Panama may seem like a small country but you will be pleasantly surprised to know that it has quite a number of lifestyle options for people who are looking to retire in this great country. There is no shortage of appealing retirement diverse choice ranging from beachfront tropical settings on both coasts to more cosmopolitan urban city life to being tucked away in the mountains. The same applies to people working on a strict budget as well as those whose finances allow for some luxury. The best places to retire in Panama should be may be one of these.
In this article I will talk about more than ten Panama locations that for you, may be the best place to retire in Panama.
Coronado – Beach Resort Living
Coronado, located along the Pacific, just an hours drive from Panama City, is an excellent place to live, if you are looking for more of an upscale beach live in an active expat community, with all the amenities you will need. Coronado is the most popular beach in Panama, with many affluent Panamanians owning weekend residences there. The place fills up with the locals on weekends, especially during the summer months here, December through March.
It has also, in the last 15 – 20 years, been filling up with expats, as they discover it is one of the best places in Panama to settle in. The gated resort itself, contains high rise condos, private homes, townhouses, and is quite exclusive, and the price tag will show that. You can pay upwords of $2,000/month in rent in Coronado, but it will be a nice place.
Just outside of the resort you will find all the shops and services, from 24-hour supermarkets, strip malls, and health care facilities. You can find a lot more affordable housing outside of the actual resort, in areas like Nueva Gorgona and Las Lajas, Panamá Oeste.
Read more about Coronado Here.
Boquete – Spend your Days in the Scenic, Picturesque Highlands of Panama
Meaning ‘opening or gap’, the Boquete straddles the very fertile swath of Panamanian Highlands in the province of Chiriquí. This place is one of the largest expat communities in panama, and is for the nature lover, bird watchers, people who are looking for a cooler climate, and for people who want to be around a lot of expats, and maybe live more like they did back home.
You don’t worry if you are not exactly fluent in conversational Spanish as English is widely spoken here with the 100’s of expats and the area is popular with tourists from around the world, so you will find many local people in the service sector can converse in English.
Thanks to its cooler, temperate-like climate, and strategic location, it is quite easy to see why Panamanians and retired expats are easily drawn to this haven. The region is also regarded for its frequent misty rains that have been credited for its rain forest climate.
Read more about Boquete here.
Panama City – Sprawling Metropolis on a Budget
Panama city blends a throbbing cosmopolitan air and amenities that you would find in any first-rate city but on a budget. This includes the likes of hotels, condos, modern office buildings and skyscrapers that are scattered all of over the coastal city. What’s more, you could even be lucky enough to land a place with a paradisal view of the world-renowned Bay of Panama. In addition, Panama City boasts of excellent infrastructure punctuated with high-speed internet and reliable water and power services. Many already agree that it’s one the best place to retire in Panama.
Although most retires we meet are not interested in the bustling city to retire in, there are a few that have lived in cities all their lives. There are great areas of the city like El Cangrejo, which is a walkable community where 2 – bedroom high rise apartments can start a low as $800 per month. Then there is Balboa Avenue, with its incredible Pacific vies and the Cinta Costera, were you will pay $1500 and up for a beautiful apartment in a modern high rise.
In these areas you will be within walking distance to many shoos, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and theaters. If you are looking for New your lifestyle on a budget, this ma be for you.
Santa Fe- Enjoying a Bohemian Lifestyle in your Sunset Years
Surrounded by lush green hills in the rural province and highlands of Veraguas, Santa Fe is without a doubt a true traditional Panamanian town. Universally known for its gardens and orchids made of over 300 varieties of foreign flowers, every August there is an annual festival that is particularly commemorated to celebrate the existence of this attractive orchids. Apart from this, wildlife is also plentiful and quite varied here. You will be delighted to know that guided tours through the 70,000-hectare rain forests of Santa Fe National Park are nothing short of therapeutic.
You are less than an hour away from from the city of Santiago, where most of your major shopping trips can take place. You can rent a nice home, with private large yard here for $500 a month, and you will enjoy a cooler climate as you are up in the mountains.
Not many expats have move into this area yet, so you will to learn some Spanish, so you can get to know the very friendly locals who will welcome you into their little town with open arms, especially if you are striving to learn their language and Panama customs.
Read more about Santa Fe here.
