Retire in Panama

If you’re nearing retirement, you might be getting a bit nervous about the way that everything seems to be getting more expensive in the states. How much you need in order to comfortably retire depends on your definition of the word “comfortable,” but many experts say that you’ll need about 80% of your pre-retirement income in order to retire.

The worse news on top of that is that you’ll need to save up even more if you plan on doing a lot of travelling once you’re done working, more like 90% to 100%. This means that if you make $100,000 a year, you’ll need to come up with $80,000 to $100,000 a year every year once you no longer have an income.

With depressing information like that, your mind might start to wander. There are, after all, places in the world where the cost of living is much lower. Your eyes scan a map of the world and you start researching tropical locations where you can live out the rest of your life in peace.

With all that in mind, you might be wondering how much it costs to retire in Panama. Let’s take a look at what you need to know.

How Much Does It Cost to Retire in Panama?

How much you need to retire in Panama depends on the type of lifestyle you are expecting to live. You’ll want to be honest with yourself about things like whether you expect to eat out regularly or if you will be frugal in cooking for yourself. You’ll also want to consider whether or not you’ll want a car, how much space you need in terms of housing, and whether you plan on traveling frequently

That being said, it is generally agreed that you can comfortably live in Panama for between $1,500 and $3,000 a month.

The retirement destination you choose is going to have some impact on your cost of living. For example, if you live in Panama City, you can expect to spend more money each month than if you choose a smaller city or a rural location.

Retire in Panama Vs. Costa Rica: Which Is Right For You?

If you’re considering retiring in Panama, you’ve probably also tossed around the idea of moving to other countries in the region. Before we get into the retiring in Panama pros and cons, let’s talk a little about the difference between these two beautiful countries.


If safety is one of your main concerns, you might prefer retiring in Panama. While there are many safe, lovely places in Costa Rica, there are some higher-risk areas. Cities like Tamarindo, San Jose, and Playas del Coco aren’t strangers to criminal activity or at least activity that might not make you feel comfortable.

In tourist dense areas in Costa Rica, it isn’t unheard of to be the victim of a petty crime or at least to witness one.

In contrast, Pamana has one of the lowest crime rates in the entirety of Latin America. That being said, there still is crime in certain areas and petty theft does occur where tourism dominates.

Cost of Living

Cost of living combines a number of different factors, but ultimately Panama wins in this category. Many of the luxuries that retirees might desire will be more affordable in Panama than in Costa Rica. That being said, Costa Rica can still be cost-effective when compared to other nations, so don’t write it off solely for this reason.


Costa Rica and Panama are adjacent to one another, so the beaches, weather, and climate aren’t that different. They both have both a dry and a rainy season and they are both near the equator. Both countries also have coastlines on both the Caribbean and the Pacific oceans.

If you had to choose which country had the better climate, Costa Rica would likely win out. This is because it has more sunny days than Panama, as the dry season is shorter in the latter nation.

Government and Healthcare

When you’re dreaming of retiring in a beachy, tropical location, you also have to think about some more practical matters. Both Panama and Costa Rica have governments that are relatively easy to adjust to. This is because both countries have a thriving and stable democracy, particularly when compared to other nations in the region.

Both countries have healthcare options that can be attractive to retirees. However, Panama has a pensionado program that offers additional perks.

Retiring in Panama: Dangers and Benefits

While you wouldn’t think there would be any downside to retiring to a sunny, beachy paradise, there are always going to be some downsides to potential retirement locations. Let’s get the bad news out of the way first.

First of all, the weather is hot and humid. Depending on who you are, that could be good news or it could be horrible news. Secondly, you might find that the infrastructure isn’t in as good of shape as in the US and Europe. Life also moves slower in Panama than more modern countries, and you won’t necessarily be able to find your favorite brands at any local stores.

Lastly, you’ll really want to learn Spanish in order to have a complete experience here.

As far as the good stuff goes, Panama offers awesome retirement benefits and affordable healthcare. The cost of living is low and the economy and government is stable. For many people, the weather is delightful, and the diverse ecology means that the best places to retire in Panama might not leave you hot and sticky after all.

Panama Retirement: Is It For You?

As you can see, there are some fairly compelling reasons to retire in Panama. That being said, nowhere is truly a paradise. It’s important to do your research and understand that, while many things might be gained by retiring in a new country, some of the amenities you’ve gotten used to in the US might not be available in the place you choose to retire.

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