Life in Panama

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Panama is usually among the most favored expatriate destinations – and one of the safest retirement destinations.

Panama is usually among the most favored expatriate destinations – and one of the safest retirement destinations. Many people consider it a land of opportunity with a tropical climate, favorable tax systems, a thriving city, and an excentric culinary scene.

It has been an important trade hub and a geopolitical crossroads since the opening of its canal in 1914. Financial services and numerous manufacturing companies complement the industrial and business growth of the channel, which has been the main driving force for national economic growth. Panama leads to the top five for Latin America in terms of its success in politics, education, finance, climate, and socio-culture.

Its robust economy is dependent on the US dollar, the country's official currency. The balboa, the currency of Panama, is equal to the US dollar in both size and weight. The daily use of both, interchangeable, moreover, is frequent and normal. This represents a significant economic benefit for many tourists who must return funds abroad (remittances) to support their families in their respective countries of origin or make transactions while in the country.

According to estimates from the country's National System of Criminal Statistics and supported by the World Bank, Panama is one of the safest countries in Central America, with an average murder rate measured at 18 percent (eighteen homicides for every hundred thousand inhabitants). While it is not a society free of violence and violent acts, the cities have a sense of stability and tranquillity. Many immigrants have found in Panama's capital the peaceful home free of chronic crime that they sought for the survival of their families.

It should be remembered that Panama is far outside of the hurricane belt and has a low risk of natural disasters.

Places to live:

  • Boquete: a remote highland town with colder temperatures, mountain and river views, and a strong sense of tranquillity
  • Coronado: a beachside area with a big, peaceful, and social community of ex-pats from all over the world who choose a more casual lifestyle than in the city but still value having key amenities nearby
  • Bocas del Toro: this place is popular with tourists and ex-pats searching for a laid-back Caribbean paradise, as it consists of a string of breathtaking islands along the Costa Rican border.
  • Panama City: If you are searching for jobs, this shopping center, which also acts as a branch or gateway for several foreign businesses, would provide you with a much better opportunity.
  • Pedasi: a small, laid-back fishing village that is quickly becoming a popular destination for tourists looking for rugged beaches and national parks.

To do:

  • Visit the Panama Canal: You have to go to the canal whether you want major infrastructure projects or not. The Miraflores locks, in addition to being a monumental work, are extremely well-positioned to accept the public, and the canal crossing ends up being a display between the museum, the man who supports and describes what is happening, and the scale ships Titanic scraping past the canal walls.
  • Visit Old Panama: This archaeological site preserves the remains of the City of Panama from its founding in 1519 until its relocation in 1671 as a result of pirate plunder and burning. It's a little out of the way from the downtown, but I liked the juxtaposition of the ruins and what was once the city's oldest building with the skyline of what the new city is now.
  • Tour the Old Town: Keep its historic house facades, small streets not intended for auto traffic, and authentic neighborhood character. The Old Town is gradually merging with the renovation and enhancement of its history, which is protected by Unesco and is, without a doubt, worth visiting.
  • Climb Cerro Ancón: The capital of Panama is surrounded by green spaces, and this is the most significant natural perspective in the region, as well as one of the green spaces par excellence.
  • Spend a day in San Blas: It is so similar to the capital city that you can go back and forth throughout the day. Full-day tours usually depart very early in the morning to arrive at the port on schedule and enjoy the whole day at sea. Three Caribbean islands are reached, where you can snorkel, dive, and sunbathe.
These are only a few of the reasons why ex-pats consider living in Panama to be an unforgettable experience. And there is something for everyone in the country, from school kids to retirees.

The warm Latin American embrace reaches well beyond the cover of the Expat journal, which is why the country has become a home for many.