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The Cost of Living in Panama

There’s no other way of looking at it, the cost of living in the United States is quickly skyrocketing. Whether it’s inflation, or the high cost of building materials, it is difficult being able to live in the US on a budget, especially when you are on a fixed income like a pension.

If you are looking for an inexpensive place to live, or to retire, Panama is the best country to choose. Not only will you be able to save money on everyday costs, but large bills, like for your housing, will be lower than most other countries.

Keep reading to find out more about the low cost of living in Panama, and how you can maximize your income by moving there, instead of struggling to continue living on a pension in a country that you are quickly becoming unable to afford.

Cost of Living in Panama

The Cost of Rent/Mortgage in Panama

One of the biggest expenses for most families is the cost of rent or of having a home mortgage. And in Panama, it is possible to find a place to rent for as little as $375 a month depending on the city you choose to live in. Many of the larger cities, such as the capital Panama City, will have much more expensive accommodations that can cost upwards of $1,000 depending on the amenities you desire.

If you want to stick to a cheaper rent, then check out some of the smaller mountain towns, as these tend to come at quite the discount. But if you are absolutely stuck on living on the beach and enjoying all the water sports the beach offers, then check out Bocas del Toro on the Caribbean side of the country. Here you can enjoy a style of living similar to the Bahamas for a fraction of the cost.

Keep in mind that renting a home in Panama generally includes more than it would in other countries. For example, in the US you may be able to rent a two-bedroom house for $1,200 a month, but this doesn’t include any furniture or dishes—you have to bring your own. In Panama, rental prices tend to be more inclusive, often including furnishings as well as basic utilities like internet, garbage and water. So even if you don’t feel you are getting much of a discount, when you do the math, you actually are saving hundreds of dollars!

For those who are afraid of the prices of rent rising even in a place like Panama, it is a smart idea to buy your home rather than rent. This too can oftentimes be cheaper than property in North America. While it is rare to find a house priced around $200,000 in the United States, you can easily find a condo or single-family home in Panama. And if you are a retiree, the government of Panama will give you a 1% discount on your mortgage—which is quite the steal!

Cost of Food

The Cost of Food in Panama

Although you may not have saved quite as much money on your rent or mortgage that you wanted, you will definitely save money on food. This is because in Panama, several foods are grown and raised locally year-round. Therefore you won’t have to pay a high markup for shipping the food to a destination or preserving it in the winter months.

Chicken, seafood, and fresh fruit all come at a deep discount in Panama because they are raised nearby and caught daily. It is not uncommon that there will be a fresh seafood market in your town where you can haggle for an even better price than the grocery store. Below is a comparison chart of the common costs of food in the USA versus inPanama to give you an idea.

Food in Panama

Now eating out in Panama can go one of two ways. There are plenty of restaurants where you can get a meal with a beverage for just a few dollars, but there are also several restaurants that are the same price you would pay in the US—it all depends on the type of restaurant you go to and what you order while you are there. But if you are a retiree within the country, there on the pensionado visa, there is also a discount for you when you eat out at restaurants!

The Cost of Utilities in Panama

The Cost of Utilities in Panama

Another area where you will save massive amounts of cash when you move to Panama is in your utility bills. Unlike the US, where central heating and air are common, Panama homes don’t usually need heat (since it is warm year-round) and have small air conditioners in each room. This means that you can cool down one room at a time (the one that you are in) rather than paying to cool the whole house at one time.

Here are some of the other common bills you have in your life and how they compare to those you can expect to encounter living in Panama.

Although the average electricity cost is more in Panama, remember that you will be using less electricity as you will no longer need to heat your home in the winter, and you will use fewer light fixtures because it will be sunny year-round. Not only that, but you’ll probably spend more time outside your house on the beach or exploring nature!

Gas prices are another utility that tends to be the same between Panama and the US, but keep in mind that with great weather and plenty of public transport options (with a discount for those on the pensionado visa!) you won’t even need to own a car in the first place!

Interested in learning more about Panama? Ask us about our Exploration Tour and get a taste of Panama!

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