, or snow, or hurricanes either. The most popular is the mountain town of Boquete, located in the Province of Chiriquí.
It’s hard to believe four years have passed since I moved to Panama. It’s even more incredible to think that I left the U.S. almost nine years ago. I live in David, the capital of Chiriquí Province in the west of the country. I didn’t plan to move here; it was never on my “to do” list. But when my husband, Al, and I first saw the rolling hills and slopes lined with rows of vegetable plants, acres of pineapple and rice fields, coffee plantations…
I’m a small town girl. I grew up in the village of Mahomet, Illinois, and though I moved away, I’ve brought the love of simpler living with me. After becoming a dental hygienist—something I worked as for 33 years—I lived in the Florida Keys, before moving to the Bahamas. Both places were nice—but they didn’t offer that quiet, peaceful, simpler way of life and cheaper cost of living I was always looking for. So my husband Bob and I began to look further afield for such a lifestyle, including in Costa Rica and Panama
You know the formula. Get an education. Get a job. Do the job for decades. Retire exhausted. The single lifetime occupation may be convenient, but it overlooks a simple truth: human beings grow and change. Challenging the conventional wisdom that urges us to settle down in one spot and work at one occupation takes a bit of courage, of course. But once the desire to shake up your life hits, it’s a call to action. Today we have access to an amazing number of resources and information that can speed up the process.
First-World cities with every modern convenience, beachfront hideaways, medieval towns, tropical islands, temperate mountain valleys… You can chose your favorite climate, your preferred lifestyle…the place you feel most at home…because the world’s best retirement havens have it all… and for pennies on the dollar, too.
Accurately scoring the world’s top retirement locations is a complex process. So, we’ve broken down each of our categories to give you a “behind the curtain” look at how we put the Index together.
People come to live in Panama for lots of reasons. It’s one of the world’s best destinations for retirees, and if you’re keen on running your own business, it’s got much to offer. But if your dream is to establish a winery, then most folks will tell you to look elsewhere. David Feinstein and Kersti Landeck are not most folks.
Assorted bruises adorned my legs, exhaustion blanketed my body, and my arms were so sore that I questioned whether they could lift my evening mojito and fresh-from-the-ocean tuna sashimi to my lips. Yet, despite these discomforts, I was sporting an enormous grin that just wouldn’t go away. How did I end up in pain and sipping cocktails with a goofy smile plastered across my face?