Cost of Living in Panama



Panama, the southernmost state in Central America, is a top destination for foreign retirees because of its tropical climate and relatively low cost of living. US publishing group International Living recently ranked Panama as the world’s best retirement destination. Its foreign retirement community is mainly composed of Americans and Europeans.

For two people to live a First-World lifestyle in the capital Panama City, the approximate monthly budget is USD $1,700 to USD $2,500. The cost of living has appreciated steadily over the past 10 years, making the capital a moderately expensive retirement choice. The rental rate of a two-bedroom apartment in the Panama City is for USD $1,000 to USD $1,500 while a small beach house in the Azuero Coast is for USD $500 to USD $600 per month. Houses in the mountainous regions of Santa Fe may be rented out for USD $500 or less.

Utility bills run from $250 to $300 per month; Telephone, internet, and cable TV subscription collectively charge a monthly fee of USD $100. Groceries and basic home essentials, such as laundry detergents are for USD $300 to USD $350.

Entertainment is also affordable in Panama as the country offers a wide array of activities such as:

1. Fine dining for two in Panama City for USD $30

2. Movies twice a month and dinner out in restaurants each week for $130

3. Sightseeing cruise along the world-famous Panama Canal for USD $145

4. Small-group tours in Panama’s rainforests, beaches and historical landmarks for $1,350

5. Free strolls along Casco Viejo district and El Valle de Anton and central Cocle

The rates mentioned above are based on 2013 prices.

Private healthcare insurance in Panama is not as costly as most Western countries. Most clinics charge only a quarter of the rates in the US. Medical services are of international standards and are extended to all individuals in the country. Foreigners are covered under the state-funded healthcare insurance for their first thirty days in Panama provided they entered the country through the Tocumen Airport, as proven by the stamped passport.

The major hospitals and clinics preferred by expats include Hospital Punta Pacifica in Panama City and Clinica Einstein in El Cangrejo. The Johns Hopkins-affiliated Hospital Punta Pacifica offers top-notch specialist care and facilities comparable with major US hospitals. Clinica Einstein has well-trained English speaking staff and provides on-site lab tests at low costs.



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