Panama City, Panama
Panama City, Panama
Panama City, Panama

Living in Panama

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Last updated on Dec 27, 2021

Summary: Expats, digital nomads and retirees discuss what it is like to live in Panama: Cost of living, Finding a home, Meeting People and more.

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What do I need to know about living in Panama?

When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Panama, they said:

"Come and visit! I guarantee it is nothing like where you live. The culture is very different than the US and the systems and structures can sometimes make no sense at all. If you can't roll with things when they go wrong or get frustrating, it may not be for you," said another expat in Boquete.

"Do not be surprised by the most modern technological society living in a first class environment," added another expat who made the move to Panama City.

"Panama is NOT a good place for people with a "Service Dog" or a "Guide Dog". In general, many people are scared of all dogs because most dogs in Panama are GUARD DOGS for their property. Panama is behind the times in its thinking about "Service Dogs". In Canada (and the USA) all Service and Guide dogs are accepted everywhere. People who have such a "partner" really need that dog in their life. He is their "lifeline". They are highly trained and do not bother other people. Their main interest is the care of their owner! They DO NOT have "accidents" and they do not bother other people. 99% of the time they are very friendly with all people they meet. In Canada & USA the Service Dogs are fully accepted and allowed to go everywhere their owner wants to go. That includes all stores, clinics, businesses and restaurants. This is a fact of the 20th Century. Panama needs to catch up! These dogs are highly trained and get to need their owner as much as the owner needs them," explained one expat living in Coronado, Panama.

"I would echo what the person who did the review on Boquete. Embrace the local culture and ways of doing things. Don't come here wanting to change the way folks have done things for a long time or try to make it like the US. At the same time you can teach the locals what you know in a nice way as you make friends with them," mentioned another in Bocas del Toro.

"Dont worry be happy. Relax, and enjoy the great climate, and beautiful people. And of course save alot of money with the low cost of living. I rent a two bedroom house for $100.00 per. Mo. (including utilities)," explained one expat who made the move to Guabito.

"Be prepared to change your life. Leave behind all your pre concieved notions of how it should be, what you need, want, and must have to get by. EVERYTHING is different, embrace it, learn from it, apply what you can to your life but don't come here with demands, strict ideals, uptight lifestyle, and the idea that you are going to save a third world culture from itself. I find the opposite is what happens, it saves you from yourself and what ever madness you left behind," said one expat living in Boquete, Panama.

Expats in Panama may get a free expat health insurance quote from our partner Allianz Care, whose plans ensure that you have access to quality healthcare whenever you need it. Allianz's flexible solutions allow you to tailor your cover to meet your needs and budget. Get a Quote

Expats in Panama may get a free expat health insurance quote from our partner Allianz Care, a leader in international insurance for expatriates. Allianz's plans ensure that you have access to quality healthcare whenever you need it. Their flexible solutions allow you to tailor your cover to meet your needs and budget..

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For expats in Panama, choosing an expat health insurance provider is an important decision. Get a quote from our partner, Allianz Care. Their plans ensure that you have access to quality healthcare whenever you need it. Allianz Care's flexible solutions allow you to tailor your cover to meet your needs and budget.

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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, 8 Best Places to Live in Croatia and the Living in Mexico Guide. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

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Get a quote for health insurance from our partner, Allianz Care.
Get a Quote

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Panama City, Panama
Allianz Care Expat Health InsuranceExpatriate Health Insurance

Get a quote for health insurance from our partner, Allianz Care.
Get a Quote

Living in Panama GuideLiving in Panama Guide

Our Guide to Living in Panama is a perfect primer for readers interested in Panama. Covers healthcare, cost of living, best places to live, residency, visas, real estate, moving tips and the pros and cons of living in Panama.

Panama Forum Panama Forum
Meet other expats and talk about living in Panama.

Best Places to Live in Panama 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.

Healthcare in PanamaHealthcare in Panama

Expats have differing opinions about healthcare in Panama. Many advice against public hospitals and healthcare, but some recount good experiences. This article covers public vs private healthcare, cost of healthcare, obtaining prescription medications and much more.

Cost of Living in PanamaCost of Living in Panama

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 PanamaMoving to Panama Guide

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

Real Estate in PanamaReal Estate in Panama

Real estate listings in popular cities and towns in Panama.

Pros Cons of Living in PanamaPros & Cons of Living in Panama

Take off your rose-colored glasses and learn what expats have to say about the biggest challenges and the greatest rewards of living in Panama.

Retiring in PanamaRetiring in Panama

Advice for people retiring in Panama.

Visa and Residency PanamaPanama Visa & Residency Guide

This article covers the ins and outs of the most common tourist and residency visas that expats and global nomads obtain when moving to and living in Panama.

Contribute to Panama Network Contribute
Help other expats and newcomers by answering questions about the challenges and adventures of living in Panama.

10 Tips for Living in Panama10 Tips for Living in Panama

Expats, global nomads and retirees are drawn to Panama's ease of residency, low taxes (Panama does not tax on worldwide income), friendly Panamanians who always put family first, inexpensive healthcare and laid back lifestyle.

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