Read On To Find Out If Life In Panama Will Suit You… Or Not
There is a lot to love about living in Panama. Most people who have been living here for a while can reel off a long list of things they enjoy about life in this tropical country.
- One of the notable benefits of living in Panama is the excellent, affordable health care. The health-care in Panama is some of the best in the world and the prices are some of the most competitive. People now fly to Panama specifically to make use of the medical and dental treatments.
- Living in Panama has a particular benefit for U.S. citizen, the currency. U.S. dollars are legal tender here and the Panama Balboa is pegged to the dollar at a rate of 1:1. Having no currency exchange risk is a big factor in why many U.S. citizens choose to live in Panama.
- Panama has generous tax incentives to encourage foreigners to live in Panama. Residents do not pay any tax on foreign earned income. This means your pension cannot be taxed and nor can any other funds set up outside of Panama.
- Expats can buy and own property in Panama with the same rights and protections as Panamanian citizens. Be aware of a couple of location restrictions regarding beach property. Only Panamanians can own property which is within 25 meters of the high tide line at the beach.
- If you are looking to start a business in Panama you will be given tax breaks from the government. Tourism investments have exemptions from import duties, construction materials and equipment. Exemptions are also applied to income and real estate taxes. Panama is actively looking to improve its economy and will assist you in your efforts.
- Panama is a safe country to live in. Most Panamanians are friendly especially in the rural areas. Generally, Panamanians are not money orientated and not resentful of expats who are perceived as being wealthier. Armed policemen are a common sight in Panama City and tourist areas in particular, are very safe. A dedicated tourist police patrol these areas and are able to converse in English with visitors. Muggings and burglaries are the most common crimes for expats to beware of. You can minimize your exposure to these crimes with care and attention.
- Panama is politically stable. Panama has had its share of political problems in the past but nowadays things are more secure. Despite suffering its share of the corruption which exists throught Latin America, Panama has a progressive outlook in many aspects of politics. Panama has had a Female President and also has a well-established democratic system.
- Panama has a modern communications network. Internet speeds in Panama City are fast and reliable and most expat areas also have stable connections.
- In Panama City, you can drink the tap water. As well as saving you money on bottled water you can also make your own ice. You can also get ice with your drinks at bars and restaurants without worrying about contaminated water. Tap water is not safe to drink in the countryside.
- Panama City enables you to live here car-free. While you will probably need a car in most parts of the interior (countryside) in Panama City it is not necessary. This can provide a huge saving. Panama City has a cheap public transport for its residents. The metro system is the only one of its kind in Central America. It is modern, air-conditioned and journeys cost 35 cents (less for retirees). The buses are even cheaper and cover all areas of the city. Taxis are also cheap and plentiful. If you are looking to travel further afield buses from Allbrook Mall can get you nearly anywhere in Panama.
- Living in Panama means warm weather year round. Some of the mountainous areas are cooler but if you are around sea level, chances are you will not need a jumper during the daytime and only occasionally at night. If you are looking for somewhere to live to escape from the worst of the winter weather in the U.S. then Panama is perfect. The Panamanian summer starts mid-December and runs through to April. You can spend summer in Panama and return to the U.S. in time for their spring and summer.
- The Panamanian lifestyle is far healthier than the U.S. lifestyle. People here eat more fresh fruit and vegetables and less fast food. The food here also comes with fewer preservatives and e numbers. Panamanian fast food does exist but it is generally rice, meat, and lentils. You can buy U.S. chain fast food in the big cities if you ever fancy some though. Panama is not as car-oriented as the U.S. you will find yourself walking more, even if you decide to keep your car.
- Living in Panama means you will be moving to a country with lots of fellow expats. You will find a number of areas with strong expat regions. Here you will find people to socialize with who will help you acclimatize to your new life. Living in an expat region also brings with it the benefit of having services aimed at expats. You can find restaurants, shops, and businesses all providing goods for expats.
Living in Panama you will either grow to love or hate the way of life. The culture is infinitely more relaxed than the U.S. and the people are noticeably less stressed. They don’t get annoyed about trivial things and love to party and celebrate when things go well. Living in Panama you will either embrace this attitude and reap the benefits, or be unable to and leave.