Bas Relief of Banco Continental Panama
Articles About Panama
Living in Panama
Bargain Panama Apartments
Forming a Panama Foundation
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Report about Living in
Excerpt From The Panama Report
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 or even Europeans 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
City is one of the most modern and wealthiest cities in Central America.
It has one of the highest per capita incomes in the region, and it shows.
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, Servi-Star 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 US$400 per month. Should
you wish to have live in domestic help, the starting wage is about US$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
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 where you want to live and what you are comfortable
with. For a few reasons that I spell out in my report and newsletters,
now is probably the best time to locate a bargain luxury rental in Panama
City! Almost all apartments and homes in Latin America come with
what can be translated into English as a "service room". This is
usually next to the small maid's quarters, and is quite handy with an extra
bathroom & utility sink. Even a one-bedroom apartment will usually
have this type of arrangement.
Utilities will cost you as follows; Cable television (60 channels including
HBO & Cinemax in English, CNN, The English BBC, Discovery Channel,
etc.), US$40 per month. Telephone service, $ 20 per month with local calls
only. Long distance can be a high as $ 2.50 per minute to Europe or North
America. Internet service, US$ 30 per month with unlimited use up
to speeds at 56k. Your electric bill will be about $ 90 per
month if you operate 2 air-conditioners all night every night and 24 hours
a day on the weekends. I know, because I have done it and that was
my bill. Since there is no in ground gas system as found in Europe of the
US, everyone cooks with propane. All stove are equipped to connect
with a propane gas tank similar to what is used with an outdoor gas grill.
It costs about US$ 5 to fill the tank, and you should not have to fill
it more than once every two months. I never have had any problems
with this kind of cooking system, but it is a little getting used to if
you are coming from Europe or the United States. I have a European friend
that is still terrified of the gas tank, so I suppose it is more of an
adjustment for Europeans than Americans.
One question I enjoy hearing concerns food shopping and stores. I
am often asked, “Do they have supermarkets in Panama?” Yes they have
supermarkets in Panama; great big ones just like the states. The all
inclusive supermarket concept is very common place. Supermarket Rey,
Super 99 and Casa de Carne all have in house bakery sections, fish departments,
fully stocked shelves of all kinds of local & American brands. There
are also deli counters offering Kraft cheese, Boar’s head and Armour brand
cold cuts. You will find the super market chains in Panama to be no
different than Kroger, Food Lion, ShopRite, PathMark, Edwards or any other
Healthcare is quite good in Panama and very inexpensive. Americans
especially are concerned about health insurance due to the high cost of
health care and prescription drugs in the U.S. There are a number of local
Panamanian insurance companies that offer health insurance coverage in Panama
for about US$35 per month. These plans work quite well and are fairly
inexpensive. Even though a stay in a quality private hospital is down
right cheap compared to the same thing in the U.S., it is not difficult
to find a private insurance plan for yourself that will cover anywhere from
80% to 100% of your bill.
My only real complaint about Panama is the weather. Of course it is
warm and sub-tropical due to its location, but I have found the humidity
to be much higher and more noticeable than other places in the Caribbean.
As a contrast, I find the Dominican Republic to be much more agreeable
in terms of fresh breezes and general “feel” regarding the weather. Also,
the seasons in Panama are the reverse of Europe or North America.
Winter is considered to be April through October due to the large rainfall
during this time period. Londoners may feel right at home, but it
took me a while to become adjusted to my umbrella or bumbershoot as my
constant companion. November through March is considered “Summer-time”
due to the dryer days and less rainfall. In all fairness, the rainfall
usually lasts for only two hours a day in the Wintertime season, but it
can be quite strong and rapid. If anyone is familiar with Florida,
they will understand my meaning.
Overall, in my opinion you will not find a better and more affordable location
than Panama. The use of the US dollar, inexpensive housing and cost
of labor, convenience of familiar stores and products all make Panama the
ideal retirement or expatriate destination.
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