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Panama Living

Beaches

Anytime you’re in Panama you’re not far from the beach! The Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea trace the majority of the country’s borders, and much of that distance includes a gorgeous margin of white sand.

Not far from Panama City is Playa San Carlos, where sunshine, snorkeling, and sailing await you. For a remote escapade, retreat to Contadora Island. Or if you’re eager to explore the Caribbean shoreline, start with San Blas or Bocas del Toro. You’ll quickly discover that this sampling of sandy destinations is only a fraction of Panama’s expansive list.

Weather

Temperatures in Panama have little variation. Overnight lows are reliably in the 70’s, and daytime highs reach into the upper 80’s, rarely peaking above 90 degrees.

Most of Panama’s rain falls during the rainy season, which typically runs from April to December. And while thunder and rain can be commonplace, Panama lies outside of the Caribbean’s hurricane belt, so violent storms are of no concern.

People and Culture

Panama’s people have an especially diverse heritage, due in part to Panama’s historic and ongoing position in global commerce. Two significant influxes of international population were prompted first by a cross-country railroad project in the mid-1800s, then more recently by the construction of the Panama Canal.

Art forms trace back to Spanish origins, but today it’s a fusion of European, African, and other ethnic influences. Music and dancing reflect varied sources and backgrounds, and this same diverse collection of roots is also observed in pottery, woodcarvings, and architecture.

Panamanians take pride in their appearance and dress very well, even considering the warm climate. And while their first interaction with a foreigner may seem stiff and formal, they are kind and hospitable, and you’ll discover eagerness to welcome a new member to their circle of friends.

Education

Schooling is compulsory in Panama for children up to 15 years of age, but the education system has matured tremendously in recent decades. Today, Panama’s literacy rate exceeds 90%, overcoming a mere 28% in the 1950’s. The philosophy of education has made a progressive shift from a classist mindset to a more open system that provides opportunities to anyone striving to become upwardly mobile.

Today, higher learning is thriving in Panama. Nearly 90 colleges and universities are available to allow the people to pursue a globally-competitive education. Among these highly-regarded institutions are the University of Panama, the Technical University, and the University of Santa Maria La Antiqua.

Economy

Panama has one of the strongest economies in Latin America, and the Panama Canal is only one of many factors leading to its success. Its position is anchored by a healthy services industry, including strong banking, insurance, healthcare, tourism, and the second largest free-trade zone in the world.

Panama’s recent significant economic boom and rapid annual growth rate has Panama keeping pace with Brazil’s economy. Upgrades to the Panama Canal and new trade agreements are expected to help Panama sustain its growth and its very low unemployment.

The U.S. Dollar is an official form of currency in the country, alongside the Panamanian Balboa. Travelers from the States are free to use the currency they’re accustomed to, without the hassle of having to exchange money and worry about fluxuating exchange rates.

Government and Safety

Panama is a representative democracy, and it continues to build on a successful return to free and fair elections that took root in the 1990’s. Recent presidents have advanced efforts to grow the economy, expand the Panama Canal, reform heathcare, and oppose corruption.

People living in Panama can be confident in a sense of safety and protection. Low unemployment and effective law enforcement both contribute to the rare occurrence of crimes.

Healthcare

Special efforts to address malaria and yellow fever during the canal-building era resulted in far-reaching healthcare advances in Panama. As a result, for instance, clean and safe drinking water is reliably found in the country. Alongside numerous public healthcare facilities, Clinica Paitilla provides world-class treatment, and newly-constructed Hospital Punta Pacifica Panama is affiliated with Johns Hopkins International.

Physicians are bilingual and board-certified. Should you need treatment you’ll even have the convenience of being able to pay for services in U.S. dollars.

Cost of Living

The secret to affordable living in Panama is to imitate Panamanians. Whenever possible, buy local products and select delicious, fresh foods – you’ll find that you can live quite comfortably. Patronize small cafes and indulge on local fare for just a few dollars per meal. Of course, imported brands are readily available too. Even though the prices might seem higher, they do offer a delightful familiarity to foreigners.

Much of what you depend on is comparable to what someone would pay in the United States, but you’ll find unparalleled savings on services like housekeeping. The cost of going to the movies is surprisingly low (with the added benefit of refreshing air-conditioning on a hot afternoon). And to the delight of beer connoisseurs, domestic varieties are available for a fraction of what you’d pay in the states.

Retirement in Panama

Panama’s pensionado offers one of the world’s best retirement programs. Among its perks are deep discounts for professional services, restaurant savings, reduced ticket prices for sporting and entertainment, and lower airfare on domestic flights and other transportation fares. There are healthcare benefits as well, and in some cases a discount is applied to utility bills.

Real Estate Transactions

Ready to invest in Panama Real Estate? Our professionals will make sure you’re never alone in this process, but here’s a quick overview of the steps you’ll take.

  • Confirming the titleThis involves researching the property for sale to verify the seller’s validity.
  • The Promise to Buy-Sell AgreementThis agreement between buyer and seller involves agreeing on a price and setting a date for the actual transaction. It often requires a down-payment (typically 10%). Penalties can be imposed, should either party back out once this agreement is in place.
  • Transferring the TitleBuyer and seller sign the deed in the presence of a notary public.
  • Transferring fundsThe seller receives the balance of the sale price, often involving an irrevocable letter of payment from a bank.
  • Recording the purchase with Panama’s Public RegistryWhile this process may take a few weeks, the delay can be shortened by filing directly at the public registry in Panama City.
  • Search International Listings

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