Is It Expensive to Live in Panama? (Living Cost Breakdown)

There seems to be a near-endless supply of retirees who are looking to move to Panama. Panama is a beautiful paradise of sun and sand, and it’s on top of the list for many. No other country in the world welcomes retirees more than Panama, but how much does it cost to live here?

Living expenses in Panama are inexpensive. You can live in the isthmus for around $800 to $1500 a month. If you want a more extravagant lifestyle, you would need to shell out more for luxury services. The cost of healthcare is also super low, and all essentials have negligible pricing.

If you’re considering retiring in Panama, follow this guide. Give it a look and see how much does it take to survive, thrive, and start a new, cushy life in Panama.

Why Retire in Panama

The cost of living in Panama is much lower when you compare it to the US. It is even far cheaper than many, if not all, European countries. On average, you would need anywhere between $800 to $1500 to live comfortably in Panama.

Retirees move to Panama because of the many viable permanent residency programs the country provides. When you combine this with the beauty of the isthmus, you’ll find it easy to establish here. It also helps that one of the national currencies of Panama is the US Dollar, making the conversion easy.

Panama has very low inflation and doesn’t tax any income that comes outside of the country. Pensioners and those who get monthly gratuities from their home country make it easier to spend. Panama is also in the same timezone as the US, so you’re close to friends and family.

Cost of Mortgage and Rent In Panama

A mortgage in Panama varies depending on your location and the quality of the property. You can even start renting in Panama City and likely pay half the cost of renting in a city in the US.

For example, the cost of rental in Panama City goes between $600 to $1200. This pricing is in Central Panama City’s main thoroughfare, for a two-bedroom apartment. The pricing will depend on the size of the property itself. If you look deep enough, you’ll find low cost but luxurious apartments with AC and hot water.

If you’re the type who prefers fancy views, a loft with some facilities in common areas, expect to shell more. You can get such property for around $1700 to $2200 a month.

Let’s say you don’t want to live in Panama City itself, but rather in slower locales. How much will it cost?

Living outside the city will net you somewhere between $500 – $1000 for a house. In some areas, like Las Tablas, expect to find rental homes for as low as $300 to $500. The latter prices, however, are not something you find online. You’ll likely get these once you establish a relationship with the locals or expats in the area.

Cost of Living in Panama

Among the most common things you’ll pay for in your home are groceries, utilities, and transportation. Everything is cheap here too, with around half the cost of living in the US.

Basic utilities like electricity and water will cost you around $100 – $180. These prices will depend on how often you use your AC and heating. Some smart savings can push down your utility costs to around $50 – $80.

Internet in Panama tends to go for unlimited use, but the pricing varies with speed. Internet service also tends to bundle with a telephone and cable services for your home. You’ll pay around $20 for a 2 Mbps connection, with around $30 for a 15 – 20 Mbps connection. Higher speeds will cost you around $45 to $70.

Panamanian mobile phone bills can cost somewhere between $5 – $40 prepaid. Contract prices can vary, going at around $10 to $200 depending on the package.

Cost of Food And Eating Out in Panama

Food in Panama is super cheap. Unless you’re burning your finances on expensive restaurants, you’ll be a happy foodie in the isthmus. Groceries tend to be cheap and accessible, and eating out is also a viable option.

Eating out, eating at a cheap diner or restaurant will cost around $6 to $15 per meal. Bottled water and Coke costs a dollar, with coffee at around $3. If you want to eat at a fancier restaurant, prepare to shell out between $30 to $50 for a three-course meal for two.

Basic groceries in Panama can go at around $200 – $400 a month, depending on what you buy. A liter (0.26 Ga) of milk will cost $1.50 while meats go from $4 to $15 a kilo. Beer will cost you less than a dollar for a 500 ml (17 oz) domestic bottle.

For transportation, a taxi can cost $2 as a flag down and $2 for every kilometer. Gas costs around $0.80 per liter.

Cost of Leisure in Panama

When looking at leisure activities, you’ll find a lot of free activities you can do in Panama. For starters, there are free public beaches outside of Panama itself. You can swim, surf and stroll for as much as you want. For more creature comforts, they’re still going to cost you less than what you used to pay.

Cinema tickets will cost you around $5 for 2D and $6 – $8 for 3D. VIP prices can go around $15 – $18, depending on the cinema you’re going to visit. Gym prices should cost around $20 – $60, depending on the gym you take.

Clothing prices should not be too expensive too if you go for unbranded products. Going for branded clothing should cost somewhere between $30 to $70 for a pair of jeans.

Cost of Healthcare and Education in Panama

Healthcare is cheap in Panama. Most expats and retirees in Panama don’t need to get the mandatory health insurance. Most expats can pay out of pocket for around $20 to visit a general practitioner. Getting to the emergency room will cost you around $100, and a specialist will cost $60.

If you don’t want to pay out of pocket, it’s smart to get local medical insurance for you and your family. It should cost you around a tenth of the price of health insurance in the US but offers you the best medical protection in Panama.

Education in Panama can be the more expensive cost you would need to pay in Panama. Many expats expect to educate their kids with the same quality of education as their home countries. If that’s the case, you would need to get your children enrolled in private education instead.

Most private and international schools in Panama are within Panama City. The cost should go anywhere between $6000 to $10,000 per semester. Miscellaneous fees are also there, which will cost an extra few thousand dollars.

Cost of Living Outside Panama City

Most retirees will consider living outside Panama itself. This choice offers good value for money and the unspoiled beauty of rural Panama. You get to live outside the bustling cityscape, instead of enjoying your time along coasts and beach homes. If you opt for this slower pace, expect to pay much less too.

For example, a two-bedroom apartment in Pedasi will cost you around $600 – $750. Utilities will cost you around $100 per month, with groceries at around $300 – $400 a month. Most homes are superb for their prices, offering a wide terrace on a beachside view.

If you want to spend much less, you can go and find homes around 30 minutes away from the town center. These locales will cost you half of the prices of homes in the town center.

Bocas Del Toro will cost you almost as much as Pedasi. Smaller, simple homes in Bocas will cost you around $600 a month for a furnished condo with WiFi. If you want a grander home, prepare to shell out somewhere between $1200 to $1400 per month.

For small local clinics or hospitals, you can pay $2 for a consult and $22 for an X-ray. Household help can cost around $5 an hour for different types of tasks you need help.

For home entertainment, you can get Netflix for around $8 and satellite TV for around $20. If you decide to live in Bocas, you’ll likely go around swimming and surfing most of the time too. Most beaches here are safe and public, so you can enjoy a good soak.

Conclusion

How much does it cost to live in Panama? Living in the isthmus can be inexpensive, depending on the lifestyle that you have. You can spend anywhere between $800 to $1500 for a decent, cushy living in the city. A more extravagant lifestyle will cost you more, up to around $2500.

You can even save more money if you live outside Panama City. Many locales that retirees and expats go to can cost half the price of living in the city. All you need to do is search smart and know to live within your means and you should be alright. Panama is safe and healthcare is inexpensive too, so you don’t have to worry.

Are you planning to move to Panama? Expect some of the best prices in this beautiful paradise. We’re sure you’d love it.

Matt Romero

I’m Matthew Romero, one of the guys behind PanamaLifeInsider.com I am incredibly passionate about Panama, its beautiful territory, and all the incredible opportunities which offer to people coming here from all over the world both either visiting and settling. In this blog, I decided to share my passion with you!

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