El Valle de Anton – Built in a Volcano’s Crater
El Valle de Anton located in the Coclé Province, is a town that is in the crater of an extinct volcano, known as the second largest inhabited volcano crater, surrounded by mountains and rain forests. With a population of around 7,000. this little town is 600m (1800ft) above sea level, offering a much cooler comfortable climate than a lot of Panama.
Being such a small town, you larger amenities will be located less than an hour away in Coronado, with Panama City being less than 2 hours away. This town, is becoming more popular with expats, because of its climate, beauty, affordability and proximity to the city. Many affluent Panamanians from the city, have their weekend homes in this town.
Volcan – Quiet Beauty, Healthy Lifestyle
Located just under 45-minutes from Chiriqui’s capital, David, Volcan proximity to Boquete and relatively high altitude makes it a very attractive retirement haven. Add the highly-sought mountain scenery and year-long spring-like climate and you have an idyllic place where you can sit back and reflect back on a life well-lived. Sitting next to the beautiful Volcan Baru, a dormant volcano.
This town, a fraction of the size of Boquete, is popular with expats, but certainly a more quite lifestyle, and a but less expensive.
Pedasí – Affordable Beach Life
Pedasí, located in the province of Los Santos at the south eastern tip of the Azuero Peninsula, is quickly becoming on of Panamas hot new expat locations. Although currently quite undiscovered, it is the perfect place for those that want an affordable, laid back retirement beach style life. Pedasí offers the driest climate in Panama, and the cool Pacific breeze makes for a lovely climate, not too hot or humid.
The town itself offers all small town amenities that you will need for every day life. For bigger shopping adventures, the town of Chitré is an hour away, and the City of Santiago, is 1.5 hours away. Crime levels are the lowest in the country in this area, and the locals are very inviting to expats. There are currently less than 200 expats living in the area, so learn some Spanish, and your neighbors will probably be Panamanian.
Read more about Pedasí here.
Puerto Armuelles – A Real Up and Comer
Puerto Armuelles, located in the western Province of Chiriquí, on the Pacific Ocean, may become on of Panama’s best kept secrets over the next few years. The town was once the center of Chiquita Banana’s thriving banana business. Since they left the area in the mid 90’s, the population dropped in half to about 20,000. Recently there has been a lot of activity here, is land being developed, and projects popping, so it is on many’s watch list as a great inexpensive beach side community to retire in.
This is a very Panamanian area, few expats, so certainly not like home, expect some culture shock if you decide to live here, but that could be very rewarding also.
David Chiriquí – Small Town City Lifestyle
I get mixed reviews when I talk about David. For me, it was the first place I lived in Panama, for 3 months, and it was not for me. The only reason for me was the heat. I have friends that live in David, and they love it because they like the heat. Although not directly on the ocean, it is only a 7 minute drive away. David is the 3rd largest city in Panama, with just over 150,000 population.
I call it a small town city, as you will not high-rise buildings, but you will have many of the amenities that you will not find in the smaller towns around Panama. Like movie theaters, shopping malls, PriceMart (Costco), Do-It-Center (like Home Depot) and many other local big box stores.
The cost of living can be very affordable in David, if you control the air conditioning, as you can rent a Panamanian style home starting from $300/m and North American style homes starting at $500/mo. No car is needed as there are taxis and buses everywhere, and the city itself is quite walkable. Night life is active with many local bars are restaurants. This is a Panamanian city, with little North American influence, besides the odd McDonald’s on the corner, so know some Spanish is a must here for you to get along well.
Read more about David here.
Los Tablas – Laid Back and Quiet Retirement Lifestyle
This small community is located on the Azuero Peninsula, in the Province of Los Santos, minutes from the Pacific Ocean. With a population of just under 10,000 people, it is the perfect small town, small enough for that small town atmosphere, and large enough for the amenities you need. The town is located in an area that is predominately involved in farming activities.
The town is very inexpensive to live in, and not a lot of expats are living there, so brush up on your Spanish. The beach is just a five minute drive away, and if you are looking for bigger shopping excursions, then Chitré is just a 20 minute drive away.
Read more about Las Tablas here.
The above list are the places that we find most people are moving to in Panama, for a variety of reasons. Come with us on one of our Retire in Panama Tours, as we will visit all these areas to see which one is right for you.