Lifestyle in Panama City
Panama City caters for a variety of lifestyles. While its ultra-modern skyline lends to its reputation as a booming commerce city, it also offers low-key, laid-back living. Here the urban lives in harmony with the tropical. Its proximity with the States means you can visit home conveniently and it’s in the Eastern Time Zone. There is a huge selection of restaurants to choose from. You could eat out here several times a week—grab lunch for $5 and sip a beer for $1.
And think of the little luxuries you’ve denied yourself over the years. Maybe you’re hoping in Panama, you’ll be able to play golf more often…afford weekly massages…even see the dentist or dermatologist more regularly than you did back home. Here, you can stop hoping, and make all those luxury lifestyle dreams come true.
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There’s a big difference between how a tourist sees Panama City and how a potential resident views it. If you come for a visit, you’re likely to note the sparkly, spiky skyline. Even back in the 1990s it was impressive—no other city in the region could compete. And these days there are more than plain old skyscrapers here. There are some true architectural specimens, like the Trump building (sail shaped, like that iconic hotel in Dubai).
Cero estrés. Zero stress. It’s a constant refrain in Panama City, where I now live. It refers to the idea that hiccups are meant to be taken in stride. That if both sides remain calm, all will be well. That there’s no need to “stress out.” Take the other day for example. I’d ordered a few hundred photocopies, but when I went to pick them up I realized I‘d left my wallet at home. The supervisor said “cero estrés,” and let me take the copies anyway. I went back to pay the next day.
You may have already heard that Panama’s capital will be the first city in Central America to get a metro or light rail system, but did you know that the first line is nearly complete? When the project was announced, regional rags dismissed it as yet another Central American pipe dream. But Panama is the kind of place where big projects come to fruition.
Eight years ago, I decided I wanted to live in Panama full-time. And though I’ve sometimes toyed with the idea of living in the cool mountains of Chiriqui or even on one of the Pacific Coast beaches, I can’t seem to tear myself away from Panama City. From the steely, spiky skyline of the city…
It may be your lifelong dream to live in the grand old cities of Europe…cities with a foot in the past and another firmly in the present. Or maybe you’d rather be closer to home in the Americas, enjoying the sultry Latin lifestyle of Panama City or Buenos Aires.
On a dusty corner in Panama City’s Casco Viejo sector, there is a bar/restaurant. It doesn’t look like much, but the name on the sign makes passersby stop and puzzle: Mojitos sin Mojitos. In English it means, “Mojitos without Mojitos.” Weekend nights, the place is full to overflowing. There are hipsters from the local art scene…young bankers from the financial district…backpackers from France.
There’s a little mountain town in the interior of Panama where you can still buy a home or a large parcel of land next to a gurgling river. It’s likely this land will have waterfalls and hiking trails on it…you’ll see wild parrots and toucans and flowers of every tropical variety and color. The tall grass waving in the breeze will be so green, it would make even the Irish envious…
Amid the towers of steel and chrome waft the tantalizing smells of seafood and spices. Argentine, Cuban, Swiss, German, Thai, and Indian are only a few of the offerings you’ll enjoy today in Panama City.
I’ve been writing about Panama for International Living for nearly five years. Interestingly, more and more expats are asking me about business opportunities. They don’t want to “just retire”. Our Facebook page is peppered with questions and comments about making a living here.
The first impression is one of noise and bustling activity…a city of steel and concrete. A few days here, though, and you’ll realize the phrase “more than meets the eye” has never rung truer.
Today I’m driving from what looks like small-town USA to an island paradise. But I’m in Panama City’s Ancon sector, heading out to the area known as the Amador causeway. It’s a five-minute drive during rush hour. Take a look at the video I shot. It’s nearly sunset, my favorite time of day to come […]
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. I was attending an IL conference and on day two I purchased my first apartment for $76,500—four blocks from where the conference was being held. (It’s since generated close to $40,000 annually for the last few years.)
Living for less in Latin America is a hot topic, but what exactly does it cost to have that dream life south of the border?