Panama Fast Facts

Panama panama

Population: 3,705,246

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

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.

Coronado Panama
Coronado, Panama

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 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.

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.

Find Out More From Our Panama Editor

From the Archives of Panama

Why I Love My Friendly, Peaceful Panamanian Neighborhood

Why I Love My Friendly, Peaceful Panamanian Neighborhood

Daily Postcard
By |
October 10, 2017

I live in a community called Caimito, between Boquete and David, Panama. We are the only expats in the area, and all of my neighbors go out of their way to help in any way they can. They even watch over my house when I’m away. I find it a comfort to know, that there is a land as peaceful and accepting as Panama.

A Cool Retirement and Mountain Tranquility in Panama’s Highlands

A Cool Retirement and Mountain Tranquility in Panama’s Highlands

Daily Postcard
By |
September 14, 2017

"It's important to feel good in your house…to have the feel of sanctuary," say Mike Devries and his wife Bernie Verhoeven. Four years ago, the couple moved to a gated community in Boquete, Panama from St. Maarten…and have found many reasons to love their new home.

Panama City: Three Areas to Love and One to Leave

Panama City: Three Areas to Love and One to Leave

Earlier this evening I walked across a plaza to meet a friend. There was an elegantly outfitted brass band playing for a group of dignitaries. The centuries-old Hotel Central—newly restored to its former glory—was the perfect backdrop. Locals hung out in the gazebo and on benches around the plaza, enjoying the impromptu show.

Embracing the Ocean Lifestyle With a Surf Hotel in Panama

Embracing the Ocean Lifestyle With a Surf Hotel in Panama

After spending time visiting Central America, Shawn and Shena Lockwood decided that a permanent move there was the change they needed from their home in Utah. As passionate surfers, they wanted to live near the ocean and enjoy their favorite sport more regularly.

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