Panama has been touted as a safe retirement haven for expatriates from the US and other countries. The city boasts diverse communities with Latin and English-speaking villages. Panama is a cosmopolitan city with modern infrastructure, amenities, and affordable living standards. Here are five things to know before retiring in Panama:
1. The Value is in Rural Areas
Most ex-pats retire to Panama to enjoy the cool countryside breeze and tranquil surroundings. The country has many picturesque destinations but also features urban centers. Panama City, which is the country’s capital city, isn’t much different from modern bustling streets and business districts. If you’re looking for laid-back retirement hubs, choose the rural villages.
Panama communities outside the capital city offer the best value for retiring expatriates. The city is within proximity, so you can take regular trips to explore modern conveniences and amenities. Rural areas will expose you to the true beauty of Panama and value of retiring in the country. Apartments are typically cheaper, and the cost of living is lower.
2. Average Monthly Costs Vary
Like most cosmopolitan hubs for retirees, Panama features varying accommodation options. You can find comfortable living spaces in rural areas for as little as . The monthly cost can be anything from $2,500 to $4,000 or more if you prefer the city.
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Rent takes a significant share of the fixed monthly living expenses, followed by utility bills. A comfortable two-bedroom apartment may cost $1,000 to $2,000 per month or as high as $3,500 in high-rise buildings. The city accommodates ex-pats working with various budgets, so you can find the perfect apartment for your needs.
3. Healthcare Options Are Unique
You can’t use Medicare in Panama, which can be a concern for ex-pats from the US. Panama’s healthcare is quite affordable, so you don’t need medicare to find the best services. Most residents opt not to purchase insurance because of how cheap healthcare services are. Retirees will still find insurance invaluable given their advanced age and susceptibilities.
Panama offers international standard insurance premiums and excellent healthcare infrastructure. The country boasts state-of-the-art medical facilities with experienced, English-speaking practitioners. Many ex-pats cite the healthcare system as one of the best things about Panama. Services and prices vary depending on where you go.
4. The Panama Retirement Visa
Retirees eyeing Panama will require a retirement visa (Panama Visa Pensionado), the first thing to consider. A visa allows you to attain permanent residency and features specific requirements applicants must fulfill. The immigration department doesn’t specify the maximum/minimum age requirement for the visa, but you must have a minimum pension income of .
Your Panama visa comes with various benefits, including a one-time exemption from import duty for household goods worth $10,000. Ex-pats can also import a new car every two years without paying duty. Other benefits include discounts on entertainment, public transportation, airline tickets, medical consultations and dental, and eye examinations, and more.
5. Year-Round Tropical Climate
Thanks to its tropical climate, Panama residents get to see the sun nearly every day of the year. Expats who choose Panama City as their destination should expect hot and humid weather all year round. The rural areas offer much more appealing climates. You can settle in the mountains around Boquete for cool and chilly weather if that’s your preference.
The coastal areas outside the capital are warmer but balanced by the cool ocean breeze. In regions like David, temperatures vary from month to month. The country’s geographical diversity and proximity to North America appeal to most ex-pats. You can choose from different landscapes, and the country has something for everyone.
What You Need for Retiring In Panama
If you plan on retiring in Panama, you must get a legitimate visa. Hiring a skilled attorney is the first step to guaranteeing a seamless and convenient relocation. You need experienced law firms like Mata Pitti, specializing in Panama’s global-oriented legal services. Creating a bank account, registering a vessel, and hosting family visitors require legal help. The attorneys will walk you through other aspects of retiring and living in Panama.