Panama: The ultimate retirement destination

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There is definitely more to Panama than a canal!

Panama is fast becoming one of the world’s top retirement destinations and also a world class tourist location – particularly for adventure and ecotourism. Panama has been relatively unknown except to travelers with special interests such as world record deep sea fishing, birding, river rafting and rain forest experiences. All these exciting opportunities together with gorgeous beaches and great surfing, kayaking and diving, ensure Panama has something for everyone. It has an interesting cultural background, from stone age indigenous peoples (still in evidence) to the history of conquistadors and now a modern society with infrastructure that is first world. This is a country where you can still see a myriad of birds including a quetzal while sitting alone in a rainforest. From the Caribbean to the Pacific, imagine these choices on your doorstep! In addition Panamanians are some of the friendliest people you will ever meet. All this makes Panama and ideal location for retirement or a second home.

Panama has been rated the Top Retirement Destination in the World by International Living, because it has a perfect location for every taste; from a cosmopolitan capital city to palm fringed beaches, cool mountain climates and tropical resorts, however the best fact is that it is affordable! There are many financial incentives for retirement. If you are looking for a second home or a retirement option, then Panama should be at the top of your list. A smart choice indeed!

Panama City, with almost one million inhabitants, is a “first world” urban center in the throes of a major building boom. The skyline of Panama City is starting to resemble downtown Manhattan or Singapore. In most areas in Panama City, you can still find apartments beginning at $150,000.00.

The Beaches near Panama City-Beyond Coronado, the best known, many new residential communities have sprung up including Decameron Resort, Playa Blanca Resort, Punta Barco Village, Bijao, Casa Grande, Nikki Beach Vista Mar and BuenaVentura. Coronado is situated 30 minutes by car from the famous volcanic valley mountain town of El Valle as well as about 30 minutes from the lofty Altos del Maria 5000 acre new resort development.

The Highlands are in different parts of the country. El Valle and Altos del Maria near Panama City with wonderful communities and cool pleasant temperatures, and Boquete and Volcan near the border with Costa Rica . Boquete is well known. Volcan is perhaps twice the size of Boquete, but is not as aggressively developed and marketed. Finally, The Islands from the famous Pearl islands to Bocas del Toro, they all are stunning palm fringed islands, white sand beaches and turquoise ocean with superb real estate opportunities. Check our Real Estate Listings All over Panama for current listings or please contact our Panama City office for real estate advice and we will be happy to help you find the right property for your new life.

Interest in Panama does not only come from the United States ; many Canadians are heading further south than Florida for their “snowbird” sojourns – and staying for retirement. The increasing cost of living, overcrowding and higher crime rates in Florida, encourages them to take a slightly longer flight south! Seasonal charter flights from Toronto are now scheduled and regular direct flights will be coming soon.

Despite the distance, Europeans are also aware of the affordable opportunities that Panama has to offer. The Expatriate Telegraph (offshoot of a venerable British newspaper) suggests an alternative retirement destination to the usual venues of Spain , France and Portugal that retirees should consider, a “warm, adventurous and inexpensive place to retire, Panama also offers an attractive incentive program for retirees“. Again Panama compares most favorably with the more usual European choice of retirement destinations with its lower cost of living and great climate, not to mention the financial incentives.

The international mainstream press is also waxing lyrical about Panama, articles in National Geographic, Travel and Leisure, New York Times, LA Times, Boston Globe and Harpers Bazaar are stimulating interest with descriptions such as “the most beautiful retreat in the world and almost undiscovered” (Harpers). “Known mostly for its canal, Panama is in fact an undiscovered tourist paradise” (Boston Globe). Articles like these ensure that tourists and retirees are discovering Panama very quickly.

So why is Panama gaining in popularity among retirees, investors, and part-time expatriates? Considering the following:

* The US dollar is the legal tender. Panama has a stable economy that has been based upon the U.S. Dollar since 1904
* Residents pay no tax on foreign earned income
* Foreigners can buy and own property in Panama with the same rights and protections as Panamanians citizens.
* Pensionado program (retiree incentive program), the best in the world, is not necessarily age related and the benefits are considerable
* Tourism investments have exemptions from import duties, construction materials and equipment, income, real estate taxes, etc.
* Property tax exemptions apply to all new construction on a sliding scale according to value.

* English is widely spoken.
* The US presence in the country for many years has lead to a US style infrastructure with a number of familiar names and businesses
* Panama has a number of US standard health care facilities and services with many US trained English speaking doctors available.
* Panama has a reliable communications system with fiber optic telephone lines and much of the country has ADSL internet
* Panama is one of the best offshore havens in the world

Last but not least, Panama is beautiful. From cool mountain retreats like Boquete, to affordable beachfront property, or cosmopolitan city apartments overlooking a stunning harbor, the choice is yours. With real estate prices beginning to rise, you also have an opportunity to make a considerable return on your investment if you buy now. Rental property is in high demand particularly in the highland areas, so even if you are not looking to retire for a while this is an opportunity to get into the market and earn a return on your investment in the meantime. To view properties, farms, houses, condos, islands in different parts of Panama, visit our Real Estate Marketplace.

Further more, the Panama Pensionado, considered to be the best retirement program in the world, offers retirees excellent incentives, including:

* Import tax exemption for household goods

* Tax exemption to import a new car every two years

* 25% discounts on utility bills

* 25% discount on airline tickets and 30% on other transportation

* 15% discount on loans made in your name

* 1% reduction on home mortgages for homes used for personal residence

* 20% discount on doctor’s bills 15% on hospital services if no insurance applies

* 15% off dental and eye exams

* 10% discount on medicines

* 20% discount on bills for professional and technical services

* 50% discount on entrance to movie theaters, cultural and sporting events

* 50% discount at hotels during Monday to Thursday, 30% on weekends

There are many more discounted items than we have space to list here. Once you have qualified as a Panamanian resident with a pensionado visa you qualify for these benefits.

Click here to view all general requirements to qualify for a pensionado visa are listed on However, the main requirement is proof of a minimum income of US$1,000 per month plus an additional $100 for each dependent. This program is not age related provided you have a pension. Foreign residents of Panama, regardless of the type of visa they obtain, who are over the age of 55 years for a woman and 60 years for a man, are entitled to most of the retiree incentives listed above with the exception of the importation of tax free cars and import of households. The tax free import of households is up to $10,000.00.

In the BusinessPanama Group, we have licensed real estate agents, lawyers, title insurance experts and other professionals to assist you on your real estate and relocation needs.

We can help you with:

* Buying a condo, home or property in Panama City , Beaches, Islands or Mountains

* Forming a company to own your property and protect your assets

* Legal services to purchase the property

* Applying for your residence program

* Title insurance

* Home owners insurance

* Bank mortgage financing

* Relocation

* Others

We aim to provide you a “One Stop Solution” for all your relocation needs in Panama. Here at BusinessPanama, our bilingual staff will provide you with expert advice and expedite your requirements.

Please contact us in Panama City so we may welcome you to Panama and help to make your transition to your new location as smooth as possible.

BusinessPanama Group

US & Canada Toll Free 1-866-750-3498

Email: [email protected]