Expat Exchange recently conducted a survey to explore the "Best Places to Live Abroad in 2020."
When expats in Panama rated their "level of satisfaction with the expatriate experience," responses indicated that those who live in the Central-American nation are by far more satisfied with their experience than those in other nations throughout the world.
A full 30% of expats in Panama reported that they were "extremely satisfied" as expats, while 46% stated that they were "very satisfied." Combined, that 76% who are either extremely or very satisfied rates slighly higher than the international average of 74%. An additional 20% reported that they were "moderately satisfied," while 4% of respondents reported that they were "slightly satisfied" and none were "not at all satisfied" with their expat experiences in Panama.
Here are some thoughts from the expats that responded to the Expat Exchange survey:
An Expat in Nueva Gorgona, Panama Shared (Best Places 2020):
I like the mix of locals and expats in my community. I like that there are restaurants I can go to that are close by from local flavors to class dining. I like that there is a lot of opportunity to volunteer in the community. I love living on the beach and falling asleep and waking up to the sound of the waves. It feels like I'm on vacation all the time. I have a few favorite restaurants that I wish were closer. I do wish there was a PriceSmart (think Sam's Club or Costco) closer. It's almost an hour from where we live. There isn't much I can complain about. The roads could be maintained better and the infrastructure could be more stable. We have power outages sometimes but usually not for very long. I have everything I need and most of what I want nearby.
An Expat in Boquete, Panama Shared (Best Places 2020):
I love the weather and the scenery in Boquete, Panama. Day time temperatures are in the mid-70s so you don't need an air conditioner or a heater. My electric bill is usually less than $20 a month. It's just beautiful and I feel blessed to live in such an amazing place.
An Expat in Coronado, Panama Shared (Best Places 2020):
This community has grown tremendously over the past ten years. There are new strip malls being built every year and the outdoor activities are endless. We have had some medical and dental work done here with very good doctors who are fluent in English which is a plus. The cost of these procedures, and the prescription drugs, are around 1/10th of the cost in the US. The fresh fruits and vegetables are sold in grocery stores as well as roadside vendors and the inventory turns over every day. The town next to us is base for a fishing co-operative so we always have access to fish and shellfish on a daily basis for a few dollars.We are just over 1 hour drive to Tocumen International Airport, which is constantly growing. There are many different points of interests and tourist activities within an hours drive. Water activities are plentiful and the ocean along with the beaches is very clean here.
An Expat in Chiriqui, Panama Shared (COVID Report - September 2020)
Panamanian citizens and foreign permanent residents are allowed in now. Many of my friends and neighbors have been able to return in the last month or so after being marooned in different parts of the world for months. All that I know have had to totally quarantine for 14 days in their homes. Welcome home everyone!
I'm getting really bored sitting at home all weekend and not being able to take our weekend drives. I'm getting really sick of standing in lines breathing my own CO and suffocating with a mask on my face. My cows, cats and dogs don't recognize me anymore and bark at me when I approach with my mask on. The only good thing that has come out of this is that now I can walk into a bank with a mask on but they still won't let me wear my sun glasses. Actually the media and social media scare me a lot more than Covid 19.
An Expat in Boquete, Panama (COVID Report - April 2020)
Citizens overall are serious but not panicked. People here are generally very cooperative. There are no major shortages in the stores, which have placed items like disinfectant wipes, bottled water, latex gloves and toilet paper front and center when you enter. 75% of the national population (around 4 million) are in or near Panama City. I can't speak for what is happening there but the people in and around Boquete seem to be making the best of a bad situation.
Quick Quotes From COVID SURVEY
"The healthcare in Panama is generally very good. Better in some areas than others. We are quite comfortable with the level of healthcare in our area."
"Too restrictive. The ban on alcohol sales was ridiculous." (COVID Lockdown)
"Health care in Panama is excellent. The government should promote medical tourism more."
Read our articles 10 Tips for Living in Panama, 8 Things to Know Before You Move to Panama, and Healthcare in Panama
Take the time to introduce yourself on our Panama Expat Forum!