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Cost of Living in Panama

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Last updated on: Mar 12, 2019

Summary: Expats in Panama enjoy a relatively low cost of living. However, it's important to do your research to make sure you'll actually enjoy those saving while creating a high quality of life as an expat in Panama.

Moving to Panama - Cost of Living in Panama

Many expats living in Panama choose to live there because of the cost of living. Some indicate that the cost of living in Panama is rising, but with careful research it is still possible to find great quality of life at lower overall cost of living.

The Panamanian Balboa and the U.S. Dollar are both official currencies of Panama.

If you're thinking about moving to Panama and haven't narrowed down where you would like to live, consider taking a tour with our partner, Panama Relocation Tours. Learn More

If you're thinking about moving to Panama and haven't narrowed down where you would like to live, consider taking a tour with our partner, Panama Relocation Tours.

Estimating Your Monthly Living Expenses in Panama

An expat moving to Panama inquired: "My wife and I are in our 70's and would like to retire in Boquette, Panama, we have pensions of $3,600, per month, can we live good on that income in Panama?"

An expat in Panama replied: "Yes, you can live in Boquete on $3600 a month.. actually LESS than $3600. I live in Boquete on much less than that. My house is paid for though. But even if you factor in rent, the total monthly costs would be less than your budget."

Another expat advised: "One issue to keep in mind when considering cost of living. There are a lot of things that are not particularly cheap. The cost for those items is comparable to (or more than) than you would pay in the US. Some examples include (1) electronics, (2) clothes and (3) restaurants. Health care is cheaper but not incredibly so for someone who is Medicare eligible. My bottom line is this. It's not that much cheaper in Panama (if at all) than many places in the U.S. If you are moving for economic reasons, you probably are going to be disappointed. I would recommend coming to Panama and see if you fall in love with it or not."

Expats living in Panama interested in expat health insurance should take a minute to get a quote from our trusted expat health insurance partner, CIGNA. Get a Quote

Expats living in Panama interested in expat health insurance should take a minute to get a quote from our trusted expat health insurance partner, CIGNA.

An expat who retired in Nueva Gorgona wrote that "the cost of living in Panama is not as low as it once was (we have heard) but is still lower than the US. There is no way we could afford to rent a condo right on the beach in the U.S. for what we are paying here. We knew there would be adjustments but it has been easier than we anticipated in part due to the strong expat community. No expectations means no disappointment.

An expat in Panama City shared that: "It's not as cheap as I thought it would be. Food is the same or more. Restaurants are cheaper. Transport much cheaper. Clothing and appliances are probably cheaper in US. We have better sales in US."

Another expat wrote that "My housing costs here are 1/4 of what I'd pay in the States for a house and yard."

Visit Panama and do research... just as in other parts of the world, you need to see it, explore and find the specific setup for you budget.

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Moving to Panama soon? AGS Worldwide Movers is a leader in the international moving industry. Their experience and expertise allows them to guarantee their clients the best quality moving services. Get a moving quote today.

Expat Healthcare in Panama

Another expat wrote: "I just had a dentist appointment. We chat as his English is good and he likes to practice. Example of cost comparison. He has his mother take his shirts to a laundry in Chorrera because where he lives near city is more expensive. His fees are less expensive since his office is in Arraijan compared to city."

The medical care is "Very good. Insurance is cheap. Plenty of facilities"

expat health insurance from CIGNA

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Specific Expenses Information for Expats

An expat shared about their expenses in Panama: "Used car depends on model, type, age, miles, you can always find an expat ready to sell one cheap because they are moving back. 5k to 10k ins. well that is cheap, about 200.00 per year on a used car. power bill 100 to 200 per month. water 6.00. gas a large 100 lb tank should last you a year. at about 75.00 dollars.

Cable and wifi. The more you buy from them, like tv internet, phone. cheaper the bill I get their fastest package for around 65 per month. house rental. 500 and up. food, again depends on your taste. many are cheaper then what you pay now, some or higher. locals seem to have a better price on goods.

Another suggest others do research such as "For cable and telephone, go to the websites of the 2 main providers (CableOnda and Cable and Wireless) to see how much their packages cost for the level of service you require." As is the case in other countries, these offerings change regularly in Panama, and so you should do the legwork to find current offerings.

