Panama- A Great Place to Live and Visit

Panama is a priviledged country within Latin America . It is fast becoming a preferred location for a second or retirement home for North Americans. For its citizens, Panama is one of the top three of Latin American countries for quality of life: health, education and economic well-being. There are a number of good reasons.

Panama City is called a “second Miami ” because of its sophisticated business district, high speed internet connections, the American-style infrastructure and the elegance of many of its neighborhoods. There are endless gorgeous sea-view apartments and numerous suburban subdivisions with lovely Miami-style homes. Few other Latin American cities can boast buildings of such quality construction and so many attractive neighborhoods. These same Panama City buildings were mostly built by the architect George Moreno, who is the architect for Big Creek Village!

Unlike other Latin Americans, Panamanians don’t need to go shopping in Miami . Due to the lowest tariffs in the Americas , Panama is a shoppers paradise whether it be clothes, computers, electronics, or automobiles! Panamanian supermarkets can easily be mistaken for American supermarkets with their large selection of American products. Electronics stores compete in both price and selection with American stores. There are even three Price-Costco’s in Panama City and one in the city of David , which is only a 2 hour drive from Bocas del Toro.

Private education is excellent; there are three accredited international schools and dozens of fine bilingual schools. At the university level, there a dozen universities, including three United States universities with branches in Panama City.

Panama Healthcare:  Medical care and hospital facilities are almost on a par with the USA , one of the many happy by-products of the longtime American presence in Panama.

Numerous fine local restaurants can compete in quality with almost any large American city. If you are homesick, try Bennigan’s or TGI Friday’s not to mention McDonalds, Wendy’s, Burger King, Pizza Hut, Dominos, KFC etc.

If you’re homesick, Panama is a short plane ride away from the USA . There are direct flights to and from Panama from 7 USA cities- Newark , Miami , Los Angeles , Dallas , Houston , Atlanta and Orlando . The cost for round trip flights starts at only US$365! This proximity also makes it easy on all those relatives who will want to come visit you, the Panama Canal and some of the most nature-rich rainforests on earth.

Indeed, there is a reverse migration going on in recent years. There are many stories of Panamanians in the US moving back to Panama because they find the quality of life is simply better here. Not to mention, the 50,000 Americans who used to live in the former Panama Canal zone and called Panama “home”. They call Panama their “Paradise Lost”. The majority are not happy living back in the United States- that should tell you something.

Even nature has blessed Panama . Due to a unique geographical position, there are no natural disasters -no hurricanes and destructive earthquakes which plague its Central American neighbors.

This is not to say that Panama is a utopia. There are plenty of problems here like anywhere else. But the time has passed, especially post 9/11, when one can presume that for quality of life, up North is NOT the only place to live.

Panama has warm, friendly people, a stable democracy, a dynamic business sector and an unusual variety of terrains.

John Le Carré, writing in The Tailor of Panama summed it up well:

“We have everything God needed to make paradise. Great farming, beaches, mountains, wildlife you wouldn’t believe… people so beautiful you could cry.”

Modern Maturity, the American Association for Retired Persons magazine, rated Panama as “one of the top four places in the world for Americans to live abroad”.

International Living, rated Panama as “the number one country outside the United States for a second home- based on Panama ‘s outstanding safety, infrastructure, climate and beauty”.