Each year, millions of North Americans take the big step of retirement, and many move locations to do so. Moving can be a challenge, particularly at the age of retirement, but it’s a step that is more common than not due to the retirement lifestyle, and opening a new chapter in life, so to speak. Because of this, finding the best place to retire that suits your needs, taste, and budget, is an essential part of the planning phase before diving in headfirst. This is why retiring in Panama is such an attractive proposition. Retirement in Panama may sound exotic to some, but it’s actually been on the radar for Canadians and American citizens for quite some time now.
Panama, when looked at as a retirement destination, checks all the boxes for success. It has a year-round warm climate, it uses the US dollar, it’s a relatively close (and direct) flight away from North America, and it has a variety of location-based lifestyle options that fit nearly every retirement need. Panama is an isthmus, and because of that, it has two coasts of beaches. There are mountains, valleys, suburbs, and cities in Panama that each have their own charm, and pros/cons for retirees. In the general sense, Panama has options for almost anyone, so choosing where to retire really boils down to choices, and budget.
Where should you retire in Panama?
There’s no cookie-cutter answer for this question, and that’s a good thing. With so many options at so many budgets, it really depends on you. Many retirees choose to live outside of Panama City, as city life in Panama can be hectic and a bit pricier. That being said, there are many benefits to retiring in Panama City, mainly from a convenience angle. Panama City has easy access to world-class shopping, serviced condos, hospitals, and is easy to get in and out of via Tocumen International Airport. People who retire in Panama City do so for these conveniences, but also for the social aspect of city living. With a large expat community, you’ll find that it’s easy to make friends with fellow expats, including retirees, in the city.
Small town Panama
If city living is not your style, Panama offers rural retirement options that are practically unmatched in similar communities across Latin America. Rural, small town retirement is the most popular option for expats in Panama, and for good reason. Panama’s interior (anywhere outside of Panama City and suburbs) offers lower costs of living, beautiful nature, a traditional community atmosphere, and quiet. Because of this, communities like Boquete, Volcan, and Coronado have flourished due to North American retirees.
Small towns that attract retirees tend to have many more amenities that North American expats look for when relocating to Panama. These include services with English-speaking employees, good restaurants, boutique shopping, and modern real estate options. You will find that the expat communities in Panama’s rural towns are tight-nit, and often very involved in creating an atmosphere that is both comfortable and convenient where possible. The downsides, however, can be access to hospitals, airports, and certain other services that don’t lend themselves geographically to rural living. Cost of living in these rural expat communities may be a bit cheaper than the city, however not significantly in the places where expat retiree saturation is big.
Though not as popular with the majority of retiree expats, Panama’s suburban areas outside of the capital have a lot of value as a potential retirement location. Panama City may be the best place to buy real estate in Panama as its suburbs have great value, whether buying or renting. You’ll find that due to available space and access to the main highway, Panama’s suburbs have great buying and rental options at all budgets. Retirees in Panama’s suburbs can expect good services nearby as well, plus shorter access to medical services, as well as the international airport. If you are someone who like conveniences, but doesn’t want the noise and hustle and bustle of an urban capital, then suburban Panama retirement is right for you.