Another expats reported that "the food can be affordable in Boquete (going out). You can live much better, cheaper lifestyle. your imported items are luxuries and are expensive. I suggest take a trip and see what you eat, and see what it goes for in the supermarkets of the 2 places you want to move to. car insurance for a sedan is $450 or so a year for us."

Costs of Immigration Services

In a thread on the Expat Exchange Panama Forum about the cost of professional immigration services in Panama, a variety of options were discussed.

Important elements of your decision-making process should include not just cost, but quality of services and reliability.

Where to Live in Panama Based on Cost of Living and other Factors

An expat in Panama recommended David over Boquete: "I will say with your budget you are better off financially in David. I live in Boquete but am moving to David because Boquete is just too small for me as a single person. I need more to do and more infrastructure around me. Boquete is expensive, no way around it, but it has wonderful temperatures. David is hot, no way around that, but much cheaper and larger, with many great stores, movie theater, etc. To get an ap't in Boquete for $300, it would have to be unfurnished, which means more than no furniture, it means no stove, refrigerator or anything else. So, those are my major differences between the two."

In the same thread, another expat wrote: "Volcan is cheaper than Boquete and has the same cool climate. Volcan has been growing a lot and has quite a few expats too although not near as many as Boquete. David is very hot especially in March and April but actually any time the sun is out. Not as bad when it is cloudy. PriceSmart is on the side of David closest to Volcan and Bugaba. So you can drive to PriceSmart and the Chiriqui Mall from Volcan without actually entering David."

Deciding Where to Live in Panama

If you're thinking about moving to Panama and haven't narrowed down where you would like to live, consider taking a tour with our partner, Panama Relocation Tours.

Rental Cars in Panama

Responding to a question about Rental Cars in Panama, an expat advised: "I avoid driving in the city, and to and from the interior, at all costs. Horrible traffic, drivers, and signage. This is how I do it now (before the new Metro connects) From the terminal, you will need to walk about 50 yards to the bus stop to get the Express bus to Albrook. Costs about $1.50. At Albrook terminal, go to the Aguadulce window and tell them you want to get off at Coronado. The Agualdulce bus is a big one and a million times better. A ticket is around $3. One of the car rentals is right across the InterAmerican. Rent your car early-they sell out. The 2 agencies in Coronado are small private guys and I haven't heard of them playing games. But no rental cars are cheap in Panama because of the insurance racket."

Also read our article about the Best Places to Live Overseas: Panama vs. Costa Rica.

Moving to Panama

Moving to Panama soon? AGS Worldwide Movers is a leader in the international moving industry. Their experience and expertise allows them to guarantee their clients the best quality moving services. Get a moving quote today.

About the Author

Joshua Wood joined Expat Exchange in 2000. Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Some of Joshua's more popular articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and 5 Best Places to Live in Spain. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000. Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Some of Joshua's more popular articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and 5 Best Places to Live in Spain. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

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Updated On: Mar 12, 2019

First Published: Mar 12, 2019

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getnatadbottom (Datasource=expert, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/nativerotationtop_tester13.cfm @ 13:44:10.010
SELECT resourceid, natbox as adcode, natboxweight, natadid
FROM natads 
WHERE natadid = 46
and natboxtype = 4 
getnatadtopull (Datasource=expert, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/nativerotationtop_tester13.cfm @ 13:44:10.010
SELECT *
FROM natadoptions 
WHERE 'moveheader' = tag
getnatadtype (Datasource=expert, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/nativerotationtop_tester13.cfm @ 13:44:10.010
SELECT *
FROM natadoptions 
WHERE natadtypeid = 6 
getnatadbottom (Datasource=expert, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/nativerotationtop_tester13.cfm @ 13:44:10.010
SELECT resourceid, headerparagraph as adcode, headerparagraphweight, natads.natadid
FROM natads, natadPlacement
WHERE headerparagraphtype = 6
and natadPlacement.networkID = 87
and natadPlacement.natadid = natads.natadid
and headerparagraphend > "2020-07-14"
and headerparagraphstart < "2020-07-15"
and headerparagraphstatus = 'live'

