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Old 04-24-2009, 10:51 PM
 
638 posts, read 1,026,004 times
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Can anyone give me some information on Panama. I'm an American citizen with a pension that is considering relocating there after I retire. Information on the following is greatly appreciated:

1) Crime
2) Earthquakes
3) Cost of Living
4) Medical Care
5) How does the population treat foreigners?
6) Favorite areas and why??
7) Cost of three bedroom condo near the capital?
8) Can you be near the capital (half hour drive) and still be on the water??

Thanks in advance for any information you can provide.
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Old 04-26-2009, 04:58 PM
 
609 posts, read 1,912,438 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SgtAJC View Post
Can anyone give me some information on Panama. I'm an American citizen with a pension that is considering relocating there after I retire. Information on the following is greatly appreciated:

1) Crime
2) Earthquakes
3) Cost of Living
4) Medical Care
5) How does the population treat foreigners?
6) Favorite areas and why??
7) Cost of three bedroom condo near the capital?
8) Can you be near the capital (half hour drive) and still be on the water??

Thanks in advance for any information you can provide.
I lived in the north, Boquette for 6 months. Great weather and generally inexpensive, with the exception of Real Estate.
No crime and very friendly people.
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Old 07-28-2009, 09:47 AM
 
Location: Not on the same page as most
2,502 posts, read 5,574,836 times
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Hi,

I'm also interested in Panama, possibly as a retirement destination. How does the tax system work, i.e. is there personal property tax (such as on autos and boats) How does the health care system work in Panama? Is there socialized medicine, or do you pay for your own health care insurance such as in the states. What costs of daily living expenses are taxed, (gas, food, phone, utilities) and what are tax free? How do foreigners buy property in Panama, and is it a safe investment? Do many of the natives speak English? Is there a big tourism trade there, like Costa Rica? Do you have to import household items, such as appliances from the states? How about cars? What are some of the major industries in Panama? Would love to hear from someone who has lived in the states, but now lives in Panama, what your impressions are.
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Old 07-28-2009, 07:52 PM
 
Location: Hermoso y tranquilo Panamá
11,874 posts, read 9,591,378 times
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As many have same or similar questions, I'm going to do a general post and please forgive me if it is a little out of sequence or if I missed a question. A lot of this information I'll be posting to my blog, in a more orderly fashion, but did want to drop you all a quick line with some basic answers/information.

To Greg & Vicky who used to live in Boquete, that's where one of my offices is and you're so right about nice people. I live in a Panamanian neighborhood and for Christmas my neighbor brought me over a huge plate of food. She must be telepathic because it's like she 'knows' when I've had a rough day at the office and I come home and she's planted flowers for me. Reminds me of back in the '70's but with 21st Century technology. We are actually starting to see people being more reasonable about the price of real estate and with the lower cost of living everything balances out in the end. Plus Boquete is say comparable to the 90210 in Chiriqui with all the amenities and social infastructure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tambre View Post
Hi,

I'm also interested in Panama, possibly as a retirement destination. How does the tax system work, i.e. is there personal property tax (such as on autos and boats) How does the health care system work in Panama? Is there socialized medicine, or do you pay for your own health care insurance such as in the states. One can get insurance and cost is a fraction of what insurance costs in the states. Maybe around 1/4 of the cost?

What costs of daily living expenses are taxed, (gas, food, phone, utilities) and what are tax free? See below because again, a lot depends on 'how' you're entering the country, i.e., as a retiree. Also see my detailed response below to the Sgt.

How do foreigners buy property in Panama, and is it a safe investment? Yes and for added 'piece of mind' one can purchase a title guaranty policy - titled property is similar to fee simple in the States.

Do many of the natives speak English? Yes, or I'd be SOL Though I have picked up a lot. Depending on the area, determines amount of people who speak English. Places like Bocas, Boquete and around the capital you'll find more English speaking people. Plus a mix of English, Spanish and Indian dialect (very interesting conversations LOL) Course I recommend that anyone moving here, providing they're not operating a business 24/7, take spanish classes. The locals are very appreciative when we just make an 'effort'. My grammar is horrible and so many phrases are reversed (take in English 'the black cat' in Spanish it's "El Gato Negro - or Gata if female), anyway, they are always nice at correcting me - that's how i've learned my spanish.

Is there a big tourism trade there, like Costa Rica? Oh God, yes! Beautiful beaches (course the Caribbean side is my favorite), the highlands with coffee and flowers everywhere, river rafting, tree trekking - you name it, you can do it in Panama. Fishing, snorkling, diving we have it all. I should be a poster child for Panama I love it here so much. I didn't move to Panama just to 'get into RE' I moved here because I was looking for the perfect place for 'me' to live - but I'm too young to retire, so hence why I'm in business.

