Finding Friends In Costa Rica…Two Budgets For Your Retirement In Panama…

Finding Friends In Costa Rica…Two Budgets For Your Retirement In Panama…

“Friends of ours moved to Costa Rica about two years ago, and we never got a forwarding address. Is there any website you know of that has a directory or that could give us their address?”

— Bonnie N., United States

No, there’s no such directory, print or virtual. Costa Rica Correspondent David Stubbs suggests you try posting an inquiry with this Yahoo group:


“For some time now, Kathleen, my girlfriend and I have been considering changing our lifestyle. We are in our mid-30s and can’t afford to retire yet (unfortunately).

“We both work as independent consultants for an Internet-based company, so our physical location is irrelevant. All we need is a phone and a good Internet connection.

“Our income has decreased as a result of the global crisis, so we are looking for a way to maintain and even increase our standard of living. We want to move somewhere where life is good, prices are low, and the infrastructure would allow us to be connected as we need to be.

Panama is probably the best choice for a number of reasons, and we’d like to know what you think. What do you think would be a reasonable budget for the two of us?

“Understandably, Panama City is probably more expensive than other cities in Panama, so would you recommend a move to a smaller town elsewhere in the country? I’d be very thankful if you could share your opinion and guide me in the right direction.”

— Jay O., Spain

I’d agree that Panama is probably your best choice. You and your girlfriend could move to Panama City, where the telecommunications infrastructure is international-standard, and live comfortably on US$1,100 or US$1,200 per month if you own your own apartment. Add US$800 to US$1,500 per month for rent.

Panama is probably the only country in the region where you could likewise retire beyond the capital and still enjoy reliable Internet service. Our Editorial Assistant works from her fully wired home in Las Tablas on this country’s Pacific coast about four hours west of Panama City. As you suggest, in a place like Las Tablas, your cost of living would be much lower than in the capital. Rebecca’s monthly budget totals less than US$900, not including rent. What makes life in Las Tablas (and elsewhere in the interior of Panama) so appealing is the cost of housing. In Las Tablas you could rent a little house near the beach for as little as US$200 a month.

Complete budgets for both Panama City and Las Tablas are detailed here.

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