and headerparagraphweight = 'high'
getnatadtopull (Datasource=expert, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/nativerotationtop_tester13.cfm @ 13:44:10.010
SELECT *
FROM natadoptions 
WHERE 'movesentence' = tag
getnatadtype (Datasource=expert, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/nativerotationtop_tester13.cfm @ 13:44:10.010
SELECT *
FROM natadoptions 
WHERE natadtypeid = 7 
getnatadbottom (Datasource=expert, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/nativerotationtop_tester13.cfm @ 13:44:10.010
SELECT resourceid, natsentence as adcode,  natsentenceweight, natads.natadid
FROM natads, natadPlacement
WHERE natsentencetype = 7
and natadPlacement.networkID = 87
and natadPlacement.natadid = natads.natadid
and natsentenceend > "2020-07-14"
and natsentencestart < "2020-07-15"
and natsentencestatus = 'live'

and natsentenceweight = 'high'
getnatadbottom (Datasource=expert, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/nativerotationtop_tester13.cfm @ 13:44:10.010
SELECT resourceid, natsentence as adcode, natsentenceweight, natadid
FROM natads 
WHERE natadid = 32
and natsentencetype = 7 
getnatadtopull (Datasource=expert, Time=1ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/nativerotationtop_tester13.cfm @ 13:44:10.010
SELECT *
FROM natadoptions 
WHERE 'rtheader' = tag
getnatadtype (Datasource=expert, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/nativerotationtop_tester13.cfm @ 13:44:10.010
SELECT *
FROM natadoptions 
WHERE natadtypeid = 11 
getnatadbottom (Datasource=expert, Time=1ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/nativerotationtop_tester13.cfm @ 13:44:10.010
SELECT resourceid, headerparagraph as adcode, headerparagraphweight, natads.natadid
FROM natads, natadPlacement
WHERE headerparagraphtype = 11
and natadPlacement.networkID = 87
and natadPlacement.natadid = natads.natadid
and headerparagraphend > "2020-07-14"
and headerparagraphstart < "2020-07-15"
and headerparagraphstatus = 'live'

and headerparagraphweight = 'high'
getnatadtopull (Datasource=expert, Time=1ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/nativerotationtop_tester13.cfm @ 13:44:10.010
SELECT *
FROM natadoptions 
WHERE 'rtsentence' = tag
getnatadtype (Datasource=expert, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/nativerotationtop_tester13.cfm @ 13:44:10.010
SELECT *
FROM natadoptions 
WHERE natadtypeid = 12 
getnatadbottom (Datasource=expert, Time=1ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/nativerotationtop_tester13.cfm @ 13:44:10.010
SELECT resourceid, natsentence as adcode,  natsentenceweight, natads.natadid
FROM natads, natadPlacement
WHERE natsentencetype = 12
and natadPlacement.networkID = 87
and natadPlacement.natadid = natads.natadid
and natsentenceend > "2020-07-14"
and natsentencestart < "2020-07-15"
and natsentencestatus = 'live'

and natsentenceweight = 'high'
getnatadbottom (Datasource=expert, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/nativerotationtop_tester13.cfm @ 13:44:10.010
SELECT resourceid, natsentence as adcode, natsentenceweight, natadid
FROM natads 
WHERE natadid = 15
and natsentencetype = 12 
getarticlesection (Datasource=expert, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/lib_rd_ctrygd_readnext.cfm @ 13:44:10.010
SELECT *
FROM articleCategories
WHERE articleCategories.articleID = 5259 
gettaxgeneral3 (Datasource=expert, Time=7ms, Records=4) in /home/www/html/lib_rd_ctrygd_readnext.cfm @ 13:44:10.010
	Select title, hitopic, hidescript, author, articles.articleID, hiimg, summary, authorurl, hpimg
	From articles, articlePlacement
	Where hitopic <> ''
	and articlePlacement.networkID = 87 
	AND articlePlacement.articleID = articles.articleID
	and hidescript <> ''
    and type = '3'
    and articles.topic <> 'Weekly Quizzes'
   	and articles.topic <> 'Weekly Quizzes: Answers'
    and general <> 'bb'
    and hpimg <> 'none'
    and keycity = '0'
   and cityintro = 'n'
    and summary <> ''
    and articles.articleID <> 5259
    and publishdate < "2020-07-15"
    and publishdate > "2014-01-01"