Do you have to import household items, such as appliances from the states? You can pretty much buy anything down here including name brands; usually I tell people if it's sentimental keep it, if not have a garage sale and just buy new stuff here. How about cars? Same here. What are some of the major industries in Panama? Well we are a major banking center and pretty much offer same type businesses as anywhere else in the world. Panama City is very cosmopolitan city Would love to hear from someone who has lived in the states, but now lives in Panama, what your impressions are. Let's just say in almost 5 years I've been back to the States once.
A lot of this depends on how you reside in Panama - say you're going to come in as a retiree - you get discounts on almost everything and I'll post a few of the benefits here so everyone can see (of course, always check with an attorney as laws are revised, usually for the better especially with our new President!):


  • One-time importation duty exemption on all your personal and household goods up to $10,000.
  • Importation duty exemption of a car free of taxes every two years. (Other taxes do apply)
  • All foreigners (not just retirees) who purchase a home of more than $200,000 have the right to a residency visa.
  • 100% Property tax exemption for sole residence
The following benefits are for all retirees - both Foreign residents and Panamanian:



  • 50% off closing costs for home loans.
  • 25% off both international and domestic airline tickets.
  • 50% off hotel accomodations Monday-Thursday
  • 10% off prescription medicines ( which are inexpensive to begin with)
  • 15% off dental and eye exams.
  • 30% off bus, boat and train fares.
  • 25% Restaurants
  • 25% Airfares
  • 15% Fast Food Restaurants
  • 20% Doctor visits and Surgery
  • 25% Monthly energy, phone and water bill
  • 15% Optometry services
  • 15% Dental
  • 50% Hotel from Monday thru Thursday and 30% on weekends
  • 50% off entertainment including movies, concerts, sporting events and theater everyday. ( This means for example, a movie ticket will cost you around $2. And Panamanian cinemas receive American movies about the same time they come out in the States.)
  • In Panama all banks (mandated by law) have special express lines for Retirees.
  • Full time maid for less than $200 a month. That is probably the most helpful “retiree benefit”. (plus depends on whether you're offering maid's quarters, etc.) Bottom line is compare cost of maid service in the States or Europe and you get the message.
Quote:
Originally Posted by gregandvicky View Post
I lived in the north, Boquette for 6 months. Great weather and generally inexpensive, with the exception of Real Estate.
No crime and very friendly people.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SgtAJC View Post
Can anyone give me some information on Panama. I'm an American citizen with a pension that is considering relocating there after I retire. Information on the following is greatly appreciated:

1) Crime: We did have an increase prior to new government taking over because the juvenile criminal code essentially just slapped juvies on the hand. President Martinelli who has only been in office less than a month has already discussed with head lawmakers he wants the laws changed and essentially see them 'rot in jail' instead of smack on the hand. Pretty much most common crime were home invasions but again, with adults using juvies to commit crimes? Our new President is making a lot of changes and very positive ones.
2) Earthquakes Yes, all of Central America is a seizmic zone, but I always sleep through any tremmors. Most of them happen off the cost of Costa Rica though we do feel them - again, I sleep through them so . . . But NO hurricanes
3) Cost of Living LOW LOW LOW - you can go to a Panamanian restaurant and have breakfast for a couple of bucks - really depends on what kind of restaurant you go to, you know? Our new President also reduced fee for electricity and, as example, I live in a small 2/1 and my electric bill is around $8 per month - of course larger house and living on the beach if you need a/c that will be higher. Now this is a horrible example of cost of living, but I'm a smoker - pack of "M" $1.75 a pack. My direct TV with every channel known to man is under $60 a month.
4) Medical Care Excellent. Most of the doctors in major hospitals trained in either USA or Europe. Example of costs and I'm just using me personally - don't go to the doctor unless necessary. Had a fender bender and got whiplash. 2 xrays and evaluation by a doctor to determine no broken neck = $30. The guy who ran his motorcyle into my truck went to the clinic in Boquete to make sure he was okay; $18 and that included some pain meds. So you get the idea. Dentist I used did the same work my dentist in states quoted me over $13k for around $3500-4000k. AND this was in the best clinic in Panama City - you literally could eat off their floor.
5) How does the population treat foreigners? Pretty much the way you treat them. Again I do and always have lived in Panamanian neighborhoods and I'm blonde haired/blue eyed so obviously expat. I treat them with respect, they treat me with respect. Never had one problem in the almost 5 years I've lived here. Treat them like crap, well like they say what goes around comes around.
6) Favorite areas and why?? Well, this one is a personal choice (see your number 7). I am NOT a big city girl - town of Boquete and Bocas del Toro perfect for me. City of David (Provincial capital of Chiriqui) is about 35 minutes from Boquete with a Price Smart (think Costco), movie theatres, etc., but it really depends on whether one wants big city living or more laid back. I prefer laid back place to live and have my biz. Plus 2/3 of population lives around the capital and that's way too many people for 'me' personally. I personally like the Western Provinces the best. Plenty of people, but not where I feel like I'm wall to wall with them.
7) Cost of three bedroom condo near the capital? This one, if you DM me I could send you back a link (no advertising on the site). My offices are western panama though I know there are some deals in the City - just not my area of expertise. Like I said if you want to DM me I'll send you a link where you can check some things out.
8) Can you be near the capital (half hour drive) and still be on the water??
Yes - though the most popular beach areas are about 1 hour drive in the Coronado area or further down around Playa Blanca - again really depends on which beaches float your boat and if living in the City is where you want to be. I can fly to PC in an hour so when I need to go just hop on a plane.

