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Retire to Panama

American citizens seeking a retirement destination frequently look to Panama for its swaying palm trees, tropical climate, and especially, its low cost of living. International Living has ranked Panama the top retirement destination seven years in a row based in its Annual Global Retirement Index.

What makes Panama so perfect?

Location, Location, Location!

Located outside the hurricane belt, Panama’s welcoming shores offer a gentle climate by comparison to other nearby options. In addition, Panama does not have a history of destructive earthquakes.

Designated the “Hub of the Americas,” Panama is easily accessible at just a two-and-a-half-hour plane trip from Miami, and three to five hours from many other U.S. airports, so you’re easily within reach of family. The expanding Tocumen international airport and the Panama Canal make logistics simple, helping Panama City become an exciting metropolis in the region.

Cost of Living

In general, Panama law tends to treat foreigners the same as citizens in terms of rights and access to legal residence programs. With a verifiable pension income of just $1,000, the country allows you to apply for legal residence retiree visa and affords you access to all of their pensionado discounts, including:

  • Up to 50% discounts off entertainment, closing costs for home loans, and hotel stays
  • Up to 30% off of bus, ferry, and train fares
  • Airline tickets (domestically sourced and domestic point of origin) at 25% off
  • Restaurant discounts between 15 and 20%
  • Certain medical expenses discounted 10 to 20%
  • A one-time duty-free importation of household goods (up to $10,000)
  • An import tax exemption every two years when importing or locally purchasing a vehicle

Panama also allows foreign ownership of property with all the same rights as a citizen.

U.S. Influence

The cordial relationship between Panama and the United States means that many U.S. brands appear in grocery stores and upscale shopping centers and malls import U.S. and European fashions. While the local currency of Panama is the Panamanian Balboa, one balboa equals one U.S. dollar and the dollar is considered legal tender.

English is easily understood in most areas, with the majority of the population being bilingual.


Panama City is Central America’s only “First World” city with all the amenities you would find in a major U.S. city, including health care with several private state-of-the-art hospitals, many of which are affiliated with U.S. hospitals. Videoconferencing between Punta Pacifica, in Panama City and Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, for example, allows for advanced diagnoses and care. Many Panamanian doctors train United States medical schools, but, different from U.S. healthcare, they spend one-on-one time with their patients, and even share their home or cellular numbers with patients. Another advantage is that the overall cost of healthcare is much lower in Panama and public hospitals offer free routine care.

Safety and Stability

Panama boasts the same tourism safety rating as the United States. Panama’s government is a stable democracy with an excellent relationship with the United States. Its economy, being based on the U.S. dollar, is the most stable in Latin America.


Panama has beaches with surfing, snorkeling and diving, sailing, sea kayaking, mountains, rainforests, fishing, golf, fine dining, culture, history, and many more activities so there is always something for everyone. Panama has both a Pacific and a Caribbean coastline so you’re never more than an hour away from the water.


From cellular service to high-speed Internet, Panama has access to what you need. Compared to other Central American countries, Panama’s roads are easily traversed.

Where to live in Panama

Top retirement destinations in Panama include Bocas del Toro Archipelago, Coronado, El Valle, Boquete, David, and Panama City.

The video below is footage shot by Jason Will and his colleagues with Panama Source Real Estate of the Ocean Waves condominium development in the Gorgona Beach area of the Pacific Coast of Panama.

Retire to Panama information provided by the Jason Will Real Estate Team, serving the Alabama Gulf Coast, to include Mobile and Baldwin County.