|ARTICLES & INFORMATION SECTION : LIVING or RELOCATING TO PANAMA|
My experiences with Panama have been overall positive. I like Panama. It is probably one of the best places in Latin America to live or do business. It is modern, reasonably priced and offers some of the best banking and communications services anyone could want. Quite frankly, I am amazed at how little North Americans really know about Panama. It seems that the majority of people view the place as some dangerous, backward banana republic. As you will learn, nothing could be further from the truth..
Panama City is one of the most modern and wealthiest cities in Central America. It also has one of the highest per capita incomes as well. As a result of this and the previous large presence of Americans, U.S. chain stores and American products are as common place as they would be in any city in North America. I do not want to try and list them all, but to give you an idea, you can easily find the following services, stores or products at prices similar to what they are in the U.S.: BellSouth, Cable & Wireless, Sears, Price Costco, Subway, Blimpie, TGI Fridays, Avon Cosmetics, Hallmark card stores, ServiStar hardware, Sherwin Williams paints, Hewlett Packard printers, Citibank, Chase Manhattan, First Union bank, Hertz rent a car and a multitude of others..
You will find that living in Panama can be quite agreeable. All of the products and services (including business services) are available at comparable prices to what they are in North America. Wages are very low compared to US standards. A full time bilingual secretary can be hired for $ 400 per month. Should you wish to have live in domestic help, the starting wage is $ 90 per month for a maid that will also cook. These are the standards. You may end up paying a little more for help, depending upon what you are looking for..
Rentals and property prices in Panama are downright cheap compared to what you would have to pay in a big city in North America or Europe. You certainly can find an apartment for $ 100 per month or a small home in a new sub-division for $ 40,000. In contrast, you can buy a luxury apartment for $ 800,000 or more in Punta Paitilla or Marbella. Everything is a direct function of wh