Panama, the land of lush rainforests, stunning coastlines, vibrant cities, and a thriving expat community. If you’re considering making the move to this tropical paradise, you’re in for quite an adventure. Living in Panama offers a unique experience filled with rich culture, breathtaking landscapes, and endless opportunities. From understanding the local customs to finding the perfect place to call home, here’s everything you need to know about how to live in Panama.
Embrace The Pura Vida Lifestyle
Discover The Meaning Of Pura Vida
In Panama, they don’t have “Pura Vida, ” it’s their own version called ‘Sonrisa Caribeña‘ or Caribbean smile. It embodies the laid-back lifestyle and positive attitude that permeates every aspect of Panamanian life. Life moves at a slower pace here – no more rushing from one place to another or stressing over trivial matters. Instead, take your time to appreciate the beautiful scenery around you and savor each moment.
Visas: Opening Doors To Paradise
Identify Which Visa Suits You Best
Before embarking on your journey to living in Panama permanently, you’ll need to navigate through its visa requirements. Luckily for foreigners eager to make this tropical oasis their new home, Panama has various visa options catering to different needs.
Pensionado Visa: Are you 18 years old or above? Planning for retirement? With fairly lenient requirements, the Pensionado Visa might be just what you need! Retirees can enjoy tax benefits such as discounts on healthcare services and transportation fares.
Friendly Nations Visa: This visa option is available for citizens from 50 friendly nations who want working permits or starting businesses. Entrepreneurs and professionals with foreign investments might find this route particularly appealing.
- Investor Visa: If you are thinking of investing in Panama, this is the visa for you. By capitalizing on opportunities in real estate, forestry, or business formation, you can obtain residency and savor the benefits this enchanting country has to offer.
When it comes to visas, Panama offers something for everyone. Take some time to explore each option thoroughly and identify which one best aligns with your goals.
Find Your Perfect Panamanian Home
As a new resident of Panama, finding the perfect place to hang your hammock is paramount. Whether you’re dreaming of living by crystal-clear waters or prefer being nestled in the heart of a bustling city, Panama has something for every taste. Let’s explore some popular areas worth considering:
Boquete: The Land Of Eternal Spring
Known as the “Land of Eternal Spring, ” Boquete offers cool mountain temperatures boasting year-round spring-like weather. Perfect for those looking to escape scorching summers! This picturesque highland town offers breathtaking views of lush coffee plantations and stunning waterfalls. Boquete also hosts an expat community that enjoys hiking trails, bird watching, and all things nature-related.
Bocas Del Toro: Caribbean Paradise Beckons
Bocas Del Toro is where pristine beaches meet turquoise waters. Located on an archipelago on Panama’s Caribbean coast, this tropical paradise caters perfectly to beach lovers and water enthusiasts. Snorkeling through vibrant coral reefs or catching waves at renowned surf spots are common activities here. Breathe in the salty air and embrace a slower pace of life while immersing yourself in Panama’s natural wonders.
El Cangrejo: Urban Excitement Hub
If urban living is more your style, look no further than El Cangrejo – one of Panama City‘s most vibrant neighborhoods. Located just a stone’s throw away from downtown, El Cangrejo offers an eclectic mix of residential and commercial areas. With its trendy bars, cafes, restaurants, and museums, there’s never a shortage of things to see and do. This neighborhood is also known for its lively nightlife scene, perfect for the party animals among us.
Education: Broadening Horizons
High-Quality Education On The Isthmus
Finding a good educational institution should be a priority when moving your family to Panama. Panama’s education system caters to both locals and expats alike with several reputable schools offering high-quality education in various languages. Whether you prefer international schools or want to immerse your children in the local culture by enrolling them in public or private Panamanian institutions, options are plentiful.
1) International Schools:
– Balboa Academy: Known for its IB (International Baccalaureate) program.
– Metropolitan School: Offers an American-style curriculum combined with global perspectives.
2) Public Schools:
– Expose your children to the Panamanian way of life by enrolling them in public schools such asInstituto Nacional Barraza, which has a strong reputation.
3) Private Schools:
– King’s College Panama: A bilingual school that embraces diversity while providing excellence in education.
No matter which educational path you choose, education opportunities are abundant throughout Panama.
Healthcare: Your Well-being Matters
Taking care of your health should always be a top priority. Thankfully, Panama boasts excellent healthcare services, making it an ideal choice for those seeking reliable medical care:
Public And Private Sector Care
When it comes to healthcare, residents have access to both public and private facilities. Public hospitals offer comprehensive care at affordable prices while maintaining good standards. Some notable public hospitals include Santo Tomás Hospital and Hospital del Niño.
On the other hand, private clinics and hospitals provide premium healthcare services for those with medical insurance or prefer a more personalized experience. Punta Pacifica Hospital, affiliated with Johns Hopkins Medicine International, is renowned for its state-of-the-art facilities and high-quality care.
