Everybody knows Panama has the Canal, especially now during the celebration of its centennial anniversary. But of course, Panama is much more than the canal! So why should you consider Panama for your next home? Here’s a look at some of the reasons.
First of all, the climate is great. No snow or ice, no hurricanes or typhoons, just warm, tropical weather year-round. And although it’s a small country the variety of micro-climates might surprise you. It’s all about the elevation, with hot, humid days typical in the lowlands and along the coasts, or cool, fresh, spring-like climate in the highlands. Take your pick!
Affordable Cost of Living
The fact is your money just goes further here in Panama. For utilities such as electricity, water, cable TV, internet and trash pickup your monthly bill will run from $100 to $200. Insurance on your home, vehicle and personal belongings will cost $500 to $600 per year. Clothing, shoes, and household goods are inexpensive, and competition among electronics and furniture vendors keeps prices affordable.
Grocery preferences vary greatly from family to family, of course, and you’ll find a good selection here. Local fruits and veggies are not only fresh and delicious, but inexpensive at produce stands in every town. Other locally-produced goods such as meats, dairy products, grains, and fish cost less than imported products. A couple can eat very well on $300 to $400 per month, no problem!
Panama stretches roughly 746 miles between Costa Rica on its western border to Colombia to the east at a latitude of 9° north of the equator. Miles of unspoiled coastline face the Pacific Ocean to the south and the Caribbean Sea to the north, with the Continental Divide rising up like a backbone through the middle of the country. Within this small package you’ll find alpine-like slopes, rolling hills, tropical rainforests, salt flats, mangrove estuaries, colorful coral reefs, acres of pasture and croplands, and even an 11,400 foot dormant volcano.
There are countless ways for you to get out and enjoy nature’s bounty! Just look around to see the amazing diversity of animal and plant life that thrives in this bridge between two continents. Hundreds of bird species draw bird-watchers from around the world. Off both coasts marine parks are home to a multitude of sea life, providing awesome diving and snorkeling. Hiking, rock-climbing and kayaking are favorite activities in the highlands, while deep-sea fishing and boating are popular water sports. What’s your favorite outdoor warm weather activity? You can probably do it in Panama!
Panama has a first-class healthcare system that is easy to access. Just choose your doctor and go! No long waits to get an appointment, no limited provider choices, no time-consuming paperwork or unpleasant pre-authorization processes! And because medical malpractice cases are rare and doctors don’t have to pay outrageous premiums, a doctor’s visit costs $25 to $50 in most cases.
The best hospitals are in Panama City, where we even have a Johns Hopkins affiliate, Hospital Punta Pacifica. In the city of David there are two very good private hospitals that provide medical services to the residents and many expats who live here. Medical insurance is readily available for in-country or international coverage at reasonable rates. It’s no wonder Panama has become a desirable medical tourism destination!
Thanks to the solid base laid down by the U.S. during their construction and administration of the canal, Panama has better infrastructure than much of the rest of Central America. In the past several years investment by the government and international investors has been directed at vastly expanding and improving this infrastructure.
All over the country new roads, bridges, airports, water works, dockage facilities, and hydroelectric power plants have been or are being constructed. In the capital the first metro subway system in Central America has been opened, with more routes planned to ease traffic congestion. All this growth has caused some headaches, but the future looks bright as Panama catapults into the 21st century!
One of the things that draws many foreigners to Panama is its stability, despite all the projects in the works all over the country! Since 1903 Panama has been a democratic republic, with a smooth transition to a new administration following each election. The country has never had a civil war, and the influx of foreigners during the canal construction has resulted in a racially and culturally diverse and extremely tolerant population. Another plus is the lack of a national military, with a respectful police force.
The presence of a large and well-established middle class is a huge benefit, allowing for upward mobility and emphasis on education. And let’s not forget business and commerce! Panama is home to dozens of multi-national corporations, but the backbone of the economy is small business, which is highly encouraged. All of these factors and more give Panama the edge over her neighbors when it comes to choosing a place to call home.
© 2015 Magda Crespo Panama Realty