    ORDER by articles.articleID asc   
    
gettaxgeneral4 (Datasource=expert, Time=7ms, Records=4) in /home/www/html/lib_rd_ctrygd_readnext.cfm @ 13:44:10.010
	Select title, hitopic, hidescript, author, articles.articleID, hiimg, summary, authorurl, hpimg
	From articles, articlePlacement, articlecityplace
	Where hitopic <> ''
	and articlePlacement.networkID = 87 
	AND articlePlacement.articleID = articles.articleID
		and articlecityplace.articleid = articles.articleID
	and hidescript <> ''
    and type = '3'
    and articles.topic <> 'Weekly Quizzes'
   	and articles.topic <> 'Weekly Quizzes: Answers'
    and general <> 'bb'
    and hpimg <> 'none'
    and summary <> ''
    and articles.articleID <> 5259
    and publishdate < "2020-07-15"
    and publishdate > "2014-01-01"

    ORDER by articles.articleID asc   
    
gettopbanner (Datasource=expert, Time=1ms, Records=2) in /home/www/html/navbottomad_rdesign5.cfm @ 13:44:10.010
	Select *
	From banners, bannerPlacement
	WHERE status <> "hold"
	AND position = "eebannercountry"
    and toDate > "2020-07-14"
    and fromDate < "2020-07-15"
    and bannerPlacement.networkid = 87
    and bannerPlacement.bannerid = banners.bannerid
    and banners.promised = ''
    and banners.type <> 'swf'
UpdatePageViews (Datasource=expert, Time=2ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navbottomad_rdesign5.cfm @ 13:44:10.010
  UPDATE banners
  SET impressions = impressions + 1
  WHERE bannerid = 876 
gethpbox (Datasource=expert, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navmpu_rdesign5.cfm @ 13:44:10.010
	Select *
	From banners
	WHERE status <> "hold"
	AND (position = "eehpbox" or position = "eehpboxglobal")
    and toDate > {ts '2020-07-14 13:44:10'}
    and fromDate <{ts '2020-07-15 13:44:10'}
    and banners.type <> 'swf'
    
UpdatePageViews (Datasource=expert, Time=1ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navmpu_rdesign5.cfm @ 13:44:10.010
  UPDATE banners
  SET impressions = impressions + 1
  WHERE bannerid = 866 
GetMessages (Datasource=forum, Time=0ms, Records=0) in /home/www/html/commentsnew_rdesign4.cfm @ 13:44:10.010
  SELECT *
  FROM comments m 
  WHERE m.tpcid = 5259 
  and m.commenttype = 1
  and m.isapproved = 1
  ORDER BY msgid ASC
getarticlesection (Datasource=expert, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navrightmidcolumn_rdesign5.cfm @ 13:44:10.010
SELECT *
FROM articleCategories
WHERE articleCategories.articleID = 5259 
checkculturefeature (Datasource=expert, Time=5ms, Records=4) in /home/www/html/navcontentbox.cfm @ 13:44:10.010
		Select networkname as ctry, city, networkid, rid, networkname, answerid
		FROM allreports
         where rid = 95
      
         and networkid = 87 
         and city <> ''
     and date > '2013-04-01'
         order by date DESC
getsummary (Datasource=reports, Time=1ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentbox.cfm @ 13:44:10.010
		Select summary, hiimg 
		FROM answers
         where answerid = 73924
         and summary <> ''
checklivingfeature (Datasource=expert, Time=5ms, Records=3) in /home/www/html/navcontentbox.cfm @ 13:44:10.010
		Select networkname as ctry, city, networkid, rid, networkname, answerid
		FROM allreports
         where rid = 58
           and city <> ''
      
         and networkid = 87 
        and date > '2013-04-01'
		order by date DESC
getsummary (Datasource=reports, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentbox.cfm @ 13:44:10.010
		Select summary, hiimg 
		FROM answers
         where answerid = 74186
         and summary <> ''
gettaxgeneral2 (Datasource=expert, Time=6ms, Records=3) in /home/www/html/navcontentbox.cfm @ 13:44:10.010
	Select title, hitopic, hidescript, author, articles.articleID, hiimg, summary, authorurl, hpimg
	From articles, articlePlacement
	Where hitopic <> ''
	and articlePlacement.networkID = 87 
	AND articlePlacement.articleID = articles.articleID
	and hidescript <> ''
    and type = '3'
    and articles.topic <> 'Weekly Quizzes'
   	and articles.topic <> 'Weekly Quizzes: Answers'
    and general <> 'bb'
    and hpimg <> 'none'
    and summary <> ''
    and (articles.author = 'Betsy Burlingame' or articles.author = 'Joshua Wood')
    and publishdate < "2020-07-15"

