Cost of Living in Panama

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Last updated on: Mar 12, 2019

Cigna International Health Insurance

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.

Get FREE quotes from up to 6 international movers from The Relocator. Save up to 50% on your move to Panama! The Relocator offers an easy and free service to receive quotes from renowned and certified movers worldwide. Get your moving quotes.

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

Choosing an expat health insurance provider is an important decision. Get a quote from our trusted expat health insurance partner, CIGNA. With Cigna Global Health Options, you can create an international health insurance plan that's perfectly tailored for the needs of you and your family.

Learn More Get a Quote

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?

Get FREE quotes from up to 6 international movers from The Relocator. Save up to 50% on your move to Panama! The Relocator offers an easy and free service to receive quotes from renowned and certified movers worldwide. They only work with qualified moving companies. Over 500 movers worldwide have already joined their service to help you get the best price and service for your international move. Get your moving quotes.

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.

Cigna Expat Health InsuranceExpatriate Health Insurance

Get a quote for expat health insurance in Panama from our partner, Cigna Global Health.
Get a Quote

Join our Panama Expat Forum

Visit our Panama Forum and talk with other expats who can offer you insight and tips about living in , Panama.

More about Panama

7-Best-Places-to-Live-in-Panama

7 Best Places to Live in Panama

Panama is a great place to live or retire with easy residency laws, warm people and lots of expats. Whether you want to live by the beach in Bocas del Toro or need to live in Panama City for work and schools, there are many places to explore. We highlight 5 great places to live in Panama.

Panama is a great place to live or retire with easy residency laws, warm people and lots of expats. Whether you want to live by the beach in Bocas del Toro or need to live in Panama City for work and...

The-Other-Option

Panama Retirement, The Other Option

Miguel Sirus retired in Panama 10 years ago. Instead of choosing a popular expat destination such as Boquette, Volcan or El Valle, he bought an overgrown piece of property near a village in Panama. In this article, he offers a glimpse at how his new life unfolded.

Miguel Sirus retired in Panama 10 years ago. Instead of choosing a popular expat destination such as Boquette, Volcan or El Valle, he bought an overgrown piece of property near a village in Panama. In...

Thanksgiving-in-Panama

Thanksgiving in Panama

American expats in Panama can enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving meal at these restaurants.

American expats in Panama can enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving meal at these restaurants. ...

7-Things-to-Know-Before-You-Move-to-Panama

Moving to Panama: 7 Things to Know Before You Move to Panama

Do you have to buy a round trip ticket when moving to Panama? How difficult is it to bring my dog? Should I buy a home in Panama? Can I find health insurance that covers me in Panama and my home country when I travel back to visit relatives?

Do you have to buy a round trip ticket when moving to Panama? How difficult is it to bring my dog? Should I buy a home in Panama? Can I find health insurance that covers me in Panama and my home cou...

5-Tips-for-Living-in-Bocas-del-Toro,-Panama

5 Tips for Living in Bocas del Toro, Panama

Bocas del Toro, Panama is a popular tourist destination and filled with laid-back expats and locals enjoying the island life. With its low cost of living, thriving nightlife and welcoming expat community, Bocas del Toro is a great place to live.

Bocas del Toro, Panama is a popular tourist destination and filled with laid-back expats and locals enjoying the island life. With its low cost of living, thriving nightlife and welcoming expat commu...

11-Expats-Talk-about-Living-in-Boquete

11 Expats Talk about Living in Boquete, Panama

11 expats talk about what it's like to live in the beautiful mountain town of Boquete, Panama. From the Tuesday Market at the BCP to group hikes and drinks at Mike's Global Grill, expats love living in Boquete.

11 expats talk about what it's like to live in the beautiful mountain town of Boquete, Panama. From the Tuesday Market at the BCP to group hikes and drinks at Mike's Global Grill, expats love living i...

Cost-of-Living-in-Panama-City,-Panama

Cost of Living in Panama City, Panama

Should you move to Panama City for a lower cost of living? The answer may surprise you.

Should you move to Panama City for a lower cost of living? The answer may surprise you....

Best-Places-to-Live-in-Panama-City,-Panama

Best Places to Live in Panama City, Panama

Learn which neighborhoods rank as the best places to live in Panama City according to expats. Plus, learn which two neighborhoods may not fit the bill despite one of them being one of the most popular tourist destinations in Panama City.

Learn which neighborhoods rank as the best places to live in Panama City according to expats. Plus, learn which two neighborhoods may not fit the bill despite one of them being one of the most popula...

Cigna International Health Insurance

Write a Comment about this Article

Sign In to post a comment.
addacomment

Updated On: Mar 12, 2019

First Published: Mar 12, 2019

Cigna Expat Health InsuranceExpatriate Health Insurance

Get a quote for expat health insurance in Panama from our partner, Cigna Global Health.
Get a Quote

16-Expats-Talk-About-Moving-to-Panama16 Expats Talk About Moving to Panama

Expats living in Panama talk about making the big move to Panama, what they wish they had brought (and left behind), visas, culture shock, cost of living and more. It's a must read for anyone thinking about moving to Panama.
Expats living in Panama talk about making the big move to Panama, what they wish they had brought (and left behind), visas, culture shock, cost of living and more. It's a must read for anyone thinking...

Expat-Panama10 Tips for Living in Panama

Did you know it's hot in Panama City all year round? Did you know that it's hard to get a work visa in Panama? Did you know that Panama has great incentives for foreign retirees?

Did you know it's hot in Panama City all year round? Did you know that it's hard to get a work visa in Panama? Did you know that Panama has great incentives for foreign retirees? ...

Retiring-Abroad5 Great Places to Retire in Central America

Central America is an increasingly popular retirement destination. Retirees love it's proximity to the United States, lower cost of living, beautiful cities, amazing beaches, healthy lifestyle and friendly people.

Central America is an increasingly popular retirement destination. Retirees love it's proximity to the United States, lower cost of living, beautiful cities, amazing beaches, healthy lifestyle and fr...

Expat-Panama7 Best Places to Live in Panama

Panama is a great place to live or retire with easy residency laws, warm people and lots of expats. Whether you want to live by the beach in Bocas del Toro or need to live in Panama City for work and schools, there are many places to explore. We highlight 5 great places to live in Panama.

Panama is a great place to live or retire with easy residency laws, warm people and lots of expats. Whether you want to live by the beach in Bocas del Toro or need to live in Panama City for work and...

Retirement-In-BoqueteAn Expat Shares What it's Like Retiring in Boquete, Panama

An expat retiree in Boquete, Panama offers some insight into the best way to retire abroad there. Includes information about cost of living, health care, finance, and more.

An expat retiree in Boquete, Panama offers some insight into the best way to retire abroad there. Includes information about cost of living, health care, finance, and more....

Moving-To-Alto-BoqueteAn Expat Talks about Moving to Alto Boquete, Panama

An expat in Alta Boquete, Panama talks about choosing Alta Boquete and making the move there. She talks about what to bring and what to leave behind, one moving company to avoid and other recommendations.

An expat in Alta Boquete, Panama talks about choosing Alta Boquete and making the move there. She talks about what to bring and what to leave behind, one moving company to avoid and other recommendat...

Copyright 1997-2020 Burlingame Interactive, Inc.

Privacy Policy Legal