To an unenthusiastic traveler, Panama is just an ordinary country linking South and Central America. However, any first-time tourist to this glorious country will give you plenty of reasons why they wouldn’t hesitate to take a second visit to the country. Indeed, there must be something about this country that makes it so charming.
Is it the majestic skyscrapers dotting country’s modern city of Panama City, or the enchanted beaches in Panama’s two coastlines? Or, is it the glorious nature of the rain forest mountain communities? Whatever it is, there is no denying the fact that Panama is a country of contrasts, which explains why it has one of the highest statistics on expat retirees. In this post, we shall uncover the top 7 reasons why people are retiring in Panama and it may be your go-to retirement destination abroad.
1. Low Cost of Living
First and foremost, it is important to remember that the amount of money you may save living in Panama will still come down to your lifestyle. Some people moving here are not interested in saving money, they want more lifestyle. However, all factors held constant, Panama is renowned for its lower cost of living. Compared to North America and Europe, the cost of real estate entertainment, restaurant meals, transport costs and other daily expenses are considerably lower in Panama.
If you love the calm, quaint country life, you are likely to spend even less on daily expenses. For a couple outside of Panama City, $1,500 – $2,000 is enough to get you through a month without losing out on basic conveniences. This will include rent in a modest home, grocery, utilities, entertainment and transportation. About $4,000 a month could see you living in one of the country’s most luxurious beachfront locations.
2. Attractive Pension Program
Another main reasons people are retiring in Panama is the highly attractive pension program known as the Panama Pensionado Program. In order to be eligible for this program, you need lifetime pension of a minimum $1,000 a month. Also, the best part about the program is that it does not have age cap limitations. If you retired early at 45 you can quality, or if you are 75 and in good health, and looking for your next adventure, you can qualify.
Under this program, you can enjoy a lot of incentives including a one-time duty-tax exemption on all household goods with a value up to $10, 000. Also, you will be exempted from import tax when importing a car. Many other discounts covered in the Panama Pensionado Program include the following;
- 25 percent discount on all utility bills as well as airline tickets, with a 30 percent discount when using other means of transport.
- 15 percent on discounts on all home loans, prescription medication as well as hospital bills on treatments that are not covered by insurance such as eye exams and dental checkups.
- 20 percent discount on all bills incurred as a result of procuring technical and professional services.
- 50 percent discounts on Monday – Thursday hotel charges as well as 30 percent discount for similar charges on weekends.
- 50 percent discount for charges on entrances to cultural events, movie theaters and sporting events.
One of the major considerations when looking for an ideal country to settle in is climate. And when it comes to climate, Panama offers the best of both worlds – from a cooler mountainous climate to the warmer beach climate. The mountain ranges that stretch across the central and western parts of the country provide lush vegetation and a majestic landscape for those who love the therapeutic benefits of Mother Nature, and a much cooler year around climate.
The country’s tropical climate is found near the Pacific and Caribbean coasts while you can experience the temperate climate as you move further up towards the mountainsides. The best part about it all is that regardless of where you choose to settle, nearly all major points of interest seem to be within reach, due to the small size of the country. From the countries enchanted beaches to the picturesque mountains, you could have breakfast on a Caribbean Island, lunch up in the mountains, and enjoy dinner watching the sun set on the pacific. For a detailed look at Panama’s climate click Here.
4. Great Medical Care Services
A notable hospital whose standards have often been equated with those in the North America is Punta-Pacifica Hospital which is affiliated with John Hopkins. Also adding to the overall low cost of medication is the fact that the cost of drugs is relatively lower.
Panama has a multi tier health care system, with Public Hospitals, for the general population, Social Security Hospitals for employees paying into the system, and a network of private hospitals and facilities, when you can buy health insurance plans for, which are a fraction of the costs of US health insurance. Read more about Panama’s Healh Care System Here.
5. Stable Sociopolitical Environment
Panama is located in a region that is not known for very good sociopolitical environment. Panama has particularly enjoyed a peaceful political atmosphere since the end of the dictatorial rule of General Noriega back in 1989.
In a bid to ensure no military dictator would ever ascend to power again, Panama eliminated the country’s military. Much of the happenings within the country’s political space are largely democratic. There is freedom of speech, religion and a vibrant Police Force that has seen the country emerge one of the best in terms of low crime statistics. Read more about Panama Government Here.
6. Favorable Immigration Rules
Many countries do not require a visa in order to visit Panama. All you need is a valid passport whose validity is a minimum of 6 months. You can stay in the country for 180 days, then you must leave for 30 days before returning. Applying for permanent residency in the country is done through your immigration attorney in the country.
If you do not qualify for the Pensionado Program, Panama has a many very unique other options, the Friendly nations Visa is one of them, which is comprised of 50 countries if you are a citizen of, which allow permanent residency and a work permit here, for a very low cost and requirements. Read more about the many Visa options Here.
7. Affordable Housing
Panama has some of the most affordable housing prices. As expected, housing costs vary depending on where you are located across the country. In smaller towns and the countryside, you could part with as little as $400 per month in house rent. A luxury apartment in a prime location such as beachfront areas or in the upmarket Panama City could go for around $2,500 every month.