Panama is an Attractive Spot for Retirees


Aerial view of Panama City, Panama with Punta Paitilla skyline in the foreground.

After being in the dark for many years following the downfall of General Noriega’s regime, Panama has become a retiree’s dream.  In 2001, International Living, the renowned magazine and recognized expert for promoting U.S. expatriate lifestyles, stated that Panama is the best place to live outside the United States.   The American Association of Retired Peoples (AARP) Modern Maturity Magazine, has ranked Panama’s town of Boquete as fourth in its listing of the “Fifteen best cities in the world for U.S. retirees.”

Panama is an incredibly beautiful country. It has a diversity of flora and fauna that is found in no other place, due to the Isthmus position as the crossroads of North and South America. Potential residential opportunities range over city, mountain, beach and island communities so that a special place can be found to suit anyones taste. Once you decide where to settle, you have the security of knowing that, as a foreigner, you can own property easily and are granted exactly the same rights and protections as a Panamanian property owner.

Panama is considered one of the safest countries in the world and has the highest rating for tourist safety from the prestigious Pinkerton Intelligence Agency. Panama is a constitutional democracy with no dictator and no standing army. Due to the presence of the Panama Canal, Panama also enjoys international protection and monitoring.

Getting the most bang from a dollar is, of course, a prime concern for retirees. The U.S. dollar has always been the country’s currency. Panama is well known for its banking center, which boasts branch banks from nearly all of the international players. On another note, the cost of living is reasonable and is much less than in the U.S. and Europe.  Inflation rates are some of the lowest in the region, even though it has recently risen due to the high prices of gasoline and agriculture goods.  Plus, pensioners, or “jubilados” to use the Spanish term receive generous price discounts such as 50 percent on movies and cultural events, 30 percent on transportation, 25 percent on utilities, 15 percent on personals loans and one percent on personal mortgages.

In terms of health standards Panama is among the top countries in Latin America. Life expectancy is around 75 years. A large percentage of Panamanian doctors are bilingual and have been trained in Europe and the United States. Private medical facilities are among the best in Central America (many are affiliated with major hospitals in the U.S.). In addition, health standards in most parts of the country are quite good as a result of massive sanitation programs initiated during the construction of the Panama Canal. Water is also potable in most of the country and in the cities you can drink straight from the tap.

Keeping in touch with friends, family and the rest of the world is no problem. High-band Internet connectivity, cellular phone networks and ADSL in-home phone capability are readily accessible.  Full service satellite and cable TV are common.

If you like birds, Panama is the place to be.  In Panama you will find more than 10,000 varieties of plants and more than 933 species of birds—more than can be found in all of North America and Europe combined–including some of the rarest on earth.  Some of these birds are neotropical migrants that only stay in the country from September till April.  This wide variety of birds is partly explained by the fact that Panama is a land bridge between North and South America.

If you are reaching the Golden Age and want to explore other latitudes to build your nest, I strongly suggest you include Panama in your list.  Better yet, hop into a plane and visit the country and get a taste of what could be the best place on earth to live.  Remember I told you so.  Good Day!

Source:  Retirees are Moving to Panama

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