Benefits of Retiring in Panama

The benefits of retiring in Panama include an affordable, active and culturally rich retirement experience close to home. We have been serving the expat community since 2008, which has given us a lot of insight into the benefits expats find in retiring in Panama. We’d like to share with you the top 5 reasons our clients frequently cite.

1. Affordable Cost of Living

One of the biggest draws of retiring in Panama is its affordable cost of living. Compared to many first-world countries, Panama offers a lower cost of living without sacrificing quality of life. This seems to hold true when comparing the cost of items such as groceries, utilities, or transportation. Consider a few examples:

  • It is possible to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner in Panama City for $30 or less altogether. Have you tried Nikos Cafe?
  • You can rent a modest furnished casita in Chiriqui for $600 a month (or less).
  • You can have unlimited LTE data on your phone for under $25 a month.

It all comes down to personal life choices; but in general, adults can live comfortably in Panama for $1,200 to $1,500 per person. This is a significant advantage for those on a fixed income who want to make the most of their retirement savings.

2. Active Retirement Lifestyle

Panama’s warm climate and natural beauty make it an ideal destination for retirees seeking an active lifestyle and who want to stay young and healthy. The country is home to a wide range of activities and entertainment options, catering to a variety of interests and lifestyles. Some of our client’s favorites include:

  1. Amador Causeway – a popular destination for jogging, biking, and picnicking, with beautiful views of the Panama City skyline and the Pacific Ocean.
  2. Taboga Island – located just a short boat ride from Panama City, this small island offers beautiful beaches and a laid-back atmosphere.
  3. El Valle de Anton – a picturesque town nestled in a volcanic crater, surrounded by lush forests and waterfalls.
  4. Boquete and Volcan in Chiriqui – both are mountain towns known for their coffee plantations, hiking trails, and stunning views of the Baru Volcano.
  5. Bocas del Toro – a Caribbean archipelago that offers pristine beaches, snorkeling, and diving opportunities.

All these places, and more, are well known in Panama for their natural beauty. Not only does Panama offer you the opportunity to continue an active retirement lifestyle, but also a diverse range of landscapes, including tropical rainforests, pristine beaches, and mountainous regions, providing endless opportunities for outdoor activities.

3. High-Quality Health Care

Panama is known for its excellent healthcare system through a range of private hospitals, clinics, and medical facilities catering to both locals and expats, with modern equipment and highly trained medical professionals.

On top of the quality of care, Panama’s healthcare system is also known for its affordability. A simple routine visit to a doctor costs $50. Dental procedures usually cost half that of North America. Even complicated procedures such as knee replacement surgery or cardiac surgeries can be significantly less expensive in Panama – while performed by very capable professionals.

Overall, the combination of high-quality medical care and affordability makes Panama an ideal destination for retirees seeking simple and fast access to healthcare.

4. Easy Access to International Travel

Panama is home to 4 airports used for domestic and international travel:

  1. Tocumen International Airport (PTY) – located in Panama City, this is the main airport in Panama and the hub for Copa Airlines, which offers flights to over 80 destinations in North, Central, and South America.
  2. Enrique Malek International Airport (DAV) – located in David – the largest country-side town in Panama. This airport services the Chiriqui province.
  3. Bocas del Toro International Airport (BOC) – located on Isla Colon in the Bocas del Toro Province.
  4. Scarlett Martinez International Airport (RIH) – located in Rio Hato, this airport services the Provincias Centrales area and a number of neighboring beach resorts.

Panama’s strategic location in the Americas makes it an ideal hub for international travel. Delta Airlines, United Airlines, Air Canada, and KLM are some of the options available from Tocument international airport.

Besides, the close proximity to North America and Europe via air travel is important for expats who have family and business back home. Is there a family emergency? Do you need to visit a client? Do you need to travel back home for whatever reason? No problem. You will be able to do it from Panama.

5. Welcoming People

Panama is known for its multicultural and welcoming society, which is a major factor for retirees seeking a sense of community and cultural enrichment. Their cultural heritage of indigenous, Spanish and Afro-Caribbean influences has also mixed with expat spots in different parts of the country like Coronado, El Valle, Boquete, Volcan, and even Panama City.

For those who want to experience local culture and traditions, the country celebrates a range of festivals and events throughout the year, including Carnival, Easter, Independence Day, Christmas, and many town-specific religious celebrations. And, the country’s culinary offers a mix of traditional Panamanian dishes.

Do you want to connect with expats instead? Panama has a strong expat community with many buckets across the country. This provides a sense of belonging and support for retirees. Most of these communities are well-established and offer a range of services and activities, such as book clubs, bible-study groups, volunteer opportunities, and social events.

Overall, Panama’s cultural diversity and welcoming society offer retirees a unique and enriching experience, allowing them to immerse themselves in a new culture and way of life, while maintaining good relationships with other expats who are also learning how to live in this beautiful country.

We’re here to help

At Kraemer & Kraemer, we understand the challenges of retiring in a new country and we’re here to help. Our team of experienced immigration attorneys can provide you with the support and guidance you need to navigate the residency process in Panama.

Contact us today or send us a note to to learn more about our immigration services and how we can help you make your retirement dreams in Panama a reality.

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Published May 15th, 2023, as Commentary on Immigration by Johana Sum