    ORDER by articles.articleID asc   
    
checkrptarticles (Datasource=reports, Time=5ms, Records=2) in /home/www/html/navcontentbox.cfm @ 13:44:10.010
		Select *
		FROM rptarticles, rptarticlenetworks
         where rptarticles.rptarticleID = rptarticlenetworks.rptarticleID
       and rptarticles.publishdate < "2020-07-15"
     
         and rptarticlenetworks.networkid = 87 
    ORDER by rptarticles.rptarticleID asc   
    
getreportarticle (Datasource=reports, Time=1ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/rewritearticlefirsttitle.cfm @ 13:44:10.010
	Select *
	From rptarticles, rptarticlenetworks
	Where rptarticles.rptarticleID = 2
	and rptarticlenetworks.rptarticleID = rptarticles.rptarticleID
getnameforarticle (Datasource=expert, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/rewritearticlefirsttitle.cfm @ 13:44:10.010
	Select networkname, forumLink, frmid, networktype, isCity, hot, networkID, usekeywords, metatitle, shortname, shortnamecap
	From Networks
	Where networkID = 87 
getrptarticlephotos (Datasource=reports, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentbox.cfm @ 13:44:10.010
SELECT  hiimg
FROM rptarticles
where rptarticleID = 2
and hiimg <> ''
getreportarticle (Datasource=reports, Time=1ms, Records=6) in /home/www/html/rewritearticlefirsttitle.cfm @ 13:44:10.010
	Select *
	From rptarticles, rptarticlenetworks
	Where rptarticles.rptarticleID = 9
	and rptarticlenetworks.rptarticleID = rptarticles.rptarticleID
getnameforarticle (Datasource=expert, Time=1ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/rewritearticlefirsttitle.cfm @ 13:44:10.010
	Select networkname, forumLink, frmid, networktype, isCity, hot, networkID, usekeywords, metatitle, shortname, shortnamecap
	From Networks
	Where networkID = 20 
getrptarticlephotos (Datasource=reports, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentbox.cfm @ 13:44:10.010
SELECT  hiimg
FROM rptarticles
where rptarticleID = 9
and hiimg <> ''


Scope Variables

CGI Variables:
AUTH_PASSWORD=
AUTH_TYPE=
AUTH_USER=
CERT_COOKIE=
CERT_FLAGS=
CERT_ISSUER=
CERT_KEYSIZE=
CERT_SECRETKEYSIZE=
CERT_SERIALNUMBER=
CERT_SERVER_ISSUER=
CERT_SERVER_SUBJECT=
CERT_SUBJECT=
CF_TEMPLATE_PATH=/home/www/html/lib_rd.cfm
CONTENT_LENGTH=
CONTENT_TYPE=
CONTEXT_PATH=
GATEWAY_INTERFACE=CGI/1.1
HTTPS=on
HTTPS_KEYSIZE=
HTTPS_SECRETKEYSIZE=
HTTPS_SERVER_ISSUER=
HTTPS_SERVER_SUBJECT=
HTTP_ACCEPT=text/html,application/xhtml+xml,application/xml;q=0.9,*/*;q=0.8
HTTP_ACCEPT_ENCODING=gzip
HTTP_ACCEPT_LANGUAGE=en-US,en;q=0.5
HTTP_CONNECTION=Keep-Alive
HTTP_COOKIE=
HTTP_HOST=www.expatexchange.com
HTTP_REFERER=
HTTP_USER_AGENT=CCBot/2.0 (https://commoncrawl.org/faq/)
PATH_INFO=
PATH_TRANSLATED=/home/www/html/lib_rd.cfm
QUERY_STRING=articleID=5259&networkid=87
REMOTE_ADDR=172.69.63.227
REMOTE_HOST=172.69.63.227
REMOTE_USER=
REQUEST_METHOD=GET
SCRIPT_NAME=/lib_rd.cfm
SERVER_NAME=www.expatexchange.com
SERVER_PORT=443
SERVER_PORT_SECURE=1
SERVER_PROTOCOL=HTTP/1.1
SERVER_SOFTWARE=Apache
WEB_SERVER_API=
Session Variables:
cfid=31939939
cftoken=84535039
sessionid=IBEXPATEXCHANGE.COM_31939939_84535039
urltoken=CFID=31939939&CFTOKEN=84535039
URL Parameters:
articleID=5259
networkid=87
Debug Rendering Time: 17 ms