Cuisine: A Gastronomic Adventure
Savor The Flavors Of Panama
One of the best ways to immerse yourself in Panamanian culture is through its vibrant culinary scene. Influenced by African, Indigenous, European, and Asian flavors, Panama’s cuisine offers a diverse range of mouthwatering dishes that will leave you craving more. Here are a few local delicacies you can’t miss:
1) Sancocho: Considered the national dish – this hearty chicken soup filled with yucca, plantain, and corn on the cob is both comforting and delicious.
2) Ceviche: Made with fresh seafood marinated in lime juice and spices, ceviche is perfect for cooling down during hot summer days.
3) Arroz con Guandú: A traditional rice dish cooked with pigeon peas, arroz con guandú, often served alongside roast pork or chicken.
Prepare your taste buds because Panama is sure to offer an exciting gastronomic adventure!
Transportation: Navigating The Isthmus
Exploring The Beautiful Landscape
Getting around Panama has never been easier thanks to its efficient transportation systems. From bustling cities to remote beach towns, options abound:
- Public Buses: One of the most economical modes of transportation, public buses connect major cities across the country at affordable prices. Keep in mind that buses may be crowded during peak hours.
- Taxis: In urban areas like Panama City, taxis are readily available. Ensure they use their meters (‘Marchamo’) or agree on a fare before getting in.
- Metro: For navigating around Panama City swiftly, the metro system offers a comfortable and affordable option. Take Line 1 to explore different parts of the city, including its bustling financial district.
- Car Rentals: If you’re up for exploring Panama at your own pace, car rentals provide the flexibility and freedom to venture off the beaten path and discover hidden gems.
Safety First: Staying Secure In Paradise
Safety is an essential consideration no matter where you choose to live. While Panama has a relatively low crime rate compared to its Central American neighbors, exercising caution and being aware of your surroundings is always wise. Here are some tips to ensure safety:
1) Avoid displaying wealth: Keep valuable items out of sight when in public.
2) Stay vigilant in crowded areas: Pickpocketing can occur in busy places such as markets or festivals. Stay alert and keep your belongings secure.
3) Secure accommodations properly: Invest in reliable locks for doors and windows, especially if living on the ground floor.
By taking simple precautions, you can enjoy your new life in Panama with peace of mind.
Socialize And Embrace Panamanian Culture
Immerse Yourself In The Local Community
Embracing Panamanian culture will enrich your experience while living in this vibrant country. Socializing with locals, participating in local festivals, or joining community groups are great ways to forge meaningful connections. Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone – learning salsa dance moves or attempting traditional crafts can be truly rewarding!
As you venture into social circles, Panama’s expat community is also there to lend support and share experiences. You’ll find groups catering specifically to foreigners looking for connections, advice, and friendship.
Living in Panama presents a world of opportunities awaiting exploration. From visa options that cater to various needs, to finding the perfect place that suits your lifestyle choices, Panama provides an enchanting environment full of adventure, culture, and natural beauty. Whether you dream of strolling along pristine beaches or immersing yourself in an urban jungle, Panama has it all. So, pack your bags and get ready to embark on a journey that promises splendid experiences and memories that will last a lifetime!
FAQ: How To Live In Panama?
Q: What are the visa requirements to live in Panama?
A: As a non-resident, you can apply for various visas such as the Pensionado Visa (retiree visa) or the Friendly Nations Visa. Each visa has its requirements and eligibility criteria, including income thresholds and paperwork. It is advisable to consult with Panamanian authorities or seek legal advice for accurate and up-to-date information.
Q: Is it expensive to live in Panama?
A: The cost of living in Panama depends on your lifestyle choices and location within the country. Generally, Panama offers a lower cost of living compared to many Western countries. Housing, groceries, healthcare, transportation, and entertainment expenses vary across regions. Conducting thorough research or consulting local resources will give you a better understanding of specific costs.
Q: How safe is it to live in Panama?
A: Like any other country, safety levels can differ depending on the area you choose to reside in. While most parts of Panama have a relatively low crime rate, areas with higher poverty rates might be associated with more crime incidents. Ensure you familiarize yourself with your desired neighborhood by researching local safety guides before making decisions about where to live.
Q: Can I work remotely while living in Panama?
A: Yes! With an increasing number of people working remotely globally, living in Panama provides this opportunity too. However, make sure you comply with Panamanian laws regarding taxation and residency requirements if planning to work online as a foreign national residing there.
Q: What are some popular expat communities or locations within Panama?
A: Boquete, Coronado Beaches & Golf Resort Community, Pedasi town & Playa Venao beach area near Azuero Peninsula are among sought-after destinations for expats due to their beauty and amenities offered for foreigners retiring or seeking an enjoyable lifestyle abroad.
Please note that this information may change, and it is crucial to conduct further research or seek professional advice before planning your move to Panama.