Expats in Panama: Pros and Cons of Living in Panama

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As an expat, it’s essential to consider the benefits and disadvantages of living in Panama before moving there. The decision to relocate abroad is never easy, but having a clear understanding of life in Panama can make it easier to decide. Let’s explore how living in Panama affects expats.


Reliable Power & Water

Panama is a country experiencing rapid economic and infrastructure growth. The water and power systems are being expanded to support the growing population, and this means that the entire country has access to reliable water service and power distribution. If Panama is not for you and you’re looking for countries with reliable water and power, you might want to check residency requirements for Spain.

Known for Mountains & Beaches

Panama is known for its mountains, beaches, and rainforests. It’s the perfect place to live if you want to enjoy nature regularly. There are many opportunities to hike, camp, and enjoy the outdoors throughout the year. There are also a lot of opportunities to enjoy arts and culture in Panama. Many museums and art galleries allow you to explore what makes this country unique.

Beach in Panama
Beach in Panama

Affordable Cost of Living

If you’re looking to stretch your retirement savings, Panama is a great choice. It’s a major tourist destination and a financial hub, which means that the cost of living is competitive compared to other countries.

Excellent Retirement Benefits

Retirees are especially attracted to Panama because of the many benefits they can get while living here. This includes financial incentives and discounts on utilities, entertainment, health care, and more. Let’s take a closer look at some of the advantages of retiring in Panama:

Financial Incentives

Pensionado Visa – It allows retirees or those who have a pension to live in Panama with all the rights afforded to Panamanian citizens without giving up their citizenship. This visa also grants them many beneficial tax exemptions.

The crime rate is much lower than that in the United States, so there is little danger of being robbed or assaulted. There are no hurricanes or earthquakes, which helps keep the city safer from natural disasters. The people are friendly, and there is a strong sense of community, making it easy to build relationships and make new friends.


Bureaucratic Problems Are Rampant

As a small country, you would think that Panama’s bureaucracy would be efficient. No way. There is no coordination at all between the various agencies here. It’s not uncommon for expats attempting to build their dream retirement home to run into numerous obstacles related to conflicting information given by officials.

Slow Pace of Living

If you’re contemplating moving to Panama and you’re from a country where the pace of living is relatively fast, you may find it challenging to get used to the speed at which things move in Panama.

For example, if you want something done, it’s rare for someone to do it quickly or even on the same day. It’s common for people to tell you they’ll get something done by a specific time or date but not follow through. If you expect that things will be done quickly and are disappointed when they don’t turn out as expected, you’ll have difficulty adjusting.


Expats living in Panama love the laid-back lifestyle that it offers. On the other hand, a few expats seem unhappy with the pace of living transit and bureaucracy problems. Irrespective of the cons, Panama is a fantastic place to settle down if you can get past the small hurdles.

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Jeffrey Valencia

Jeffrey is our content and customer relations manager here at Backpacker Travel. He looks after most of the new information that appears on the site including guest posts.

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