Thanks in advance for any information you can provide.
Again, sorry if I missed some of your questions, but Scouts Honor, I'll post more things on my blogs soon so everyone can keep up with things. Also please don't hesitate to DM or email me if you have any other questions.

Also, I'm also not responding because I happen to be in Real Estate - I'll be the first to say Panama is NOT for everyone - while a lot of expats move here, we are not 'Little North America'. Our country is rich in culture and history and that is why when I was looking for 'my ideal place to call home", I picked Panama. If I personally wanted North America I wouldn't have moved to Panama or would have picked a place like Cabo or Cancun that's almost as American as America (not that there's anything wrong with that if that's what an individual wants). For me, Panama is where I want to spend the rest of my days.
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Old 07-28-2009, 09:24 PM
 
Location: USA
527 posts, read 1,544,646 times
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Panama is nice.
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Old 07-29-2009, 12:39 PM
 
Location: Not on the same page as most
2,502 posts, read 5,574,836 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jja100 View Post
Panama is nice.
Hi jja100,

Do you live in Panama? Are you from the states? Would love to hear your opinion on what life is like there.
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Old 03-08-2018, 07:04 AM
 
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Default Here are ur answers:

1. it exists
2. minor tremors only (theyre rather fun, if a little scary)...good water-cooler conversation the next morning...3. UNBEATABLE!
4. F*****G FANTASTIC!!
5. Rather well, considering they resented us all thjose years before we gave away the Canal...
6. Avenida Balboa, the ocean view is FANTASTIC111
7. Affordable, Im considering several, but may opt for a house in Golf Heights, with a pool...
8. BET YOUR ASS !!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 02-12-2019, 02:01 PM
 
18 posts, read 6,469 times
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Default Panama

I was born n raised in Panama, am going to retire there shortly.
I lived there for 26 years, and returned 43 yrs later in 2007 and nine yrs after that in 2016, to see the new second canal.
What changes had occured in 43 years!
To ANSWER SOME QUESTIONS:
CRIME, MAINLY BURGLARY, BUT NOTHING LIKE WE SEE HERE ON THE NIGHTLY NEWS. )Not even CLOSE!)
Cost of living? I dont know where to start, except to say get there and start living!
The HUGE bottle of Stoli Vodka is 15.99 in the supermarkets, and the same size Jack Daniels is 10.99.
Medical insurance is as good as we have here, at Johns Hopkins (all English), its about HALF of what we pay for Medicare.
If you go to a "local" which means Spanish, its HALF of that!
Earthquakes? No. Tremors, now and then, mainly then...not a worry.
You can get by with no Spanish, but life would be easier if you learned it.

Put another way, you can live like a king in Panama.
All the luxuries of life are cheap: perfume, booze, jewelry, fine china and crystal...the list goes on an on.
The only people in the US who live like us are millionaires...
Afterthought: medical in Panama is excellent...there's nothing they cant do...its getting a reputation for being a good med-vacay spot, like COSTA RICA, their neighbor.
Once a year is a raucous Carnival, and there used to be in Summer, a Carnavalito (a little carnival) to get you through the summer. I dunno if that still exists.

I CAN'T WAIT TO MOVE DOWN THERE!

BTW, the housing in Panama is screamingly modern and up-to-date, with prices that will make you say :
"I'll take it!"
a thriving condo, house, apt. rental thing going on down there too.
ll proceeds go to the disabled, who are also the lottery vendors. Pay your money and take your chances!
Whew..I think I've covered all the bases. If you have any questions, ASK.....
(Hope I meet you down there some day)>
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Old 05-15-2019, 06:51 AM
 
Location: Macao
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CASCO VIEJO...the Old Quarter...of Panama City, Panama.

It talks about this one area which seems to be bringing in a lot of potential foreign capital, and revitalizing the buildings and areas of the Old Quarter of the historic part of the city, but mostly it just walks around in the area giving a view of what it looks like:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qcXOHWYNOqk
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Old 05-15-2019, 07:12 AM
Status: "Then everything change forever..." (set 11 days ago)
 
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The old quarter is nice, but it is quite small (I think its smaller than Old San Juan, which is smaller than Santo Domingo’s Colonial Zone, Old Havana or Old Cartagena) and doesn’t have more than a few sights to see. It is very beautiful though, especially now that they are remodeling and rescuing the old buildings. The real action is in the modern city where most of the investment goes. Only 3 countries in Latin America are converging and Panama is one of them.
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